New Blog

Alright it has been a while since I posted.  This blog was mainly for class, so I thought I would send everyone over to my personal blog.  I will still be talking about a lot of the same things, but with some variety thrown at you.  If you are interested its thejacobfuller.wordpress.com.  Hope to see you there.

Jacob

Kingdom Come

Aaron Taylor’s blog posted on Sojourners has amazing insight into the way Christians view politics, and thoughts on the way we should view politics.  Here is his conclusion.

Perhaps a better approach for Christians is to preach the gospel, serve humanity with good works, focus on living a kingdom lifestyle within the life of the church, and recognize the ambiguity in all political solutions to earthly problems. I may know that abortion is wrong and never counsel a woman to have an abortion because of my religious beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that I’m privy to special knowledge on how to translate that into a political solution that will save the most unborn lives. I may refuse to serve in combat because I believe that killing in war is a violation of Jesus’ command to “love your enemies,” but that doesn’t mean that I have God’s perspective on what should be done about Iraq and Afghanistan. If I claim that I do, then the credibility of the gospel that I preach is damaged in the end. If Obama’s decision has taught me anything, it’s that political humility isn’t just an option for Christians; it’s a necessity.

So do we as Christians exercise our right, and vote, and be involved in the political process?  Yes, but to an extent.  What is that quote that I used to hear all the time?  “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  There is some truth to that.  Christian, especially when it comes to politics, need to focus more on being the change rather than standing for change.  We need to focus on being the Kingdom of God rather than letting our focus be encouraging our government to implement policies that look like the Kingdom of God.

Taylor talks about political humility.  What a great idea, to know that you don’t have the solution to every problem.  We, as Christians, don’t have the solutions, we have the vision.  We know how things were set up to be, and how we have fallen from that.  We do not have exclusivity to the knowledge of the way back, save for through the sovereignty of God.  God will accomplish His purposes in the world, we need to trust that, and to understand that we might not always see how that will come to be.  We follow God, we are not of one mind with Him.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:9 ESV

That is where the humility comes in.  We need to focus on living out that vision where we are, and praying for that vision to come to be here on the earth.  Jesus said:

“Pray then like this:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6:9-13 ESV

The humility is, we do not know how the Kingdom will come, only what it will look like in the end.  If we can admit that, and trust the Lord, and begin praying earnestly for it, instead of seeking it in our messed up political structure, then I think it might come a bit sooner.

Building Kingdoms

Sojourners posted an interesting blog today about the role of governments in the Kingdom of God.  Chuck Gutenson, the author of the post, made a good argument for why followers of Christ should support the government when it seeks to take care of the needy and those who are have-nots.

His argument falls short, for me at least, at the end.

“What is much harder to find are good biblical reasons for why a faithful follower of Jesus would oppose government having a role in caring for the needy.  Will they do it perfectly?  Of course not.  All the more reason faithful followers of Jesus must be vocal in pushing governments to serve the agenda for which they were created, and to serve it well!”

Should followers of Jesus seek to find ways that just simply get the job done, or should we be seeking to find the best ways to help the needy around us?  I am not saying that we should be against the government in its pursuit to help those in our country who are poor, but I am saying that we should not only hope and seek for that in our government.

Another reason to not pursue government too passionately as an avenue for helping the poor is their spiritual needs.  It is good to meet peoples physical needs, but if we are not following that up with meeting peoples relational and spiritual needs, we are not doing them any good.

“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7b ESV

We need to be careful about also what and who we call poor.  There is poor in possession and also poor in spirit.  Obviously the government can be helpful in aiding the poor in possession, but they will never be good at helping the poor in spirit, unless our government begins to profess Christ, which is most likely never going to happen.

I do think, that whether you support the government as a venue for social change, or if you want to see that change happen outside the government, the important thing is, that as a follower of Christ, you need to be about what he said we need to be about.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Luke 4:18-19 ESV

Ridiculous…

For anyone interested, a Christian can now, in good conscience, shop at the Gap and the companies it owns.  They have aired an “unambiguous” Christmas add, according to the Christian Post, so the American Family Association has stopped its holiday ban.  Thank goodness.  I know I can sleep easier now.

Change The World Where You Are

Ideological.  That is a term thrown at many my age, about to be fresh out of college, wide eyed and ready to see this horribly broken world on the mend.  Now I know that I must still be naive about many things, I do not think it impossible for each of us young and eager students to achieve real change in our world.

For young Christians, we believe we don’t even have to do the changing, we just have to show up and love the people that Jesus tells us to love.

Here is an example from the New York Times.

Jenna Liao, and countless others, are proving that we can change the world if we stop focusing on changing the world.  Let me unpack that.  We, if we change our focus to the people we can help immediately around us, can change the world at large.  The kind of sweeping change we want to see in our broken world will not happen overnight.  It happens one person at a time, one block at a time, one city at a time, and so forth.

It may be ideological and naive to hope that the world will be better in my lifetime, but I do not think it is either to hope and work to seeing the lives in my neighborhood, my city, to be changed.  I hope that I am always praying and showing up to help those in need around me, to change their world, and hopefully all of ours together.

Naughty or Nice?

Naughty or Nice?

According to the Christian Post, the Christian legal group the Liberty Council has released its annual “Naughty or Nice” christmas checklist of businesses that have a Christmas theme for their holiday marketing, and businesses that do not.

They call for a boycott of businesses that, “seek to profit from Christmas while pretending it does not exist,” Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, said.

Alright, I think we can all agree that Christmas is a holiday.  So I would think that the phrase “Happy Holidays” encompasses Christmas.  Or maybe I really am that naive.

Also, I think that boycotting people because they don’t advertise Christmas the way you want is a bit ridiculous.  I can see maybe boycotting a company because they are too sexual in their adds, or because the exploit child labor overseas, or because they make money in some sort of unethical way, but because they have a holiday add campaign instead of Christmas?  I mean if you are a business person, then it makes sense to try and encompass all the holidays that are happening this time of year does it not?

So this Black Friday, don’t let the Liberty Counsel tell you where to shop, decide for yourself whether a company is worthy of your dollars.

There are a lot of things going on in the world that Christians should and could get mad about.  This is not one of them.  Let’s stop wasting our time making lists about it.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

As you eat turkey and talk about what you are thankful for with family and friends please remember:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:17 ESV

Here is a little political cartoon for laughs to.  If only we could be thankful for football in College Station.  Gig’em Aggies, BTHO t.u.