Month: October 2013
900,000 members strong and growing
Last week, after sustained pressure from thousands of ColorOfChange members, California Governor Jerry signed “Ban the Box” legislation. The law prohibits public sector employers from making deeply prejudicial inquiries about past convictions during initial stages of the hiring process. It’s a monumental victory that we should all celebrate.
But the work to eliminate unfair barriers for formerly incarcerated folks in every state continues. And its up to each of us to make sure that our friends and family are aware of some exciting opportunities to organize in our home states. By helping us grow our community, we can ensure that the next time we secure a victory — like the one we had last week — our friends and family are organizing and celebrating with us.
My wife and I are still in hot pursuit along with various proactive individuals to help us and we help them with this struggle. There is so much injustice in this industry and it all is associated with capitalism off the backs of human life. People are more valuable than a bottle or can or computer screen or television you decide needs to be recycled. Please pray for us to get our business opened to keep people out of jail once they get out. We want to open Second Chance Alliance to educate and empower the very people like us who are being denied a second chance because our caste status doesn’t render us valuable.
The United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, and the private prison industry is making a killing off this broken system. For-profit prison companies get paid for each person that fills their cells — raking in $5 billion in annual revenue.1 Empty beds mean lost profits, so to keep the money flowing the industry spends millions lobbying the government to expand the destructive policies that keep more people behind bars for longer, harsher sentences.2
Tragically, one-third of all Black men will spend part of their lives in prison.3 Meanwhile, for-profit prisons promote and exploit mass incarceration and racial-bias in the criminal justice system — further accelerating our nation’s prison addiction. We can stop this. The prison industry depends on corporate backers for the capital it needs to keep growing,4 and allies in government for contracts that fill their prisons. If we convince enough investors and board members to leave the industry, we can discredit incarceration as a business, bring attention to the harm it creates, and deter public officials from granting contracts to prison companies.
Please join us in urging investors and board members of for-profit prison companies to get out of this exploitative business. We’ll inform them of what they’re involved in, and if they refuse to do what’s right, we’ll hold them publicly accountable.
Federal agencies and state governments contract with three main companies to lock people up: Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), GEO Group, Inc., and the Management and Training Corporation (MTC). The top two prison companies, CCA and GEO, are publicly traded and financed by investors, major banks and corporations, who hold shares in the industry. CCA and GEO Group make money by charging a daily rate per body that is sent to them — costing tax payers billions for dangerous, ineffective facilities.5 The industry also makes money by avoiding tax payments. CCA will dodge $70 million dollars in tax payments this year by becoming a real estate investment trust (REIT) and designating their prisons as “residential”.6
In order to maximize profits, prison companies cut back on staff training, medical care, and rehabilitative services — causing assault rates to double in some private prisons.7 A 2010 ACLU lawsuit against CCA-run Idaho Correctional Center cited a management culture so violent the facility is known as the “gladiator school”.8 The industry also maximizes profits by lobbying for and benefiting from laws that put more people in jail. In the 1990’s CCA chaired the Criminal Justice Task force of shadowy corporate bill-mill, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which passed “3 strikes” and “truth in sentencing” laws that continue to send thousands of people to prison on very harsh sentences.9 Black folks are disproportionately subjected to these uniquely harsh conditions due to our extreme overrepresentation in the private prison system.10
In many parts of the country, the political tide is shifting against the for-profit prison industry. Earlier this summer, Kentucky, Texas, Idaho, and Mississippi broke ties with CCA after reports of chronic understaffing, inmate death, and rising costs to the states became undeniable.11 In April, New Hampshire rejected all private prison bids because the prison corporations could not show that they would follow legal requirements for safely housing prisoners.12 And, there is growing opposition to California Governor Jerry Brown’s misguided plan to comply with a Supreme Court order to alleviate the State’s prison overcrowding crisis by moving thousands of prisoners into private facilities, at a public cost of $1 billion over 3 years.13
The private prison industry should not control who is locked up, for how long, and at what price. For-profit prison companies have investors that cut across many industries. Some of these investors — wealthy individuals, major banks and financial companies — know exactly what they’re doing. But with enough pressure, they might reconsider whether it’s worth being known as profiting from exploitation and racism in the criminal justice system.
Profiting off the brutality and discrimination of incarceration is shameful. Please join us in calling on the investors and board members of for-profit prison companies to get out of this corrupt business.
UPDATE: Since Black Friday, tens of thousands of ColorOfChange members signed a petition and hundreds have made calls asking the Walmart Board of Directors to meet with workers to improve working conditions. Thus far, Walmart has not responded. Please share this image to show Walmart that you stand with workers: urge Walmart’s Board of Directors to come to the table and put an end to unfair labor practices.
For over a year, workers have asked Walmart’s Board of Directors to work with them to improve the company’s notoriously exploitative labor practices. To date, Walmart workers brave enough to speak up about their harsh working conditions have been slapped with retaliatory cutbacks on hours and even firings. If Walmart continues to refuse to meet with workers and take concrete steps to improve conditions, workers throughout the company’s vast operations will walk off the job on Black Friday, November 23rd. By supporting Walmart workers in the fight for good jobs and a decent working environment, we can help raise the standard for the entire retail industry and show Walmart executives that there’s a price to pay for exploiting its workforce.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Abraham Lincoln, America, American Legislative Exchange Council, Ban The Box, Bilss, Blacks In Despair, California Governor Jerry, changed lives, compromise practices, Corrections Corporation of America, courage, education, Fair Employment Rights for Felons, Governor Brown, Human Rights Campaign, humility, Management and Training Corporation, Motivation, Opportunity, Positive Movement, private prison, private prison industry, Private Prisons, Second Chance Alliance, social issues, social justice, spirituality, standing power, suffering.
With all the attention focused on Ted Cruz’s attempt to defund Obamacare in the continuing resolution, some of the law’s parade of horribles are momentarily out of view. Come October 1, those horribles will resume their onward march as the law’s impact on subsidizing elective abortion will begin to become clearer.
One area that deserves special scrutiny is the feature known as Multi-State Plans (MSPs). This provision of Obamacare represented a partial victory for progressive forces who favored a national, single-payer system. In its place they accepted a category of health-insurance plans managed by the Office of Personnel Management under contracts with private insurance companies. Unlike the federal employee health plans, which are available only to federal workers and their families, these MSPs are guaranteed a place on each state (and District of Columbia) health-care exchange and will therefore be available to every resident of the United States. By virtue of being offered on the exchanges, premiums paid to purchase these plans will be eligible for the generous scheme of subsidies created under Obamacare.
Passage of MSPs required one other major finesse from Democrats on the Hill. In order to deal with the abortion coverage MSPs might provide, the law stipulated that each state must have at least two MSPs and that at least one of them must be a plan that confines its abortion coverage to situations defined by the Hyde Amendment, which are, to simplify a bit, cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is in danger. While the law provided no specific assurance that the other MSPs (one or possibly many more) would cover elective abortion, it has seemed clear from the start (and blisteringly obvious from observing its past patterns) that the Obama administration would ensure that abortion-covering state plans (let’s call them ASPs) would be available everywhere possible (especially inasmuch as the MSP program might ultimately prove a gateway to single-payer).
The only obstacle standing in the way of this is substantial, a separate provision of Obamacare that recognizes the right of the states to exclude ASPs from their exchanges. On the eve of opening the exchanges for consumers to choose a plan and gain a major tax break in 2014, where do MSPs stand?
Twenty-three states, all of which have had Hyde Amendments governing their Medicaid plans in place for years, have banned ASPs from their exchanges. If United Health Care, CareFirst, Aetna, or another large insurer creates an ASP for purchase in New York, Vermont, or California, that plan can be offered in Virginia, Missouri, and 21 other states only if the elective-abortion coverage is excluded. ASPs can, however, be offered and heavily promoted in 27 states and the District of Columbia. Keep in mind as well that Obamacare fully finances (at first) the expansion of Medicaid in states that agree to sign on. At present, 17 states (13 of them by court order) fully fund elective abortion using state money in their health programs for the poor.
Is all this a tempest in a teapot with little effect on publicly supported abortion? Far from it. An analysis by the Charlotte Lozier Institute published this week suggests that the number of abortions that will be heavily subsidized via federal premium tax credits and Medicaid expansion is likely to be between 71,000 and 111,500 per year. This approaches one in ten abortions performed in the United States. The number is split roughly 50-50 between abortions subsidized by the ASPs in states that have not barred them from their exchanges and abortions newly reimbursable under Medicaid expansion in states that use their own taxpayer funds to underwrite them.
Social conservatives are rightly alarmed about the impact of Obamacare on abortion subsidies and reimbursement. They are also right to avoid naiveté about the ways in which OPM and Kathleen Sebelius’s Department of Health and Human Services will steer girls and women toward the ASPs as their best choice for “comprehensive reproductive health care.” One way is to engage Planned Parenthood and other elements of the abortion industry as major recruiters for these plans via the Navigator program, which is already underway. Look for the extra prominence of ASPs on government web sites and in promotional literature, where euphemisms may abound and default buttons can funnel applicants toward particular choices.
Whatever the outcome of the current maneuvers over defunding Obamacare in the continuing resolution, issues like MSPs and ASPs assure that the collateral battlegrounds will remain hot. We have passed the law and now we are beginning to find out what is really in it.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Abortion, America, ASP, changed lives, compromise practices, Culture, deliverance, Medicaid expansion, Obamacare, social issues, social justice, spirituality, Struggles, suffering.
In a rare non-partisan move, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to create a special envoy for religious freedom in South Central Asia and the Middle East, but the measure will go nowhere without help from the Senate and White House.
The legislation – drafted by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.) – was approved with 402 votes in favor and 21 Republicans and one Democrat against.The bill, if approved by the Senate, would create a special office within the State Department for an envoy who could become an advocate for religious minorities.
“Will a special envoy guarantee these communities’ survival and even flourishing? I do not know,” Wolf said in a speech before the House earlier this month. “But I am certain that to do nothing is not an option, lest on this administration’s and this Congress’s watch we witness a Middle East emptied of ancient faith communities, foremost among them the “Sunday People.”
The legislation is supported by many large religious groups in the U.S., including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the United Methodist Church, and the Southern Baptist Convention. Many Jewish and Muslim groups have also endorsed the legislation.
Wolf applauded those who voted for the legislation in a statement to FoxNews.com.
“I applaud my colleagues for voting for this bill, which sends an undeniable message to persecuted people of faith the world over, and just as importantly, to the forces that oppress them, that America – this shining city on a hill as envisioned by our founders – will not be silent in the face of the evil,” he said. “I urge the Senate to act swiftly and send this legislation to the president’s desk for signature. A special envoy for religious minorities is long overdue.”
The same piece of legislation was brought forward for a vote on Capitol Hill hill back in 2011 and was also passed by 402 votes but blocked when it moved on to the Senate for a vote. Critics fear that, without support from the White House, the Democrat-led Senate will once again let the bill die.
“Passage of this legislation comes at a critical time for religious minorities, especially in the Middle East. This new special envoy will give a new voice to the millions being persecuted for their faith — be it the Coptic Christians in Egypt, Christians like American pastor Saeed Abedini imprisoned in Iran, or countless others,” Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, told FoxNews.com.
The House vote comes as attacks against religious groups – Christians in particular – have risen sharply around the globe.
Last Sunday two suicide bombers attacked the historic All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing 85 people.
According to recent reports, more than 40 churches and other Christian institutions and schools have been attacked in Egypt alone, with Coptic Christians targeted by Islamic extremists since Mohamed Morsi was ousted as president.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Abraham Lincoln, compromise practices, courage, Culture, Days, Faulty Worship, Frank Wolf, humanity, Oneness, politics, religion, religious minorities, Sabbath, Sectarianism and Schism, Senate, spirituality, standing power, the Senate, theology, U.S. House of Representatives, What is the Sabbath, White House.
I am plagued about the check points God has placed in my life. I sometimes don’t want to heed to His alarms of check your armor or go this direction or stop and pray. I sometimes don’t want to stay still in complete solace and seek His face due to my agenda seemingly more important at the time. There are so many check points in scripture and life.
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Law enforcement safety checkpoints have been a hot topic in Alabama this week after a Crenshaw County sheriff’s deputy lashed out on his Facebook page at people who warn motorists of the whereabouts of lawmen camped out to catch wrongdoers.
Should police have checkpoints? And if they do, should those checkpoints be publicized? Al.com readers were sharply divided on both issues, especially the latter: An Al.com poll, in which nearly 3,000 people responded, showed 48.6 percent said it’s OK to warn others about the time and place of a checkpoint; 51.74 percent said keep it quiet, or “Don’t give the creeps an edge.”
Statewide, law enforcement officials are also divided. Some agencies, like the Alabama Department of Public Safety, tout safety checkpoints as one of their strongest law enforcement tools. Others, like the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, uses them sparingly, citing the expense of staffing needs as one reason they haven’t had one in at least nine months.
ADPS officials said they carry out frequent, systematic and repetitive driver’s license checkpoints. So far this year, Alabama State Troopers have conducted more than 8,000 safety checkpoints throughout the state.
The Message (MSG)
14-16 For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do—submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God—his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!
They were people who were living to themselves. Their hopes, promises, and dreams still controlled them, but the Lord began to fulfill their prayers. They had asked for a repentant heart and had surrendered themselves with a willingness to pay any price for it, and He sent them sorrow. They had asked for purity, and He sent them sudden anguish. They had asked to be dead to the world, and He killed all their living hopes. They asked to be made like Him, so He placed them in the fire “as a refiner and purifier of silver”, until they could reflect His image. They had asked to help carry His cross, yet when He held it out to them, it cut and tore their hands.
They had not fully understand what they asked, but He had taken them at their word and granted them all their requests. They had been unsure whether to follow Him such a long distance or whether to come so close to Him. An awe and a fear was upon them, as Jacob at Bethel when he dreamed of “a stairway…reaching to heaven”, or Eliphaz “amid disquieting dreams in the night”, or as the disciples when “they were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost, not realizing it was Jesus. The disciples were so filled with awe, they felt like asking Him either to depart from them or to hide His glory.
They found it easier to obey than to suffer, to work than to give up, and to carry the cross than to hang upon it. But now they could not turn back, for they had come too close to the unseen cross of the spiritual life, and its virtues had pierced them too deeply. And the Lord was fulfilling this promise of His to them: “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself”(John 12:32).
Now at last their opportunity had come. Earlier they had only heard of the mystery, but now they felt it. He had fastened His eyes of love on them, as he had on Mary and Peter, so they could only choose to follow Him. And little by little, from time to time, with quick glimmers of light, the mystery of His cross shone upon them. They saw Him “Lifted up from the earth,” and gazed on the glory that radiated from the wounds of His holy suffering. As they looked upon Him, they approached Him and were changed into His likeness. His name then shone out through them, for He lived within them Their life from that moment on was one of inexpressible fellowship solely with Him above. They willing to live without possessions that others owned and that they could have had, in order to be unlike others so they would be more like Him.
This is the description of all those throughout the ages who “follow the Lamb wherever he goes. I am trying to move beyond my own expectations to have checkpoints and encounters with my Lord. I wish we all would look at the need to get out of His way and our own way to have a experience of gazing upon Him and His presence. Let Him embrace you today and get to where He is. Don’t forfeit you resurrection because of life and all of its temporal glory, move beyond this world and think eternally.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged changed lives, Checkpoints, Christ, courage, Culture, deliverance, disciplined thinking, Dyeing to Live, Jesus, reality, religion, social justice, spirituality, suffering, theology.
Recently I was asked whether John the Baptist lost his head for expecting a lost politician to act like a Christian. John, you’ll remember, was executed for telling Herod that it was not lawful for the king to have his brother’s wife.
This is an important question, not simply for understanding the background of this particular text. Christians often shrug off questions of public ethics because we say, “Why should we expect lost people to act like Christians?” I once heard a prominent preacher say that it didn’t matter to him if his neighbors went to hell as prostitutes or as policemen; it only mattered that they were going to hell.
In one sense, this is a good impulse. After all, Jesus never acted shocked or appalled by the behavior of the lost people. Jesus spoke with gentleness to the lost sinners around him, but with severity at religious leaders, hiding their sin behind religiosity and using their positions to serve selfish interests.
And the apostle Paul wrote that he didn’t judge “outsiders” but instead that it is those “inside the church whom you are to judge” (1 Cor. 5:12). The gospel didn’t come to achieve a society of morally straight people unreconciled to Christ.
But, if all that’s true, why does John persist in calling out this obviously unregenerate political leader for his sexual behavior? John isn’t incidental to the biblical story. Jesus calls him the greatest of the prophets.
Obligation of a King
This wasn’t really a question of merely personal behavior by an outsider. Herod was clearly a pagan internally, but he held an office instituted by God, an office with obligations for obedience to God. The rulership over Israel, after all, wasn’t the equivalent of the queen of England or the president of the United States. Israel was a covenant nation of priests. The king was to be of the house of David, and he was to model the line of Christ.
In the same chapter of Deuteronomy that the apostle Paul quotes to speak of internal church discipline, the law lays out the qualifications for king. He shouldn’t use the office to serve his appetites for things or for sexual gratification (Deut. 17:17), but ought to meditate on the Word of God and act according to it “that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left” (Deut. 17:20).
Not Merely Private Morality
This was a question of public justice, not merely of private morality. Herod’s sin was multifaceted. Yes, it was a private act of sexual immorality, taking as his own a woman he shouldn’t have. But Herod was acting not just as a man but as a ruler.
Herod, of course, was a puppet king, acting as a client of the Roman Empire. He couldn’t have provided what he offered in his sexually ignited boast of giving Herodias’s daughter “up to half my kingdom” (Mk. 6:23). Herod didn’t have the same power as David, but it was the same principle at work. David’s taking of Bathsheba was more than just an immoral use of his private parts, but an immoral use of his public office.
We can all see what this means, even apart from divine revelation. One of the good things the feminist movement has brought to us is the way we deal publicly now with sexual harassment. An employer who pressures an employee for sexual favors isn’t just an immoral person; he is misusing power. When the CEO sleeps with an intern, his offense isn’t just against God and his wife, but is also an unjust abuse of power.
In line with all the prophets before him, John spoke out against the powerful misusing their privilege to exploit the vulnerable. Think of Daniel telling Belshazzar that the “writing is on the wall” for his prideful kingdom’s fall or Isaiah speaking truth to power to those who “rob the poor” and “make the fatherless their prey” (Isa. 10:2). Think of, after John, Jesus’ brother James denouncing the landowners who exploit workers with unjust wages (Jas. 5:4-6).
John risked his neck to speak on this question not just to Herod as king but also to Herod as a man. Paul doesn’t “judge” the pagan outsiders, that’s true. He means that there is no means of holding those outside the church to the accountability of church discipline. But the church can still discern between good and evil. Even as Paul calls out the sin of the church member in Corinth, he compares it to the moral climate of the “pagans” on the outside (1 Cor. 5:1).
Jesus deals gently with tax collectors and sinners. He doesn’t, as he does with the religious leaders, call them whitewashed tombs or turn over their market tables. But he doesn’t refuse to speak to their sin. When he meets the woman at the well, he isn’t shocked by her serial monogamy, but he doesn’t leave it unquestioned either. He asks her, “Where is your husband?”
Those outside the church aren’t our battlefield but our mission-field, that’s true. We shouldn’t rail against them as though they are somehow different than we are, apart from God’s mercy in Christ. But the gospel is to be pressed on all creatures, on every human conscience. And the gospel is a call not only to faith but also to repentance. God now “commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed,” (Acts 17:31), Paul preached at Mars Hill.
We then speak to lost people not only of the historical truth of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and not only of his grace and mercy in receiving sinners. We also call them to turn from sin, and to agree with God that such sin is worthy of condemnation. Without this, there is no salvation. We speak then, as the apostle did to a pagan ruler, about “righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment” (Acts 24:25).
Our lost neighbors might be “pagan” in the sense that they are not part of the community of God, but they are still accountable before God. Their consciences are embedded with a law. John wasn’t the first to say to Herod that he couldn’t have his brother’s wife; this was hardly new information. Herod’s conscience already told him that much, and pointed him to his accountability on the day of judgment. John’s rebuke was an essential part of gospel preaching.
Christians often ping back and forth between extremes. The church of the last generation was often more concerned with a moral majority than with a gospel priority. In our attempt not to fall into that error, we could fall into an opposite, and just as dangerous, ditch. We could assume that all moral norms speak merely internally to the church, and we could fail to speak to unbelievers about such things. Such would be a refusal to love our neighbors, to warn them of what we will face at the judgment seat. But it would also be a refusal to preach the gospel. Without defining sin and justice, we cannot offer mercy.
Guilty consciences don’t initially like that word. None of us did, at first. But that’s the mission we’ve been given. Some of us may wind up with our heads on silver platters. Jesus knows how to put heads back on.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Abraham Lincoln, America, American Civil Liberties Union, Apostle Paul, Christ, compromise practices, Congress, courage, Culture, deliverance, Democrats, humanity, humility, Politicians, politics, Republicans, Senators, social issues, spirituality, standing power, transformation, Trust.
The guys behind the YouTube channel “Give Back Films” have posted this video of them distributing $100 bills to members of Salt Lake City’s homeless community. Though some may argue about the motives behind filming acts of charity, the video’s makers say, “We hope that by putting these videos on YouTube, some of you are inspired to go out and do the same type of things”
An elderly woman recently wrote a letter to the Pope, explaining a heartbreaking turn of events, in which she was mugged while on the way to a hospital to see her sick husband. Days later, the priest at her local church received his own letter—with the official seal of the Vatican. The envelope contained a check for $270 along with a message from Pope Francis’ new alms master Archbishop Konrad Krajewski that read, “Please deliver in the manner it deems appropriate, the relevant amount to the lady in question, that it is a gift of His Holiness, who offers her his apostolic blessing accompanied by desired aid and divine comfort for her and for her husband.” The priest was reportedly shocked by the personal gift, telling a local newspaper, “It’s an extraordinary series of events: Francis knows not only how to interact with people, communicating brilliantly and infusing them with great hope, but also responds to personal requests” …
This week, we saw the United States government come to a grinding but deliberate halt. The word “shutdown” was spoken, spouted, typed and tweeted millions of times as the American people tried to make some sense of it all. What did it mean? What, if any, parts of our government were still operational? And most importantly, who was to blame?
Both sides seem to be perfectly willing to simply toss blame at the other side and hope the stalemate comes to a close sooner rather than later.
A major cause of the situation is that neither side is willing to part from how they think things should be. Both sides are stringent in their beliefs that they know what is best for the American people. And both sides are viciously adamant in their stance, so much so that they’re willing to furlough thousands of government employees without pay.
Instead of offering good, honest-to-God compromises, both sides seem to be perfectly willing to simply toss blame at the other side and hope the stalemate comes to a close sooner rather than later. In fact, as of last night, four different resolutions had been offered between the opposing sides, only to see them struck down with extreme prejudice and malice.
And while this impartial writer is neither qualified or willing to discuss and debate the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act, there is a part of this whole ridiculous debacle—and that’s what it is—that we younger Christians can take to heart and mind and soul.
When and at what time, if any, is it okay to compromise your stance and when is it imperative to fervently stand your ground? And more importantly, how can we tell the difference?
Most of us have been taught from diapers that we are meant to hold tight to our Godly beliefs. We’re taught the refusal to doubt what we believe to be truth, now and forever. We stand firm on these things and we fight for them. What we believe, who we love, where we belong; these are the kinds of things that we will bruise and bully into reality. These are the kinds of things that ache so desperately in our hearts that our mind is made up and our will is steeled against any would be intruder or disturbance.
But throughout life—at work, at church, in our relationships—our days are filled with compromises and concessions. We work with or for someone we don’t like or respect. We attend service at our chosen sanctuary of worship even though other members may disagree with us politically or theologically. We move cities and jobs to follow our partners as they chase their dreams.
It’s not easy. Frequently, we’re afraid of looking weak when we give into the demands of others. We like the idea of being seen as strong and steadfast. We have images in our head of people like Joan of Arc and Dr. Martin Luther King, who stood by their principles to the bitter end. With those pictures, the word “compromise” does take on a dirty taste.
But the reality is, few of our compromises involve Civil Rights or the freedom of our nation. We do well to know which items we will not compromise on—those beliefs of ours that we will cling to no matter what. But it takes great wisdom and maturity to understand what items we will compromise on as well.
Because compromise isn’t necessarily about giving in or forfeiting the things we want. It’s about giving a bit here and there in the present so that our life is easier or more fruitful in the future. We learn to deal with coworker or boss we can’t stand because our job requires it of us and we are good stewards with what God has given us. We go to Church with those we disagree and bicker with because that’s where God has placed us and His will and wisdom are above our own. And we give up our lives and jobs and move cities because our partner landed their dream job and we want to support them and invest in our relationship with them.
It’s the wisdom we’re given through prayer and faith that allows us the temperance to acknowledge when is the time to fight and when is the time to compromise. And while most of us may have a good idea of what’s worth fighting for and what’s worth compromising on, the choice isn’t always an easy one to make. Sometimes when we know we should fight, we concede. And other times, when we know we should humbly forfeit and compromise on what we want, we instead fight tooth and nail, causing more harm than is necessary.
And that’s where the United States’ government finds itself today. Through hundreds of years of bickering and fighting, these two parties have once again reached a bridge they refuse to cross together. Instead, they hunker down across the proverbial battlefield and loft soft shots of insults and blame at each other.
We can examine this shameless exercise in greed and stubbornness and apply it to our own lives so we keep from making the same mistakes.
It’s the saddest of states, really. Neither side is doing all they can to bring this standoff to the end because they aren’t being affected. No, it’s the people that put them in their elected seat that suffer. Congress and both political parties have to realize that this is not a time for bullheaded force or tyrannical might. Rather, this is a time of compromise and focused determination for the sake of the citizens who have allowed them in office.
Maybe this shutdown of the American government will be done by the end of the weekend and maybe it’ll last for the foreseeable future. How are we to know? What are we to do? Other than taking a closer look at who we vote for come next election season, we can examine this shameless exercise in greed and stubbornness and apply it to our own lives so we keep from making the same mistakes.
We can resolve to be better than the puffed up politicians of America. We can decide to approach our lives through prayer and faith so that when we are made to decide between fighting and compromising, we’ll make the wise, Godly choice that fits our situation.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Abraham Lincoln, America, changed lives, Christ, compromise practices, courage, Culture, Deflection of real intent to control the population, deliverance, Dr. Martin Luther King, Government, grace, human rights, Human Rights Campaign, humanity, humility, Ploticians, politics, Shutdown, social justice, stubbornness, suffering, transformation, United States government.