Which Messiah Were We Hoping For?

20131230-082149.jpg

When the Christian right didn’t get our messiah elected, we resorted to ridiculing the left for getting theirs.

Beware the Constantinian Temptation of hoping an earthly system of governance will produce a divine context.

How often we forget that the word “Christ” is the Greek translation of the word Messiah, literally meaning, “King, Ruler, Lord.”

If we’re so bent out of shape when our personal congressman or senator or president don’t get elected—or so euphorically elated when they do—that we choose to abandon the basic Christian ethics (notably, of kindness and humility), then we stand guilty of idolatry, esteeming man and his system above the one Jesus already paid a heavy price to establish.

Spes autem non est nisi una. Quia non est nisi unum regnum.

ch:

This Business of Voting

20121106-163007.jpg

“The chief business of the American people is business.”

-President John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.
(July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933)
30th President of the United States

While neither man is “my guy,” I think perhaps we should let the candidate who is the businessman have a crack at the economy.

(Hint: Only one of them has ever been involved with business at all).

UPDATE 4:42PM EST: My dear friend, Nathan Reimer, posted this presidential quote in the comments section below. I thought it was so good that it deserved a presence in the main post.

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

-President Thomas Jefferson
(April 13, 1743 (April 2, 1743 O.S.) – July 4, 1826)
3rd President of the United States

ch:

Heaven Has Landed On Election Day!

Please join us at The Father’s House in Rochester, NY this Friday night for our official release concert! Click “attend” for details.

If you’re of age, you could be voting. Or you could be listening to our new CD, “Heaven Meets Earth.” Here are a few reasons why you should listen to it especially if you’ve voted:

1.) You’re really excited about how you think the elections are going to turn out and need some anthem music to dance to (which you’ll find lots of on “Heaven Meets Earth”).

2.) You’re depressed about how you think the elections are going to turn out and need some encouragement (which you’ll find on “Heaven Meets Earth”).

3.)  You’ve actually become afraid of your mailbox for dishing out an exceedingly high amount of political advertising cards at you and need some calming tunes to help you with your nervous breakdown (which you’ll find some very quiet music on “Heaven Meets Earth”).

4.) You’re sick of the muzak that was playing over the loudspeakers in your town’s firehall while you were standing in line to vote. (*Note: there is no muzak on “Heaven Meets Earth”).

5.) You’re still confused about the difference between Tea Partiers and The Boston Tea Party, and have frequently refereed to the Boston Tea Party Massacre March on The Mall thinking it was a new HBO Documentary made in August. (There’s really no help for you in this case. The CD may only confuse you more. Buy it anyway).

Thanks again to the myriad of people that made this new disc possible, especially my wife, Jennifer Lee, for enduring my creative fits, my father, Peter K. Hopper, my dear friend and graphic designer, Jason J. Clement, and my band, who still thinks playing with me is better than playing with Elvis Costello. We’re thrilled to release it today, Tuesday, November 2nd, and believe that while voting effects culture, worship as fruit of a Christ-believing life does so infinitely more. May you call heaven and earth together in our surroundings. ch:

Healthcare, the Church, and the Kingdom

Is helping people who are suffering right? Absolutely. Does our current system of meeting peoples’ medical needs in the US require drastic change? Unarguably, yes. And as Christians, both of these statements directly incorporate us, and if we’re creative, will be our platform to show a divine system for solving them.

While I could list numerous issues I see with the bill that is about to be voted on today–from the general lack of popularity, to the fact that few if any of those voting on it have reportedly even read it, to portions such as the “slaughter provision” (page 1,000, Section 3403) forever prohibiting a repeal from future legislative bodies–there are two main objections I have. Simple. Concise.

1.) Public Funding of Abortion. While I recognize and support our system of taxation with representation–albeit a little thick for my taste at the moment–and see it as something our founding fathers believed in as well, I am deeply troubled that percentages of my income would, in principle, be assisting mothers with medical procedures of their choosing, namely ending the lives of their children.

2.) Gross Financial Irresponsibility. When I was a boy, my father taught me how to save and responsibly spend money. On my way to becoming an Eagle Scout, one of the core values of our Scout Law was and still is being thrifty. Yet our government–displayed by both sides, mind you–has rarely, if ever, shown that it holds to these same principles, approving measure after measure that spends money we do not have. While the initial bill is just under $1 trillion, the second-year estimate is closer to $2.5 trillion. Even if the later is falsely cited, I can not grasp how anyone sees such spending as frugal. For all the talk of making a brighter future for our children, I’m astounded that the financial burden they’ll carry has not been part of that consideration.

As I’ve always said, pointing a finger is easy, as it removes you from the equation; and do not criticize in your blog unless you have a better idea. While I’m far from offering a concise proposal for how to handle what is undoubtedly an epic undertaking–of which I prayer for deep wisdom and understanding for those that eventually take it on–I do see a way out. On a purely human level, a capitalistic, free market economy, if truly left manipulation-free by large government, has within it the power to provide insurances that all people can afford through the private sector. Granted, that same economy must be run by heads who are not tyrants, nor self-seeking, nor greedy–a stumbling block to all good ideas. But the masses will gravitate to the best product if given the opportunity. But as a Christian, I must confess that not even Capitalism is the way out, even though I think it’s the best thing going on Earth thus far. Rather, the Kingdom should be our aim.

In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus announced his mission statement. We have built altars to Calvary, to Baptism, to Communion, and to Pentecost, yet when Jesus proclaimed why He had come, Luke 4 is not the first thing that comes to mind. Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1-2, and in it was God’s complete answer to man’s total need: Christ in the form of restoring the spiritually and physically poor, the socially, politically, and emotionally disenfranchised, the wounded, and declaring a redistribution of wealth according to His limitless standards (the Jubilee year of the Lord). If the Church will maintain her focus on what the Kingdom of God truly is, then the Church needs not worry about staying relevant: she will become relevancy itself. ch:

Where do you stand? Let the opinions roll!

What If All Nations Were Treated Like Israel?

flags-against-israel

I am not Jewish. I just want to be clear so you understand I have nothing to gain by the following piece. And I count on the fact that I’ll take bullets for it. But I consider myself in good company if so.

5’9″, bald, as white as the cream filling of an Oreo, and with a nose from a long-line of Dutchmen, I am a European amalgamation of varied lineages, and constitute the average All-American male. But one thing I am not, is a moron.

A moron? In my simplest definition, that’s someone who is ignorant on purpose (intentionally sidestepping truth). And right now, I feel as though I’m surrounded by them in the US and Global media.

I’m not sure if you have been following the plight of Israel. Most things surely seem more important. Sports. Award shows that honor award recipients. Michael Jackson. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there is a world-wide scandal happening to one of the tiniest, most seemingly insignificant nations on the planet right now. Because if I’m the only rocket scientist taking note, then NASA really needs to hire me.

If Canada launched a single missile over the border into the US–Canada–my friends, would be the next acquisition of the United States faster than you could cough up a hockey puck. But how about 1,000′s of missiles? Let’s just say that there would be a lot of reconstruction work to be done before we could settle our newest State.

What if we told China that she must give up substantial holdings of 3,500 year-old, Biblically-mandated sovereign soil to appease small, militant nomadic tribes who purported to have legitimate claims to property even though these groups never previously existed under any sort of organized name,ruling body, or internationally respected council?

More over, what if the US were to go into Saudi Arabia, Egypt–or say, Iran–and, through means of unprecedented political manipulation, do anything short of outright coercion and extortion to tell them how to run their country?

Oh, we have? Well, almost.

What’s fascinating to me is that President Obama will hold a press conference on Iran’s recent political proceedings and say he’s “appalled and outraged” by their conduct, but that he “respect[s] the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” and does not want to “interfere[ing] with Iran’s affairs.”

Does not want to interfere with Iran’s affairs? Huh, sounds respectful enough. Surely, I wouldn’t want to cross a mullah on a bad PMS day. But what fascinates me is our nation’s proposed honor of a nation with which we have rocky friendship (at best), and who seemingly stands for everything that we do not, yet for a nation with which we helped engineer it’s very birth, we have contrary, if unfriendly dealings with (at best). Israel.

You see, it’s my humble and “uninformed belief” (by some) that if any other nation on the planet was enduring the same atrocities that Israel is being forced to undergo–both in political pressure and terrorist assaults–there would be global outcry. Instead, the world is siding with a rebel group of nomads who previously had no legal claim to anything. Palestinian refugees. Yes, go check your history books; they hadn’t even been termed as such until the last century. These “refugees” were created when the surrounding Arab nations told them to leave the two-state solution during a “get out or suffer with them” attack against the new Israel. Things, obviously, went differently than expected and Israel prevailed. Decades later the same Arab nations that protested a two-state deal and created the refugee situation are now lobbying for–you guessed it–a two-state deal. Funny that everyone wants Israel to do what the Palestinians’ religious kinfolk would not: give up land for them.

If any other nation on the planet was enduring the same atrocities that Israel is being forced to undergo–both in political pressure and terrorist assaults–there would be global outcry.

Am I saying Israel is lily-white? Not at all. They have done some horrible things, as all nations do in war. But that’s not what I’m contesting here. For if that was the basis of international mediation, we should be meddling with Iran and countless other nations long before we turn our eyes to the homeland of the Jews. What I am asking, however, is how can our media be so selective? How can our government be this blinded to such a severe double-standard?

Because I’m not a political pundit, my commentary starts where theirs stops. This is much more than a political struggle for power. This is a spiritual battle for control of a promised inheritance, and the coming return of the Messiah. You honestly think the enemy of mankind wants property rights to a strip of desert because he likes to build sand castles?

Politically, I pray that the leadership of our nation once again recognizes God’s decree of Israel’s physical right to the land belonging to the descendants of Isaac as we did in 1948. I pray that Americans would have wisdom to filter through the un-journalistic and unprofessional reporting that our media is proliferating. And I pray that we have the creative wisdom to express–both through prayer and activism–our intolerance of preposterously immoral expectations imposed on Israel.Because if you were Jewish–which, if you’re grafted into their adopted lineage through Jesus, you are no longer an alien–you would and should be ticked.

When you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, you are praying for the return of Jesus…because he does not return to Allah’s Dome of the Rock. He returns to Zion, a City on a Hill. The Jerusalem of the Jews. May revival come to you swiftly, and may the Church ever urge you forward. ch: