Trump and Immigration

Recently, Donald Trump announced that his new policy is to close the doors on any Muslim immigrants.  These comments are inflammatory at worst and irresponsible at best.  This is extremely short-sighted and feeds into the rhetoric of radical fundamental Islam.  Besides, this wouldn’t have stopped the terrorist attacks in San Bernadino.  What is the plan for Muslims living here amongst us?  What about them?  Should we make them wear yellow stars or round them all up and stick them in camps somewhere?  There is an example in history when these things have taken place and this is not the biblical response.  This is not how Christians should treat people who are fleeing conflict and war.  When we close the borders and propagate hate and suspicion we fuel the radical fundamental narrative.  Trump is actually recruiting for the terrorist with this radical right “fear” rhetoric.  Terrorist simply need to point to his comments and say, “See, I told you the West hates you and wants you out.”  How would you respond if your children were bullied at school and you were harassed at Wal-Mart.  I might respond angrily myself.  I’m not justifying any acts of terrorism but, I am saying, that the way were respond to Muslims will either fuel the radical element or it will diffuse it.  It is love versus hate.  Trumps radical conservative right doctrine fuels the hate side of the equation.  It is madness!  I’m a conservative Republican and I think this is crazy.  Why?  Because before all my political affiliations, I’m a Christian.  We, of all people, should be begging the government for the opportunity to live out the very words of Jesus when he said, “Love your enemies.”  We should what to bless those who persecute us and pray for those who want to kill us.  Instead, we have embraced the rhetoric of a billionaire and excluded these people. We must remain prudent and not allow emotions to fuel a new leader who is already speaking un-biblical policy changes.  He is just as radical as the left only he is on the far right.  Extremes are never a good thing.  We should not embrace this candidate simply because we are fed-up with eight years of left wing liberalism.  We have simply embraced him because he is the polar opposite of what we have gone to vehemently dislike.    We must use discernment and make our decisions prayerfully and not emotionally.

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Syria: A Global Conflict

Syria is a mess!  Has been for several years now.  The government of Bashear Al-Asad clings to some type of power supported by Iran and Russia.  Meanwhile, “the rebels” attempt to gain control supported by the United States, France, Turkey, and probably, England.  I’m also sure that Israel has some indirect involvement all along and some direct involvement at times.  In the midst of this chaos, ISIS (Islamic State in Syria) has established a territory of its own.   The Russians are now fighting against the rebels.  The coalition forces are fighting against Bashear Al-Asad forces and everybody claims to be fighting ISIS at the same time.  All the key players want a greater span of influence in the Middle East.  De-confliction efforts don’t seem to be working when Turkey shoots down a Russian plane the, the next day, Russian planes bomb as aid convoy because it is “supporting the rebels.”  Can anyone else smell the potential for disaster here and an escalation of a global conflict?  It seems as if it is only inches away.  Finally, in the midst of this clash of Titans are 1.4 million refugees who simply want to leave war and terrorism.  Wouldn’t you?

Controversy and Counter Terrorism: Random Acts of Violence versus Random Acts of Love

Today, I read all the comments my wife has received regarding her Holocaust 2015 post.  Some folks agree and some folks disagree.  I wondered, why all this controversy.  I asked God to give me some clarification behind what was happening here.  I suppose that I was under the impression that if God was leading someone to do something that there would be some universal agreement on the matter.  I know there might be a few dissenters but, by in large, I expected that since God was leading us in this direction, we would have acceptance from folks in general.   What I found while reading all the comments was that there was controversy.  About a 50/50 division.  Some folks agree and some folks disagree.  What God showed me was this:  It was about Jesus and His acceptance by God’s people.  “And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.” (John 7:12).  God’s plan from the beginning was to send the Messiah and yet, when he arrived, controversy arose among God’s people.  I don’t think it is any different with this recent refugee crisis either.  For me, to fear Muslims is just a mistake.  To shun them out of fear is an un-biblical mistake.  Paul writes, ” Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.h Never be wise in your own sight. 17Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave iti to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14-21).

It also occurred to me that the way to counter terrorism may not be with violence.  Perhaps violence only perpetuates violence.  Terrorism is the widespread use of fear.  A random act of violence and hatred.  Perhaps the answer for countering terrorism lies in this passage of Romans.  Perhaps we should be countering random acts of violence with random acts of love.   “Kill em all and let God sort them out” is not in the bible and doesn’t seem to be working so far.  Perhaps random acts of love and kindness is what the refugees need.  This would deflate the entire radical fundamental ISIS narrative.  We can be a loving and serving people as well as a people capable of defending ourselves.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be prudent in protecting ourselves and defending ourselves against out spoken enemies.  But what I am saying is that the biblical mandate that I quoted from Romans needs to be implemented on a much greater level.  Rina did this the other day with a Muslim family she saw at Goodwill.  “They” did not respond with knives to cut off her head.  “They” did not detonate a suicide vest.  “They” were very grateful and appreciative.  “They” may not listen to the radical banter they will hear because someone, a complete stranger, loved them and welcomed them and didn’t even know them.  That, my friends, is Biblical Christianity.  That is power.  That is the way to necessitate change.  Let all of us do some random act of kindness for a refugee this week or an Islamic family in your area.  Thank you Rina for showing us the way.

Build Walls, Guard them, Eliminate any threat from the Orphans and the Widows

     The world is a nasty place.  I know.  I’m a psychiatric nurse which means I make a living helping the victims and the perpetrators of the world’s evil.  Having been doing this for 11 years, I’m in favor of capital punishment for a variety of different crimes because I’ve seen there effect on the victims and their families.  I’m also a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and have been involved in some shady stuff myself.  Even though I’ve been clean for 15 years, the world seems to have gotten progressively worse.  I’ve always believed that my wife and I must be right 100 percent of the time to protect our kids from some kind of evil and the perpetrator of that evil only has to be right one time.  I do all in my power to protect my kids.  We live in the woods.  We have a German Shepherd.  We lock our doors.  I have guns.  While there is some prudence in all of this, the baseline of it all is Fear.  Mainly, that God has bestowed upon me the commission to raise, educate, and protect these children and if I fail, they will suffer for it.  My strategy for this is not prayer, fasting, and walking by the Spirit.  My strategy is to build walls, guard them, and eliminate any possible threat.  Does this strategy sound familiar.  If you’ve been following the Syrian refugee crisis recently, it should.

     Monday night, I came home from work to find my wife sobbing (I’m talking tears, snot, shaking, moaning, and many other expletives I could use to describe her distraught emotional condition).  What wrong?  She believed that God had showed her something about her inadequate response to the Syrian refugee crisis.  She had just finished writing the Holocaust 2015 article that many of you have read.  She wanted me to read it.  I did.  My response?

“Your not seriously thinking about bringing someone into this house or into our country that might pose a threat to our family or someone else’s are you?”

“If that’s what God tells me to do, yes.  How can we do anything different?”  She asked.

“No we will not!”  I answered  “This is not our problem to fix.  The tyranny of evil men has created this issue and Muslim countries don’t seem to be taking these people in, so why should I be responsible for the fallout of their evil and help a people that we all know cannot be trusted?”  I was really angry and we stopped talking about it and I went to bed.  Now, God and I have a very personal relationship and I don’t mind telling Him like I see it: “This is bullshit God, what the hell are you telling her this crap for?  Those damn people cannot be trusted.  How is this my problem to fix?”  His response?  Silence!  I was pissed.  “No way, will I ever bring a Muslim into this house, not now not ever!  I will protect my family no matter what.”  God and Rina just weren’t seeing the big picture.  Let me explain the bigger picture to you as I saw it.

     I’m not afraid to die for God.  I’m not volunteering for it, but, If I had to, I think that I could/would do it.  I think it would suck, but I’m pretty sure I would do it.  I have a martyr/narcissistic/ hero complex anyway  so if I thought I could be remembered as a hero of the faith for all times and I’m going to die eventually someday, well, sign me up.  I do, however, have a fear of surviving.  Specifically, surviving after my children.  If anything ever happened to them, I would be constantly second guessing myself and living with the fact that I failed to protect them.  This would haunt me all the days of my life.  It can’t happen.  I must do all that I can to protect them.  Build walls, guard them, and eliminate any threat.  Rina and God need to understand this.  So I decided:

I will convince them from the scriptures.

     I began to make a mental note of all the biblical references of war and times when woman and children suffered terrible deaths.  A people “under the ban” experienced wars that were ugly, messy, and nasty.  The Biblical narrative describes how many of them died heinous deaths.  “See God and Rina, we should do nothing about this problem because it happened in the bible.”  Yep, there is my “out”.  In reality, I knew that it was wrong.  It was completely out of context but it was license for me to continue to live in fear and it justified my strategy. Build walls, guard them, and eliminate any threat.  But God, who was silent at my recent venting, still had something powerful to say.  Who did he say it through?  The last person I would ever have expected: President Barak Obama.  The next day on my way to work, I heard the President on the radio say, “We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic.  We don’t make good decisions if it’s based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.  Apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America.”  

     That statement rocked me.  Here was “this guy” using biblical language to tell me what the Godly thing to do was.  I’m not an Obama fan.  I am a Republican.  I’m a conservative right leaning evangelical.  I spent most of my day setting a trap line today because I live in the heartland of Kentucky and its that season.  I have chickens, milk goats, and a family cow.  I have guns because I believe that it is better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.  I also believe that it is my God-given second amendment right to have as many guns as I damn well please.  I spend my spare time lifting weights.  I’m an Army infantry veteran.  I served two tours with the 101st Airborne Division and two tours with the Berlin Brigade. I have voted straight Republican in every election since H.W. Bush first term.  Here was “this guy” telling me the biblical thing to do.  I had completely missed it but he hadn’t.  What the President said here, like him or not, is a word of truth.  If God can speak a word of truth through Balaam’s donkey then He can also speak a word of truth through this President.  No offense, Mr. President.  How had I missed it, before?  Fear.

     I can’t serve my fear any longer.  I’ve written about this recently in my post “Fear and Expectations.”  Just as I can’t serve my fears, God certainly won’t serve them.  In the end, I’m left with a choice.  Trust God or trust myself.  To be honest, trusting myself has worked out pretty good so far but I know that that is only a delusion.  I don’t know how many times God has protected us without my knowledge.  My strategy is a pipe-dream.  It only serves to fuel the fears because if I fail while implementing it, I prove my own inadequacy.  It is better to let God be and do all that He said he would be and do.  It’s just wrong for me to continue on with my current strategy.   I trust God.  I trust Him to protect me and my family.  However, just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego told Nebuchadnezzar, “”But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  They were then thrown into the fiery furnace only to be saved by God.  We will not bend the knee to fear any longer.  Come what may.