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Tag Archives: politics

The Gospel and Politics

Certain topics can create division, friction and tension if not communicated in a civil manner.  Yet, when words are accompanied by a loving spirit, the gospel and politics can be persuasive.  One of my friends ran for the House of Representatives in the state of Delaware.  Up against a heavily democratic district, Bryan needed to introduce himself to complete strangers, express his political views and convince several hundred voters to switch parties.  This task required a dedicated team of volunteers.  Initially, I told my wife that I would commit to being part of the ground team, going house to house to drop off pamphlets to potential voters each weekend.  Just as Christians experience lukewarm stages, at some point my heart wasn’t into surrendering my weekends.  I guess you can say, I wasn’t dedicated to due do what was necessary for victory.  While Bryan received one of the largest percentages of votes for a Republican, his campaign to represent the 5th district ended in defeat.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many, Mark 10:45.

During the first century, an obscure carpenter from Nazareth, a shady town overrun by crime began a three year campaign.  While lacking the finances to make a big political splash, Jesus turned to mainly blue collar individuals, fishermen from the Sea of Galilee.  After John the Baptist’s death, Jesus began to travel from town to town, visiting local synagogues.  Before long, crowds of people started following this motley crew as rumors of faith, healings and miracles spread.  Oddly, anyone who experienced these supernatural events were told to keep quiet, unheard of in any type of political campaign.  As followers increased, curious spectators began to see that Jesus was the real deal, a person who practiced what he preached.  This fact only endeared the masses to this uneducated man.  When Jesus began to be embraced like a rock star, jealousy spread among political and spiritual leaders.  This threat resulted in false accusations, gossip and slander to squash Jesus’ popularity.  Yet, after three years of serving, teaching and visiting strangers, Jesus became a man of the people, king of the Jews.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace, 1 Peter 4:10.

The only way for the gospel and politics can work together is if genuine faith unites with statesmanship.  Modern debates has turned to identity politics, putting one class, occupation or race against the other.  If there is a disagreement, the non-conformist is immediately labeled as a bigot, homophobe or racist.  If an opponent can convince potential voters that a candidate is extreme, embellishments, half truths and lies will continue to bombard citizens every election season.  Some where along the way, good news has been watered down by endless smear ads.  The word gospel comes from and old English phrase godspel, meaning good news or tidings.  It’s hard to be positive in a negative environment, especially when shrewd politicians use raw emotions to stir up their base.  Yet, why does the negative make national headlines daily while good stories are avoided, disregarded or go unnoticed?  Perhaps, its time for modern politicians to follow the Jesus model.  Serve one another, help the poor, feed the needy and extend a loving hand to the unwelcomed.  If future leaders begin here, you won’t need a campaign advertisement to get you elected.  Rather, the people who see the love of Jesus displayed by you will form loyal supporters to stand by your side through thick and thin.  This is the possibility of the gospel and politics.

by Jay Mankus

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Giving the World a Nudge

In early June of 2018, Charles Krauthammer sent a note to his friend and former colleague Bret Baier.  Later that night as the host of Special Report on Fox News, This message served as a way to say goodbye as Charles was informed by doctors of bad news.  Bret read Krauthammer’s own words revealing his cancer returned and death was imminent.  Two weeks later Charles Krauthammer passed away as Fox News aired an hour long special to honor and remember the life of their former employee.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer, Psalm 19:14.

I never followed politics until my father introduced me to Charles Krauthammer.   Krauthammer was a renown syndicated columnist, Pulitzer Prize winner while writing for the Washington Post and regular guest as a special panelist on Fox News.  After watching the documentary In His Words, I learned two things about the life of Charles Krauthammer.  The first is that his transformation from a liberal to Reagan conservative is similar to the journey C.S. Lewis experienced.  While trying to prove God does not exist through science, Lewis realized the error of his way, converting to Christianity.  Likewise, Krauthammer began to reconsider his political views, persuaded by conservatism to abandon his former beliefs.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear, Ephesians 4:29.

The last thing I observed from this special on the life of Charles Krauthammer was the meticulous methods applied to each article written.  Unable to type as a paraplegic, Charles spoke into a tape recorder, had a clerk transcribe his words and slept before waking up with fresh eyes before completing the final edit.  During the final segment of this piece, Charles talked about the power of words.  Reflecting on previous articles, Krauthammer believed that everyone once in a while, writers place all their words in the perfect order.  When this happens, journalists are able to nudge the world in a desired direction.  This principle holds true for Christians as when the Bible is applied to current problems in life, the Holy Spirit can nudge lost souls toward the gates of heaven.  May these words inspire you to do the same.

by Jay Mankus

Just How Much I Don’t Know

Beginning in 1989, Nike began the Bo Knows advertising campaign to sell a new line of cross training sneakers.  Due to the amazing talent displayed by Bo Jackson as a professional running back for the Oakland Raiders and baseball player for the Kansas City Royals, the concept that Bo Knows fit.  Improbable for most people, Bo’s athleticism didn’t seem to be a reach.  Thus, the ideal that Bo Jackson could play any sport was conceived.

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge, Proverbs 18:15.

Nearly twenty years later, over confidence isn’t a problem.  Rather, narcissism is on the rise as many Americans are convinced that they can do anything they set their minds toward.  While confidence isn’t a bad trait to possess, the danger comes when people believe without a doubt that they are right and everything else is wrong.  If you follow politics, this explains the tension which exists between party lines.

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings, Hosea 6:6.

As for me, I have reached a point in life where the older I become, the less I actually know.  Once clear absolutes like honesty, marriage and truth have turned into fifty shades of grey.  Opinions are replacing facts with good intentions rewarded for being on the right side on political correctness.  The world that I wake up to daily is a distant memory from the Christian values I was taught as a child.  Yet, transformation begins from within, displayed through faith in action.  Although many in the world may disagree with my point of view, emulating the love of Christ is the only way to revive wounded souls.  Actions speak louder than any spoken or written word.

by Jay Mankus

It’s Just Good to Be Alive

In this political age, if a news story doesn’t fit the progressive agenda, its either buried in the back pages of a newspaper, overlooked for something more news worthy or skipped completely.  Human interest stories are usually saved for the Olympics, great fillers for down time during a broadcast.  Thus, many amazing events are never told and forgotten by time.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it, Matthew 16:25.

For this very reason, I feel compelled to share a miracle that I witnessed yesterday.  Ninety nine percent of the time I watch a sporting event, my main concern is the final score.  Did my team win?  How did they play?  Who is living up to their potential and who’s struggling?  Yet, after talking to a couple on the sixth hole at Odessa National, I came to the conclusion that it’s just good to be alive.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst,” John 6:35.

As St. George’s played St. Elizabeth in golf, this may be the first time ever in high school history that a cancer survivor played with a teammate who has juvenile diabetes.  Quincy battled for his life last year while my son Daniel lived despite having a blood sugar level over one thousand last August.  While their journey’s have been different, Quincy’s father taught me an important lesson.  Winning or losing isn’t what matters in life.  Rather, when you see two boys walking down the fairway together, it’s a blessing to just be alive.

by Jay Mankus

Self-Preservation

When I was in high school, mowing the yard was part of my weekly chores.  Since there was a creek in my backyard, I often dodged snakes, toads and other wildlife.  On one occasion, I got too close to my father’s garden, clipping the edge of a hornets nest.  Acting out in self-defense, I was stung several times despite running away in self-preservation.

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace, Ecclesiastes 3:8.

This same concept applies to politics.  In order to get elected, individuals try to be all things to all people.  Along the way, candidates have to raise money, pledging to remember donors if elected.  Nonetheless, eventually every person on the ballad box stumbles upon an issue symbolic of a hornet’s nest.  As soon as this topics is addressed, swarms of critics come out of no where, attacking to insure their self-preservation.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask, James 4:1-2.

When president Donald Trump was elected in 2016, one of his campaign promises was to drain the swamp known as Washington, DC.  While Trump’s brash style, competitive nature and strong feelings has resulted in several self-induced afflictions, he’s actually doing what he said he would.  Whether you agree with Trump’s politics or not, the harder he tries to drain the swamp, an increasing number of political hornets will come out of hiding to attack, attempting to hold on to spheres of influence and power.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil, Ephesians 6:11.

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis addresses self-preservation.  Within a chapter on the Law of Human Nature, Lewis highlights 3 objections to this law.  On example refers to soldiers fighting a war.  While murder is one of the ten commandments in the context of “thou shall not,” this atmosphere turns life upside down.  You must kill or be killed causes moral dilemmas for those who serve their country.  Subsequently, the desire to live will continue to urge individuals to act out in the spirit of self-preservation.  Like the hornets in my illustration above, may the Lord use self-preservation to help people see the big picture, a world doing whatever it takes to survive.

by Jay Mankus

When Loose Lips Sink Relationships

One of Billy Joel’s most profound songs Honesty debuted on the airways in 1979.  Part of the 1978 album 52nd Street, the chorus of this ballad suggests honesty is such a lonely word.  Perhaps, Billy Joel was on to something, prophetic, sharing a glimpse of what the future would hold.  Before gun or fist fights, human beings often talked out their differences, no matter how heated a conversation got.  Unfortunately, in this age of Facebook, texting and Twitter, loose lips expressed on social media can sink relationships.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! – Psalm 141:3

Depending upon your personality, you will either seek confrontation or run away.  Texting has emboldened some former cowards by avoiding face to face encounters.  Yet, what is posted, typed or shared can create a wedge between friends.  Politics, religion and worldviews are factors that tend to divide neighborhoods.  When opinions are openly expressed on these topics, loose lips sink relationships.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear, Ephesians 4:29.

The apostle Paul provides a solution to those who have fractured relationships due to careless words.  Sure, all human beings are imperfect, prone to moments of weakness where the choice of language is inappropriate.  In view of this, the more positive you remain, the less likely you will offend friends and strangers.  Faking this will prove to be a waste of time so its essentially to be genuine and honest.  While no one will ever be 100% encouraging all the time, this is the goal to restore formerly loose lips to repair relationships.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Lie-Oh-Meter

In politics, the experts, life long politicians and successful campaign managers have suggested lying is all part of the game.  Little white lies are like wild cards in poker, waiting for just the right moment to be played.  While this style may work in the corporate world, sooner or later, what comes around goes around.  When this moment arrives, the Lie-Oh-Meter will expose the shady for their untruthful ways.

I hate and detest falsehood but I love your law. – Psalm 119:163

As for parents and teachers, a face to face encounter, staring a suspect in the eye is a good starting point.  Based upon the television series on Fox, Lie To Me, which aired for two full seasons beginning in 2009, liars tend to demonstrate facial expressions.  Thus, law enforcement officials use this science based upon research done by Paul Ekman, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California in San Francisco.  Instead of relying on out dated polygraph tests, body language has become the new Lie-Oh-Meter.

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. – Proverbs 12:22

From God’s perspective, a false witness is a punishable offense, Proverbs 19:9.  Going one step farther, deceitful ways can result in being excommunicated from part of God’s family, Psalm 101:7.  Yet, Christians alike have embraced the practice of embellishment, creating a society of hypocrites.  The only way to break free from this addiction is to cherish God’s law.  Only when this is achieved will souls begin to love God’s commands like the Psalmists of old.  Until this day, rely on the Bible to ascertain truth from fiction, serving as a modern day Lie-Oh-Meter.

by Jay Mankus

 

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