Saturday, May 24, 2014

Untangling the Knots

Psalm 34:19 - Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Isaiah 41:8-10 - But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, "You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off"; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for it am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Zephaniah 3:17 - The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you with by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Dear God, please untangle the knots that gather in my mind. The worries, the fears, the anxieties. My biggest worry right now being these republican candidates who are making me worried that I will lose my healthcare insurance. I thought that the worry would be over after the last election, but they just will not let go of their stupid hatefulness toward the president. They are being hateful so they are trying to hurt everyone because of it. They do not listen. There are a whole lot of people in Alabama who have already been helped because of the ACA. More would have been helped if the stupid governor would not have blocked the expansion, but he flat out made it known that he would not expand because he does not like the president. Most of them are rich and white, too. But the thing that really makes it messed up? They are all claiming to be good Christians. Right.... So let me get this straight. Six rich, white men vying for one position for the Republican Party and they are all such good Christians that they hate the president and hate the poor and hate the disabled enough to destroy their lives by taking away their healthcare insurance? Hmmm..... What would Jesus do? Jesus would separate them into the goats because they did not take care of the least of these. I fought hard for the past eight years to get changes to the insurance industry, to get rid of the discrimination, to get rid of the worry that I would lose my insurance if I got sick again. The law fixed that. When Romney was campaigning and threatening to take away the very thing he already implemented in his state, that's right the ACA is a republican concept to start with and they are just mad because they are not the ones who had their rich, white guy win in order to pass it, I prayed through Matthew 25:31-46 because it was so personal and relevant for my life. I prayed the following before elections: "God, which of these candidates best exemplifies what You are saying in this passage?" And it went like this (based on Bob Flayhart's S.W.O.O.P. sermon given October 2012): Does this candidate best exemplify what it means to take care of the a)hungry, b)thirsty, c)stranger, d)naked, e)sick, and f)imprisoned? The questions ran straight through what is listed exactly as listed in that passage. Now some people want to twist that and say, "what about the unborn?" Do you see the unborn in that passage? Although I agree to some extent that the baby is a baby at conception, I do not agree that a baby can be oppressed because a baby is not a separate human being until they are born. During the nine months in the womb, the baby is protected. Unless something happens to go wrong otherwise. The extent of oppression to a baby in the womb is if the mother cannot carry full term for a variety of reasons. Because it is not listed in this passage and really not actually mentioned in the Bible except by assuming that it could possibly be deemed murder, but then what is it considered if the woman miscarried or has stillbirth at full term, it might be considered a grey area that would be legalistic to assert. But the unborn are not considered to be one of the least of these. Jesus was addressing the oppression of people who are alive but being mistreated. So let us just immediately look back at the list and cross unborn off. Period. It is not in the list. We are not adding words to God's words. Period. That is not something we are allowed to do. Going back to the list: Do any of the six republican candidates for my district exemplify taking care of the hungry? They have not addressed their viewpoints regarding SNAP, but chances are if they are republican then they support the cuts that Paul Ryan proposed. These cuts affect not only the poor, but the disabled, the veterans, the elderly, the working families, and even active duty families. So no. Do any of the six republican candidates for my district exemplify taking care of the thirsty? Same logic. Do any of the six republican candidates for my district exemplify taking care of the stranger? No. I am a stranger and they are not taking care of me with their tired old rhetoric of hate. Do any of the republican candidates for my district exemplify taking care of the naked? Probably not. Do any of the republican candidates for my district exemplify taking care of the sick? Well, I have a solid answer for that. NO! They are threatening to repeal the ACA which helps the sick obtain, secure, and keep insurance which is their ticket to having the same affordable access to healthcare that another law says they have the right to. The Americans with Disabilities Act says that a person covered by the ADA has the right to the same affordable healthcare that their non-disabled peers have. Well, they do not have equal access when insurance is allowed to charge them more, drop them, or deny them. The ACA got rid of the inequality and now these candidates want to take that away. Again. Still. They do not exemplify taking care of the sick! Mathis, Brooks, DeMarco, etc. Insert whatever republican name here. Do the republican candidates for my district exemplify taking care of the imprisoned? Depends on exactly whom Jesus was referring to, but since the original text states "when I was in prison," I will assume an actual prisoner in jail and not someone who is imprisoned by their unbelief or their body. I truly do not know. At any rate, at the first solid no answer, I might not continue to the question because as soon as you get a solid no, it is pretty obvious the correct choice is anyone other than whom you are asking about. I asked these questions about Romney and got a solid no at the first question. But I went ahead and gave benefit of the doubt and asked each question about him. My results for Romney were: no, no, no, no, no, and no. Why? Because of his 48% comment which gave a clear enough picture that even evangelical pastors preached sermons stating that conservatives who held that attitude needed to repent. Do you know who falls in the 48% of people who do not pay taxes? 1. Veterans do not pay taxes on their benefits that they earned. But many of them are also on SNAP, SSDI or SSI, and some of them also work which is where they do pay taxes. 2. Elderly retired people. 3. Disabled people who either get SSI or SSDI after a lot of denials and attorneys and court cases in front of judges that may or may not understand their disabilities. But even some of these work at least part time and pay taxes. 4. Children. 5. Middle class people with children. 6. This who make less than $4000 a year. 7. College students. Some of them work though, so again, they pay taxes unless it is a workstudy job. 8. Contract labor. Unless they make over $4000 a year. 9. Rich people who hide their money in overseas bank accounts. 10. Rich people who can afford to give to all kinds of charities thereby effectually writing off their tax obligation. When I asked the same questions of Obama, I got: yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and I don't know. Look, to each his or her own when it comes to elections, but I would want to caution anyone voting for a candidate that attains a solid no at any point about the guilt by association? Could you be pushed into the goatherd? If you support a candidate who might be sorted into the goats because they are not taking care of any one of the categories of the least of these, could you also be sorted into the goats? Frankly, that is not something I want to find out. So I will not support any of them. I think they are immoral, and I know they are unethical. So anyway, God, that is my biggest worry laid out with how I overcome some of the stress of it. But God, I need You to help me untangle the rest. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

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