The World According to kcillini77

March 13, 2008

Yeah, I might be being brainwashed, but just a little.

Filed under: America,conservative,Health Care,liberal,politics — kcillini77 @ 6:30 am

Sicko

I know, I know. Michael Moore is a communist. Michael Moore is a big, fat idiot. Michael Moore should just go ahead and move to Cuba if he likes it so much. Michael Moore may just be the Antichrist.

Now that we’ve dispensed with the formalities, here are my top ten things that may happen to you, my fellow red blooded conservative Christian American if you choose to view Michael Moore’s Sicko:

1. You may feel compassion for the woman who lost her husband without a fight because the insurance company and the hospital felt that it was too expensive to attempt a bone marrow transplant that was considered an experimental treatment for his condition.

2. You may listen to a British family practice physician (paid by his government) talk about his $170,000 per year salary and million dollar house and Audi and think that he’s doing very good for himself. When you hear him say that American doctors would be quite comfortable in Britain but may want to stay in America if they want a 2 million dollar house and 3 nice cars and 5 flat screen TV’s, you might wonder if the capitalism we practice in America is really about allowing the entrepreneur to live the American Dream or if it’s more about allowing Gordon Gecko to declare “Greed is Good!”

3. You may wonder if your insurance company could or would drop you from coverage for an undisclosed yeast infection.

4. You may question why a 9/11 rescue worker now on social security because of her respiratory problems that prevent her from working is able to buy her medicine for 5 cents in Communist Cuba when it costs her 20 percent of her monthly Social Security payment in the USA.

5. You may start to wonder if despite following Dave Ramsey’s suggestions to the letter and saving plenty for your retirement you will one day be asking your kids for a spare room because of all of your medical bills.

6. You may wonder how in America someone could lose their 18 month old child because the hospital the child was brought to via ambulance was not in-network with the insurance provider and it took 2 hours to straighten that out and get the child to the “right” hospital just in time for her to die.

7. You may think about how a 35 hour work week and 5 weeks of vacation per year in Godless France may be an easier place to enjoy your family and practice your family values than corporate America.

8. You may wonder why the Al Qaeda detainees at Guantanamo Bay have access to government provided state of the art health care that average citizens and even military personnel could never get without large bags of cash.

9. You may wonder whether it is more effective to help our neighbors by raising cash in a church basement so they can afford a simple test or to change the system so they don’t have to raise that money in the first place.

10. You may realize that Michael Moore and all documentary makers are manipulative with your emotions and distort the facts. France and England are not Utopias. We can’t just turn on socialized medicine and make everything wonderful. BUT, there is something truly wrong with our health care system and there is a lot of truth in what Mr. Moore has to say. Calling him or those politicians across the aisle the enemy and refusing to listen to them is just burying your head in the sand. Michael Moore may not have the solution figured out, but he’s right that we need to come up with one.

Then again, maybe you will just spend the whole movie yelling at the screen about how you’d rather have dinner with Stalin than a liberal democrat like Michael Moore. In that case, you might as well skip this one and spend another night working late to save for your future medical bills.

March 7, 2008

The Weaker Brother…

Filed under: America,Christianity,Ethics,Family — kcillini77 @ 11:23 pm

Recently I had a discussion with a friend regarding Romans 14.

I’ve heard this passage used many times to suggest, for example, that even though Christians are free to consume alcohol (and it is mentioned multiple times in the Bible as a gift from God), discretion is necessary in public. The thought is that because a “weaker brother” may see us, we shouldn’t order that beer with our dinner at Applebee’s, though we might consume it at home behind closed doors.

My friend posed the scenario of a music pastor who believes that certain modern styles of music are inherently sinful. Though my friend believes music genre to be amoral, he contends that in this instance, he should consider the music pastor a “weaker brother” in regards to this issue. While he feels free to listen to the music he desires on his own time, he believes if he were to give the pastor a ride in his car he should not play a Casting Crowns CD out of deference to the pastor. He also contemplates whether he should take the added step of hiding the CD under the seat so that it is a non-issue.

I’ve spent some time reading and rereading that passage as well as some other writings of Paul and actions of Jesus in the gospel trying to come to my own conclusions. So far, here are my thoughts:

In Romans, Paul is speaking to a community that consists mostly of Jewish Christians. The Jews had lived their whole life learning and following the law, which included dietary restrictions, and so naturally there was some distress among new believers in Christ when they were told – hey, now you can eat this meat. The “weaker brother” is a Christian young in the faith who does not yet have a full understanding of the freedom that is in Christ. The implication is that as the weaker brother grows in his faith he will learn not to call that which Christ has declared clean unclean. But as the new Christian grows, the stronger brother is not to flaunt his freedom, and should not raise a huge stink over dietary issues, because they pale in comparison to the gospel.

There are lots of applications in today’s world. We should not drink in front of a brother we know to be an alcoholic or someone who has a past they don’t want to relive that was centered on alcohol. We should be careful with how we relate to someone coming out of a legalistic upbringing. If someone has been taught all their life that rock music is sin we shouldn’t crank up the volume and try to make sure they know what they’ve been missing out on.

From Romans 14: 16Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

At the same time, we should gently nudge someone who holds legalistic views toward the truth that they ought not to judge someone who partakes. We should also encourage them to go deeper in the Word and discover whether the particular action or item they are against is truly forbidden. Often, it could in fact be a gift from the Lord, and the fear of abuse has prompted the prohibitions they have depended upon.

I do not see my friend’s pastor as the weaker brother. As someone who has been a Christian long enough to go through seminary and be elevated to a position of authority, he is accountable for his understanding of the gospel. He has chosen to take a moral stand on an issue of little consequence. I am not saying he is not a brother in Christ, but I am saying that from his position of authority he may be imparting unnecessary guilt and shame to his brothers in Christ who are merely exercising their Christian liberty. In fact, many of those people are experiencing the joy of Christ through the music they listen to, and he may be drawing them away from that joy by his insistence on this principle. I don’t mean to suggest this man needs to be accosted and be brought to an understanding, but that in truth and love the issue should be gradually addressed by people he comes in contact with.

Now, while I wouldn’t suggest my friend pump up the volume on his pastor in the car, the thought of hiding anything strikes me as a very misconstrued interpretation of Paul’s meaning. Anything we do for pleasure that we hide has connotations of being shameful. And if we hide our actions from a brother and he later discovers the truth about us, where does that leave us? We’re in a lurch trying to explain deception, when the action should have been a non-issue to begin with.

So, what are we to make of Paul’s exhortation in Romans 14? Be conscientious. Enjoy what God has made without abusing it. Accept those who haven’t fully comprehended the Gospel of Christ and its freedoms. Don’t flaunt your freedom in front of those who are still learning. But continue to encourage them to learn and grow. And if they are truly growing, they will eventually realize that the legalism they cling to is a crutch, and they will one day throw it to the side and walk alongside you, unencumbered.


March 4, 2008

Gratitude

Filed under: America,Faith,Family,Home,Kansas City,Prosperity,Shawnee — kcillini77 @ 9:16 pm

    Last Thanksgiving our furnace went out and we had to buy a new one.  It cost us $3,200 that we didn’t have.  I bought it on a one year same-as-cash deal figuring that I would just time the market and take it out of my 401k sometime this year when we were on an upswing.  Well, as you may know the market hasn’t been doing so well and our 401k is down about ten grand from where it was Jan. 1.  So I decided I should rethink my strategy.

Well, after doing my taxes, despite the effort I made to get as much out of my paycheck as possible and NOT get a refund, I somehow failed and between the feds and two states we are getting about $2,000 back.  And thanks to the Bush economic stimulus plan, it looks like we will be receiving an additional $1,500 in a few months.  Problem solved.  What a great blessing!  God is in control!

Except our reaction is not excitement or gratitude.  We look at that $3,500 and think, ‘Why do we have to spend that on something boring like a furnace.  That would be enough to get some of the furniture we’d like for the house, or an AWESOME HDTV, or even really jump start our savings toward our next car.’  Our natural reaction is pity that we have to spend this money on something that “just” keeps us warm through a bitter winter.

God, forgive us for our selfishness.  Forgive us for our greed.  Thank you for providing what we don’t deserve.

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