Kingdom Noise Apprenticeship


Thoughts On Obama by seancooper
November 13, 2008, 11:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hello Everyone,

I am passing along a thought provoking explanation of one who voted for Obama and supports his position. Some of you know Mandy Turnbull, Chad Turnbull’s wife and Vernon Rainwater’s daughter. I recognize that we have mixed opinions on this subject, but in light of the criticism that Obama continues to receive among some evangelicals who question his faith, ideals, and decisions, this is a great way to hear someone give critical pushback to those statements. I would greatly enjoy your thoughts on Mandy’s writing…

I have thought a lot about your two most recent forwards.  Not because this is the first time I have considered these issues, but because I wrestled with whom to support in this election for many months before coming to the conclusion to support Obama.  It makes me sad to read emails and posts from ‘Conservatives’ filled with judgment and fear.  I have thoroughly read Dutch Sheets’ statement and I have to say that I disagree with both his theology and his application of it.

Theologically I would say the most striking thing I disagree with is his view of God’s will.  There are numerous references in the Bible where God clearly states that those who come into power do so because it is His will that places them there.  In Daniel 4:32 for example God tells Nebuchadnezzar that he must learn “that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.”  And, of course, Romans 13:1 which states, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”  I do believe that as Christians we have a responsibility to vote and to pray and carefully consider for whom God is leading us to vote.  However, I think it is a gross misinterpretation of the character of God to think that He leaves that choice solely in our hands and then punishes us if we choose incorrectly.  In addition to that, I do not understand why God’s judgment would just be coming now.  Roe vs. Wade was passed in 1972.  We have had Christian and non-Christian leaders since then, as well as Republican and Democratic presidents and none of them have overturned this ruling.  Why does the judgment come now?

My second point of contention with Dutch Sheets would be his statement that God will judge those who aligned themselves with “pro-abortion forces” and those who chose “money over morality.”  I find those statements very offensive.  I did not vote for Obama because he is black or because it will benefit me financially (because most likely it will not).  I find it interesting that he would use this argument against the Democratic Party when it could just as easily be used against the Republican Party.  The last flyer from the Republican Party I received the Monday before Election Day stated, “Keep more of the money you earned.”  That was the message the Republican Party was sending to me.  I know Joe Biden took a lot of flack for his statement on Good Morning America where he said, “It’s time to be patriotic, time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut” (summarized by the McCain camp as him saying “It’s patriotic to pay more taxes”).  I think what he was saying, though, is that it will take all of us to fix the problems we have in America.  Some of us make more, and those who do will be asked to sacrifice more than those who make less.  I am not a huge proponent of a large government, but I was struck by an interview I read with Mike Huckabee in the September/October issue of “Sojourner’s Magazine.”  These were Huckabee’s words:
“There are growing numbers of people who get in the Republican Party who are just short of anarchists in the sense that they basically say, “Just cut government and cut taxes.” And they don’t understand that if you do that, there are certain consequences that do not help problems—it exacerbates them… what I tell people is, if my choice is government has a program or a kid goes hungry, then give me the government program. I prefer that over a hungry child. I prefer that over a child that’s wheezing through asthma that’s untreated. If people, out of generosity, can do this beyond the scope of government, praise the Lord! But when they don’t, then it’s no different than all the nice conservatives in the gated neighborhoods who really don’t want any government until their home is broken into and they call 911. That’s a call to government.”

I could just as easily point to Republicans and claim they chose to keep their money rather than contributing to the greater good.  I know that is not why you voted for McCain, but it is also not why I voted for Obama.
I voted for Obama because I think he is the leader our country needs.  I think he cares about social justice issues, he has seen first hand the causes and effects of poverty, and I think his focus on these issues will do more to reduce the number of abortions than John McCain ever would.  We have had a Republican president for eight years and not one change has been made in abortion laws.  The very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.  I felt in this election that voting for the Republican candidate and hoping that this time something would change was insanity.  Here are some statistics on abortion:

·   The number of abortions per year peaked in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan (Alan Guttmacher Institute) and then hit their highest levels ever in 1990 under President H.W. Bush (Centers for Disease Control).

·   The biggest percentage drop in the number of abortions per year was during the Clinton administration (AGI).  The numbers have steadily, if only slightly, continued to decrease since then (CDC).

·   The abortion rate among women living below the federal poverty level ($9,570 for a single woman with no children) is more than four times that of women above 300% of the poverty level. This is partly because the rate of unintended pregnancies among poor women (below 100% of poverty) is nearly four times that of women above 200% of poverty (AGI).

It is well documented that minorities have a higher rate of abortions than white women, and that a lack of education, support, resources, and income are the factors that influence those who have chosen abortions.  It would make sense then that addressing these issues would help to reduce the number of abortions.

I also feel that just getting these babies born is only the first step.  What about the babies who grow up in extreme poverty? What about those who don’t have access to a good education and therefore perpetuate the cycle of poverty and a lack of reproductive responsibility?  What about the families who don’t have health care and therefore have children who suffer health problems all their lives?  Why is quality of life not a pro-life issue?  Why is war not a pro-life issue?  Why is the torture of prisoners of war not a pro-life issue?  Why is the death penalty not a pro-life issue?

I am tired of hearing Christians say that abortion is the only issue in this election.  It is an issue of huge concern, but I think it is shortsighted and simplistic to think the other issues of this election do not affect the issue of abortion.  How will we ever take care of our poor (an ever growing segment of the population) if our economy continues to decline?  When the unemployment rate rises and the number of people living in poverty rises, so do the number of abortions.  It is also astonishing to me that the same people who say our country will be judged for choosing the wrong president, say ‘don’t worry about the economy, God is strong enough to take care of it.’  They are willing to give Him complete control over our finances, but not over the election of our president.

I also believe that simply overturning Roe vs. Wade would not end the abortions in this country.  It has been shown that education, support, and other viable options for pregnant women (such as adoption) have the biggest influence in reducing the number of abortions performed.  In addition to this, I believe this is a moral issue we are attempting to solve with legislation.  We all have a role to play in this, and not just at the polls.  We have to reach out to those around us.  We have to offer our support, emotionally and financially, to those in need.  We as the church must reach out not a judgmental, but a helping hand.

I have heard Christians say God told them to vote for McCain, and I have heard Christians say God told them to vote for Obama.  I don’t believe either party has a monopoly on morality.  I believe that there are sincere and corrupt members of both parties.  I believe that there are Christian and non-Christian members of both parties.  I know Christians who are supporters of both parties and I can understand their reasons for their choices.  I believe both parties are necessary and both parties have elements that reflect Christian principles and elements that do not.

I care about life.  I care about the unborn.  I want to see the number of abortions each year reduced and ideally eliminated.  I agree with the statement Obama made in his last debate with John McCain that  “every abortion is a tragedy.”  I do not, however, believe that John McCain will end this tragedy.  I also do not believe that God is mad at me for voting for Barack Obama.  I believe God knows my heart.  I believe He knows that I love Him and I love my country.  I believe He knows that I want to see this country prosper, take care of it’s citizens, offer support to other nations of the world, and stand up for all those who are helpless and hurting.  I believe God wants those things too.  It is my humble opinion that Barack Obama will do more to support these causes than John McCain.

My goal in this email is not to reject or criticize anyone who voted for John McCain.  I think I can understand their reasons for doing so. My goal, rather, is to explain my reasons for supporting Barack Obama.  It is a decision I did not take lightly or make flippantly, and it grieves me when I hear Christian members of the Republican Party misjudging or misrepresenting my views and the reasons for my choice, or worse telling me that I am immoral and will be judged because of it.  I know that not everyone agrees with me, but please understand that as Christians our goals are the same.  We just disagree on which leader can bring them to fruition.  That is why we need each other. I know this is long, so thank you for being patient with me while I express my views.  I respect those who feel passionately about this election, no matter which way they voted.  I too am passionate about it.  I hope that as Christians we can all continue to pray, to seek God’s will, and join together to make this country a better place regardless of our party preference.

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MODULE 4 || STAGE 1 by seancooper
November 9, 2008, 11:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

rolling_stone_obama

What does the author mean by “walking naked into the land of uncertainty”?

How is the normal state of leadership and the fundamental state of leadership different? What are the challenges of moving to the fundamental state of leadership?

Describe how your view of leadership is changing. What do you see as a significant challenge for personal leadership growth?