Monday, May 01, 2006

This and That (Oh! And the Other Thing, Too)

Compassion Sunday went fairly well this year. I didn't faint (or cry too much), so that part was good. Only five children found sponsors at my church this year. There were about fourteen last year. Two things were working against more children's finding sponsors this year:
1) Many families in our church already sponsor a child -- either through Compassion International, World Vision (which is local), or Gospel for Asia.
2) It was the Women's Retreat this weekend at our church, and I do not think that many men would sponsor a child without consulting their wives. Maybe a seed was planted, though. I was directing a lot of men to Compassion's website after the services. There, they and their families can choose a child to sponsor, together.
Altogether, this presentation every year has nothing to do with me -- God will work in people's hearts as He wills. My goal is merely to be obedient to Him.

We took a look at our overgrown, weed-filled yard this weekend, and we promptly set out for the mall so we wouldn't have to look at it any more. This worked out great for us, but not so well for our neighbors who are giving us the fish-eye and are probably going to get on the horn with the Homeowner's Association this week to report us.

I'm eagerly awaiting an 18" silver chain that I ordered last week for my cross pendant. Sadie broke it accidentally over a month ago. My neck feels bare without it. Keith Green once said that he didn't think that it was appropriate to wear the cross as jewelry, but I'm going to have to disagree with him, at least in part. I agree that the cross should not be worn simply as jewelry, but, to me, my cross necklace is something that means so much more than mere adornment. It reminds me, with every glance in the mirror, of the price that was paid for me.

There was an interesting e-mail that was sent out to all the members of a Yahoo group to which I belong -- Freedom in Education (formerly: Libertarian Educators). As a current and future homeschooler, I find this group occasionally helpful. Here is what one member, Gene Hawkridge of WA wrote:

About two years ago, my daughter was baptized as a Christian - not up to me to choose, as I AM a Libertarian. She is also most definitely a Christian. Unlike some "Christians" however, my daughter understands what "thou shalt not steal" means. I am extremely proud of this intelligent, moral, Christian Libertarian, even though I do not choose Christianity for myself.What I do not understand is folks who can call themselves both "Christians" and "Libertarians" and then advocate that the State steal more of my money to support students who are allegedly more deserving, somehow, than students in my "white" neighborhood (which is, albeit affluent, actually very diverse - like my own ancestors). There is nothing whatsoever "Christian" nor "Libertarian" about racial prejudice.

Now, since I do not call myself a Christian, perhaps I have no real right to define what one is. I do, however, own copies of both the Tenach ("old testament") and the Gospels ("new testament"), and, while there might be somewhere in these that it says that the government should steal from the more affluent in order to provide for the less fortunate, I simply cannot recall any such passage in either set of books. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable of these religious volumes can cite where the "Bible" advocates such a socialist idea.

I've called myself a "Libertarian" for more than 30 years, and I do believe I have a pretty good understanding of what it means. I signed a pledge promising not to advocate the initiation of force, or the use of fraud, to achieve my personal or political goals. I know of no other political organization that has such a simple, clear ethical/moral statement of principle as its founding ideological premise. I am proud of my chosen Party for its dedication to this principle. I also observe that this moral premise is entirely consistent with my understanding of Judeo-Christian ideas of morality, although not as limiting in some ways.

As a Libertarian, I never advocate for any tax. To me, taxation is indistinguishable from theft (the forced extraction of property/money). It does not matter how many wolves vote to have the sheep for lunch, it is still agression. As a board member of a public school system, I am glad to serve without monetary compensation, volunteering my time. I continually look for ways to enhance school funding without the use of taxes, and I continually look for ways to use our "revenue" more efficiently. I never forget that it is stolen money, to the extent that some folks in my state do not pay it voluntarily. One can rationalize this away all one wants, with socialist "social contract" nonsense, but it still comes down to theft.

I regret that my fellow citizens have chosen to fund schools in this manner, but I am elected to serve their interests as well as those - or especially those - who pay unwillingly.

I see nothing whatsover "Christian" (or Jewish, or Islamic) about socialist wealth-transfer schemes. Charity is that which one gives up willingly, voluntarily, and privately, without public fanfare, to help our less fortunate cousins. Theft is theft no matter how justified one thinks it is. We should never try to fool ourselves about it.

Gene Hawkridge
Kenmore, WA, USA

I really appreciate his points, since I happen to be both a Christian and a (small-l) libertarian. My two anchor points of belief are the Apostles' Creed and the non-initiation of force. While I believe strongly, fervently in charity -- in doing all that I can to help feed, clothe, educate, house, and bless the impoverished and hurting at home and abroad -- and my family has committed itself to structured giving, I no more see these worthy endeavors as the responsibility of the government than I do other church business (like building a baptismal fount or putting up a new stained-glass window). We'll never win people to Christ by sloughing off our responsiblity toward our fellow man onto faceless, compassionless, extortion-funded gov'ment. Shame on us!

I haven't written anything about abortion for a while -- to go on to a lighter topic, right?-- oi! There are a couple rather disturbing things that I'm hoping to sit down and write about soon. One has to do with a comment on a very old post I wrote about being a Roe vs. Wade survivor, and the other is something that one of my heroes, Jill Stanek, recently wrote for WorldNet Daily. Maybe, when my three-year-old "product of conception" goes down for a nap, I can take keyboard to monitor and order my thoughts (which will most likely outrage pro-choicers and pro-lifers alike -- ah, controversy!).

Hey, if you haven't been by Amigo's place in a while, please stop by and read his piece on Earth Day. I had nothing to add but ROTFL, so I didn't comment. Anybody else out there missing Billy D. and Andrea and Serena? Serena'll be back (she promised), but those other two have sworn off blogging for a bit. I haven't killed the links to their sites yet, as hope springs eternal. I'd like to see them come back. Wouldn't we all?

Joelle and I have started Who Needs Jenny? -- a blog to keep us accountable to each other and -- considering the format of blogging -- to the world in our weight-loss and healthy eating commitments. If you'd like to join, drop me an e-mail (, and I'll send you an invitation.

My goodness, I have been reading some great books lately! Sometimes, I think that I am too inclined to love what I read, but, maybe, I just have good taste in picking out really good books! Look for upcoming reviews of The New Testament and Literature by Stephen Cox, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 by James Shapiro, and Creators by Paul Johnson. Oh, yes, and if you are looking for a couple really interesting novels to read this summer, please consider The Damnation of Theron Ware by Harold Frederic and Heaven's My Destination by Thornton Wilder. I learned of both by reading The New Testament and Literature. Time allowing, I'd like to review them too.

Has summer arrived in your part of the world yet (or, winter, in the case of Morris)? It's struggling to come out up here in Washington, but we're finally getting some sunny days in a row. Maybe we'll get temps above 70 one of these May days. Or, we might have to wait until June as usual.

Peace to all!


Flicka Spumoni said...

Women's Ministry had a retreat and you didn't go? Shame on you! Make certain to attend next year. Ours are riotous as well as nourishing.

Good job with Compassion. We have been sponsoring for years. Sadly, our little girl, Nagawa, lost her mother recently and had to move to a part of the country that Compassion couldn't reach. We have a new girl now. But still, I wish I could just continue to send Nagawa something, somehow.

Justine said...

Hi Flicka!

I really love Compassion International and the emphasis they put on building personal relationships. I'm so sorry that Nagawa moved away from a Compassion-reachable area. The same thing happened to the first child I sponsored, Jessica. Happily, though, it was not because she lost a parent -- her family just moved as a whole.

You know, I've never really felt inclined toward those group get-aways. I love one-on-one hanging out, but I'm pretty shy in crowds -- yes, even crowds of tens. I like the word "riotous," that you used, though. That sounds fun! I wonder how riotous the Calvary ladies got last weekend -- I'll have to grill one or two. Or maybe, what happens on the women's retreat stays with the women's retreat.

Peace to you!