Monthly Archives: August 2007

A State of Mind…

I think I may have shared this once before, but why let that stop me? 😉

I remember one of the most miserable moments of my life. It happened about four years ago. I also remember one of the happiest moments of my life. It also happened about four years ago, about 15 minutes after the miserable moments. Here’s how it went…

We were selling our house. Finances were tight, but the proceeds from the house would remedy that. As we closed our suitcases, turned off the lights, and prepared to leave the house for the last time, we got a phone call. There had been a snag in the escrow proceedings. The buyers, who had wanted the proceedings hurried up and wanted us out immediately – now needed another week. All our furniture was in another state. The utilities were going off within hours. There was no real choice – we headed for the car and resolved to spend the week in motels.

The one week stretched into two. Our finances were at the limit. Finally, I was sitting in the bank on the morning the funds were promised to be deposited into our account. In the car outside I had five children, three dogs, a rabbit and a few birds with nowhere to go and no money to even grab a bite to eat. The hour arrived when the escrow funds were due in our account… and they didn’t appear.

I was utterly miserable. The worry was so intense that it was a physical pain. I felt my heart hurting. I just sat there in the bank groaning for fifteen minutes. Then unexpectedly, the funds appeared in our account. We were now quite well off. We had money to spare, and would be on our way to an enjoyable mean and a wonderful trip to our new home. I was ecstatically happy. I was so happy that, once again, it was almost a physical pain. I was in tears of joy.

After a moment, I suddenly realized that between the utter misery and the unbearable joy – nothing physical had actually changed. I was still sitting, as I had been the whole time, in a comfortable chair in an air-conditioned bank, free of illness and in no physical distress whatsoever. The only things that had changed were a few magnetic blips on a bank’s hard disk somewhere across the country – and my inner outlook. All my agonies had been caused by worries over possibilities that never materialized and probably never would have. After all, we had relatives who would certainly not have let us starve. We had a car that we could have used to secure a short-term loan. In the worst case, there we knew personally several pastors, charities and friends in the area who would have been glad to help us.

Whenever I get into a slump now, I just try to recreate for myself the feeling I had when the funds finally arrived at the bank that day.

Was Jesus a Liberal or a Conservative?

A discussion ensued recently on AT&T regarding whether Jesus was a liberal or a conservative. My contention was that he was neither or both, and that Liberal/Conservative is much too simplistic a picture of how an enlightened being would look at the world. Here are a few examples of Jesus fitting into both categories:


The Liberal Jesus:

1. Saw his mission as primarily to the poor, the oppressed and the disenfranchised.
2. Taught that it was difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom, and urged the rich to sell their goods and give to the poor.
3. Was a homeless vagabond.
4. Urged non-judgmentalism and ultra-pacifism.


The Conservative Jesus

1. Taught a very strict moral code (lust is as bad as adultery, for example)
2. Refused to endorse revolution, even against the Romans
3. Was frequently the dinner guest of the rich and powerful
4. Urged non-judgmentalism and ultra-pacifism

Why is non-judgmentalism and pacifism on both the liberal AND conservative lists? First of all, both liberals and conservatives are judgmental against each other. Imagine a conservative being non-judgmental of Barbara Streisand or a liberal being non-judgmental of Rush Limbaugh.

And while military pacifism may be "liberal", many who would think of themselves as liberal are quite ready to endorse involuntary taxation for wealth redistribution and increased government regulation. All government is basically FORCE. Can one really imagine Jesus not simply urging the wealthy to give to the poor… but enforcing it at the point of a gun?


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