Monday, August 01, 2011

Did we lose our souls with this budget deal?

~ Written around 7 p.m. on August 1 of 2011

I'm mystified and deeply discontent with the political rhetoric from the right wing of the republican party these days. It's not that the democrats have it all figured out. It's this never ending mantra that taxes are bad, that increases in taxes are bad, that all monies consumed by our federal government are essentially evil.

Driving down the road today, I slowed for a significant accident. Two police car, a smashed vehicle, one lady in a neck brace. I drove onward slowly wondering whose lives may be forever changed. Moments later another siren, a police car heading toward that scene. Cars slowed and scurried to the side of the road for the sake of the emergency vehicle, and I was reminded that all of us on that road were in favor of helping that police officer and that lady in the neck brace. Time, energy, and money didn't matter at that moment.

At 7 p.m. tonight my wife called to tell me she was running late coming home. She had witnessed a car hit a railing on the highway, tumble down the asphalt and come to rest a hundred yards ahead of her vehicle. She was holding a two year old boy in her arms when she called me. She had pulled him out of that car. He was taken by helicopter to Spectrum.

My grandfather who is eighty-six is sitting at a nursing home at this moment. He's sitting alongside the bed of his second wife. She's eighty-eight. Her body is quickly failing. We are heading over there in minutes, but I'm still waiting for my wife to come home. I'm sure she is shaken up. And my Grandpa will need my now 45 year old hand to hold his hand. He won't mind that I am no longer eight years old.

In D.C. the House of Representatives just passed the budget bill that will keep the U.S. government out of foreclosure. This is good news for business. This is good news for investors and stocks and people who play those kind of games. I wonder if it will be good news for single moms and elderly people without husbands and wives or even grandkids to hold their hands. But you see, we don't really care about these things anymore. It's become all about our own money. We can read my stories of this day, and we can weep or be moved. But at the end of the day we would rather allow others suffer or die alone rather than have our taxes increased by 5% even if we could afford the cost. Many of us are still doing very well in the midst of this economy. That's why they call us 'job creators.' After all, we don't really want to hear about the pain of others. Let's leave that to someone else.

Thanks for keeping my taxes low Mr. Amash and Mr. Huizenga I'm sure your motives were pure and honest and certainly in line with the Christian faith passed along to me by my four amazing grandparents. On second thought, I will pass on praise. You went to Washington and lost your heart and soul somewhere in the baggage area at one of the D.C. airports.

When we elected you, we expected better than what you gave us over the past three months. While many of us grew up republicans, we try not to worship our money. If we want to be a nation of gluttony and greed, you are representing us well. But in fact you've opened the door for others to step into D.C. in 2012. We, in West Michigan have more heart, more soul, and more love than just for our money. It's time for a new Paul Henry or Vern Ehlers to represent us. Most of us still believe in things greater than low taxes. As for each of you, you've shown your true heart, and for this we are both saddened and appalled.


Joel P said...

I wonder if it's a good idea to allow our government to be in the "business" of tending to our single moms, elderly, and poor? Then again -I wonder if it's only our politicians who've lost their hearts and souls?

randy buist said...

Good thoughts Joel Potter. :) Perhaps it's become necessary for our government to care for the marginalized because much of our society is looking out for #1 rather than caring for others?

Esther said...

The poor is not the goverments problem!!

If you read your Bible the family unit is to care for its own. The church too has a few it needs to help, as in the widow who is over 60, etc. Then we are to take care of our neighbors, and last time I checked kids in Africa are not my neighbor. Sure I feel bad for them but is NOT my problem.

The Bible gives us freedom from such man made guilt of not taking care of the poor and starving. I know you think that what the Bible says has too may rules but it is what it is, it gives us freedom. Take the freedom Christ gives.

Mark 14:7
For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

Get that "whensoever ye will." It is my decision to decide when I want to help, not Uncle Sams and how he sees fit.

I have a clean conscience when I lay down at night in my bed in my warm house. After a day where I purchased what I wanted and feed my kids healthy meals and even went out and had some fun.

Do you lose sleep over the fact that you could sell your car or feed your kids a box of mac and cheese instead of fruit and veggies or better yet not have kids so you can give more to the poor?

The rich help the poor by creating lots of jobs. I'm supporting my neighbor buying local veggies and fruit. By paying for my childrens education I am supporting yet more families. I have seen first had the waste in our education system by our great government.

If you live your life by the "book, chapter and verse" idea that with out Biblical grounds you can't make it a law you'd blast most goverment systems out of the water. Give me book, chapter and verse to prove to me where everyone is given the right to an education. Or health care? Or food stamps- he who shall not work shall not eat!

Don't think I don't give as we do. I just don't like getting robbed so some crack head can eat, or some congressman can fly around in a private jet.

Okay I think I'm done. But really think about it, take the freedom. I know we come into the world with nothing and this is how we will leave but we have freedom to use what the Lord has blessed US with as we see fit.

randy buist said...

Esther: I've spent years studying political theory; so if the govt. is to care only for itself, then it doesn't care how much it taxes you either. It only cares about sustaining itself, and then you are then equally screwed as the poor person.

On the other hand, if you like roads, cars that are safe, food that is safe, and bridges that don't collapse, you are benefiting from the monies of people who have more than you do. Business people pay many of our bills in America, and you are benefitting from their money.

So, why isn't a person without food given food to eat? You ride on roads that are paid by the taxes of the big semi-trucks that use them. The poor person doesn't use the roads, but you do.

As for the Bible and Jesus and the gospel message: Let's try these verses for starters:
~ Whatever you do to the least of these you do to me.
~ He who does not love does not know God.
~ Look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
~ Love your neighbor as yourself.

As for feeding people on crack, I think I should feed them. Jesus takes us in the midst of all of our sin, and he says that we are forgiven. Then he says, "Follow me."

Are you suggesting that we only extend grace to 'good people' who have a job, who are not on drugs, or should they love Jesus before we let them starve to death? Our money is never our money. The biblical text is explicitly clear that our money is God's, and we're to care for it. It doesn't belong to us.

And yes, I do stay awake at night sometimes knowing people are dying of hunger. We have the capacity to feed all the people of the world, but our own gluttony and greed keep us from doing so.

Until we provide food, water, and medical care to every person on earth, we are not taking the direction of Jesus to love 'the least of these' seriously.

The Bible says the poor will always be among us because we are greedy and gluttonous, and we can't get beyond the love for ourselves enough to love our neighbor as much as ourselves.

While we claim to love the gospel, most of us in America are like the rich young ruler. We simply can't fathom giving up our wealth for the good of others. Until we do such a thing, our gospel has very little good news for most of the world. Jesus was clear with the rich young ruler - unless he got serious about the needs of the world, he didn't follow Jesus no matter how much he claimed to be doing so.

Muskegon Critic said...

The Government can ignore the poor.

Governments have done it before.

And those governments eventually get overthrown by the poor.

We've seen it time and time and time again throughout history.

It's in everybody's best interest to maintain a strong middle class in America. If not for the sake of kindness and mercy...then for pure practicality and a stable democracy.

Stability, after all, is the most important thing for business and a functional nation in the long run.