Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Obamanation of Desolation?

Since I've been asked, I will share the few thoughts I have about President-elect Barack Obama.

1.) Scripture is clear about a few things regarding rulers in general, and these are a.) they are placed in power by God Himself and He is sovereign over their doings, b.) we are to respect and pray for them, and c.) we are to be grateful for a government at all, for even a bad government is usually better than none at all.

2.) I am wary of his extremely leftist ideals. Barack Obama is bar-none the most liberal senator in America, and although I am not the most conservative citizen in America, I do lean more to the right of center, and he therefore makes me nervous.

3.) I am pleased to have a black president. I'm not sure what people in your experience find offensive, but just to give you a bit of background on my language, I do not as a habit use the term African-American. I should also point out that I believe it would be silly and devisive to label myself European-American. Both are backwards-looking and ulitmately useless in the fight for unity. We are a very diverse country in respect to origins, and if we start specifying by origin, we're going to be counter-productive. I understand the need for pride, but let it be in something more transcendant than historical locations. That being said, I will not belittle the plight of blacks in America. They've had a very hard go of it, and I'm pleased to see one less thing that divides us. We will always be seperated by our skin color, but let that be as far as it goes: let it be as superficial and meaningless a division as hair color. We are all God's people, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.

4.) Senator Obama seems to me to be the kind of person people can rally around. It might be a good thing to be a truly united country. That being said, it could also be a truly terrible thing to be a country united under the wrong banner. To me, I can see this going one of two ways in the next four to eight years: a.) His extremely socialist ideals (along with the new Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate) will lead the majority of our nation toward unity on the left side of things. This would be (in my mind) terrible, but God is good. Or b.) Obama will lead in office as he did in his campaign, saying nothing and doing less. "Hope for Change" was his slogan, but I am acutely aware that "hope" is not a strategy and "change" is not a destination. If he unites the nation under warm fuzzy feelings, that might be a bit more innocuous, and I could live with that. I'd rather be among idiots than villains.

5.) I did not vote for Mr. Obama and I do not trust him, but do trust the sovereign LORD, and I will therefore pray that God will guide Mr. Obama, (and that Mr. Obama will seek the LORD's counsel, as he claims to know Him), and I will respect him and his leadership until God apponts a new man. "Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God." - Psalm 20:7


Jennifer Riegel said...

excellent perceptions, Josh, thanks for sharing.

chris isaac said...

i love you josh.. you always amaze me.

David said...

Good thoughts, so here are a few of my own.

Yes God is sovereign, but we still have free will,which I believe is our defining characteristic as human beings who are created in Gods image. So that begs the question, can we use our free will and vote to elect somebody who may not be good for our country and will God in his sovereignty allow us to do so? I do think this is possible, and that God will use some of these things for good, but we do not know the plan of God. What I mean is, if God has created America to be so blessed, will it always prosper? Can we as humans make poor choices and ruin something God originally set up for good? Or, will God allow us to ruin our country? God handed Israel over to its enemies many times because of their foolish ways. Do we not serve the same God as the one in the old testament? If so he does not change. So, am I afraid of the ultimate, no, am I concerned for our country, yes. There is nothing wrong with a healthy concern for actions that are not Godly. We know that Barak Obama rarely voted in the senate, but he did vote for Infanticide three times. In Romans God says that he handed over Homosexual people to their sinful desires, and degradations of their bodies. It also says that since they did not retain the knowledge of God he allowed their minds to become depraved. Would God hand over our country to its sinful desires (i.e. abortion, homosexual marriage) and as Christians should we not fight as hard as we can to make sure that this is not the case for the country that we live in and adore as our own? So, having said all of that, I think I have a healthy fear that our country could go to the crapper, and that if we continue to elect people of immoral standards, or those who are proponents of ungodly things, God may allow us to experience the consequences of our sins. Anyways, hope this made sense!!

Anonymous said...

Can I say how glad I was to learn that this post's title had a question mark at the end? The URL, which I saw first, doesn't have that piece of punctuation, leading me to think you were declaring rather than querying.


Joshua Andrew Smith said...

David - as though you are going to come back to read this - The fact that God hands us over to our sinful desires is exactly the point. God will not judge us for choosing the wrong man. God has judged us by allowing us to choose the wrong man. Many will die, and His ordained institutions will be perverted, and we will suffer greatly for both.

David said...

Well, I did come back to read this. I had the thing e-mail me when people posted here. Yes, I do think that Obama could be considered as America being "handed over". It reminds of me when Israel begged God for a king and so God gave them what they wanted. Maybe we just wanted our current condition so much that God just let us have it. Either way, campaign promises of any president elect are really not worth much consideration since they do not create legislation, and there are many forces i.e. the wars, the economy that will take up alot more of the president elects time and consideration than some of the issues they promise to change.

Anonymous said...

good points but sounds like you don't understand the role of a government.

Andrew Reed said...

Having voted for McCain (assuming my absentee ballot that I handed to the postman driving down the street in his minivan on Saturday actually made it to some sketchy office suite in downtown Memphis)somewhat by default, meaning that I felt McCain was somewhat the lesser of the two evils. Truthfully, I am not particularly fond of either of them. As I heard a CNN anchor say and honestly I am compelled to somewhat believe, there is definately a sence of relief now that the election is over. Although I feel that many of Sen. Obama's intentions will ultimately harm our nation, at some point you just have to touch the stove to see if its really hot. I think things our so backwards in our nation right now, certainly not the reprecussions pf any one man, that people just need something to be different, and right now, Obama was that difference. I am also somewhat glad that the Democrats took the majority of the senate as well for this reason: there can't be any blaming whether against either party. If things go well, attribute to the democrats, and if things go poorly, it can be blamed on them as well. Now, I think this is a very dangerous place to be, nevertheless, thats where we are and people need to see it play out.

P.S. I am thrilled that our nation has elected a black president. I think it speaks volumes for where we have come in a relatively short amount of time. I wish I could have voted for our first black president, its just a shame that doing so would also have supported so many other things that I dissagree with.

Joshua Andrew Smith said...

David - I'm glad you came back. I'm sorry I doubted you. I think we understand each other now.

Anonymous - Whose understanding of the role of government do you question?

Andrew - I love the visual of the casting of your absentee ballot and the questionable character of its destination. Can't wait to see you over this break.

Jonathan Vowell said...

"I'd rather be among idiots than villains."

Very well put.

Anonymous said...

Josh, I've got to chime in on this one--you have drawn me out from privately reading the blog.

1) Although I share David's love of the doctrine of free will, I do not see how that invalidates the Scriptures listed. The Roman rulers were thousands of times more brutal to the church than anyone who could get elected in the U.S, yet Paul wrote these words speaking of them. In the first few centuries, national law that made it difficult for Christians was often the fuel to unite the church and result in evangelical growth and fighting harder against injustice. That leads to #2.

2) I am tired of Obama classified as the devil and McCain as the 2nd coming of Jesus. It is never that black and white so to speak. If you try hard enough, I'm sure each of us can find some good in the policies that Obama is hoping to bring about to improve schools and raise up the poor. The several Republican adminstrations in the past would have loved to overturn Roe vs. Wade, but have been unsuccessful. Call me a cynic, but I seriously doubt McCain could have done that either.

3) I would tread very carefully on this topic. First of all, Obama is African-American, but in a completely different way than most people of African descent in our country. Second of all, those whose ancestors were enslaved and tortured by Europeans centuries ago have good reason to not "be over it" by now. Those of us from European descent need to have enough respect for our neighbors to not just say, "by-gones are by-gones." While almost all of us would say that we are equal to people with different skin color in the same way that we are equal with people of different hair color, we need to go further than this elementary awareness. We need to confess the sins of our forefathers and begin to make amends.

4) I see choices a and b, but what about c and d? This response seem to doubt the Scriptures laid out in #1.

5) God has worked through far less worthy people than Barak Obama, but the way He set it up is that we are to partner with Him by praying for our leaders regularly.

Good post!