Saturday, April 30, 2016

Good Knight!

How does one cram so much scary and wrong into such a short space?

First, the atomic bombs were not dropped in 1944 and they did not save billions of American lives. These mistakes are simply misstatements of fact. Knight’s more concerning errors have to do with his concept of what makes a president—or presumably anyone—great.

Knight praises our former president for having the “guts” to purposefully target and kill about 80,000 civilians on August 6, 1945; and then another 70,000 or so non-combatants on August 9, 1945.

Yes, other cities in Britain and Germany experienced horrifying bombardments as thousands upon thousands of cruel ordinances rained upon them. But the mind-numbing and terrifying difference here was that such wonton brutality was unleashed with but two bombs.

Now I don’t want to be sidetracked by the decades old debate: Should we or should we not have used atomic bombs on the Japanese people…did it save American lives…do the ends justify the means, etc. Rather, I want to focus upon Knight’s idea of greatness.

From his remarks, it seems to me that the legendary coach links greatness with power—and power of a particular kind. We’re talking now about military might or brute force.

But are there different types of power which correlate to different kinds of greatness? I would argue that this is indeed the case; that there are other kinds of power and greatness which are superior to “might is right” mentalities.

Greg Boyd speaks of four types of power which he calls Neanderthal (force), Machiavellian (manipulation), wisdom (influence), and agape (love).

Clearly, the kingdoms of this world gravitate towards the more Neanderthal and Machiavellian. This is true across all political, economic, and social spectrums. Thus, we shouldn’t be surprised when the Knights of the world—and even the Knights of the church—celebrate the use of coercion. Nor should we be at all surprised at the manipulation techniques which saturate our various societies.

We are mesmerized by power.

Yet, Jesus calls His followers to a different Way. It’s the Way of wisdom power and agape power. As Christ-followers, we are to emulate and employ the counter-cultural powers of godly influence and love. We are to ascribe to and aspire to a different sort of greatness.

Think of Bobby Knight. What do you see?  I see a man throwing tantrums and chairs, choking and head butting his players. (He’s also a St. Louis Cardinals fan…so…he ain’t all bad.)

Now think of Jesus Christ. What do you see? In Him we see the love and wisdom of God most powerfully displayed. This is true greatness. Follow Him.

The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. . . . God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. ~1Corinthians 1:25, 27

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Stingy Socialist

I recently read the following:

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders started to make good Friday night on a pledge to release his full tax returns from recent years, sharing a 2014 federal filing that showed income of just more than $200,000 and . . . $8,350 in charitable contributions.

Now I’m no mathematician but it looks to me like Uncle Bernie gave a whopping 4% of his taxable income to charity.

Just as I suspected, Sanders is similar to stingy socialists everywhere. He wants to be much more generous with other people’s money than his own.

Perhaps you’re a Bernie supporter and you’re wondering, “Hey, Steeeve, how much money do YOU give to charity, huh?”

This is a very good question and it demonstrates the exact point I’m making about Sanders.

The underlying premise of such a question is basically this: If one doesn’t personally practice charity one shouldn’t judge others or presume to tell them how to be charitable.

Another way of stating the premise is: “Put your money where your mouth is.”

But this is precisely what Bernie doesn’t do. In my estimation he does not practice what he preaches.

I believe the same holds true for the overwhelming majority of those who subscribe to him. That is, a vote for Bernie is a vote for free stuff that others have to pay for. I’ve yet to hear a Sanders fan say, “I wanna vote for Bernie because I wanna pay more taxes—and I mean lots more.”

No. The rhetoric is always about getting, never giving. This is hardly the doing to others as you would have them do to you ethic of Jesus Christ. 

In other words, Bernie supporters want to “feel the Bern” but not the sting of socialism.