When I read something in the Bible and I think I shouldn’t say anything about it because it might make people mad, God sometimes lets it go. But not this time. He’s been bugging me for two days. I wasn’t going out of my way to mine the Old Testament for social justice texts. I was just reading my Daily Office, trying to stay out of trouble. And then Isaiah 10:1-4 comes along: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees,to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches?Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain.” I’m afraid this prophetic word seems quite apropos in the context of our government’s fiscal cliff standoff right now. Continue reading
Isaiah 1:10-20 is a sobering prophetic passage in which God reams out the Israelites for thinking that they can honor Him while mistreating the most vulnerable of His people. We play the same game the ancient Israelites did. So many Christians today abstract their vertical relationship with God from their horizontal relationships with their neighbors and even pit the vertical against the horizontal. This is why I’m very suspicious of people who make a big fuss over glorifying God in the abstract as an act of zealous piety without exhibiting the generosity and mercy towards others that shows their genuine deliverance from the self-justification that Adam brought into the world. The abstraction of God from the creation He loves is the root of a particular immorality that afflicts God’s most zealous cheerleaders.
I didn’t watch the presidential debate even though I tweeted #JesusIsMyCandidate until twitter kicked me off. I’m really not interested in whether Mitt Romney or Barack Obama is a smoother talker because smooth talking involves a completely different skill set than having a conscience or a heart. I love people who will vote on each side and I don’t ever want politics to compromise the unity of the body of Christ which is my number one desire. Still I needed to confess that I am completely biased and impractical and irrational when it comes to how I make political decisions. I’m not trying to tell anybody else what they should decide, but I make my decisions based on some kids God gave me to love who are not my flesh and blood. I love my flesh and blood Matthew and Isaiah. The older they get, the more I know that our whole lives together are going to be a blast. And I’m also very proud of how they were forever shaped by the Lopez cousins and their friends in the mostly-Mexican-with-some-Salvadoran-and-Honduran youth group that I led from 2008 to 2010. My not flesh and blood kids held my sons in church. They babysat them. When we visit, they treat them like out of town cousins, because they are cousins. Continue reading