Thursday, March 11, 2010

Coffee Shops, Fleas, Glenn Beck, and other stuff…

So here I sit, in Vinaccio’s coffee in Marysville.  I’ve said it before.  The only people who come into coffee shops are either Christians or people who were displaced from their office today.  Today I am both.  I had to get out of the house because of a repair guy who is spraying for fleas in our home.  yep fleas. 

I don’t get it.  I have been totally unwilling to have any pets and we still get fleas.  Please don’t think of us as the “dirty family.”  We aren’t dirty.  Apparently, this flea infestation is very common in our neighborhood.  We were told that all of the houses are built on sand and there is moisture and wetland everywhere around us.  I’m sure there is a spiritual application in that whole statement, but frankly I am too frustrated to suss it out. 

I am frustrated for a couple of reasons.  First, there is country music playing at this coffee shop.  Apparently they didn’t get the coffee shop memo about having to play Sarah McLaughlin and Norah Jones.  Weak.  I am also annoyed and the guy that our landlords hired to spray for fleas.  He showed up with some Raid Bug Bombs and some newspaper.  I said: “Do you have everything you need?”  He replied: “I brought some news paper to set the flea bombs on.”  I asked him if I had to do anything else to prepare and he said, without looking around…”nope, you should be good.” 

The only reason I am cool with this is because I am sick of getting bit by fleas. 

Have you heard about this whole Glenn Beck thing?  He made a comment the other day when he clearly said that if the website of the church you attend mentions “social justice”, your church is trying to turn you into a socialist and you need to leave your church.  He even held up a nazi flag and a soviet flag to demonstrate what a church that is in to social justice is moving towards. 

If you don’t believe me, here is the quote:

“ I’m begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them…are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words ’social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words.”

Hmmmmmm.  I know Beck is a Mormon and is not an evangelical christian as most people try and paint him.  I know that he uses non-stop hyperbole to make his points.  But this is just nuts.  You can’t deny the fact that his opinions hold sway over a lot of people.  This is rough.  I’m sure that when Beck is calm, if he and I could have a conversation, there are some things that he and I would agree on about politics.  I am also sure that there is plenty that I disagree with. 

In fact, many times in the past couple of weeks, I have been asked about my stance on politics.  I used to be very outspoken on politics, but have been trying to not make political statements.  So here is the only statement that I will make, even on my own blog.  I do believe that the vision of the founding fathers was for a small government.  No question about it.  I do believe that they understood that government had a very important role though.  Government was supposed to protect the rights of the people.  Government should provide laws and a way to peacefully enforce the laws.  The problem with the vision of the founding fathers was that at the same time that they were writing laws to protect their rights, they were (at least many of them were) engaged in taking the rights away from slaves and native americans.  Their strength was talking about the ability to keep  your land and possessions separate from the government.  Their weakness was not ensuring that the “have nots” would have a pathway to earn the same possessions and positions through hard work.  Keep in mind though, that NO government has ever found a way to deal with both issues.  There has to be a balance, and the balance is always going to be tenuous. 

Jesus’ teachings were about helping though who were the “have nots”.  I firmly believe this.  That’s why I cringe when I hear the Bible used to support capitalism.  I also don’t know if I have ever heard the Bible used to support communism or socialism, though I do think that you can use Jesus’ words to do this or at least the lifestyle of the churches in Acts.  But again, Jesus never said to make His teachings into a government.  I think that the teachings of Jesus are always going to cause a revolution.  There will always be tension. 

But here is Beck, saying that churches who want to see Social Justice and want to make it happen are trying to bring about communism.  And he is telling you to run away from churches that want to do this.  The problem is that most of these churches want to do this through service and charity, not through political policy or change.  Arrrgh.  My problem with political pundits is that they take one statement and create this very scary strawman and tell you that is what every person that they oppose believes.  This is the logic that we can use to scare children and people who are unwilling to look into the facts. 

The other day, I was told by a friend who has a GED that he is going to start college at a local community college.  This is a dude who you would not picture in college.  He says “aint” all of the time and has never done well at school.  He did poorly at school because of a hellish childhood home life.  I am well aware that somehow tax dollars will help fund his education.  I know that small government people would be ticked off at this.  But I am thrilled.  If he works hard, he will get a degree and have a path toward a life where he can achieve the way that most of us can, the way that most of us take for granted.  If he works hard and gets his degree.  I will think that this is an incredible use of money.  Far better than a mission to Mars or a new stealth bomber.    That’s my opinion. 

I know that is rambly, but oh well.  I don’t blog enough to stay on topic right now anyway.

So here I sit in the coffee shop.  Two tables of people are having a Bible study.  Another group is pretty obviously three church members planning some event.  There is a lone woman by the fire trying to get some work done.  I am totally believing that the only people keeping coffee shops in business are Christians.  If it weren’t for Christians, all coffee would be sold from those drive through booths. 

Who is keeping Glenn Beck in business?  Who is keeping this flea guy in business?  I could have picked up a couple of flea bombs at the store and done what he is doing. 

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