Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hunger (2009, Steve McQueen director)

Hunger is the story of Bobby Sands, an Irish Republican put in prison for political violence against the British. While in prison, he leads protests, demanding to be treated as political prisoners—POWs— instead of just criminals. As the British refuse, he and his co-prisoners suffer the filthiest existence at their own hands. And then they endure forced bathings and the most inhumane searches. Finally, Bobby Sands decides on a hunger strike, for him and his comrades. And the horror of that fast is depicted gruesomely.

Obviously, this is not a movie for everyone. By the end of this film I began to wonder why I was putting myself through this torturous movie. Then I wondered why the director put in all of this amazing effort, with some of the greatest filmmaking talent ever, to put us through this experience with Bobby. It seems that Bobby is going through some of the most terrible self-torture, and for what? Political recognition? For the recognition of human rights, most of which were in their grasp at any point? To make some petty point?

But I realized that this was not a political film. The director depicts the suffering of the guards as well as the prisoners. The fact how everyone’s life involved was simply miserable because of this system, because of the determination of these men.

Finally, I realized what the movie is about. Endurance. It doesn’t matter what Bobby Sands was fighting for, or what methods he used. The point is simple—he was willing to go to whatever extent to obtain his goals. He had the steadfastness to put his body through any degradation, to suffer whatever the cost, to go through any pain or mutilation in order to achieve his goals. The ethic nature of the goals weren’t significant. But his determination was.

And, honestly, that’s what makes any cause great. Not the rightness of the cause, but the stark determination of the promoters of the cause. This is what made the civil rights movement great, as well as the Indian freedom protests—they were willing to suffer all, while not causing the suffering of anyone. This is what made the early Anabaptists great, the early Franciscans, the first century church. They all promoted their cause to the death, while never harming another.

I am ashamed of our modern day church. How little determination we have. How we speak so much about “balance” and “cycles”, as if the main text of Scripture we should be living out is not the Sermon on the Mount, but Ecclesiastes 3. We speak of the “discipline” of rest, but the fact is our lives are full of rest and we do little work for those who honestly need it. Pastors are the ultimate compromisers, seeking salaries and retirements and office hours, instead of trusting and giving.

I know true endurance. I once lived it. For fifteen years, I worked hard for the people on the street until my body, slowly but decidedly gave up on me—until my stress levels exploded. Surely, people would say, that is the need for balance. And I will say, no one’s body is meant to endure terrible stress for twelve or fifteen years. We just can’t keep doing it. Even Jesus only dealt with daily suffering for three years or so.

And this kind of endurance isn’t for everyone. It is a saintly life to support the spiritual athletes and soldiers—those who lay down their lives for the cause. But, honestly, we are in a time of the church where those who are willing to lay their lives down for the gospel are few. Very few.

What is the task? To love others, even if it means our own death.
What is the cost? Our lives, our sanity, our family, our “balance.
Who is willing to endure?

Who is willing to endure?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Food Inc.

My daughter, Nikki, was radically offended by a movie they showed in school a couple weeks ago. I would have thought that my son would have been offended by his school showing Sweeney Todd to his stagecraft class (I know I was), but he was fine by that. But my daughter had a real problem with the film Food Inc.

Honestly, she had problems with food, as it is, because she's such a picky eater. She doesn't eat most meat, not because she has a moral problem with it-- she does eat hot dogs and chicken nuggets-- but because she doesn't like it. Well, this movie sent her right to the edge of being a full vegetarian. She decried the abuse of chickens and was horrified at the brief shots of slaughterhouses.

I went ahead and watched Food Inc. myself, with the rest of my family going in and out of watching it with me. I hope that doesn't come back to bite me. So to speak.

Food, Inc. is a documentary that is basically presenting some of the more radical points of two books, Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It is a shame that some of the more interesting points of the second book weren't presented, but the documentary was more focused. It was concentrating on how the incorporation of the food industries have caused problems for both animals and humans.

It presents it's points well, having extensive interviews with the authors of the books as well as farmers and organic food producers. Interestingly, it isn't completely against incorporation, giving a more balanced perspective of the relationship between the organic dairy company Stoneybrook Farms and Wall-Mart. It shows that it is possible for customers to vote with their pocketbook, by purchasing food that is raised better.

However, and more realistically, it also shows that purchasing good food that is healthy for both humans and animals isn't possible for a large percentage of Americans. It shows a family who is just making ends meet because of health costs and time constraints, and so they are forced to eat fast food and cannot buy vegetables. If you've only got a few dollars and you want to feed your family in a hurry, you can either get each of them a hamburger-- made from unhealthy beef, encouraging horrible animal care practices-- or you can buy your kids Little Debbies and soda.

This is my family's reality. I've had doctors and others tell us what we should be eating, but the fact is, we can't afford it. Vegetables are expensive, even your basic lettuce. Last night, I wanted to buy a salad for the meal we were serving to the homeless, so I figured I could pick up a couple heads of iceberg lettuce and a bunch of romaine to mix it up. However, when I got there I found that this store switched to all organic produce and it carried the organic price tag. Smaller heads of lettuce cost twice as much as they would have regularly, and to add romaine to that was out of my price range. I ended up paying more for bagged lettuce, but at least I had a salad. But this means that I have fewer options for other meals.

Donated food is also problematic. The far majority of donated food is bread and other high carb options. Protein is difficult to get, and organic options are laughable. The non-profit groups, like our own, do our best to serve healthy, balanced, and tasty meals, but our resources are limited.

People wonder why the poor are fat. It's not because they are lazy or because they make terrible choices with their limited food dollars. It's because their food dollars won't allow them to eat nutritionally.

And why is that? Primarily because the government subsidizes corn products, but not more nutritious items like broccoli or spinach. They regulate meat to a certain degree, but not with an eye to the over all health of their nation. The government nutrition guidelines are a joke-- they recommend way too much carbs and way too little veggies. Now, I know why they do that. They are trapped between the two pincers of the reality of what is available to most Americans and the powerful food industry lobbies.

But until the government makes serious practice changes, the food industry won't change. The food industry, honestly, is giving us what we buy. We are addicted to addictive foods, which are bad for us. And so our addictions are controlling the market, making the bad foods cheaper and the good foods more expensive.

If the government subsidizes healthy food, then the poor will be required to change their eating practices. If the poor have more veggies and fewer carbs, then their systems will be less stressed and they will make better life choices. The whole of society will benefit.

However, we know how government works. They don't do anything unless they are demanded of. They continue to vote for immigration bills that they know-- both Republicans and Democrats-- that are bad for the economy. George Bush presented a balanced immigration bill to a Republican congress, but it failed because of the outcry of the American people. Healthcare will continue to be stalled because the American people are nervous about losing what they have. If the Farm Bill-- the main policy map that determined government subsidy of food-- isn't changed by the voice of the American people, it will be determined by the lobbyists. The American people must demand better food for all the people, not just those who are able to afford it.

For this reason, I wish that every American could see this documentary, Food Inc. Not because all of it's points are good, but until people realize there is a problem, they will never try to create solutions.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why My Son Won't Drive A Car

It is sometimes a mistake to give children the full truth. They might act on it. When my son was very young, I taught him about the problems of an automobile society, the inherent danger and the environmental impact. I also told him how our societies are built around the necessity of cars. This is summarized in Rusty Pritchard's article below.

Because of this, my son refuses to learn to drive, to get a license. He'll ride with me-- beg me to drive him sometimes-- but he won't drive himself. Someday he'll learn consistency between ideals and actions (maybe as soon as I do?), but in the meantime I am still the only one in my large household that drives. Dang, why do I shoot myself in the foot like this?

Anyway, read Rusty's article. It's excellent. This was copied from Evangelicals For Social Action's website:

Toyotas (and Fords) 600 Times More Dangerous than Media Report
by Rusty Pritchard

An estimated 19 people have died in crashes related to unexpected acceleration in Toyota-made vehicles over the last decade. This has led to a national uproar, dominating the news cycle and flooding dealers with recalled autos to repair.

I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations to put the problem in perspective. In a year, Toyota drivers, if they are like other drivers, put about 11,400 miles on their vehicle. Ten years of driving (114,000 miles, give or take), times the number of vehicles involved in the recall (8 million), equals the total miles driven by recalled vehicles over 10 years (912 billion miles; that’s 9.12 x 10^11 for you exponentially-minded people).

So dividing the number of deaths (19) by the total miles driven gives an estimated risk of death from sudden acceleration: 2 deaths per 100 billion vehicle miles traveled.

To put that in perspective, in 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calculates your risk of dying from an automobile accident at 1270 deaths per 100 billion vehicle miles traveled.

Hmmm. That means that you are over 600 times more likely to die in an automobile fatality in ANY make of car than you are to die from a Toyota flawed acceleration system. Statistically speaking, stuck accelerators and faulty floor mats just don’t matter.

Getting in a car is inherently dangerous.

But it is worse than that. By building our cities the way we have since World War II, we in the US are virtually forcing our citizens to make very dangerous choices, if they want to work, go to school, go to the doctor, or shop. Relatively few Americans live in neighborhoods where they can choose not to have a car, largely because we’ve built our cities on the cheap, failing to provide public transportation alternatives, outlawing mixed-use developments through perverse zoning policies, and subsidizing development on the margins of our cities with public money. In the case of land use and transportation, we get exactly the system our policies promote.

Getting in a car is dangerous, and it’s hard to avoid getting in a car. It’s even dangerous for people who aren’t in the cars.

While we’ve abandoned the American landscape to the automobile, the death rate from traffic fatalities in the US, for passengers, drivers, and pedestrians, has leapfrogged past every other cause of death for children over the age of one, and it remains the leading cause of death even for young adults.

Citizens in the US are twice as likely to die from automobiles as citizens in the UK, to take another developed world example; we have the highest risk of any developed country, not because our roads are more dangerous, or our cars more deadly. Our death rate is sky-high because we expect people to drive everywhere, and therefore we spend much more time in cars than folks in other countries. We’ve built a landscape in which no one is seriously expected to walk or bike to any destination. This has an effect on our obesity rate and on all the diseases driven by being overweight (diabetes, heart disease, stroke, stress, cancer). But the main health effect is on the number of Americans who die in the traffic epidemic.

But we take this deadly epidemic (and the corresponding injury rates) without blinking, having become convinced that it is somehow natural to have 35,000 Americans die each year on the road.

There are alternatives: It is possible to design healthy places that are not only safe but which also cultivate community, flourishing economies, and happy families. For ideas, check out the Healthy Places section of the CDC website, or the other resources on healthy places for community developers at Flourish’s website.

Arrested for Taking Your Kid To Church?

From Religion Today Summaries:

Chicago Man Could Face Trial for Taking Child to Church

Religion News Service reports that a Chicago man could face prosecution for violating a restraining order by taking his 3-year-old daughter to church. Joseph Reyes, 35, converted from Catholicism to Judaism when he married his wife, Rebecca. According to Rebecca Reyes, they agreed to raise their daughter Jewish. But when the couple filed for divorce, Joseph baptized his daughter as a Catholic without his estranged wife's consent. Following the baptism, Rebecca Reyes filed for and was granted a restraining order to keep Joseph Reyes from exposing their daughter, Ela, to any religion other than Judaism. On Jan. 17, Joseph Reyes entered Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago with his daughter and a television news crew in tow. Joseph Reyes's attorney, Joel Brodsky, said the restraining order violated the First Amendment by choosing one religion over another

Perhaps a case can be made for him that the restraining order was wrong. However, to invite a news crew to church with you means that it isn't about how he should raise his child, but about him using his child to make a point. How different is this than "balloon boy's" dad? Children should be treated with respect, not a pawn in one's hateful relationship squabbles, or to promote one's own agenda, whatever it is.

Jesus said that a father should train up a child in the way of the Lord. Is not that way sacrifice and respect? Certainly going to church this way is not acting in accordance with Jesus' way. He should learn the humility of the Lord before using the church to insist upon his rights.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Cultural Hijacking

Concerning the American missionaries accused of "kidnapping" children from Haiti they were trying to adopt:

I understand that the missionaries were only trying to do what was right. Haiti right now is a hell, and they were trying to save these children from hell. They're heart was in the right place.

However, children are the heritage of our future. They are the ones to perpetuate our culture, our traditions, our hopes. Each society has its own set of standards and ideals that we place on our children. To take children away is to steal a culture's future. If a parent chooses to move a child from one nation to another, that parent is making a choice against one society in favor of another.

But no one can make the choice for another society's children. For the Haitians, yes, their country is a hell, but that is partly the result of a disaster, partly the result of France that dismantled their government, and partly the result of American economic imperialism throughout the globe. Yes, many Americans think we have a better way of life, but for much of the world it is simply a wealthier way of life, not better at all.

I have never met these missionaries and I cannot make a judgement of them. But it makes me wonder if they have a cultural superiority in their hearts. Do they think that America will truly be better for those children? Economically, surly, but would that be truly better? To take them away from their Haitian cultural heritage? To live as Americans-- who are eating up the world's resources faster than it can accept?

It also makes me wonder about those involved in the Sanctuary movement for immigrants to the U.S. A number of Christian liberals are speaking about the U.S. as if it were the kingdom of God. As if immigrating to the U.S. is the best thing that could happen to those immigrants and they have the right to live here. Now, I know that where a number of these folks come from are places that are difficult to live and that they have gone through many struggles to arrive in the U.S. out of necessity. However, should we be pouring money into something that the citizens of the U.S. are clearly opposed to, or should we put our resources into making the rest of the world a better place to live, where one can feed the children? If money was already going from the U.S. to build up the immigrant communities, they wouldn't need to come to the U.S.

The U.S. is not the best culture in the world. Nor is it the worst. It is just one of many. Let's keep things in perspective and deny the cultural imperialism that we can so easily get caught up in.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Lord's Supper and the Poor

Interesting article on the Lord's Supper I found here:

In a tragic twist of irony, the venue in the Christian faith that was intended to unify believers of diverse stripes and beliefs has actually divided and split the church in untold ways.

I’m referring to Communion. The Lord’s Supper. The Eucharist. The Table.

It goes by many names, and has been practiced many ways. It began with Jesus and his disciples, the night before the Christ would be betrayed, assembled around the Passover table with a meal with some bread to eat and wine to drink. You could make a strong case that it really began centuries earlier with the original Passover celebration, ordered by God to prepare the Israelites for their impending exile from Egypt.

This is part of the account of the Last Supper from Luke’s gospel:

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

Fast-forward roughly 2,000 years. Today, 38,000 unique denominations exist in Christianity, many of them set apart by how they have observed the Lord’s Supper. Some use unleavened bread, some do not. Some drink wine (from one cup or many), some prefer grape juice. Some serve the wine and the bread separately, some practice intinction. Some observe it annually, others quarterly, and still others weekly. Some believe the bread and wine to be symbolic of Jesus’ body and blood, and others believe in the mysterious transubstantiation of the emblems into flesh and blood.

Disputes over the practice of the Lord’s Supper have created more divisions than perhaps any other tradition in Christianity. So much so that we refer to many of these diverse denominations as “communions.”

But what if we – the church – missed the point? What if Jesus’ Last Supper was, well, just a meal? A Passover meal, yes, but never intended to be institutionalized as a religious sacrament. What if he was simply observing the Passover like a good Jew would, but telling his disciples (then and now) through his words and actions that he was now the fulfillment of the Jewish law and would now be the centerpiece of table fellowship when his followers came together?

What if Jesus was reminding his disciples and us that some of the most radical moments of his ministry occurred around the dinner table?

I do not challenge 2,000 years of Christian history lightly. I come from a tradition that takes the Lord’s Supper seriously. Very seriously. Churches of Christ take communion weekly, even on youth trips and campouts, and some among us even insist on drinking the grape juice (never wine) from a single cup. On our better days, we were a family that puts Christ and his meal at the center of our fellowship, and on our worst days, we are bitterly sectarian and exclude certain groups for not seeing things our way. I grew up with an appreciation for the centrality of the Table to Christian assembly (all Christian assembly; not just Sunday), but with a nagging suspicion that other groups weren’t Hell-bound for doing things differently.

And to be honest, I’m glad the tradition of the Supper has stuck around. It’s a good thing to remember that Christ is in our midst when we gather around the table, a table that welcomes every kind of person to it.

Lately, however, I’ve wondered whether the ritual was legit. I’ve wondered if Christ’s primary intent was to ordain a new church tradition or just demonstrate a way of being in the world. I’ve wondered if Jesus is saddened by how far some would take their insistence on a certain way of observing the tradition they had turned from an ordinary Passover meal into a holy sacrament, excluding others on that basis.

Jesus ate so many meals. Of the numerous meal stories that are recorded in the gospels, ten are in Luke; one scholar quipped that Jesus is eating his way through the book. I think that as Jesus’ disciples looked back on their last meal with their Lord before his crucifixion, they would have remembered the meals Jesus enjoyed during the previous three years. His first healing of Simon’s mother, who recovered from her fever and began serving Jesus and Simon food. (Lk 4:38-44) A sinful woman anointing Jesus’ feet while he was at dinner with a Pharisee. (7:36-50) The feeding of the 5,000 from five loaves and two fish. (9:10-17) His meal with Mary and Martha. (10:38-42) Not washing before eating with Pharisees and experts in the law. (11:37-53) Healing on the Sabbath in front of the Pharisees and a teaching on whom we are to invite to luncheons and dinners. (14:1-13) Jesus parable of the Great Banquet. (14:15-23) Eating with tax collectors and sinners. (15:1-7; 19:1-10)

My point is this: More important than “getting right” the practice of the Eucharist on Sunday is our willingness to dine with sinful and marginalized people on Monday. I heard someone say recently that our celebration of the Lord’s Table on Sunday is practice for the openness of our own tables on Monday. In those radical acts of hospitality, our plain, store-bought dinner tables mysteriously transubstantiate into a Jesus Table, and our meal into the Lord’s Supper.

I need to be honest right here: I write this as one more inclined to plan a banquet and invite those friends who possess the means to turn around and invite me to their banquet, instead of inviting the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.

I’d do well to meditate on the Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:40, as would we all:

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

My response:
Interesting article and discussion.

Although I agree that The Sheep and the Goats is specifically speaking about disciples, Jesus spoke generally about feasting with the poor in other contexts, not least in Luke 14. And Paul's message in I Cor 11 is about a eucharistic meal which is a feast in which some did not get to eat because of the greed of the first in line. We must be aware of the body of Christ, and allow the lowest in the body to gain as much as the greatest.

In Anawim, we have two sacramental meals: a. A meal that is for everyone, especially the poor and hungry, without excluding anyone because of religious preferences. We have these meals every time we worship, four times a week. b. Twice a year-- New Year's and Resurrection Day-- we hold a Lord's Supper with the bread and wine. These are special times of commitment to Jesus as Lord, remembering His sacrifice for our sins.

People come to Anawim with different theological ideas of what the Eucharist means, but we all share in the unity of it, as long as we recognize Jesus as our Lord and we are committed to Him.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Letter To A Young Activist

A great essay by Thomas Merton to anyone who is more interested in social action than words. I found it here:

"Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the truth of the work itself. And there, too, a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually as you struggle less and less for an idea, and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.

"You are fed up with words, and I don’t blame you. I am nauseated by them sometimes. I am also, to tell you the truth, nauseated by ideals and with causes. This sounds like heresy, but I think you will understand what I mean. It is so easy to get engrossed with ideas and slogans and myths that in the end one is left holding the bag, empty, with no trace of meaning left in it. And then the temptation is to yell louder than ever in order to make the meaning be there again by magic. Going through this kind of reaction helps you to guard against this. Your system is complaining of too much verbalizing, and it is right.

"…The big results are not in your hands or mine, but they suddenly happen, and we can share in them, but there is no point in building our lives on this personal satisfaction, which may be denied us and which after all is not that important.

"The next step in the process is for you to see that your even thinking about what you are doing is crucially important. You are probably striving to build yourself an identity in your work, out of your work and witness. You are using it, so to speak, to protect yourself against nothingness, annihilation. That is not the right use of your work. All the good that you will do will come, not from you but from the fact that you have allowed yourself, in the obedience of faith, to be used by God’s love. Think of this more and gradually you will be free from the need to prove yourself, and you can be more open to the power that will work through you without your knowing it.

"The great thing after all is to live, not to pour out your life in the service of a myth; and we turn the best things into myths. If you can get free from the domination of causes and just serve Christ’s truth, you will be able to do more and will be less crushed by the inevitable disappointments. Because I see nothing whatever in sight but much disappointment, frustration, and confusion.

"The real hope, then, is not in something we think we can do, but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see. If we can do His will, we will be helping in this process. But we will not necessarily know all about it beforehand . . . "

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Culture of Oppression

I got this response to my post on the movie District 9 (edited):

Steve, this is very sad. the movie was very sad, inhumane, & cruel. I didn't like the movie, because it was inhumane & cruel & very brutal. I didn't like the guy who was in charge of trying to get the aliens out of their own homes & such. not until the very end, when he did what he did at the very end. i can't watch that movie again....I also saw Inglorious bastards, again, another movie that was way too brutal for my liking, and again, I saw that one because my friend had wanted to see it. I didn't care for it, nor was I interested in seeing that movie. I really don't like movies that are that kind of brutal. makes me sad & mad at the same time to see such cruelty at the hands of those humans that make me wish I wasn't part of their race. just like in Avatar. not all of the humans, but the majority of the humans, or the ones who worked for the RDA, made me sick....made me wish I wasn't part of their race. I actually found myself wishing I could be part of the Na'vi, the Omaticaya clanthat Truly sickens me to beyond words. to be part of the race that wants to wipe out what is pure & good, for the sake of greed....makes me sick to my stomache. why do those kind have to always try to destroy what is beautiful, pure, & natural? I just don't understand. there is No need to be cruel. I wish our world was like the Pandora world. minus the devastation & the greed of the real savages.

My response:
You make a good point about all three of the films mentioned. They all depict cruelty and insensitivity to a larger group of people. But in all of them, they are intended to display that cruelty so that we do not participate in it. In Avatar, it was clear that it is the U.S. cruelty against Native Americans, the Iraqis and others that are targeted. In District 9, it is apartheid that is targeted, but all kinds of racism is included-- any type of segregation, in fact. In Inglourious Basterds, the audience itself is shown as being cruel for wanting to see a gorefest of one particular group, even if they are Nazis. All three movies target us as the ones being cruel and unkind, as participants in our government, in purchasing the products of corporations that take advantage of indigenous peoples, as taking the fruits of years of racism and as moviegoers lusting after the death of our enemies. They all call us to repent of our own segregationism and racism and cruelty.

Monday, February 01, 2010

President Slam!

No matter who the president is, there are many who will find fault with him. I just read a list of slams on President Obama, from him "looking nervous" to him "holding the country in a stranglehold" to the alleged idea that he wasn't born in the U.S. I am not an Obama supporter, even as I was not a Bush supporter. However, we do have the requirement to show respect to those in office. As believers in Jesus, we are commanded to be submitted to the government. Of course this idea can be carried too far, but we have some basic requirements as toward our leaders-- whether we like them or not.

-We should be respectful of the office, which means insults are not allowed.
-We should allow our critiques to be thoughtful and helpful, not just a generalized statement that the leader is doing a bad job.
-We should never spread rumors or unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. Followers of Jesus shouldn't be involved in gossip.
-Most of all, if you are concerned about the direction of the government, spend less time complaining and more time praying.

To be submissive to the government, we are commanded to:
Show respect
Pay our taxes
Follow the law (as long as it does not limit our love for others)
Pray that our leaders would bring peace to the land

Let's not get so carried away in worldly politics that we forget that we are actually citizens of the kingdom of God. Let's act appropriately as ambassadors, not as rebels.