May 27th, 2011

how long

Here I stand

Thoughts on 28 active or retired UM Bishops calling the House budget proposal "immoral."

1. The leadership of the mainline Protestant denominations is little better than the Democratic Party at prayer.

2. Liberals/Progressives are heavily invested in social and political action; indeed, religious liberals/progressives have largely replaced theology with politics. They proclaim no everlasting kingdom, look for no supernatural intervention, and think the results of the next election will advance or retard the coming of the kingdom of God, which, in their eyes, is little else but the social welfare State.

3. The values of the upper class and the lower class are largely identical, except one has money and the other doesn't. It's the values of the middle class that are different. It's the middle class that cares about budgets and deficits, taxes and job creation, and the rule of law. Despite the Weber Thesis and its rooting of capitalism in Calvinism, the middle class in England and America is largely the result of the Wesleyan Revival. We created the middle class that our leaders now trash by calling responsible budgeting "immoral."

4. The more we try to use government to help people, the more people who need help we will create. Real help is helping them become independent; helping people become independent demonstrates caring for them in a way that miring them in dependence never will.

5. Baseline budgeting (in which the members of Congress let funding grow by formula rather than voting on actual numbers) may not be "immoral," but it is certainly irresponsible. And holding back the growth of something is not a "cut" in funding, except in Cloud-Cuckoo Land.

6. The Democrats failing to produce a budget at any point in the two years they held majorities in both houses, and the Senate Democrats refusing to produce one now, is immoral, to my way of thinking.

7. As for our bishops, who cares what these prelates think, anyway? Who besides us long-suffering UMs even hears what they say?
saxon cross

Rest in peace

Jeff Conaway has died. As an actor, he's being remembered for Grease and Taxi but not, I note, Babylon 5. All the accounts also mention his various addictions that he's battled over the years: cocaine, alcohol, painkillers. None have yet mentioned that he was also a Christian, noted at one time for his refusal to spout gratuitous profanity in a script.

Can one be a Christian and an addict? Yes, of course. Our lives are full of contradictions and repeated defeats, but that doesn't mean that our faith is false or that we will be defeated at the last. And now that Conaway's struggles are over, I pray that the victory promised to those who hold on and who don't give up will be his forever.