Does God agree with you? with me?

20160617_144150In the face of all the many disagreements, and further, in the face of what seems to be a lack of ability to communicate in civil and well-intentioned ways, I thought this morning of these words from Isaiah 55:8-9
My plans aren’t your plans,
    nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways,
    and my plans than your plans. (CEB)
Do you suppose that when God says, in Isaiah 55, that God’s thoughts and ways are not ours, God is referring to everyone? I have to admit that my usual first read of that passage is that God is referring to my enemy/opponent/anyone who disagrees with me.
To be fair, though, I have to admit, though it sometimes takes me a while, that God is, in fact, saying this to ALL of us.
(FULL DISCLOSURE: I do not have a second thought on my agenda for which this is the setup. Not that I never operate that way, but I am not this time)

You get what you paid for?

Personally, I feel this comic would be funnier were it not an accurate portrayal of life. Does the definition of ‘good employee’ now start with “never expects to have his /her work recognized by a pay increase”?

A youth I knew a couple of years ago was very happy at his fast-food job. He had worked there 2 years, worked hard, and, told me, was told by his supervisor how much his commitment was valued.  Since I asked, he also told me he had never received a raise in 2 years.

By contrast, the fast food job I had in high school came with quarterly opportunities for performance review and potential raise. Thus, I was not only told my work was valued, I was paid like it.

If employers are making money, it seems to me employees are entitled (yes, I’ll use that word) to some reward too.

Empty words don’t offer much reward.

THE Christian view on Health Care in America?

I’ve heard and read this several places, so I won’t cite one particular source here, but this seems to me to be the best question for someone (Christian) to ask concerning health care in the United States:

“Does my neighbor

have reasonable access

to adequate health care?”

If the next thing that comes to your mind is “Who is my neighbor?” then you are well on your way…

You have to be Rich to be Poor

If you think the poor just need to work harder, this fine article by DeNeen L. Brown shows many ways that the poor have to work harder just to keep up, let alone to try and get ahead.  HT Alan Hitt.

Here’s the opening:

You have to be rich to be poor.

That’s what some people who have never lived below the poverty line don’t understand.

Put it another way: The poorer you are, the more things cost. More in money, time, hassle, exhaustion, menace. This is a fact of life that reality television and magazines don’t often explain.

Does our spending belong to Caesar?

I have a friend who recently bought a new car.  He jests that he did it to help the economy. I suspect he is half jesting; his previous car was aging, and deteriorating.

The morning’s Waco Tribune-Herald picked up a wire story about poor holiday sales. Even the might Wal-Mart had lower-than-expected sales.

I have a confession to make: I didn’t spend as much money on Christmas this year, so I am part of the problem.  I didn’t spend less because i was worried about the economy or my future. I spent less because we are making serious strides toward de-commercializing Christmas.

We are hearing more and more about how bad the economy is, and that it’s getting worse, and that much of this is because of consumer spending.  You and I aren’t spending enough.  It’s our duty as citizens to spend, spend, spend.

This is one place that we Jesus-followers really must apply his teaching to “render to Caesar what is Caesar, but to God what is God’s.”  Continuing to spend ourselves into oblivion may be good for the economy, and thus Caesar, but it isn’t God’s ideal for us.

Spending ourselves into oblivion to “honor” Jesus – around the celebration of his birth, is certainly not rending to God what is God’s.

This past Dec. 21st, Rachel and I let a deadline pass.  Our bank had told us months before that we were  pre-qualified for up to a $50,000 car loan.  The offer was good through Dec. 21.  We have utterly no need for a car worth $50,000 (or any other new car), no matter how good it would have been for the economy.

Goods and Problems

My father-in-law sent me this article from the Boston Globe.  Here is the key paragraph, at least by my judgment:

Poverty and wealth, by this logic, don’t just fall along a continuum the way hot and cold or short and tall do. They are instead fundamentally different experiences, each working on the human psyche in its own way. At some point between the two, people stop thinking in terms of goods and start thinking in terms of problems, and that shift has enormous consequences. Perhaps because economists, by and large, are well-off, he suggests, they’ve failed to see the shift at all.

This analysis seems to fit with what I hear from people, and what I’ve observed.

They way I understand the article is this.  For the poor, problems and challenges have mounted to a sufficient level that the ability to handle and overcome them one by one and eventually climb out of the pit of poverty doesn’t seem realistic.  The wealthy tend not to grasp this because, in general, problems happen, even when they pile upon one another, in the overall context of good.    The assumption, for the wealthy, is that problems can be overcome.  The assumption for the poor is that there are simply too many problmes to be overcome.

To draw up short on discussion and pitch this to you, what does this mean for followers of Jesus?