On Not Being Cursed…

Verse of the Day:

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes.

They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lordwhose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream

It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
~ Jeremiah 17:5-8 ~

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So this wasn’t part of my regular Bible study, but recent events made me think of it: Republicans in different camps are upset with a good number of people today for a variety of reasons – one side is perturbed that President Trump didn’t even attempt to negotiate a deal re: the debt ceiling, another that we increased the debt ceiling at all, one that blames Speaker Ryan and Republican leadership for failing to see this coming and get in front of it, some at Messrs. Ryan and McConnell for just rolling over, and some (ok… most all) at the GOP led Congress for not getting anything done in 6 months after they’ve been saying for seven years ‘If only we had the House, Senate, AND the White House we could get stuff done”.  Not going to lie – I fall into a couple of those camps myself.

But it made me think of how much hope and trustpsalm1463 and faith we as people put into politicians….  and how much we really shouldn’t.
It’s something people on all sides of the political spectrum do: President Clinton was going to save the Democratic Party, President Bush was going to restore prestige to the Oval Office, according to President Obama – he was going to stop the rise of the oceans or some such nonsense, etc… I personally  yearned for the day when then-Governor Sanford would run for President – he was going to save the country with his sound policies, but he couldn’t even save his marriage because of his unsound morals (talk about a heart-breaking disappointment); then there was Governor Romney – probably the most qualified, morally upright person to run for President in recent memory; then there was Messr. Ryan (actually – he was before Gov. Romney, and I won’t lie – I’ve had a policy crush on Messr. Ryan since his early Roadmaps…  it was so dreamy) – I personally had so much faith and hope placed in him that his transformation as head cat wrangler Speaker has been soooooo disappointing I have a hard time finding the words to explain it (understandable seeing as he has a caucus that’s stupid to the nth degree, but still); and somewhere in there was Gov. Walker and Senator Rubio – both who I still think have bright futures.  And lastly I figured while the GOP controlled Congress wasn’t going to do anything substantive I might as well embrace The Donald – he may not share many of my convictions, but at least he ticked off all the right people.  And there was no way he was going to deal with Mme. Pelosi or Messr. Schumer….  And then yesterday happened.  GRRRRR…  I give up.  😉
Recently people put a good deal of faith in Donald Trump: he was going to build a wall, drain the swamp, take the national debt seriously in an Andrew Jackson kind of way; he along with a Republican Congress were going to repeal Obamacare, revise the tax code, etc…  And we know how that’s going right now.

But there is so much faith put in these folks, that I think we forget that’s what they are: merely human.  Individuals who are gifted with power, but who still have to deal with being deeply flawed people.  And when we put that much faith in men, we’re bound to be disappointed – which will lead to feelings of frustration and anger, and we too often take those out on the folks around us, or let it go into the ether that is social media…  And that just leads to the society we have today where everybody is angry so much of the time that we need to just take time away from it all.

It’s not worth it.

I could stop there really, but I won’t.   Still – it’s not worth it.  There is so much out there we should be doing, so much of God’s love we should be showing to our neighbours, that we really need to stop placing so much trust in people (maybe especially politicians – if you don’t give them that much power over your emotions/etc., maybe they won’t be that important overall) and start putting it back in the Creator of all things.

Look, I’m disappointed in a government that slowly encroaches on more and more of my life, I’m disappointed in a Republican party that lets it and doesn’t move on big issues to reform/reduce the size and scope of government, I’m disappointed in a President that is petty and doesn’t seem to have any core beliefs, I’m disappointed in a media that doesn’t care about the truth or the facts – only their agenda… And often that disappointment slips out as anger – it’s something I’m working on (maybe not hard enough(?)), work on it with me?  If we all work on it together, maybe we’ll get to a place where no matter what the douchebags in D.C. or Olympia or wherever do – we can still be filled with joy and be pleasant to one another.  Maybe.

Now, from today’s study:

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And that is a true fact.

On Needing My Pain (and other emotions) – or On The Vulcan Influence…

Because I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul and tie as much as possible into Star Trek…  And Star Trek V isn’t as bad as everyone else makes it out to be – especially since JJ Abrams tried to murder the franchise.

Today we had a guest speaker at church, Jim Lyon – his message can be found here.  I thought the message was especially interesting since it provides the counter-argument to the Stoic line of thought that I’ve been reading in Meditations: where one argues that evil comes from emotion and they should be suppressed in favor of reason and intellect (the Stoic school of thought dumbed down as much as I possibly can here); while the other argues emotions are part and parcel of being the wonderful creations we are – in God’s own image no less.

Now, emotions are not something I’m generally comfortable talking about; c’mon, I’m a guy – can’t we talk about football instead?  But they are something I’ve learned to deal with a little bit better in the last year or so; whereas the emotions I find easiest to express are probably not the healthiest – anger and frustration, the rest escape me most of the time – just they way I’m wired.  
In the past, you could find me ensconced in politics 24/7/365 – it was what I loved, what I lived for from the time I was in middle school until I was 34, and I like to think I was semi-competent at it…  and towards the end I spent most of that time angry.  While I would consider my anger righteous in nature (it wasn’t… most of the time), but eventually it became pretty encompassing: I couldn’t just see people on the other side of an argument as people who needed to be loved but I disagreed with – they were the opposition, the enemy.  And that wasn’t just people in the other party, it was people in my own.  I sat in a few meetings where an individual repeatedly berated people who disagreed with them (I was on the receiving end of one of those tirades a time or two), and after on incident where this individual – a proclaimed Christian, said this about someone with whom they disagreed about a political issue “There is no mercy for [him]!” I had to take a step back and think about things.  I realized I never wanted to get to that point, where someone would see that kind of vitriol from me – so I had to take a step back.  As I slowly extricated myself from the organizations and things I enjoyed most in life I found something out: I became happier.  I found other ways to spend my time: instead of volunteering for a political party I found opportunities in the community, I found more opportunities at church, etc.  And I wasn’t as angry all the time – look, I still read the news and politics is still my first love (Daphne Du Maurier once said about first love, “I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say.”) I’m still going to get angry; but I’m not angry at the people next door, and I like to think I’m getting better at the rest of the world too (it’s realllllllly hard though – why are people so stupid?!).  It’s a process though, and one I have a hard time trusting God with – but trust Him I need to.  My emotions are a part of me and who God created me to be – I need them, they’re natural, they make me who I am; but as Mr. Lyon said they are corrupted versions of the pure emotions of He who created me so I need His help dealing with them.  This is just one area pertaining to emotions where I need help, there are plenty more areas…

So much of life comes down to trusting God, and the emotional side of things is one of the hardest for me, for a lot of people I’m guessing… and that’s why todays Verse of the Day is this:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your path straight.”
~ Proverbs 3:5-6 ~

I hope I do a better job trusting God tomorrow than I did today, and the day after, and the day after – I hope we all do.

Have an awesome Labor Day!