Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Civic engagement

After a conversation with friends last week, I decided to take action in a simple, thoughtful way.

We were talking about the cost of education, and the kinds of tax breaks you can expect to receive based on the interest you're paying on student loans--the best you can do is to deduct $2,500 of the money you pay in interest on them. It's not a credit.

And at this point, we're not even talking about the possibility of paying a mortgage if you want to own a house. At least with a house you can deduct all of your interest payments...

That seemed woefully inadequate to me, so I wrote this up in a couple hours on a Friday afternoon. Feel free to peruse, use, wholesale copy, or otherwise, and send to your representative and senators if you feel so inclined. Maybe make a call or visit an office.

I did so this week.

Has anyone else done something similar lately? The benefit of having a madman trying to run the nation is that civic engagement seems up.

Monday, March 20, 2017

I believe...[work in progress]

God exists

-[this is the critical, frustrating point that I will never be able to prove, and will honestly, probably always feel uncertain about]

-if I accept that, then the Bible relates that:

--Jesus is the son of God, who came into time and space

--Jesus sacrificed union/love/relationship with the Father on our behalf in a singular way

--we choose to distance ourselves from God in sin

--the penalty for sin is its fulfillment--separation, probably eternal--practically I don't know what that means

--Jesus gives us life freely

--the kingdom of God is greater than my salvation

--the work of the church is to bring the kingdom of God on earth--this happens in sometime conflicting and inconsistent ways (see the Bible)

-the Bible is the story of God's people (in part descriptive, prescriptive, and corrective)--it's God's word, but it is not the Word, nor is it God

--in the Beatitudes Jesus turns power on its head and shows his kingdom priorities

--Parables of the Kingdom tell us how Jesus thought of what was to come:
---the parable of the weeds says that God acknowledges human suffering and strife before his coming Kingdom
---the parable of the sower says that it is difficult to follow Jesus; it is difficult to have faith even; the Gospel of Jesus produces real change in people
---the parable of the hidden treasure describes the way a person gladly gives up his life and possessions, in a way that may be impossible to understand, in order to gain an even more precious way of life
---the parable of the pearl, in a similar way tells of the value of the Kingdom of heaven--worth more than any current power
---the parable of the growing seed reassures those tasked with Kingdom building that their labor is not in vain--a new thing is growing
---the parable of the mustard seed describes the extent and breadth of the pervasive Kingdom
---the parable of the leaven tells of how the Kingdom of God is inevitable after introduction of yeast--surely the resurrection of Jesus

-Jesus is the best thing for everyone because his resurrection is the preview of God's plan for a kingdom made right

-our fellow man deserve love not because they are objects to be converted, but because they are loved by the creator as much as I am

-faith is mysterious and maddening--sometimes I hate it