Health Care Reform

Let’s imagine for one second…

You and your spouse plan a nice get-away for your anniversary, which happens to fall on the same weekend as a major high school sporting event. You made your reservation at a nice hotel, the hotel required you to make an advanced non-refundable deposit on the room, you were given a confirmation number, and you paid extra to have the staff order flowers and champagne to be in your room when you arrived. Yet, when you arrive, the staff tells you that the high school team needed an additional room. Because the hotel is booked solid, they gave the team your room. Oh, and sorry about that non-refundable deposit. Yeah, and there are no rooms at any other hotels because of this sporting event. Better luck next time!

It wouldn’t fly. First of all, a hotel doesn’t do that. If it did, it wouldn’t be competitive in the market. Not only would you give major grief to the General Manager of that hotel, and probably a corporate office, and demand your money back…but you would never choose that hotel (or possibly that chain of hotels) again! Further, you would tell your story to your friends, and they would probably not stay there either.

But somehow, health insurance is different. Somehow, we have allowed them to bully their way into our pocketbooks, and we don’t haven’t had the nerve to tell them off.

And now we want to depend on Washington to fix it for us.

Really?

If only Washington would write something into Health Care Reform about Americans growing a pair and finding a better answer.

You just…we wouldn’t act this way in any other market. Why do we act this way with Health Care?

Crazy, Religious, Anti-Choice Commercials

Okay…seriously?

*Sigh.*

I understand that the Focus on the Family commercial during last night’s Superbowl could be seen as a “political” commercial, and thus, may be inappropriate for the Superbowl.

However…(and this is an enormous “however”)…

I really take issue with the fact that so many are spitting fire over a family-centered commercial, but nobody cares that there were at least two commercials last night that featured men and women in their underwear.

I, frankly, am weary of this idea that the only “culture” we’re allowed to have is the kind where women must be hot and controlling, men must be dumb and spineless, and everyone must run around in their underwear and drink beer. It’s about time someone stood up and promoted a way of life that challenges the “culture” of America.

Disclosure: I’ve no problem with nakedness, attractiveness, underwear, or beer. But then…I’ve no problem with a woman choosing to have her baby, either.

Job Hunt Peeves

So I have a few peeves about the job hunt that I’d like to share here just to get them out of my brain.

  1. Email rejections. They’re just so unprofessional. I suppose there’s a time and a place for these, but I still loathe them. Email applications strike me as unprofessional, so why would I feel any differently about email rejection letters?
  2. Email rejections, part B. Okay, if your application process happens electronically, then an email rejection letter is okay. I suppose. But if I’ve printed a resume, filled out an application, mailed it or dropped it off to you, driven into town for an interview, and then sent you a thank-you note, an email rejection is more like a slap-in-the-face than a professional correspondence.
  3. Typos. Honestly. If I submitted an application, resume, or cover letter with grammatical or spelling errors, I would not even be considered for the position. Don’t send me a rejection letter that wouldn’t pass a high school English course.
  4. References. If you are going to base your hiring decision on what a past employer might say about me, then I think it’s only fair that you offer me a heads-up and say, “Is there anything about your past employers that you want to talk about before I call them?” Let’s be fair. Not all former employers are going to give glowing reviews, and it’s not always the former employee’s fault.
  5. Incompetence. I recently went into an establishment where I’ve applied several times and have never even been interviewed; and my cashier gave me wrong change. At the end of the day, we learned that she had given wrong change not only to me, but to at least one other person. I wanted to look the store manager in the eye and say, “You’ll hire her but not me?”

So there you have it. There are more peeves, but these are the ones on my mind today. Maybe I’m being nit-picky; but I think sometimes employers forget that they are being interviewed, too. Just remember, you get what you get.

How about you? Do you have any peeves about job hunting?

Alcorn: Was Pat Robertson Right?

Several years ago, I read Randy Alcorn’s book about Heaven. I certainly didn’t agree with him entirely, but I was challenged to reconsider so many assumptions I’d held about eternity–and that was an invaluable tool. I’ve since used the book more as a reference or study book than as reading material. I love it! If you haven’t read this book, you need to. Your entire concept of what Heaven is, and why it exists, will be challenged.

I didn’t even know Randy Alcorn had a blog, if you want to know the truth about it. A couple of nights ago, after discussing the now-infamous Pat Robertson statement about Haiti being cursed, in a moment of frustration, I googled “was Pat Robertson right about Haiti?” And behold! Randy Alcorn’s blog, titled, “Was Pat Robertson Right?“. I love it when God brings people and resources into my life when I’m being frustrated and flippant. He’s so good at reminding me not to take myself so seriously.

Anyway, I want to encourage you all to go and read Alcorn’s words on this matter. He is gracious but firm (and incredibly articulate) in explaining the problem with Robertson’s presumption about Haiti. As Christians, I think it’s important that we speak truth when it needs to be spoken, but also that we do so without alienating or condemning those who may be erring.

So Randy–thanks for the blog and for setting a standard by which we can learn to disagree without condemnation! And Pat–thanks for encouraging generosity towards the Haitian people!

Pax Christi!

Sarah

Pre-Coffee Thoughts

It’s morning, I think. My brain didn’t get the memo, but the sun is up, and so am I. Forgive my disjointedness. Maybe I’ll offer a more coherent blog once I’ve had my coffee. For the time-being, you’ll have to settle for my update thoughts.

  • I’ve felted three of my Christmas projects. Agh. Nobody told me what a pain in the derriere felting could be. Still, the gifts are superbly cool. It is well worth it.
  • Is there truly such a thing as Christian Hedonism? What I mean to say is…can the idea of Christian Hedonism honestly (and adequately) be defended by scripture and orthodoxy? I’m doubtful.
  • Twelve-sixteen…Joy Ison, wherever in the world you are, Happy Birthday!
  • So about this Health Care Bill…I’m reading the Constitution again to see if I can figure out how it might be considered “constitutional” to require Americans to purchase Health Insurance. No worries, I’m sure some constitutional lawyer somewhere can squeeze it out.
  • And about IHOP…I’m very worried about this movement. I’ve been following Ben’s series of blogs about the IHOP “awakening” and it has helped me to consider more angles of this. In regards to IHOP, Ben and I happen to disagree fundamentally, I think–but he has some great perspective, nonetheless. If you’re not already reading Ben’s blog, go there now.
  • Twenty-seven days until Kristin comes home from Iraq!
  • Glenn Beck is on the radio! Woot! I’m gonna go be a sick, twisted freak now.

More after coffee.

Pax.

The Emotional God

Have you ever been called an “emotional” person? I have been. It always gives me pause when someone says that, because I have to think, “so, what? You don’t have emotions? Okay, super-human, un-feeling, freak-oid!” Of course, I would never say those things, but really? There are people who are not emotional? Come on! What they mean to say, I think, and are trying desperately to avoid saying so they won’t offend me, is that they are uncomfortable with my emotions, or they think I am governed somehow by these emotions.

Hey folks, if there’s one thing I’m not–it’s governed by my emotions. I feel enormous feelings, I won’t deny that. And I know that some of you secretly roll your eyes at my enormous attachment to my feelings. But I think it’s silly to be otherwise. Why would God give us emotions unless they were meant to be felt? And how often has our society taught us to ignore our emotions, just “suck it up” and not deal with what is right there in our own hearts?

And ironically, I think we serve a God who is emotional, as well. Last year, when I read Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy, one idea I kept stumbling back upon was the reality that God is not any one thing. Everything that God is, is God. So when we deny that God is one way or another, it doesn’t just mean we are “mistaken,” it means we have an altered view of who He is. And not only that, but it skews our understanding of His other attributes. Consider God’s mercy. If God were not also a just God, then His mercy would mean nothing.

So do we paint an untrue image of God by acting as if He is entirely rational and unemotional towards us? If anything, God is a wild man. It’s what Rich Mullins called, “the reckless, raging fury.” The love of God. What kind of rational, unemotional being would commit the sacrifice for us that Christ has? None! It cannot be! It is because of His passion, His emotion, and His deep love for us that He paid that price.

So we could be brought back to Him. So we could know Him. So we could be His people and He could be our God.

Scripture describes Him as rejoicing over us with singing. Christ drove out the money changers from the temple. His anger burned against Moses. Christ sweat drops of blood. Jesus wept for Jerusalem. What are these if not emotional?

I am emotional today. And I thank God for it. My Mom’s Compassion child is from El Salvador, where hurricane Ida has left so many without basic things that we take for granted–clean water, electricity, hope. Shaun Groves shares an excellent blog–with some gut-wrenching images–about this. Please go and read it HERE. If your heart doesn’t lurch at the thought of such despair and need, then you might need to check your pulse. If you are able to help in any way at all, please consider doing so. We are having incredibly difficult times here in America, but sometimes I think we forget what Dash stated so well as a comment on my Veteran’s Day entry:

The worst of America often far outstrips the best of other nations in the world. I have had the privilege of traveling the world, and the honor of doing so in service to this nation. There is a reason why others in the world are willing to risk life, career and loss of family to come here.

God, grant us hearts that overflow with emotion for You and for Your Children all around the world. Teach us the gift of generosity, and the outrageous and glorious blessing of blessing others. Make us more like You. Bend our minds ever to recall Your faithfulness toward us, even when we are faithless. Fill our hearts with thankfulness for all You’ve done, even in our hours of struggling.

Pax Christi, all of you emotional people.

Sar.

The “Me” Generation

Last night, Beck spoke briefly about what he called The “Me” Generation. I don’t necessarily agree that it’s the population under 30 years old, which–at least for another year–includes me. It does seem far more prevalent in my peers and the younger hooligans, but it certainly cannot be limited to us. I suspect that we are just more likely to act out and vocalize our self-focused ideologies.

It’s not just a “generation,” unfortunately. It’s an entire culture. It’s an entire structure of our existence here in America*. The individual has become more important than the community. No, strike that last statement. The individual is not “more important” than the community; rather, the individual is more concerned with himself than with anybody around him. But it didn’t start with us young punks. Where did it start? Did it start with the fathers we never knew because they left our families to go and “find themselves”? I don’t know.

It seems to me that this has been a long time in coming. Perhaps this is simply how mankind self-destructs. It grows in us like a cancer unchecked. And where does it stem? Loss of identity?

In The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer wrote that “all our problems and their solutions are theological.” I try to avoid sweeping statements, but this is one I tend to agree with wholeheartedly. He talks about our perception of God, our tendency to define God by what is not God (words, ideas, things in the world around us), and how these things shape our lives and our identities. He also writes, “we can never know who or what we are till we know at least something of what God is.”

Erwin Raphael McManus talks about identity in this regard, also. In his book, Soul Cravings, McManus writes that “the power of community is that it helps us understand ourselves.” Whether we like it or not, we are shaped by our relationships and our culture; we understand ourselves in reference to other people.

So consider. In a culture where we no longer have clear ideas about God–even in our churches, and our relationships are constantly failing because of divorce and infidelity and abuse and manipulation, how can we be a people that is anything but self-serving? In a culture where human life and dignity has been so devalued, how can we be a people that is anything but self-degrading? In a culture where fame and money are honored while sacrifice and humility are mocked, how can we be a people that is anything but self-concerned?

How can we be anything but a “Me” generation?

Last night at the grocery store, I found myself in a “You Bag” checkout aisle,  just in front of the Customer Service Desk, behind an adorable old woman with curly white hair, funny big glasses, and bright pink lips. She moved slowly, but I didn’t mind. After paying the cashier, she walked slowly toward the end of the aisle to gather her few groceries–a grapefruit, a piece of german chocolate cake, a bottle of grape juice, and a small bag of dinner rolls. She quickly became confused, however, and couldn’t find her groceries. The aisle next to us was a “We Bag” aisle, so she stood there with her shopping cart, waiting for the bag boy to find her groceries and place them in her cart or offer to carry them out. But nobody came to her aid, and her groceries just waited there. The bag boy rolled his eyes and ignored her. The cashiers in both lanes watched her with disbelief. And the manager at the Customer Service Desk smiled in humor at her misfortune and turned the other direction. I was appalled. After paying for my own things, I bagged her things and turned to place them in her cart. She smiled, oblivious to the lack of concern by the employees, and thanked me.

For a moment, let’s forget the fact that employees should have jumped at the opportunity to help this woman. And let’s set aside my utter frustration and anger that I cannot find work, but these self-serving, inconsiderate, un-customer-service-friendly people are employed. The thing that really caught me attention last night was not the lack of help offered to the woman, but the fact that the manager smiled his humor at her; and the other guy rolled his eyes at her. What have we become, that we would find entertainment in an old woman’s struggle rather than offering to help her?

2 Timothy 3.

1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

Have nothing to do with them, folks. Be filled with the fruit of God’s Spirit.

Pax Christi.

Semmie.

*Here in America? Sure…I’ll post this for you…copyright, Rich Mullins:

Saints and children we have gathered here to hear the sacred story
And I’m glad to bring it to you with my best rhyming and rhythm
‘Cause I know the thirsty listen and down to the waters come
And the Holy King of Israel loves me here in America

And if you listen to my songs I hope you hear the water falling
I hope you feel the oceans crashing on the coast of north New England
I wish I could be there just to see them, two summers past I was
And the Holy King of Israel loves me here in America

And if I were a painter I do not know which I’d paint
The calling of the ancient stars or assembling of the saints
And there’s so much beauty around us for just two eyes to see
But everywhere I go I’m looking

And once I went to Appalachia for my father he was born there
And I saw the mountains waking with the innocence of children
And my soul is still there with them wrapped in the songs they brought
And the Holy King of Israel loves me here in America

And I’ve seen by the highways on a million exit ramps
Those two-legged memorials to the laws of happenstance
Waiting for four-wheeled messiahs to take them home again
But I am home anywhere if You are where I am

And if you listen to my songs I hope you hear the water falling
I hope you feel the oceans crashing on the coast of north New England
I wish I could be there just to see them, two summers past I was
And the Holy King of Israel loves me here in America