Healthcare.

I am a former student pastor, not a political pundit.
In fact, I’m probably not even educated enough on the issue to be discussing it.
I read the news from time to time, but hardly ever watch it.
That is one less thing I have to be concerned about being a distraction.
An increasingly depressing distraction at that.

But when major events happen, such as the passing of the Healthcare Reform bill, twitter and facebook light up.
EVERYONE has an opinion, whether an educated one or not.

I find myself being left in the middle somewhere, and can relate to Cameron Strang (founder/editor, Relevant Magazine) as he tweeted last night:
I guess I have no party. Abortion, I’m against – healthcare for the poor, I’m not (even if it costs me).

It never ceases to amaze me how far we have come away from what really matters.

You can call it whatever you want.
I think I’m going to push for the phrase “The Darwinization of Christianity.”
It has a nice ring to it, don’t you  think?

But more plainly, I believe it can be understood as “Ignoring Scripture.”
Yeah, that one stings a bit more, but it doesn’t need nearly as much explanation.

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”  – Matthew 9:12-13

Of course I know Jesus is speaking metaphorically here.
However, for a metaphor to be truly effective, shouldn’t the literal be true as well?

How many times are we told in the Bible to take care of those in need?
Honestly, I don’t know.
But it’s A LOT.

Deuteronomy 14:29
There will always be poor people in the land.  Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land if they are found deserving and work hard for it.

Psalm 12:5
Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise, says the LORD, I will protect them from those who malign them unless they are unable to provide something in return.

Matthew 25:41-43, 45
Depart from me…for I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me…I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

I think you get the basic idea.

Back to the whole Darwinization thing.
When did Christianity become such a capitalist venture?
When did God give us the right to say that we don’t have to help certain people because they’ve made poor choices, or because their circumstances are bad, or because they’re lazy, or because it isn’t fair?

Doesn’t that sound a bit like Christianized version of survival of the fittest?
Natural selection?
That we’re better because we have jobs and pay our taxes and contribute to society?

Dare you ask God to give you what is fair, what you deserve?
I would doubt it.

And what better time of year to be able to see that we’re undeserving of everything we have as we are preparing to celebrate in just a couple of weeks the death, burial, and resurrection or the Lord Jesus Christ as He took away the condemnation that we so richly deserve and continues to give us the life that we so desperately need, but could in no way provide on our own.

How can we preach about that kind of grace and not help the poor?
Even if it does dip into our pocketbooks?

1 Timothy 6:17-18
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God…to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.

If we had always been so mindful of these instructions, would this even be an issue?
I would guess not, but who is to say?

The problem is not that Healthcare Reform bill passed.
The problem is that all along there has been an obvious need, but it wasn’t the government’s place to do it.
The onus lies with the Church.

Yeah, I said it.
The egocentric Bride of Christ.
Always seemingly complaining about what is wrong with pretty much everything, and never seemingly willing to do anything about it.
And now, the government has taken over in that role?

Why would God allow such a thing?
Easy.  Refer back to Psalm 12:5.
God is an advocate for those in need.
They will receive what they are so desperate for.
Whether we give it to them or not.

So, take a step back before you start blaming President Obama and Congress.
They aren’t the ones to blame for this bill passing.
In the short term, it could quite easily be argued that they forced it through against the will of the people.
I won’t disagree with that because it is, after all, the truth.

In the long-term big-picture scope of things, however, we, the Church, are to blame for our disobedience and arrogance.
For hoarding the blessings that God has so generously poored down on us with little or no regard to our neighbors in need.

Welcome to the future that we created by doing nothing.

Peace and love.

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8 thoughts on “Healthcare.

  1. Man I would agree with you when you are quoting the Scriptures, but the problem (and I would argue the solution as well) lies in the church. Jesus called his bride to take care of the widows, orphans, hungry, lost, naked, homeless, etc. He never said anything about using the government, or any other institution, to do so. If the church (whom I still believe in – it is God’s way of sharing His good news) would man up and be the church it is called to be, then we would not have to have this discussion. Good thoughts. Always enjoy your posts
    b

  2. good points all, but i would argue that for me, personally, it is not being “against helping poor people” or even the lazy, worthless (to society, not to God) people who don’t by our own wicked judgements “deserve” to be help, it is me having a very big problem with someone else (i.e., the government) telling me exactly how much I have to give and then taking it automatically without giving me a choice, and therefore the grace and mercy that comes with that choice. I do agree, however, that in an overarching, neo-darwinistic way the Church has helped cause this. Or at least let it happen through negligence on our part.

  3. Hey Kyle! It’s been a long time, but I was happy to come across this on my Facebook feed. While I don’t think that the reform bill was a bad thing, I think you hit the proverbial nail right on the head as to why the bill was needed in the first place. Amen. So you’re a youth pastor now?

  4. Just a few things to think about when it comes to taxes- Right now for a SINGLE US citizen with a salary between $45,000-$45,999 the amount of taxes are $3,770. For a single person in Canada with the same salary the amount of taxes are $6,872.32 in USD. France single, same salary- the amount of taxes are $4,548 in USD And finally the UK- the amount of taxes are $9,810.34 USD. This health care form will cause an increase in taxes.
    If you do not have health care and do not qualify under the plan the coverage the government will either tax you an extra 2% or you will have to pay the penalty and find your own coverage. In addition – since I do work in International HR and have to deal with International Benefits coverage everyday- this is an example of the coverage we will now receive- An employee had cancer and is a Citizen of Canada, once she was diagnosed she was put on a list to receive treatment- mind you she has medical coverage b/c it is company provided. It took 3 months for her to be treated with cancer b/c of their health care system. In the United States she could have received treatment the week she was diagnosed.
    Many people that are international expats (meaning they work all around the world and have international healthcare coverage) come to the United States to receive treatment in a public sector as oppose to their home country.

  5. I agree. It really gives me (and all of us) something to think about. Something I have certainly not heard in the media

  6. I tend to agree with the Brandons on this one. (I find it ironic that you’re both named Brandon…haha). But yeah, completely agree that we are supposed to take care of others, but I think this is a lazy way to do it. We are giving all authority…well, not giving, they took it…to the government. If they make the decision for us, they are taking all of the Christian element out of it because now, even non-believers are responsible, taking the credit away from Christ. The spread of the gospel is built on relationships. I can’t have a relationship with billions of people. I have some students at school that I have helped out…whether it be monetarily, or providing clothing, or school supplies, or whatever. Those relationships inevitably lead to a sharing of the gospel. Those are deep, meaningful relationships. When you look someone in the eye and give them clothes, money, and then hand them a Bible, and say, this is why I did this, that’s real. You see the shock in their eyes. You see the thankfulness in their heart, even if they don’t say it. One of my students hit it on the head…he said one time, “It means alot that you did this because you cared and not because you felt like you had to.” You are forever bonded with them. You can’t ever reach that level with someone if you allow the government to do it for you, and as a result, the gospel isn’t spread. Like I’ve said before, it’s like snuffing out the Holy Spirit in His name. Also, we have to wait on God’s leadership before we act. He will tell us when a person is meant for us. I think that as long as we are in His will and listening to His spirit, He will place us for a reason and assign us, basically, to the person of His choosing…a person He knows we can bond with and care for. He equips us. Making it law takes that away.

  7. I just read this over again, and one thing really hit me: “Welcome to the future that we created by doing nothing.” Lord help us, that’s so true. But, you know, it’s never too late to do what we should have been all along, and if people like us, who feel really strongly about this, will take that action, maybe we can make a small difference. But we can’t take the responsibility for what others have failed to do. We must listen closely and do what God meant for US to do. I love reading “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. In the devotion for April 13, he wrote the following: “We must recognize the difference between burdens that are right for us to bear and burdens that are wrong. We should never bear the burdens of sin or doubt, but there are some burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off. God wants us to roll them back on Him – to literally “cast your burden,” which He has given you, “on the Lord….” If we set out to serve God and do His work but get out of touch with Him, the sense of responsibility we feel will be overwhelming and defeating. But if we will only roll back on God the burdens He has placed on us, He will take away that immense feeling of responsibility, replacing it with an awareness and understanding of Himself and His presence.”

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