What Can Break the Immigration Stalemate?

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2014 by jcwill5

There is more to the ongoing debate over illegal immigration than meets the eye.

That’s why I believe neither political party is well-positioned now to address this issue.

I say this because any solution must reflect two noble impulses, without taking either one to a one-sided, destructive extreme.

On the one side are the deeply embedded values of “fairness”.

These values express a desire to champion the underdog, relieve the oppressed, and have compassion on the distressed.

These values look to the government to fix “the system”, to equalize social and economic conditions, and to intervene to relieve all suffering–even self-inflicted suffering and painful consequences from poor life choices.

From this vantage point, it’s wrong to call non-citizens “illegal immigrants” and/or deny them all the social benefits our rich country can afford to give them.

To treat citizens better than non-citizen immigrants is injustice, pure and simple.

And it is the government’s job to fix this injustice and make things fair.

On the other side are the deeply embedded values of “righteousness”.

These values express the a deep desire to uphold the law, play by the rules, and reward the law-abiding while punishing lawlessness.

These values look to the government to enforce the law, not reward those who break it, and uphold the time-honored, melting-pot system that built this country through LEGAL immigration.

They want a high and distinguishable difference between how citizens and non-citizens are treated, what benefits they are entitled to, etc.

It’s not unfairness to have such a distinction; it’s part of a rightly ordered, law-abiding society that reflects our American heritage.

The great gulf of misunderstanding

One side cries, “It’s not fair!”

The other side cries, “It’s not right!”

One side sees the righteousness group as “unjust oppressors” and “anti-Hispanic racists.”

The other side sees the fairness group as “law-breaking wrongdoers” and “pandering enablers”.

No matter how many elections we have, no matter how big a majority either side obtains, these cries and perceptions remain.

So what’s the problem?

For one thing, neither side can comprehend how the other thinks–making empathy impossible.

So they talk past each other and push harder and speak louder and louder until they are shouting and raging against the other.

So neither side can see any valid reason for the other side’s position–so they place a pejorative, dismissive label on the other.

So each side tries to use whatever part of government they control to further their side’s agenda over the objections of the other side.

Then each side ends up vehement, hardened and unwilling to work together.

And each side views any attempts to work with the other as treason and as a denial of their core values.

On two different planets

Advocates of fairness see the President’s recent plan to use executive orders on behalf of 5 million undocumented immigrants as justice at last.

The see it as the President doing his job in a long-overdue area of injustice–which justifies the executive branch’s intrusion into the legislative branch’s domain.

That is why they want immediate action from the President and cannot wait any longer.

Unfairness must be fixed and fixed now!

Advocates of righteousness, however, see the President as a law-breaker who is rewarding a big group of law-breakers.

They will never accept a solution that rewards illegal acts–no matter what size the impacted group, how long they have been here, or however hard their life here might be.

They will not just “get over” what they see as the President’s intrusion into the functions of Congress.

They will not just “get over” the fact that 11 million people are here illegally.

From this view, these folks need to return to their home country immediately or deported if they won’t go willingly.

Then the border must be so tightened up that it will be impossible for more of this illegality to happen.

Illegality must be fixed and fixed now!

The truth is we need both justice and righteousness to happen in all areas of society and in our own personal lives.

The impulses to be good to others and to uphold the law don’t necessarily need to be in mortal conflict.

Advocates of immigration reform would do well to stop speaking in terms of fairness, but instead speak about how our system makes it easy to be illegal and hard to be legal–and isn’t that stupid?

Advocates of the rule of law would do better to stop speaking in terms of illegality, but instead speak about our unnecessarily complex rules and loose borders have conspired to put people in a false, unfair position–and isn’t that stupid?

For what it’s worth:

Let’s establish a generous, large, guest worker program for long-term migrant workers who work in agriculture (and other industries) and make it super easy for them to be legal.

Then let’s give an easy way for the many already here to be grandfathered into this program.

Let’s establish a series of bi-lateral agreements with those nations sending us the most illegal immigrants–where we collect each nation’s taxes on monies their citizens earn here to fund benefit programs, schooling, etc.  for their citizens here.

Such an agreement might include issuing versions of their home country’s driver licenses, and voting in their home country’s elections.

It seems both fair and right to me that some of what their citizens earn here go to pay for the costs their citizens incur here–instead of sending all excess income home and expecting us to foot their whole social services bill.

Children born to families in such programs would be citizens of their parent’s home nations and also be covered under their home country’s benefit programs that we’d administer for them.

To me, it seem like such an approach would be rational, fair, law-upholding, and far simpler than the mess we have now.

And it might even be something we can all unify around and even get Congress and the President to enact…

One can always hope.

The End of Actual Relationships

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2014 by jcwill5

Are actual, real-life, face-to-face relationships being replaced by remote, virtual relationships?

And, if they are, what impact is this having on our children, teens, and college students?

A professor at Towson University gave two assignments to a class:  initiate eating a meal with a complete stranger, and initiate an act of kindness to someone you encounter in real life.

Here is what he found:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/teaching-civility-two-daring-assignments/2014/10/30/6c71682e-4b3c-11e4-a046-120a8a855cca_story.html

This same professor had, in an earlier class, given students the assignment of eating a meal alone in the student cafeteria without a laptop, handheld device, or smartphone.

Here are the results:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/education/edlife/looking-for-intimacy-in-the-age-of-facebook.html?pagewanted=all

The students describe all the pressures they feel to agree with and like the opinions of others, to gather “likes”, to respond to any text, tweet, or post immediately, to not be honest about negative events or emotions lest they appear like they are “panhandling for attention”.

It broke my heart.

These students were consumed with their virtual worlds, obsessed with their virtual image, and completely isolated in real life from actual, person-to-person, caring interactions.

You can have five-hundred Facebook friends and be completely isolated and alone.

You can be in a room full of people and have everyone staring at private screens.

You can post pictures of meals and parties on Instagram, but never actually talk in depth to anyone at any of them at these meals.

You have a normal life of ups-and-downs, strengths and weaknesses, joys and heart-breaks, but it seems pathetic compared to the always good, achievement-filled, hyper images of friends in the virtual world.

So you end up wallowing in self-loathing and depression–with nobody to break through the virtual barricades.

I’m not saying these things aren’t good tools.

I’m not saying these things don’t have a place or their time.

I am saying that many of these young adults spend 18 hours a day on their virtual world and are unknown, unenjoyed, and unloved in actual life.

Their virtual universe is the only universe they exist in, and everything in it orbits around them

A completely virtual life is quickly becoming the new normal.

But I would argue that it’s not a good, healthy, or desirable new normal.

We are raising a generation of relationally disabled people who are unwilling, unmotivated, and unable to have real-life, actual, face-to-face, real relationships.

We all now live in our little tribes, in our little cocoons and silos, where everyone must agree and like everyone else’s likes.

Even in college class the only acceptable response, even when disagreeing, was to say, “I agree with what they just said…”

It is the death of actual relationships.

It is the ruling out of friendships that endure through disagreements and misunderstandings.

It is the twilight of true brotherhood.

And I don’t know anything short of a prolonged, national power outage that would change this new social normal.

Well, I do know one thing that’s more powerful.   More on that the next time….

Emotional Maturity

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2014 by jcwill5

Some years ago, researchers coined a new term to describe the difference between two responses of kids who were left in a room with a candy bar and told not to eat it until the adult returned.

The first group were able to not eat the candy, and were supposed to have “emotional intelligence”.

The second group ate the candy as soon as the adult left, and were lacking in this kind of intelligence.

Emotional intelligence was thus the key to success in life, and was just as important as IQ.

Schools, therefore, needed to focus on developing this new kind of intelligence.

It became a new educational fad.

What if we dropped the word intelligence and substituted the word maturity?

Emotional maturity.

The ability to have healthy emotions, but not be ruled by them or let them to sabotage important, long-term goals.

It’s the ability to deny one’s self, wait patiently, resist temptations, and keep moving forward–despite impulses, strong emotions, and urges.

It’s the ability to do the right thing, however difficult, when the selfish thing is easier and more immediately rewarding.

It’s the ability to continue to follow one’s principles, even when disregarding them would be advantageous or emotionally satisfying.

Self-control.  Self-regulation.   Self-denial.  Self-mastery.

How very easy to say, and how extremely difficult to practice!

It has nothing to do with intelligence.

It has everything to do with our soul, how our character is formed on the other side of suffering.

Speaking for myself, the greatest barrier to emotional maturity has been emotional deprivation early in life.

Emotionally, I felt like an abandoned orphan.

My brilliant, Aspberger’s syndrome-impacted mother was non-nurturing, eschewed physical touch, and was unable to read emotional cues and clues.

I understand that now, of course.   But, as a child, it was emotionally devastating all the same.

That’s why I understand these kids who couldn’t wait to have the candy bar.

I was one of them.

When a child is neglected–deprived of physical affection, focused attention, caring guidance, and parental nurturing–they have this black hole within them.

So they learn to compensate for deprivation with indulgence–rewards like food, escapes like video games, and protests like misbehavior.

Which only makes their life worse.

Any and all pain, to an already pain-overloaded and emotionally deprived heart, is intolerable.

It is so painful to deprive their already deprived heart that they are driven to grab whatever they want right away–as if there is no tomorrow.

Then we build a society around helping them feel good, protecting them from all adversity, and giving them whatever they want.

Ironically, the self-esteem and over-protection approaches don’t help their underlying problem, they only deepen their bondage to it.

A vicious, self-defeating circle is formed.

It’s where the emotionally deprived who act out are harshly punished or indulgently pampered.

But the rest of the class is challenged, stretched, made to do increasingly difficult things, and learn to endure personal hardships for greater goals.

So they grow up into non-functional, emotionally damaged adults who, of course, have kids of their own and send them to schools that label them emotionally unintelligent.

So what builds emotional maturity?  What can help us if we are one of the emotionally damaged and deprived?

Two things.

The first is to receive a love greater than our deprivation in our innermost person.

For me, I was fortunate to be found in my late teens by the pursuing love of God, and blessed with a very nurturing wife and circle of life-long Christian friends.

Each and every day, it is necessary for me to re-gaze at the redeeming love of Christ and to personally receive His love.

Each and every day, I need to be inside a grace-sharing, mutual community.

I need lots and lots of grace-therapy.   And I’ll need it the rest of my earthly life.

And if I don’t practice this spiritual disciple of receiving God’s love directly or through others, I go haywire and relapse into an emotional orphan’s approach to life.

Grace isn’t just a matter of my eternal destiny, it’s a matter of emotional survival and health that frees from bondage.

Being over-loved empowers me to care for others, and helps break these generational cycles of love deprivation.

The second challenge is learning how to endure adversities in life while moving forward.

This is where we entrust ourselves to our Supreme Lover, allowing Him to take us through a life-long series of increasingly painful and self-sacrificing life situations to grow us up.

It’s the process of how I am being re-parented and grown by Father God.

He insists on taking me through painful circumstances, and desires to raise the pain threshold.

It’s never random, and it’s never purposeless.

He wants me to learn how to endure harder and harder things, under more and more pressure, for longer and longer, so I can do more and more good.

That’s why so much of the Christian life is unlearning the wrong emotional training in an unhealthy family, and receiving a healing, right kind of emotional re-training in God’s healthy family.

It’s a life-long growth and emotional recovery project.

To me, it’s insulting and imprisoning to call this kind of growth “emotional intelligence”, as if we were born that way.

It seems charitable, and far more enlightening, to call it being well-loved vs. love-deprived.

There is a solution.

Our New National Religion

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2014 by jcwill5

What do Americans really worship?

There’s a famous story in the Bible where Moses goes up on Mount Sinai, stays there 40 days to receive the Law of God, but has to run down the mountain because… the people who had just sworn allegiance to Yahweh God were dancing around a bovine idol.

Which raises the question:   Is there a modern-day golden calf in the USA?  

Is there an idolatry infecting both political parties, most of our families, and many of our churches?

Is there something right in front of us, something spiritually toxic, that we can’t seem to see?

I believe there is.  

And I stumbled upon this discovery in a funny way.

Back-track 20 years, where my wife’s OB/GYN was discussing with her the option of an epidural block during delivery.

We asked him why so many more women were having one.    And he said this, “A lot of suburban women these days don’t want to lose control.   An epidural block allows them to maintain their aura of control.”

Fast forward to the 2007, where I was reading books on addiction and the treatment of addiction as part of doctoral studies.

In one of the best works, Stephanie Brown of Stanford University, mentioned how the key for treating addiction was for the therapist to help the addict lose control and begin the Twelve-Steps.

She went on the say that many therapists had an unspoken philosophy of personal control, and an agenda of helping their clients regain personal control.

Her conclusion:  therapists with this “control agenda” were a positive menace to an addict’s recovery.

I believe that most people in the United States, whatever box they may check on their religious preference form, subscribe to the religion of personal control.

The bottom line of this belief system is to gain control at all costs, and maintain control at all costs.

It can manifest itself as religious, irreligious, and indifferent towards religion.   It can be found at the heights of power and in the gutter, in self-help success seminars and in Twelve-Step clubs, in all regions, rural, suburban, or urban.

But it’s unalterable, inviolable creed is this:  One must never lose control.

What happens when two people marry who worship this idol?   A battle for control.

What happens when they have kids?   A battle for control.

What happens devotees of personal control are elected to office?  A battle for control.

What happens when they attend church?   A battle for control.

What happens when they indulge repeatedly and lose control to a substance, activity, or relationship?    They try even harder to control but end up losing control so they indulge more and more to regain control and therefore spiral downwards in a vicious circle.

It is fatal.

Personal control is thus the master addiction behind all other addictions.  

It is the chief idol in the American pantheon.    It is as American as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

Why are our politics so nasty?   Why are so many of our marriages so nasty?   And so many of our families?   And so many of our businesses?    And so many of our neighborhoods?  And so many of our churches? And so many of our souls?

Because we have danced around the idol of personal control so long we cannot stop–even when it’s killing us and destroying so much we cherish and hold dear.

The very frenzy of our ravings, the very fevered pitch on the Left, Middle and Right, tells us that a national breaking point is near.

Personal control will either be forcibly stripped from us in a devastating way, or we can voluntarily surrender it, hit bottom, and find redemption on the other side of it.

But we will surely lose it either way.

I hope, over the next few entries, to examine how the religion of personal control impacts marriages, politics, churches, and other areas of life.

And I hope to share a way out.

The Pain Behind Control Worship

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2014 by jcwill5

I knew that calling out the worship of control behind the pro-assisted suicide agenda would strike a nerve.  And it did.

One of the challenges of writing by installment is you can never say all that’s necessary in one entry.

A troll accused me of never having suffered and then commanded me to end my own life if I ever suffer and said I’m a coward if I don’t.

You could almost see their hands shaking with rage as he or she wrote these vicious words.   Their flaming response was telling.

But it was also revealing in a good way.

Control is not the ultimate or deepest issue driving us.

Just as control is what fuels all addictions, unresolved pain is what fuels our compulsion to control everything.

“I will not hurt like this any more!  I will never put up with this ever again!”

This is the cry of a deeply hurt person who doesn’t want to ever be hurt so badly.

And they are not bad for wanting to not suffer again.

Since they couldn’t trust the people in their lives to protect them or not harm them, they turn to the only person they can trust to always be there to look after them:  their self.

(I know all this because this was me in the aftermath of some very horrific things that happened to me as a child.)

But the self needs inhuman levels of control to fulfill that self-imposed mandate.

That’s why, when our shield of control is threatened and when we cannot avoid a similar pain, we “lose control” of ourselves.

Guardian emotions rise up within us–horrific fear, merciless shame, volcanic anger.

And their job is to tell the trespassing person or event:  stay away!  keep out!  no trespassing!  Or you will regret it!

Lost control of our emotions and our selves is a tell-tale sign we have a treasury of unrelieved, unresolved pain deep within the castle of our hearts.

It is a sign that we are greatly in need of healing, redeeming, freeing love in that very place.

But we cannot arrange for that love.    We cannot manufacture that love.   We cannot earn that love.

Which is why it gets so counter-intuitive at this point.

The last thing we want to do as hurting people–allow Someone we cannot control to enter our heart’s pain treasury and love us there– is the single thing we need the most to finally be free.

And if there is Nobody and Nothing supremely good and far above ourselves, who is able to enter from outside of our system and reach our inner sanctum with a love greater than our vast pain, then despair is our only option.

The only way out is to end it all as soon as you can.

Control-obsessed and control-driven people tend to see God as the blown up, gigantic human who trades in the same kind of sick, enslaving, false kind of love so dominant on earth.

It is hard for them easily accept that is God is wonderfully better and categorically different than selfish, petty human beings.

He’s not in the business of throwing thunderbolts at the defiant and unwilling heroes defending their rights.

He’s in the business of melting our hearts with mercy and killing us with oceans of undeserved kindness.

He wants a voluntarily surrender of control, an offering of all control to Him in an act of sheer trust and self-abandonment to Christ and the love He demonstrated at the Cross.

Then Christ invades our hearts and our lives not as a vicious tyrant, but as our dearest, most loving liberator.

We are never more truly our new and best selves than when we are under His complete control and filled up with His love!

It is our old, sinful self that is the real tyrant and villain of our story.  

It is this controller that is the monster who is devouring us from within and ruining so much of our lives and our society.

It masquerades as our friend but it is our worst enemy and spews forth its control worship propaganda to the applause of everyone who shares that agenda.

I do not write these things because I don’t understand or because I haven’t suffered, but because I have suffered greatly and discovered a vast treasury of soul riches through it and on the other side of it.

The choice is not between control and nothing, but between control and limitless, liberating, redemptive love.

There is a solution.

The Debate Behind the Assisted Suicide Debate

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2014 by jcwill5

A friend of mine was taking her son to a barbershop when the Brittany Maynard story came on the television news.

Both barbers and all the waiting men were in hearty agreement with Brittany’s plan to end her life on her terms.

They turned to the gal and asked her what she thought.

She answered, “I think this all comes down to needing to control everything.  And I believe God is the one who ought to have control over life and death, not us.”

Everyone got silent and they changed the subject.

But I have thought about that exchange for several weeks.

First, I think my friend is right.

There is fundamental core value clash going on, and it does center around the question, “Who has the control?”

On one side are those who answer, “I have the control and I have every right to keep/maintain control over life, my body, my death, etc.”

This is what I call Personal Control Religion (PCR).

In Personal Control Religion, the Self is absolute ruler.

I am my own measuring stick.

I am above all beliefs and causes, picking and choosing among them to find what fits ME.

I deserve my highest loyalty, and I require all others to bow to my wishes.

My own interests are paramount.

My control is the center around which all of life swirls and which everyone else in the universe orbits.

Therefore, my choices are beyond challenge and I am free to do whatever I want, any way I want, anytime I want.

Hence, I have the right to decide how much suffering I will endure, how long I will live, and the means by which I will die.

Which is why I found all the nodding heads in that barbershop so telling.

PCR is so dominant, so pervasive in our culture, that it seems automatically right and valid.

We are a nation of control lovers and control worshipers.

Using older language, we’ve made an idol out of personal control and an unspoken religion out of personal control.

And, like many regions around the world, people might have a Christian veneer but still worship something deeper and dearer to them than Christ.

It’s called syncretism.

I therefore believe the vast majority of so-called Christians and non-Christians in the USA worship their personal control.

And it comes to the surface in debates like this.

People don’t even realize how married they are to control, how control is the bottom line in so many of their decisions, and what they are prepared to sacrifice to gain or maintain personal control.

Until it comes out in the open, and they reverentially nod their heads and give their deepest validating approval of it.

Interestingly, the master addiction behind all other addictions is the addiction to control.

The need to control and the duty to maintain control at all costs is what keeps people from admitting they are out of control and that their life has become unmanageable.

It is the fuel that sustains addiction and which forbids losing control.

It is also why, when addicts gain initial sobriety and start to do better, they re-assume control and relapse.

And it also explains why there is such a strange, intense antipathy against God in the hearts of so many addicts.

If God is God, then I am not.

If God is God, then He controls and not me.

If God is God, then He sets the limits and makes the rules, and I don’t.

So the real debate isn’t over whether or not people should have the “right” to die.

The real debate is over who has the final say-so, who decides how much and how long we suffer, who owns our bodies, who is on the Throne of the universe, and who therefore has the rightful authority over all life-and-death decisions.

The truth is we don’t really control anything.

The truth is we are small, weak, mortal, and vulnerable, and therefore incapable and incompetent managers of the universe.

The truth is we are sinners, are selfish to the core, and therefore are morally disqualified from occupying the Throne.

The truth is we don’t really have control but only the illusion of control.

And the truth is we don’t want to admit it.

So we cloak our utter lack of control around heroic stands, noble causes, and trying to be huge and all-significant.

Which is why a life-ending ritual sacrifice to the false god control is a sad and ultimately meaningless sham.

An older friend once told me, “People won’t hate you when you disagree with them, they’ll hate you when you topple their idol and call them to repentance.”

Simply stated, the bitch-goddess control doesn’t deserve our worship, our devotion, our lives, and, most especially, our deaths.

So if these words have touched a nerve and cause a loss of emotional control, it’s not evidence I am wrong but confirmation that this idol is easily threatened and doesn’t stand up to the light of day.

The humble response is therefore to see our worship of personal control as a failed idol, to repent of it, and to return to the true and only God who rightfully deserves all control.

There is a solution.

The Revolutionary Reformation

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2014 by jcwill5

Today is not only All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween), it’s also Reformation Day.

Few of us understand what Martin Luther was trying to do on Oct. 31, 1517, and how it began a series of events we came to know as the Protestant Reformation.

Let me see if I can help with that–in case you’re interested!

The five major tenants of the Reformation:

1) By Christ alone.

Jesus Christ is the sole and perfect Agent of our salvation.

Therefore, no other intermediaries are needed between us and God, and His sacrificial death and perfectly righteous life are the sole basis of a right relationship with God.

This sets us free from performance treadmills and religious systems based on the few outperforming all others and binding everyone’s conscience to their system.

It was a direct challenge to those on the top of the religious/social pyramid, and great news to those at the bottom or completely outside the pyramid.

You can imagine why this made the Medieval Catholic church very unhappy…

2) By grace alone

This is about God’s heart and what God gives to sinners (i.e. – what flows through the pipeline of faith and the direction of that flow).

Christ loved us so much He died to give sinners His righteousness and very life, and loving generosity is what motivated God to give His “everything” to us.

We are saved in spite of ourselves, and need God to intervene from the outside to completely change us on the inside– because we are powerless to fix ourselves.

But once received, gratitude for grace (loving God in response to His love) becomes the fuel of our growth and service.

People who trade in guilt or fear to keep others down or keep others passive and subservient would not like this teaching.

It makes them rather unnecessary.

Yet it puts the spotlight on our own soul, because….

An ashamed pride that spurns charity, and not bad conduct, is the main barrier between us and salvation.

3) By Faith Alone

This point centers on the conduit of salvation (the pipeline).

We get off the performance treadmill (Or we let go of our angry rebellion against the treadmill), and forsake trusting in our selves and what we do.

And we stop listening to voices inside of us or outside of us that crack the whip, pressure us to do more, be better, and try harder, and/or offer an easy, magical system of managing life and self-fixing.

Instead, we entrust our selves to Christ, and trust Him to provide everything needed for salvation, life, etc.

That threatens the religious monopoly of the controllers, but it also puts the spotlight on our own soul, because…

A wounded pride that asserts, “I’ve done enough and suffered enough! I have it all under control!” is the main barrier between us and salvation.

4) The Bible alone

This point is about the divine guarantees and sole authority under-girding our salvation.

God’s written Self-revelation (not institutions or traditions or the self) is the supreme court and final determiner of what we are to believe and how we are to live.

This allows us to “fact-check” religious institutions, leaders, and movements against God’s revelation, and to compare the teachings and practices of the New Testament church to what’s happening today, and see if we’re drifting from it.

Which removes a lot of power and blind control from religious leaders who like to keep the masses ignorant and dancing to their tune.

But notice it also puts the spotlight on our own soul, because….

A stubborn pride that asserts, “I have the final say-so for me! I will do it my own way!” is the main barrier between us and salvation.

5) The priesthood of all believers

This is about the privileges and responsibilities that flow from salvation.

All work and all professions are now “the ministry” for believers and are honorable before God.

Those in the priesthood or the religious orders suddenly aren’t so special, superior, or indispensable.

They are demoted, while the rest of us are greatly elevated in dignity, and also in personal responsibility.

We can no longer justify passively allowing a few religious professionals to do all the work for the rest of us.

We each have a job in God’s kingdom, are accountable to Him for how diligently and well we do it, and so it’s time to make the most of it!

Hence, the Protestant work ethic.

You may not like the Reformation, and you may even disagree with these core teachings, but it’s undeniable they revolutionized the Western world back then.

And have the potential to revolutionize things again!

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