Sunday, December 24, 2017

News Commentary Break: Lorde, The UN, And Israel

Bullspit Of Epic Proportions

Truth be told, I like some Lorde songs. I think she's got a unique voice and a very different ear for music. I also can't say that I am upset with her for canceling her show: It's her show, and what she does with her business is her business. It's no skin off my nose if she chooses to respect her Israeli fans, or respect her Palestinian fans, or disrespect most of her fans to please a portion of them. It really is none of my concern.

What is my concern; what does have me ready to unload on someone; is the level of misinformation being spread around. What does have me pissed off is the pure and unadulterated stupidity seen in the United Nations today. What does have me angry is the relative ease with which a whining, vocal few can sway public opinion. 

Case in point: Lorde. I don't know the young lady, but I'm guessing she's very busy being a singer and performer. I'm guessing that between performances, publicity appearances, release parties, studio work and interviews, she has precious little time for herself. I'm guessing that much of her quality alone time outside of the public's eye is spent doing things she enjoys- And unless she enjoys researching international politics; the history of Israel and the Palestinian people; the creation, governance and activities of Hamas and Hezbollah; and the recognition policies of the United Nations, she probably doesn't know as much as she should to make a truly informed decision. However, introduce a whining, sniveling, simpering, sob-story toting duo of millennial/hippy hybrids writing a letter full of historical inaccuracies and factually flawed reasoning, and this incredibly influential pop star makes a decision which in turn sways public opinion. 

"A Difficult Time"

I'm sure that Palestinians throughout the region were suffering terribly, wondering if she was going to come or not. I can almost guarantee that no Muslim woman would be at the concert anyway; at least, not in any visible way. You see, such Western entertainment is considered to be corrupting to a Muslim; but especially to a woman. To see Lorde on stage showing skin not normally seen in a strict Islamic society could potentially cause women to think they were empowered, valuable or worse, (gasp) even human. If given the chance, I'd like to ask Ms. Abu-Shanab why she does not attempt to teach under Hamas or Hezbollah rule. I'd also like to ask Ms. Sachs why she thinks it's possible that she could return to Israel while still heading up her Deyanu organization. 

The simple truth is that Ms. Abu-Shanab would face persecution and possible death under Hamas and Hezbollah for being a woman teaching- Whether she is Muslim or not. Meanwhile, Ms. Sachs would be allowed to continue her involvement with an organization aimed at lambasting Israel for its supposed occupation of Palestinian land while living in Israel because they maintain much the same individual freedoms as the United States. The worst Ms. Sachs might experience are some harsh words from people who don't approve; far easier to deal with than the literal stones which might be thrown at Ms. Abu-Shanab. 

The reality is that no Palestinian dwelling in regions around Israel were having a difficult time due to Lorde; nor would they have any additional difficulty if she had chosen to keep her concert. No, the reality is that the difficulties these Palestinians face come directly from their coalition government: Hamas and Hezbollah. These two groups, still listed as international terrorist organizations, are the entities throwing fits about Jerusalem's recognition as Israel's capital. To stay alive and semi-cared for, the people barely surviving under this joke of a government merely repeat the party line.

The Sins Of America

According to dimwitted and well-intentioned people alike, the move by President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital was "shortsighted," "piggish," and "the actions of a Zionist bully," to use just a few of the descriptions I've heard. These individuals seem to forget the requirements for admission into the United Nations, to say nothing of simple history.

President Trump did nothing unusual: He recognized a city as the capital of a country that has had that city as its capital since inception. Would we be claiming issues if the U.S. recognized London as the capital of the United Kingdom, Paris as the capital of France, or Ottawa as the capital of Canada would there be an issue? Of course not. Yet these three countries have the largest Jewish populations in the world apart from Israel and the United States. 

The issue is not that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The issue is that Israel even exists, and I absolutely dare anyone to try proving me wrong on that statement. The sins of America in relation to Israel are many: We did not step into World War II soon enough; we did not treat them properly under many presidential administrations since their sovereign national identity was established; and we have not done enough to help their neighbors rid themselves of Hamas and Hezbollah. With the absence of these organizations, and a genuine democratic republic in place, the Palestinian peoples would actually be capable of speaking for themselves. 

The Treason Of The United Nations

In order to be admitted to the United Nations, an application must first receive a minimum of nine out of fifteen votes from the Security Council. Then it must receive a two-thirds majority vote from the General Assembly. In 1949, the nation of Israel was accepted into the United Nations with a better than minimal vote. 

In the speeches accompanying their admission, the Jewish people were hailed for their contributions to humanity. Phrases such as "advancement of progressive thought" and "Useful member of the family of nations" were used in these final discussions and statements. El Salvadore stated that it had watched the process "with the warmest desire to promote its admission." These are just some of the glowing terms used during these final speeches. 

Naturally, there were those opposed. It should come as no surprise that these were almost exclusively Arab, and almost entirely Muslim. It should come as no surprise that the anti-Israel initiative began even as they were admitted to the United Nations. Iraq called Israel's admission "another nail in the coffin of the United Nations." Egypt implied that admitting Israel would bring "everlasting shame and humiliation" to the United Nations. Syria accused the United Nations, stating they had "rewarded violence with praise." Nevertheless, Israel was admitted.

Ironically, the United Nations is now doing exactly that: Rewarding violence with praise and condoning terrorism with a smirk and a shadowy hand-off. The Arab states surrounding the nation of Israel have, from 1949, continually attempted to wipe Israel from the map. This is incontrovertible fact, and it cannot be excused. 

So this brings us to the latest treason against Israel perpetrated by the United Nations; this in addition to them funneling money to Hamas and Hezbollah in spite of the fact that they are recognized terrorist organizations; this in addition to supplying the coalition government formed by these two organizations with finances to bring legal action against Israel- This in spite of said coalition government not being a member state. 

This is the latest:

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Notable Event

A classic Christmas scene - But how accurate is this?

Tradition Reigns

We know the scene: Mary and Joseph staring down at a serenely sleeping baby Jesus, surrounded by animals, shepherds, angels and three kings - And all in a stable, because some innkeeper was a jerk. Joseph has a staff, of course, because he's like Gandalf facing the balrog better known as Herod: "You shall not pass!" Jesus lay sleeping soundly, because being God, he would never fuss. Mary is radiant, of course, showing no signs of just having given birth. All the animals would naturally be facing their Creator, and the three kings would stand pondering the newborn wisely.

This is that classic creche scene, isn't it? Even many churches that put on Christmas pageants have all these characters together. Since that's the tradition, why question? If that's how our churches portray it occurring, why doubt? Even many of our favorite Christmas carols reinforce these concepts, for Kringle's sake!

The problem is that very few of these classic scenes are confirmed in Scripture. What's more, the Bible in its entirety actually puts a bit of an unexpected spin on quite a few dearly held assumptions. In these next few articles leading up to Christmas, I'd like to share some of these spins with you all. Nothing contradicts or invalidates the Word of God - But much of what we thought we knew about the Christmas story is about to get shaken up.

Setting The Scene Correctly
Here is a more realistic setting for the Nativity scene.

One of the first things that ought to be understood is that we've been assigning blame to some poor schmuck who likely never existed. There are only two accounts of Jesus' birth in the Bible, and neither mention an innkeeper. Yet for who knows how long, we've been blaming some random proprietor of some ancient hotel, motel or Holly Day Inn for Christ being born in a stable.

As a matter of fact, the original language in Matthew suggests that there wasn't an "Inn" at all. The word in Greek is kataluma, and suggests a set place of rest for travelers. Interestingly, there have been archaeological finds showing such public shelters, often built above a cave. There was no topos, or space, for them in the kataluma, or shelter. Because of this, Joseph took his pregnant wife to the closest protection he could think of: The cave beneath the traveler's shelter which housed the livestock.

Another aspect of this scene? An exhausted Mary. You see, while she had been promised the honor of carrying the Son of God, she had not been promised a painless pregnancy or an easy birth. The classic vision of her kneeling beside her newborn son is likely less than accurate. If she was cradling her son as she lay on her side, or slightly reclined, this would be more realistic.

That being said, it is possible that Mary was simply able to give birth and bounce back almost immediately. It was also extremely unlikely. The swaddling cloths that Jesus was wrapped in were quite possibly meant for Mary in the case of her death. According to historical record, the mortality rate of birthing mothers was high; and Jews could not come into physical contact with the dead. Thus, strips of cloth were carried to enable the safe movement of a body. In this case, Christ was wrapped in such cloths at the beginning and end of his earthly life.

The Baby Jesus

One of the biggest issues I have found with the traditional scene is actually that of the baby Jesus. In carols, in Nativity scenes, and even in some sermons, this newborn child is depicted as being some serene sleeper. A no tears infant of incredible understanding and comprehension. There's just one problem with this: That's not the picture given us by Scripture.

In Matthew 1:25, we're only told that Mary gave birth to Jesus before Joseph consummated their marriage. In Luke 2:7. we're given a little more detail: She gave birth to a Son, wrapped him is swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger. In verse 16 of the same chapter, we're told that the shepherds came to find Mary, Joseph and the baby laying in the manger.

Notice that nowhere does it tell us about the behavior of the infant Jesus. However, we are told that "He learned obedience through the things He suffered." (Hebrews 5:8) We see that he behaved just like any other headstrong 12 year old, deciding what he thought to do was more important than following his parents home from the Temple. (Luke 2:41-52) Thus, he was as much human as God. This suggests to me that Jesus probably cried in the manger; that Mary and Joseph probably changed their equivalent of diapers; that they had their share of sleepless nights as a family; and that the boy Jesus probably had to practice measuring and cutting in Joseph's shop before he got it right.

Bottom Line

There's nothing heretical or apostate in looking at likely realities where the Bible and Scripture do not inform, so long as these do not contradict the Word of God. Pointing out, for instance, the fact that Jesus was probably just like every other newborn is not a violation of Scripture- Perhaps traditions, but when tradition and Scripture collide, tradition must bow to the Bible.

Pointing out the historical unlikelihood of them trying to stay at an inn may seem to contradict Scripture at first. However, when the original Koine Greek is examined, it's easy to see how the two words topos and katalumas have been misinterpreted in our modern day. Even King James Only advocates have little to complain about when it comes to this, as in the early 1600's, such shelters were still present here and there throughout Europe and Middle Eastern countries. It is simply the definition of words, and thus our understanding of those words, which has changed.

Stay tuned for the next examination.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Beyond The Bend

Have you ever gone for a walk on an unfamiliar road? Have you ever encountered a sharp turn in that road that you couldn't see past? Ever stared at that ninety degree angle and found yourself wanting to just turn around?

There are times we don't want to take that turn. Maybe we're just out for a simple walk. Maybe we're driving through a strange neighborhood. Maybe we're on that road call Life and this turn has suddenly appeared before us. We all have moments where we hesitate. Why?

These turns are frightening. These turns are scary. We can't see around them so we don't know what's waiting for us. That makes us think of all the "what ifs" that could be waiting for us. Those possibilities grow and get stacked up until we can't see anything else.

The "what ifs" are what cause fear. They are fair-weather friends in the best of times. Most often they are our enemies. They wait for an opportunity to stab us in the back. An opportunity like a blind turn in front of us. There they attack. There they bring fear.

Fear has been defined as False Evidence Appearing Real. That's what the "what ifs" really are. We don't know that those terrible "what ifs" aren't there. At the same time we don't know that they are. False Evidence. Fake news. Nothing but day dreams gone bad.

This is one reason the Apostle Paul said to "take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5) Christ is God. (Jn. 10:30-33) God is Love. (1 Jn. 4:8) Perfect Love drives out fear. (1 Jn. 4:18)

There is nothing to fear when we have perfect love. Humans really don't have perfect love. We are able to have perfect love when we have Jesus Christ. When we have Him in our lives we need to make every thought obey Him. When every thought obeys Him there can be no fear.

I'm sharing this because I'm practicing. I'm still working at this. I'm not a master yet. I have noticed that it works. When I remember to make my thoughts obey Christ, the fears disappear. So do the "what-ifs." When the "what-ifs" are gone, I am able to make it beyond the bend.

So can you.

[This is the second installment in a new series. The first is HERE.]

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Edge Of Loss

I sit here typing away on a laptop, currently warm and sheltered from the cold outside. It may seem that all is well, but reality is a... Uh... Well, let's say that reality is not nice. Reality is a harsh wind in the face of a soft hope.

I could say a great deal about reality right now. I could rant and rail, which would be fitting for this blog I guess. I could complain, but who'd actually read the whole article at that point? No. Though I have one hundred and one things to say about reality, I'll stay quiet.

The truth is that reality has two edges. With one edge it cuts us deeply. With the other, it clears a path for us to walk. God's Word is indeed a lamp unto our feet, but I have noticed that God uses reality to make sure we're awake.

Wasteland Of Desperation

night in the desert
Courtesy of Freely Photos - Credit: Mohammad Alizade
As I sit here typing, I have a few tabs open in my browser. One is a job search. Yes, I have been placing applications. I average about five a day. I also call the companies where I've applied if I don't hear from them within seven days.

The rule I live by when seeking work is simple: "My future in God's hands, my resume in everyone else's." This is a great rule. It has worked well in the past. It is not working right now. In fact, I haven't worked steadily in over two years. That means that the rule hasn't worked for me in over two years.

I have worked some odd jobs here and there. Most have amounted to day labor. Due to God being good, my family has never wanted for a roof, food, warmth or transportation. Until now. Until this moment. This night when I stare total loss in the face and wonder what comes next.

Death Of The Faithful

My wife and I have had a faithful car for as long as we have been married, some four years now. It was her car before I married her. It has been a good car to us and our baby.

Last night, I lost reverse. Then I began losing speed. Our car sits outside tonight on life support. She is able to start. She is able to run. She is unable to keep going for much longer though. She is certainly unsafe for the daughter that so loves car rides. She is too wounded to be trusted with my wife.

Tomorrow, I will likely take her on one final drive. We will ride slowly with her hazard lights blinking away. I may or may not be crying. I know how silly that sounds.
Courtesy Free Images - Credit: Brian Tan

I will think of all the fond memories we have made with her. The night my wife and I made our way to the hospital. The day we returned with our daughter. The long road trip to New England to visit my family. Visits, long talks, earnest prayers, rehearsed lines for opening night... All within this faithful car.

Our destination will be the local Junk Car Medics. They will put money in my hands, and I will walk away. She will have made one final sacrifice for her family. I will feel like Judas.

Sour Hopes And Sick Hearts

My family lives in a studio apartment now. Two adults and one infant in an apartment the size of a modest motel room. We wait for red tape to be cleared elsewhere. At some point, my phone will ring. A friendly voice on the other end will tell me that my family and I can finally move. That we are finally fully funded.

Yet we have waited and waited. The phone does not ring. Our savings account drains and still the phone does not ring. I write articles to sell. I write more than I sell. Still the phone does not ring.

I forgot, I'm afraid. I forgot what it felt like to have hopes and dreams go sour. I forgot what it's like to have my heart become uncomfortable. Then spiral from discomfort to discouraged. From discouraged to agonized. From agonized, to sick.

Hopes held too closely ferment. When they are not kept properly, they grow old. They begin to wrinkle, peel and stink. At the height of their souring, they begin leaking. The toxin of the once promising hope begins to poison the heart. Naturally the heart grows ill.

Bait And Switch

Yesterday I was finally able to get a job. Sort of. It's on a day to day basis. Weather tends to affect the schedule. Temperature is an issue also. If things get too cold there can be no work. Yet income is income. I cannot afford to be proud.

I spoke with my future employer yesterday afternoon. I was on a hands-free device while driving. I was able to tell him that I had transportation. Then last night she began to die. Now we have to sell her for scrap.

Will I still have a job? I was supposed to start on Tuesday. I don't know what the day after tomorrow will bring. I hope to be working. I just have to get there.

The Meeting Place

Many paths meet on a dark desert night. That night is now. Will I be working on Tuesday? Will they buy our car tomorrow? Will disaster be avoided for another week? Or will rent go unpaid? Will we be sent over the edge of loss? 

I simply don't know. I know we are here in spite of all I've done. I know we still cling to hope. I know that dreams never really die. They mutate perhaps. Sometimes they become zombies and return to bite us. They never really die.

The biggest thing I have to remember is that more than problems meet here. This is the hard place where God's power crashes into the rock of troubles. When all is said and done, I know we'll be all right. I'm just convinced.

We'll be together in the meeting place. No more rock. No more hard place. No more blind curve in the road of life. We'll be beyond this trouble. There will be others to be sure. Each time, I know that we'll be there again. 

At the meeting place on the edge of loss.

[The second installment in what is becoming a series can be found HERE.]

Friday, November 11, 2016

This Is Not The End

One of the most contentious and vicious presidential election years is now officially behind us.

The President-Elect is Donald J. Trump.

The House of Representatives is under Republican Control.

The U.S. Senate is under Republican Control.

Presidential hopeful Hillary R. Clinton gave a very nice concession speech.

Current President Barack Obama stated that he has accepted the results.

So naturally, it's all over, right?

Sadly, for many people, this is not the end of the season of fear they walked into when Trump became the Republican nominee. These folks are focused upon the rhetoric that came out of Trump's campaign, and the horrible things stated in Clinton's campaign advertisements. They are looking at Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, and his alleged affiliation with various groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. They are replaying in their minds the things stated about Muslims, homosexuals, lesbians, Hispanics, and certain women during the campaign.

For these people, this is the end of the world- Or their world, at least.

Friends, I would like to bring to you today some very good news: This Is Not The End.

President-Elect Donald Trump

Yes, Donald Trump ran a nasty, spiteful and inflammatory campaign. He managed to anger nearly every societal and cultural group in the nation. He exhibited some of the worst behavior ever seen in a presidential candidate in the history of the nation.

I will say that at least he didn't challenge his opponent to a duel as happened a couple times in the late 1700's, but that's not really saying anything, is it?

Nevertheless, let us be encouraged by the fact that our government is structured in such a way as to prevent Trump from being able to enact or implement much of what he said he wanted to do. Moreover, those things he spoke of which would be beneficial for the U.S. economy, tax code, and more- These things will be examined and scrutinized. The checks and balances of this country are in place for just this sort of event, and as such, I look forward with a great deal of hope.

More on why this is a little later.

Hillary Clinton

While Clinton began her concession speech saying that the results were "...painful, and will be for a long time," she also went on to say that the citizens of the United States "...owe him an open mind and the chance to lead." She went on to encourage her supporters to remain involved with the political process, stating "...let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear. Making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top, protecting our country and protecting our planet. And breaking down all the barriers that hold any American back from achieving their dreams. ...our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. "

Clinton ran a campaign that was, in many respects, as dirty and nasty as Trump's. If you are a regular reader, you know that I supported neither major candidate; I always vote my conscience, and I always will. With that being said, much of what Clinton had to say Wednesday morning was excellent; it was encouraging; and though she did talk about the pain of losing, she also spoke a great deal about hope.

Once more, I find myself agreeing with Clinton; moreover, I applaud her intestinal fortitude and her refusal to sink to the lows that supporters from both sides have seen and surpassed.

President Barack Obama 

"I had a chance to talk to President-elect Trump last night -- about 3:30 in the morning, I think it was -- to congratulate him on winning the election. And I had a chance to invite him to come to the White House tomorrow to talk about making sure that there is a successful transition between our presidencies.

"Now, it is no secret that the President-elect and I have some pretty significant differences. But remember, eight years ago, President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences. But President Bush’s team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition so that we could hit the ground running. And one thing you realize quickly in this job is that the presidency, and the vice presidency, is bigger than any of us.

"So I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush’s team set eight years ago, and work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the President-elect -- because we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country. The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world.

"...I'm confident that this incredible journey that we're on as Americans will go on. And I am looking forward to doing everything that I can to make sure that the next President is successful in that. I have said before, I think of this job as being a relay runner -- you take the baton, you run your best race, and hopefully, by the time you hand it off you're a little further ahead, you've made a little progress. And I can say that we've done that, and I want to make sure that handoff is well-executed, because ultimately we're all on the same team."

Genuinely speaking, this is the proudest I have ever been of our current president. All that I can say is well done, Mr. President. Well said, and well done.

The U.S. Senate

The Senate of the United States had 36 seats open to change this past election cycle, and though largely eclipsed by the presidential election, the race for Senate was just as contentious in some places. In the end, the Republican party maintained control of the Senate, which was a joy for some, and a painful defeat for others.

Republican control of the Senate has had many people concerned over the direction the nation could turn, given the election of Donald Trump. With one party holding control of Senate and the White House, there has been speculation that the United States is about to undergo tremendous change; and potentially not the sort that they'd want to see. Verbalized fears of border walls, banned homosexuality, criminalized abortion, and deported Muslims have been the most common that I have overheard.

However, there is reason for hope, my friends. I'll get into why before too much longer, but believe me when I say that things are not as bleak as they may appear.

The House of Representatives

Not many networks talked about this much, and mainly due to the fact that they were too busy covering the antics of the presidential candidates. Nevertheless, all 435 seats in the House were open to change in this past election. Just as with the Senate race, the competition between Representative hopefuls was quite a spectacle in its own right.

When the dust cleared, the Democrats had won 192 seats in the House. The Republicans took 239 seats, holding onto their majority control. Again, this has caused a great deal of fear in the hearts and minds of many people, for the same reasons as the Republican controlled Senate raises.

What is important to note in the wake of this Republican "sweep" (as some have called it), is that many of these Representatives have a track record. Why is that important, you may ask; it is important for the same reasons as the track record of Senators and Presidential candidates: The track record tells the story that people and various media sources will try to hide.

Where's The Good News?

If you are a Democrat, a Liberal, or like me are simply fed up with both major parties, you may be asking exactly where the good news in all of this resides. Where is it? More importantly: What is it?

To begin with we live in the United States of America, which is perhaps the best place that an election result such as this one could possibly happen. I'm not promoting some hyper-exceptionalism or ultra-nationalistic pride when I write this. What I am saying is that our government is set up in such a way as to almost perfectly handle such events. Look at this diagram with me.

According to some folks I have spoken with, their children's schools are not teaching the structure of the United States government. (I have heard from some teachers that this is not taught until high school, but I'm sure it depends upon districts and school systems.) So whether you never learned this; or if you are like a few friends of mine who actually requested I include this section as a refresher; here is a simplified layout of how our government's branches work.

This is called the system of checks and balances, and this is what keeps everyone playing by the rules, more or less. A President does have the ability to introduce legislation to be made law; but Congress must approve that legislation both in the House and in the Senate. Congress can introduce and pass legislation with the intent of making it law, but the President must first sign it before it actually becomes law. The court system, specifically the Supreme Court, can declare laws unconstitutional; and contrary to popular opinion, they can do so without a case coming before them. A President can utilize Executive Orders, (and these are among the "presidential acts" in the diagram), but the Supreme Court can render them invalid by declaring them unconstitutional.

So let's look at a few of the scenarios that people are most concerned about under a Trump administration:

  • Trump Introduces Legislation To Build A Wall - Many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agree that this country has an immigration issue. Many also agree that part of that issue is illegal immigration, or people crossing into the United States without proper documentation. Much of that illegal immigration does come from Mexico, though there are illegal immigrants in the United States from all over the world. However, most lawmakers do not support the building of a wall along the Mexican-U.S. border. As President, Trump could introduce legislation providing for the building of a wall, but based upon the track records of those in Congress, it would never become law; they would instead debate, argue and haggle for some other method of immigration control, and we would likely see the issue die on the House floor, never making it to Senate. 

  • Trump Issues An Executive Order Banning Homosexuality - Due to the nature of his campaign, many people are concerned about the issue of homosexuality and the free practice thereof. (For the sake of this illustration, I am addressing homosexual practices only, and will explain why shortly.) Let us say that as President, Trump issues an Executive Order that bans homosexuality. It would certainly create a public outcry, but it would have no effect- Why? Because the Supreme Court has already ruled in a number of cases involving homosexuality, homosexual practices, and the rights of homosexual men and women. As a result, the moment that the Order is issued, the Supreme Court would immediately declare it unconstitutional and render it void. This also applies to any attempt by Trump to criminalize abortion.

  • Trump Demands Congress Deport All Muslims - Let us imagine that out of all the vitriol that came from the Trump campaign, the expressed desire to deport Muslims actually materializes in the form of a President Trump ordering Congress to find a way  to do just that. At this point, Congress will almost unanimously laugh at him. The orders of a President are not the same as those from a King or Emperor: In short, they do not have to be followed in the same manner. Could Congress work something out that Trump would sign into law, such as a national registry, a public identifier or a special tax? They most certainly could, but in that unlikely event the Supreme Court would step in declaring the law unconstitutional.

As we look forward in time to the administration of Donald J. Trump, I urge everyone to remember something important: The President of the United States has very little absolute power. The only absolute power that a President does have is his/her ability to pardon, and to a lesser extent, initiate foreign policy.

President Obama was able to accomplish what he did in his eight years because he had like-minded people in control of Congress; he didn't do it on his own. His Executive Orders crossed lines of propriety in many respects, but the large majority of them stopped just shy of snubbing the Constitution of the United States.

Trump does have a Republican controlled Congress, but he does not have a Congress controlled by like-minded people. Unless he proves himself a much more capable leader than he presented during his run, it unlikely that he will ever get such a Congress, let alone a second term.

If you still feel the need to take refuge in Canada, that is entirely your decision; I understand that there are a couple people I'm acquainted with who are planning that move now. I do not condone such action, as I personally see it as a type of cowardice; however, neither will I condemn it in such broad strokes as to suggest that everyone holds my view. If your last act as a U.S. citizen is to run, then my response is "May your legs not grow weary, may your heart never faint, and may you find what you seek." To further clarify: If I were to run, I would consider myself a coward, for that is my personal standard; if others choose to run, I wish them the best.

But make no mistake: This is not the end.

NOTE: If you are a Christian, the following section is especially important.

How Christians Should Respond

As believers in Christ, we know the Bible tells us that we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of peace, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). We are told that perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). We know that we are also told not to worry about what is to come (Luke 12:25-31), and that God is ultimately in control (Psalm 27:1; Romans 8:38-39; John 16:33). Finally, by way of reassurance, we are told that God exerts authority over our rulers (Proverbs 21:1).

We are also told that we are to be lights in a dark world (Matthew 5:14-16). Paul encourages us to live at peace with one another (Romans 12:18) and not to be a stumbling block to our brethren (1 Corinthians 8:9) or to anyone else (1 Corinthians 10:32)! We are also told to share in another's joy and in their sorrow (Romans 12:15), not to treat anyone as beneath us (Romans 12:16), and not to repay evil for evil (Romans 12:17).

Bearing all of these things in mind; taking into account that we as followers of Christ are to be His reflections on earth; factoring in that we who believe are often the only Gospel that some people will ever read; I believe it is our solemn and sacred duty to look at this time in history not as a burden, but as a time to shoulder the burdens of others. We ought not look upon these coming four years with fear, but with hope in our God, who alone can change and turn the hearts of men. We should not gloat over the despair and despondency of those who mourn, but seek to comfort, encourage and uplift them.

Doing anything less than this is to misrepresent Christ and place ourselves as a stumbling block before a world seeking Him- Though they know not what they seek.

In conclusion, Christians: We must behave and respond as Christ. He exemplified Isaiah 61:1, and promoted justice as Isaiah 1:17 said- He stood for the oppressed, championed the widow and provided for the orphan (even if symbolically). Christ then told His disciples, and by extension all who believe: "These things and more shall you do." (John 14:12) He did not say that we would do things He did not do and not do things He did; or more clearly stated, "some of these things and less." We are to follow His example- Period.

So let's start today by bringing hope to those in despair.