Saturday, November 15, 2008

Reformation Weekend Pigfest

Though less attended than my previous two experiences, the conversation at this Pigfest was a unique blend of casual debate and fervent openness. We also enjoyed a good natural variety of topics. And we had plenty of sugar.

Idealism should be the motivating factor over pragmatism, in the presidential election. Why do we have a two-party system, and how does it work? Do we like it? How would we change the system? How does a third party become established? Could a third party gain a following by rising to power in one state? What if we campaign for and financially support and advertise a third-party but actually vote for the lesser of two evils? Is the time ripe for a shift in American political parties? When is it ok or safe to vote for a third party? When is it mandatory (how bad must the mainstream options be)? What if we die because we “wasted our vote” and an irresponsible candidate gets elected? Is the Electoral College good or does it restrict the will of the American people and possibility for change? Due to the nature of our presidential election laws, couldn’t there be more than two well-established parties? Is stability the goal?

The sole source for dreams is the experience of the dreamer, including thoughts but excluding any outside or supernatural force. Some people may have only experienced this kind of dream, but that doesn’t exclude other experiences. Freud taught this dream doctrine. In the Bible, God used dreams to communicate His will to people, and even the future. Are dreams different from visions? Does the proposition include only past experiences of the dreamer, or can future experiences fit in this explanation? My experience is that dreams process or reveal my emotions. Maybe supernatural forces impact daily experiences, which fuel our dreams. Can angels visit us in dreams? Can demons? What if you are demon-possessed? Are Christian’s capable of being demon-possessed? Can demons appear to Christians in dreams, or influence their dreams? Can they influence a Christian’s waking life? What about the oppression sometimes felt by Christians in a spiritually charged anti-God atmosphere? Can’t that translate into dreams? Because of the mysterious nature of the source of dreams, and the doubtful sources (heart, fallen angels, experiences and imagination, or God), there is danger in putting too much trust in dreams.

There is a biblical mandate for Christians to belong to fellowship groups. This proposition goes beyond church attendance, at least the kind where you come and sit in an audience for a sermon or “worship service.” The words are “belong” not visit. How often should these groups meet? Is there a biblical mandate for the exact frequency? Ought a single Christian belong to more than one fellowship group? Different demographical groups? How big is too big, and how small is too small? What kind of people are healthy to fellowship with? Are we looking for a good mix or separate interest groups? Is it ok, or even good to attend two or more churches, if for example one excels in worship and another in teaching?

We should give no business to institutions that make money through interest-bearing loans. This includes credit card companies, excluding even possessing a credit card which you pay off monthly or a debit card (because the loan company profits from your use of their service through the commission they receive from a business that accepts their card). Home loans would be excluded as well, meaning that you are left to save for such large purchases or never buy something large like a home. Should someone in my situation, if this plan were adopted, also decline use of a home or building that is mortgaged? Since banks are one of the biggest sources for interest-charging loans, we would have to keep our money elsewhere. Is there a ‘bank’ that uses your money for investments (NOT loans), thereby profiting, but still allows you to write checks on the account, etc? Charles Schwab was suggested. The purpose of this proposition is to adjust the economic system to true value, and to correct the mindset of people who are used to living beyond or ahead of their means. Would this suggestion accomplish that purpose? How much impact would it have, and how long would it take to gain a following? Are there alternative courses of action that would accomplish the same purpose, such as changing the system from within? How far does the biblical command to be in the world go? How far does “but not of” go? Is it acceptable for Christians to offer loans? What about no-interest loans?

The United States should not be involved (as a government) in international charity. Is international charity effective? Doesn’t a lot of it get intercepted by corrupt governments or warlords? Is it the government’s responsibility to help people in other countries with food and health and shelter? Does the international community have expectations from the US? Are they justified? Is such international activity constitutionally legal? What is the motive of the US in this charity? Is it fair to take this offer off the table in diplomatic negotiations or to build the image and respect of the US in the eyes of other countries? Are there private alternatives, and are these more effective? Is domestic welfare ok or legal or effective? What does that say about foreign aid? What is church and individual responsibility? What impact does government involvement have in encouraging, enabling, or deterring church and individual responsibility? Is it possible to effectively provide aid to foreign countries without military accompaniment/enforcement? Can we go through the United Nations?

We should not elect a wife and mother of 4 children to the United States Presidency. Break down the specifications: Wife) Why is it important that she’s married? Are we saying that as a wife she should have other priorities or that such a position as President precludes the biblical mandate to submit to your husband? Mother) Is there a special role of a mother that she would not be able to fulfill as President? How is this different from a father’s role? Is it more important for moms to spend a lot of time with their kids than dads? Can a dad be the stay-at-home parent without any detrimental effect on the children? 4) If there were more or less children, would the situation be changed? Is the age of the children significant? If the children were all over 13, or over 18, would it be ok? President) How is this different than being a mayor, vice president, CEO, or just working woman? The presidency is inherently a busy job, too busy for a family woman. It is a given in this instance, and in other instances where a woman would be too busy to spend time with her kids, it would be equally unacceptable, but requires us to make a case by case determination. Voting for a president is similar to being responsible for hiring for a private business. However, it was mentioned there are discrimination laws prohibiting employers from hiring based on the number of children a woman has, or her marital status. Is it appropriate for a woman to be in a secular position of authority? The Bible gives the example of Deborah, who was a married woman who served Israel as a secular judge. Aren’t there disadvantages (emotional, physical, relational) to having a female president? Women have different capabilities not as suited to the strenuous leadership role of a President.

To God be all glory.

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