Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Border

The Border

a line drawn in blood
splits the gathered earth
it legislates the steps of men
to sabotage the inner heart
they carve the paradigm from us verse them
but the stateless yet stately pine-tree
set herself on either side
where she digs defiant roots

And in her shade is I

i’m finally lost and utterly found
jealous of the mother bird
she soars above my head
free but never careless
yet caring only for the worm
bread of life to her nesting children
her simple song without rebellious dissonance
the melody of love

So, what if I

….little old I!

Set my feet in that high country?

what if I gathered the lumber of my own life?
what if I dug the earth
laid a foundation of truth?
by sweat I stacked the logs
of a future I called hope?
and in the forest’s solitude
reaching for heaven, drew down love?

you’d call me outlaw and a fool
for I’m drawn out and beyond
ear tuned to the whispers
of a God you haven't tamed

but with a building of nations
and a crushing of lies
you’ve a million sure ways
to forget you’re a mist
that the sparkling stream
o, praise the maker’s hand
has been crossing the border
before there ever was Man

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Right-Wing Loner

I've spoken on this blog about my political perspective as a means to channel rage and resentment onto something concrete, the hatred of government as a justification for hate and the means to experience the satisfying release of truly resenting something and having it be known that I resent it. Perhaps there is another side of this manifestation in my politics stemming from my own emotional bagge. Maybe the particular style of my political persuasion can be traced back to my lifelong sense of isolation.

And I hate doing this, you know. I don't really wish to reduce all my political points of view to merely that which can all ultimately be traced back to the emotional fallout of some particular emotional experience. For one, I think it makes me look irrational. And I don't think I would be being fair to myself if I suggested that I am primarily irrational. Even for certain political views I have partially moved past I can still defend them with rational arguments. I never came to a conclusion lightly and every view I ever adopted was only adopted once I knew precisely how I would defend it. In the area of specifics I have relied on an intellectual rigorousness that I have only had the time for thanks to a little bit of solitude but there was always something in my disposition and experience that paved for me an inevitable path down the political right rather than the political left.

There's some confusion on what the meaning of "right" and "left" as regards the political spectrum actually means and I think there's a lot of misinformation in the way the terms right and left are used. For example, words like "religious", "pro-war" and "pro-life" are words people associate with those on the political "right." Whereas, words such as "non-religious", "anti-war" and "feminist" are words that are associated with the political "left." This is misleading since the truth is that if the meaning of the political right and left as they were once understood were applied the same way in the common buzz-speak of today then we would see there was nothing contradictory or novel about the notion of an "anti-war right-winger" (myself) or a "pro-war left-winger." (Obama anyone?) The fact is that there is nothing intrinsically right or left wing in any of the terms I just mentioned if right and left are to be properly understood. Granted, there is a tendency towards the non-religious within genuinely left-wing thinking as can be seen in the left-wingness of Karl Marx, for instance, but I don't at all consider it to be a necessary contradiction if a devoted follower of Christ happens to be a card-carrying communist. It should be obvious to see how the notion of a classless society would be attractive to an individual that takes seriously Christ's teachings about the "least of these", the love of money or the lesson of he who is first being last in the Kingdom of God and he who is last being the first. By the same token, there is something inherently non-religious about a certain shade of right-wingness which I will touch on in a moment.

Without going deeper into political theory than I am equipped I simply want to briefly describe what I have concluded is the most basic nature of the right/left tension as I understand it. There are plenty of fundamentally well-meaning schools of thought that can be placed rather easily on either side of the spectrum, each of them has as its stated end the attainment of equality, fairness and the ability of humanity to reach its maximum potential. As far as I can see, where the two sides of the spectrum consistently differ is in their view of the place of the individual human being towards that end. I think it is fair to say that the left end of the political spectrum is one that encompasses perspectives which promote the idea of the individual as a member of a collective or community. On the left there is a common thread woven through of the idea that the happiness and overall well-being of the individual and the community as a whole is best served by the individual's sacrifice of his own self-interest for the good of common society. On the right end of the spectrum you find the same ends sought after with an irreconcilably different modus operandi for the individual. Over there you find ideas rooted in the conviction that the individual should reign supreme, answering to no collective. The assertion is that a society of unhampered individuals, free to chart their own course as they see fit and subservient to the supposed needs of no collective would produce maximum happiness and well-being for the individual and for the whole society of autonomous free-men. Anarcho-Capatalism or "Individualist Anarchism" as I recently saw it termed in my reading is probably the most thouroughly fringe manifestation of these right-wing ideas. They hold that the lack of any form of coercion in society and the absence of any man's sense of or actual entitlement to another man's property or freedom would inevitably result in men, as much as is possible, living harmoniously together. I would have very recently described myself as a believer in that particular point of view, now I merely find myself with more acceptance for that political idea than any other but far from a disciple. So, I suppose it's somewhat ironic that I was driven down the right-wing rabbit hole by my partially concious desire to escape the very thing in my life that in present day buzz-speak is seen as being held sacred by the "right-wingers":

The Family.

Perhaps when the most preeminent thinkers of the left killed God they shattered the very foundation upon which the morality that held the family unit together had been based for centuries. The vision of one whole society, a nation family perhaps, united in the pursuit of a particular common good was maybe the natural replacement of the emptiness that would result from the individual's loss of a deeply meaningul and morally binding obligation to his biological family. I am only mentally toying with these connections, though.

Whatever the case may be, from what I can see in the midst of a culture that has rapidly dimmed in its enthusiasm for the spiritual and moral importance of the family unit, a child that comes of age in a broken home is not naturally given to notions of sacrifice to the common good, so a "national family" would probably not be an adequate answer to the dilemma anyway. You can speak all you want about the government becoming increasingly socialistic, I won't even argue with you, but the truth is there is a strong individualistic streak running through the social fabric of the culture and it only seems to become more prevalent with each passing generation. I attribute this in part to the decline of the family and a loss for the appreciation of its peculiar demands for self-sacrifice and servanthood. How can anyone learn to be selfless when the model of their parent's broken relationship, presented to them at their most impressionable age, is one of selfishness, abandonment and conditionality? One or both wasn't happy so they split. You gotta look out for number one, right? Noone deserves to be unappy. So democratic! So fair! So reasonable!

So Empty.

Being the type of person that tends to analyze and compartmentalize concepts merely for the outrageous cognitive fun of it, it was never a possibility that I would ever adopt any particular political posture without a pretty firm understanding of what it basically stood for. There are too many self-described commies and anarchists out there driven merely by the need to see themselves as subversive and controversial, with talking points that don't ever move beyond the phrase "I'm against...like....the corporations an' stuff." I'm not one of those guys.

After trying on a few different half-baked ideologies during my young adult years I crossed the event horizon of the right-wing black hole when I seriously began to consider the general principles of libertarianism. I couldn't have described my feelings so aptly at the time but there was something in it that was deeply gratifying to me emotionally. Libertarianism has in it a very virulent and insistent strain of individualism that can basically be summed up in the phrase; "Who are you? And on what basis do you presume a claim on me? Leave me the HELL alone." Imagine those words coming from the mouth of a hermit living in the woods, standing on his porch and yelling out to a couple of IRS auditers while cokcking a shotgun and you can catch the basic spirit of libertarianism.

And here we have the connection:

If your family has failed you, being in itself the first community one is exposed to, how could you ever have faith in the broader social community? If your upbringing was chaotic, how could you ever have faith in the masses to do anything but entropy always into chaos? If your childhood is colored by the breaking of a covenant, how could you ever trust the high-flown promises of a politician?

In the absence of a sacrificial love for me to rely on throughout some of the hardest things I've gone through in my life it seems tyrannical and absurd that any government or social collective would ever ask for any kind of sacrifice from me. Why should I? What are you to me and what have you ever done for me? Leave me alone, it's all I ask. This outlook satisfies me. It tells me I'm independent and need noone but myself. In fact, it says to me, I'm better off without all those fools.

Yet something is missing....


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Other People's Words

These are two passages I've come across in reading recently that touch on certain concepts which have come to me recently and renewed my thinking about the world around me. They have formed a significant reformation in my thinking and perspective, and to a minor degree my own behaviour. I feel limited in my word capacity today, not to mention time. So, I'll let these eloquent individuals speak for me. Enjoy.

From Dallas Willard's "The Divine Conspiracy"

"We hear the cries from our strife-torn streets: 'Give peace a chance!' and 'Can't we all just get along?' But you cannot give peace a chance if that is all you give a chance. You have to do the things that make peace possible and actual. When you listen to people talk about peace, you soon realize in most cases that they are unwilling to deal with the conditions of society and soul that make strife inevitable. They want to keep them and still have peace, but it is peace on their terms, which is impossible.

And we can't all just get along. Rather, we have to become the kinds of persons who can get along. As a major part of this, our epidermal resonses have to be changed in such a way that the fire and fight doesn't start almost immediately when we are 'rubbed the wrong way.' Solitude and silence give us a place to begin the necessary changes......they also give us some space to reform our inmost attitudes toward people and events. They take the world off our shoulders for a time and interrupt our habit of constantly managing things, of being in control, or thinking we are."

From Thomas Moore's introduction to Thomas Merton's "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander"

"(A) central paradox Merton knew well is perhaps the most difficult of all: power and vulnerability. I won't say 'nonviolence', because it shouldn't be described negatively, this grossly misunderstood human capacity to be dependent, open, tolerant, forgiving, and compassionate. The words of Ghandi are strewn throughout these entries. Merton quotes John Chysostom, as well from the lessons of St. Barnabas' Day: 'As long as we remain sheep, we overcome. Even though we may be surrounded by a thousand wolves, we overcome and are victorious. But as soon as we are wolves, we are beaten.'

People who profess religious faith can listen to words like these from pulpits week after week and still go on trying to avoid being victims and to flex their political and business muscles. All our political news and speeches sound like the howling of wolves, and never the bleat of sheep. Maybe we think about power too literally, and imagine that in being sheep we would be literal masochists, puny hearts in uncourageous bodies. But in all his writing Merton was onto this mystery that can be appreciated only through religious vision or through an extraordinarily subtle psychology: genuine strength arises only in a condition of vulnerability. The flagrant display and self-serving use of power are an admission of deep incapacity."

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Old Friend, The Serpent

So, I got a piece of mail from the Campaign for Liberty today. The envelope was a warm, glowing gold and on the bottom right was the "Don't Tread on Me" serpent in all its defiant splendor. The sense of longing and loss was, in a minor way, not unlike the feeling I had shortly after a close friend of mine passed away.

I feel cut off from a part of me. I'm not sure what to do without it. Maybe I'm just being stupid with all this talk of giving up on politics. I don't know how extreme I need to be with myself. Would reading the mail be a big deal at all? Well, the primary aim of the contents inside will be to get me angry and riled up.

I just can't open it.


For now, the mail will just sit on my dresser like a memorial because I find myself unable to throw it away. I already got rid of a small, upside down American flag that was hanging over my television.

I miss it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

So Shall It Be

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me" -- Paul the Apostle

I'm almost ready to do it.

It simply continues to become more and more plain to me that I should really let go of my self-appointed political identity. To wave goodbye to the extensive study and theory of government, anarchy and every human concept inbetween. It's not that those things aren't important. I simply wish to leave them to men and women more capable of studying them, explaining them and fighting for more just versions of them without it choking out the light of God within them.

For that is what happens. Inseperable from my emotional reaction to the dominance of government are my deepest neuroses. My sense of woundedness from a cold, loveless relationship with my father who was supposed to be the picture of proper authority. I never knew a human authority that was coupled with love. I never knew a human authority that respected or embraced my identity. I never knew a human authority that called me out of myself in order that I might become a better version of me. So, all authority is seen by me as arbitrary and lacking in any benefit to me and, therefore, to be resisted. I am hesitant to continue in the psycho-babble discussion of my parents but there are issues with my mother that play in to this. To go into detail might be silly at this juncture but, to put it briefly, my relationship with my mother is marred by an embittering sense of belittlement. Things she did in my formative years, out of a genuine concern for me, were I believe based on a mistaken belief of helplessness and incompetence on my part. To a partial extent, I hold the "authorities" of public education responsible for instilling in her that perception of me. I was forever reminded, in countless ways, that I was a fool from K-12. I carry the legacy of the resulting experiences still along with such heavy bitterness and self-doubt. This is why I take such personal offense when politicians speak of the public good, envisioning laws to protect me from myself, telling me that I can't be trusted with the gift of self-determination, that I must be coddled like an infant. I have spent the last few years tossing pile upon pile of this lumber on the fire that has been burning away my love for people...for the world.

In short; politics turns me cold.

Many of you may see this as transient. You'll dismiss this as a phase that I'll violently come out of the moment anyone in my presence makes a foolish political statement. I pray that you're wrong. Some of you just won't understand it. There may be a select few of you that will lament the passing of my intense political conversation but rest assured that I am not shutting my mind off. Anyone I have had the pleasure of exploring the depths of current affairs or political theory with I have found to be just as enthusiastic about exploring other topics of curiosity.

Most of all I just pray that you take my choice to deal with the world in a new way seriously. No other person encouraged me to do this. My girlfriend has expressed a desire for me to be less argumentative or beligerent in the expression of my political persuasion but never asked me to stop pursuing the topic. The sad fact is that I probably can never cease in my beligerence unless I sacrifice the parts of me that make me beligerent. Noone reinforced the notion of letting go upon hearing me express a burgeoning desire to let go. Noone but me and God fully understand the toll this takes on me. So, I haven't been convinced by anyone's persuasive argument to wave goodbye to this stronghold on my soul....but only by the still, small voice within me that has been pleading for it though I have, until now, brushed it aside.

I have been faithfully carrying out what some would term a "quiet time" with God every morning for the last few days now. It isn't a chore anymore and, strangely enough, I find myself wishing it was tomorrow morning already. Things have been shown to me in those times that I am not ready to put into words at the moment, maybe I never will be. But in those morning moments, in the simple act of meditating on the things of God, he has faithfully met me each day with something to say. Though when I say "say" I'm not sure that it is something spoken from God to me in the same sense that God gives a message to a prophet but in the sense that I find my mind connecting with certain truths, though I understand them only in part, that God has put in the very heart of humanity. Suddenly, somehow, the Bible is much more powerful to me when I read it and the words of Christ, even when I don't fully comprehend them, affect me like music.

Love is what's important I think. Justice is important too. And love for people manifests a desire to see justice. I find, though, that when I put my faith in a political idea or the hopes of a political revolution, for me the desire for justice becomes tainted by things that are far removed from love, I am acting out of deep resentments.

A desire for justice can still be an important part of my life; may it always be so. But it will have to be about love from now on.

So shall it be.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Trouble With Knowing Everything

I feel like opening this blog with a quote I heard recently that truly spoke to where my heart's been lately. It's taken from an online recording of a sermon so I had to take unscripted spoken word and try to translate it to written word in a way that makes sense (it's harder than you might imagine). I hope it is clear enough.

"I believe it's very easy, particularly for the intellectual types (he is speaking about people within the Church here), people that are animated by social issues, by philosophical and intellectual concerns to become distracted by issues such as the reform of Christian morality or the correction of society. I am a holistic person in my understanding of the gospel and I believe the gospel speaks to economics, to law, to art...and that there is a Christian worldview which shapes and informs those things...but what I'm saying is that when many people become "cause-centered" they lose Christ. They're so wrapped up in "causes", on spiritual and social reform, that they lose sight of the centrality and purpose of the true reformation that begins with the changed heart" -- Stuart McAllister

So, having just begun this new blog I find myself facing a roadblock.

I have been known by an elite few to, on more than one occasion, throw my hands up in the air and exclaim "That's it! I'm done with politics forever!" I said it in front of my mother this morning and the response was excrutiatingly predictable; "Yeah, I've heard that before. It usually lasts for about thirty minutes."

This mindset of complete resignation to just let the world be as it is and get over it has come to me in cycles for a long time now. The issues pile up on top of each other, the nightly news gets louder, the misinformation gets more and more beligerent and with it my heart hardens, the tendrils of bitterness begin to grip my soul, I harbor more and more contempt for the uninformed and my attitude towards the powers that be begins to border on absolute hatred until I can't take it anymore.

This is the moment when I look at myself most honestly and wonder, "Is it really worth all the anguish? Is my mind expanding or becoming dogmatic? Is this righteous anger or is it soul-crushing bitterness? And where is God in all this anyway?" And I'm realizing that wherever God is, I've lost him somewhere along the winding path of my own mind.

What may have begun as a very clear, moral conviction about a social or political issue seems to inevitably devolve into something else which is guided merely by my own flesh. To dredge up the issue of America's foreign policy once more; the issue seems to inevitably move from the original position of moral disgust and dismay at the waste of human life to merely a bitterness toward the faulty logic that led to it and the dumbed downed masses, surely incapable of any semblance of abstract reasoning, that have bought into the whole charade. This begins to drive a very deep wedge between me and the others around me and at its worse I begin to feel that everyone in my presence is a fool.

As a Christian, this is a very bad place to be.

And as much as I may speak of the importance of reason, this bitterness that overtakes me is based in anything but reason. Yes, I perpetually check my premises and make sure my conclusions make sense when it comes to specifics. When I was a teenager I was convinced I was a socialist but that was only until I started thinking rigorously and came to the one conclusion that drives my whole politcal worldview; that the only "equality" one man can ever morally guarantee another man is equality of freedom or opportunity because equality of circumstance can only occur in a society in which the efforts of nearly all men are shackled by the subjective, and often faulty, understanding of a few men as regards the "common good." That is a conclusion I have come to based on my own rigorous, internal examination of human nature. What is not reasonable, and out of proportion, is the emotional response this belief provokes in me.

I look out on a sea of people and sometimes my heart is full of utter contempt. I see people that love their shackles. I see people placing blind trust in institutions made up of madmen that wouldn't hesitate to throw them in concentration camps should they feel their own self-interest was served by it. I see people blinded by the establishment version of history, economic analysis and world events, all of it guided by empty sloganeering and half-baked ideas informed by an intellectual curiosity that has the depth of a Transformers film.

I can't state strongly enough how deeply my issues with authority run. Nothing invokes more indignation within me than the thought that anyone, anywhere would have the audacity to have an opinion about anything I choose to do at any time or place. Precisely from where this comes, I do not know. I must, however, concede that many of my espoused views branch out of an intrinsic hatred of authority and a deep desire to simply be left alone. Many of my resulting views may actually be quite accurate. In fact it is reasonable for me to suppose that if man is fallen, or if man has historically shown that he cannot be trusted with much power, that it is reasonable to be relatively skeptical about the truthfulness of any man bestowed with real power when he speaks of a genuine interest in what is good for the whole of society. However, the point from which I began to draw conclusions, my own contempt for authority, is based on subjective emotion and is not entirely reliable.

So, if a sizeable chunk of my political views are based in my own spiritual and psychological wounds and hang-ups related to authority it would be safe to assume that I might be in error in more than just a few areas.

It would also be safe to say that to continue on a path in which I allow my own bitter resentment of unreason and authority steal from me the ability to honestly assess reality in any given situation would be to commit spiritual suicide for, in not recognizing the bitterness for what it is, I embrace it in the mistaken belief that it is leading me toward truth when the fact is that, should I arrive at truth, it was merely luck and not reason. And in embracing that bitterness, my heart hardens. And with that hard heart God can do very little.

So, this is why I wish people would take me more seriously when I speak of giving up on politics. Perhaps it shouldn't be that I completely throw the topic out the window but I want people to understand that when I speak of giving up on politics, though my tone may seem light, it's not an issue I approach light-heartedly.

If my heart is fashioned in such a way that politics always inevitably drives a wedge between me and God may my politics be cast into into a fire and blown away as ash in the wind.

So, where do we go from here? Just keep reading....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Into the Labyrinth

Hello everyone. I'm not sure how to begin this thing. I know what this first blog is going to be about but I'm just not sure how to formulate these first few sentences in a way that opens things up easily. The very first part of a writing project are always my clumsiest so let's just jump right in.

I want to use this as a template to formulate and express my inner thoughts as regards God, politics and my relationship to both. I actually haven't ever done such a thing in a very intentional fashion before. People know that I'm a Christian and most people know that I'm very opinionated about politics and have a few controversial ideas. Hang around me long enough and you will be exposed to one of my random bursts of pontification; a few moments where I take a soap-box, make a spectacle of myself and retreat back into my shell. This is enough to tip people off that there is genuine activity beneath my typically calm exterior but not quite enough to indicate what the full-scale philosophy is that gives shape to my thoughts. In fact, some people may be surprised to find that there actually is a specific, definitive philosophy guiding the things I say.

Granted, I cannot truthfully claim that I am certain I have no contradictory beliefs, that it all can be summed up in some flawless system entitled "Brianism." What I mean is that you will really never hear me pull some idea straight out of my ass. Most of the views I espouse I am able to trace back to the thoughts of someone other than myself such as a writer, minister or philosopher. Anything else I say is the end result of an at least moderately rigorous line of independent reasoning. This may leave me behaving, on occasion, in a way that others view negatively. Because I have, in a sense, worked hard to arrive at the most truthful conclusions as I see them, I have little patience with people who seem to dismiss my views offhandedly without sound reasoning. People often employ cliche' when they don't have the ability to give their point of view much backbone. My girlfriend can attest to how much I detest this.

For instance, if I'm speaking out against the war in Iraq someone may respond with the old canard "You should be quiet because they're fighting for your very freedom to crticize what they're doing!" Such phrases make me want to explode. Intellegent people wouldn't say things like that because they would realize how awfully circular an argument it is.

Of course, humility is something I strive for and I know that I should probably try to handle such situations with love. What can I say? I'm working on it.

And that is a great segue to introduce the topic of my Christianity. I'm saddened when it seems people know more about my crazy politics than they do of my faith. My faith is in actuality a much larger part of who I am than my politics. In fact, my politics are not only intricately interwoven with my Christianity but I also desire to subordinate my politics to my Christianity. In other words, I live in a constant fear of allowing my priorities to become skewed. The worst thing that could possibly happen is that my political views become a stumbling block in another person's walk with the Lord.

Now, I won't be going in depth as regards my politics or my Christianity in this first entry but I will show you what I mean when I say that my politics are intricately interwoven with my Christianity.

The first serious political point of view I ever independently developed was a direct result of my faith, though it wasn't a "religious" political topic in the popular sense. In fact, it had to do with a topic that people don't talk about enough; the danger of blind nationalism.

When I was 12, I had what I consider my conversion experience. I didn't go looking for it and it fell on me, almost forcefully, like a ton of bricks. I didn't fully recognize what it was at the time but it was and is obvious that immeadiately afterwards something signifcant shifted in my spirit. I intend to go into detail about that in a later entry.

Naturally, as my teenage years progressed my mind became sharper and more questioning which was certainly a part of what lead me to my first political opinion but the signifigance of the topic may not have hit me so hard at the time if it weren't for the voice of the spirit I had carried with me since my experience as a 12 year old.

I don't remember precisely when it first occurred but at some point I began to ask myself why I should cover my heart during a performance of The Star-Spangled Banner or the daily recital of the Pledge of Allegiance. I wondered if people did the same thing in other countries and, moreover, I wondered why I should pledge my allegiance to anything other than God. I wasn't yet transposing the term "idolatry" onto the action but did, in a very substantive way, sense that something wasn't right about it. I began to feel that the pledging of allegiance to a flag or a country was somehow an affront to God, that it would undermine or cheapen my faith.

The thing is, I just didn't see what was so great about America and I certainly didn't understand why anyone believed America held a special role in God's heart. This wasn't based on any strong conviction about America's actions, for I was horribly ignorant about such things back then, I just felt that America was a country like any other and it was just silly to run around pretending to be so exceptional. I have since come to see that the founding of this nation was based on some very noble principles but I still hold firm to my conviction that we, as a people, are the same in God's eyes as the people of Spain, Russia, Iran, Zimbabwe etc. etc.

God does not value one nation over another and to pretend otherwise is to shrink him from the creator of the whole fucking universe to some pea-sized member of some ill-conceived assembly of stuffy legislators.

Now, please forgive me for quoting a song here. When I was that age I was highly influenced by the music I listened to so it played a crucial part of my development. I thought I was odd for the thoughts I was having because I wasn't yet aware of the history of great thinkers speaking out against the evils of nationalism until I came across a song when I was 16 that legitimated precisely what I was thinking by practically singing my thoughts back to me.

Plenty will laugh at this selection...well, let them laugh.

From "Anthem" by Five Iron Frenzy

I can't see red, white and blue waving in the air
I don't hear the bombs bursting and I don't even care
Sorry for my lack of faith
I'm not the greatest patriot
If this is all there is to freedom I don't want it

I can't fall anymore for some silver-tongued song
Your freedom isn't free
So let me say what freedom means to me

The song later went on to claim that Jesus was the only true source of freedom in life and that helped me to see that maybe I wasn't just an oddball after all. Perhaps others felt the same way; that exalting a nation the way we do in America is, in some way, displeasing to God. From that point on I decided to never put my hand on my heart again during the recitation of the Pledge or the national anthem. However, I should note that that's a personal conviction. It's the kind of thing that I won't do but I won't think any less of anyone who does.

All the political views I have since developed are all branches, twigs and leaves that have grown out of the trunk of that initial revelation. So, as I hope I have coherently shown, all my political views are rooted in one particular view that exists because of my Christianity. Therefore; there is inseperable interplay between the two subjects within me.

And so now begins the journey through the interwoven strands of both my Christianity and my politics in my incurably inquisitive mind.