Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I'll blog more later. Just to give you an update, tonight I finished a seminar on parenting. The folks at St. Clairsville couldn't have been nicer. They've known me for years. When I came back to America I worked in Lancaster, Ohio for just under nine years and then went to Morgantown, West Virginia for eight more. St. Clairsville is between those two towns. They know I'm an Isaac so they bring me in, have me speak in the evenings, and leave me alone during the day. I eat with their small groups in the evening, speak, and then retreat. I wish all congregations were that understanding.

I leave in the morning for Winchester, Virginia. I am to give six talks on Christian Evidences there, ending on Saturday around noon. Then... I get to drive all the way back to Lake Orion, Michigan, a distance of around 520 miles. Adding to the difficulty factor there is the loss of an hour that night due to the time change. Keep me in prayer! I hope to be back in time for a few hours sleep before I preach our three services the next morning.

And after preaching... I'll do the Isaac thing and go home, sit quietly, read, and not interact with anyone other than my dear wife, son, daughter, and son-in-law. Oh, and Scooby, The Wonder Parrot. They know I'm Isaac and they love me. Thank you, dear God, for such a family.

So why does an introvert, loner, Isaac-type individual hit the road so often? Look at the last sentence in the last paragraph. It's gratitude, baby; pure, sweet, gratitude. Thank you, Jesus, for not leaving me in the ditch. I'll do what you want and go where you want as long as you want. Promise.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Call Me Isaac...

Something was wrong with Isaac. Look at his father and you see a giant of the faith. Abraham had his faults -- serious ones -- but his faith is what we remember. Look at Isaac's son and you see a rascal, but we remember Jacob for working an extra seven years for Rachel, for being the father of the sons whose names would mark the tribes, and for a life that made his name into a synonym for Israel.

What happened to Isaac? I wonder if it wasn't that long trip up Mount Moriah and the aborted sacrifice at the top. There are a lot of wonderful spiritual lessons to be learned from that event, but I wonder about its long term effect on Isaac. Isaac seemed to keep God at arm's length throughout his life. He didn't write long psalms of praise. He believed in God and followed Him, but at a distance.

Call me Isaac. I wish that wasn't my name. A childhood, adolescence and early adulthood in a rigid, cold church might be the reason. Maybe its just my DNA.

I am in awe of many of the bloggers I read each week. They think about God all the time, write about Him, discuss six, seven, or twenty of the latest books on evangelism, theology, church issues, or spiritual growth. They have lives centered around their congregation and the greater church. Their cars rattle with CD cases emblazoned with the names of dozens of Christian music superstars. They go to seminars... and take notes.

Confession time: one of the reasons I am a preacher is because of gratitude... but there is another reason. While I am thrilled that God didn't leave me in a ditch by the side of the road (which would have been His right and no one would have blamed him,least of all me), one of the reasons I work in a church setting is so that I'll show up on Sunday. You read that right: I am not sure I would attend if I didn't have to. Church is hard for me. Interaction with God's people is good for me and I know my soul needs it... but it has never felt natural. I don't get excited about church events and I struggle to fit in.

Church or college lectureships? I almost never go. When I do attend I am surrounded by people with notebooks, bags of the latest books and CDs, going from group to group to talk about speakers, subjects, church issues, etc. That world is as strange to me as the world of a Tibetan monk. I recently read a series of blogs and articles admonishing church people to ease a little out of their shells and the substitute culture of the religious. I couldn't relate. I don't listen to Christian music (don't send me stuff. I've tried it). I read two to three books a week -- mainly a mixture of history, politics, sociology, mysteries and thrillers. I make myself read ten to twenty religious books a year but it is a struggle. I keep asking my id "are we there yet?"

Don't get me wrong: I love my Lord. I will follow Him anywhere. But I can't feel at home in preacher-culture, church-culture, and if you drop me into a religious bookstore I don't know what to look for. Put me around an atheist, a homeless guy, or a confused student and I know what to do. And I do it. But tomorrow, around the metaphorical water cooler in the church office, while the other ministers may be discussing this or that hot religious author, or some leadership conference they attended, or the cool new song by whatever-their-name is... I'll be quiet, smile every now and then, and move along.

I am Isaac. For some reason I cannot draw that close to the things that matter to everyone else. I admire those people. I envy them. And I will never be one of them. While others are at Tulsa (and God bless them and the workshop) I will be speaking to two small churches, one in Ohio and one in Virginia. During the day I will be reading quietly, walking around, calling to check on my wife, son, daughter -- my family. I WON'T be hanging out with the brethren or doing all that other preacher stuff. I've tried to...but it comes off as fake to everyone around me, because it is.

All of this, perversely, makes me love Jesus even more. If He will let someone like me, who cannot draw closer, work for him, share the good news, and bring his meager talents to the table -- what a wonderful savior He is! He even loves people like me: his backward kids, the underachievers, the kid who never makes cover of "Perfectly Adequate Preacher Monthly." Thanks, God. You're just what I need. Call me Isaac if you want to, Lord, but keep calling me nonetheless.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Questions for your family...

I was only able to watch "The Passion of the Christ" once, but the scene that stood out in my memory was a quick one, easy to miss. Inside a small room the table is set for Passover. Mary, the mother of Jesus, the younger Mary, and John are there when they hear the shouts of angry and violent people outside. Jesus' mother is unaware that her son is in trouble, but they are fearful nonetheless. The younger Mary asks, "Why is this night different from every other night?"

That is one of the four traditional questions that the youngest observant asks the host during the Passover meal. In response, the host would go through the history of God's people and how God led them out of Egypt.

It is also one of the questions I ask myself and my son each day. Why is this day different from any other? Why hasn't the world ended yet? If it hasn't, then God still has a purpose to work out here. This day is different because it has never happened before and there is something to be done today. Who knows? It could be that the entire history of the universe was leading to this day. Be prepared to live out your part of it.

Another question -- which I borrowed from a long forgotten source -- is asked at the end of the day: Where did you see God today? Was it in the eyes of a kind nurse as you made your rounds? Was it in the homeless man you gave $5 to? Was it in a kind, encouraging email you received? You will only see God if you are looking for Him. Knowing that the question is coming makes you more alert for Him during your day. Look for Him, Look for His angels.

A question I ask God every day is one I got from the roll-out of Windows 98: "Where do you want to go today?" I ask the question of God -- what do you want to do today, God? Where are we going? Remember the old song "Lead Me To One Soul Today"? Maybe I got the idea from that instead of a Windows commercial, but the idea is one that works for me. It keeps me on track, on message.

Another question: Who needs Jesus? Yes, yes, we all know that everyone needs Jesus but that's not the point of the question. Let me use a story to illustrate it. If my father goes to Wal-Mart to buy something today he will hesitate before he goes to a check out lane. He will first pray silently, without giving an outward sign: "Lord, who needs encouragement? Who needs something from you?" He will then get in the lane of the person who seems the most tired, harried, or un-blessed, even if that line is the longest (and full of people who plan to use coupons and write out of town checks). Who needs Jesus? And to whom can I be Jesus?

Warning: these questions will lead to bizarre behavior. They will lead people who love one place to live in another. They will lead you to give away your lunch money. They will lead you to stop when everyone else is rushing forward... and ask questions. I -- who am the least social person I know -- am made to stop and help someone who is struggling with their luggage, or with English, at the airport. And as I leave them and wave off their thanks I have been known to say. "It's all right. Jesus just wanted you to know he loves you. He wanted to say hi" and then just walk away.

They will lead you to bring your children along with you on this bizarre and wonderful ride. You can't honestly ask yourself these questions without changing things, step by step, as you go from here to heaven.

1. Why is this day different from every other day?
2. Where did you see God today?
3. God, where do you want to go today?
4. Who needs Jesus today? To whom can I BE Jesus today?

Try it. But first, buckle up. It's gonna be a wild ride.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

"Invisible Children" Update

We had a great night last night. We didn't get a hard count but we believe 780-800 were in our building for the showing of the "Rough Cut" video. Our people have already been captivated by this effort on behalf of the children of Uganda (see as Josh and I did a short introduction last year. Last night we had several area churches -- some from our fellowship and some not -- send representatives to see what this was all about. They reacted very positively to both the Invisible Children video and to our congregation; several commenting at how wonderful it was to see a church so deeply involved in missions all over the world and locally (whichis true: this weekend a large group is going back into one of Detroit's most blighted neighborhoods to feed people and clean up trash).

I cannot really guess the number of our small groups that have invited their friends and neighbors into their homes and then screened the IC video but it is a significant number.

The merchandise table was swarmed for an hour after the presentation ended. Another table was set up by our ladies to raise money for Invisible Children by selling cookies and muffins for donations. The ladies were stunned that people kept coming by and giving them five and ten dollars for a cookie, waving away any change.

We have several dozen of our people already signed up for the walk on April 29th. We expect to have a hundred of our members sleep overnight, outside, in Lansing. And remember -- it is not uncommon to have snow in late April in Michigan!

Side note -- and one that may prove more controversial than I want it to: Six or seven people came up shaken by the experience and asked me why America doesn't just send in Delta or Marines to "take out" Joseph Kony, the psychopath who abducts and kills so many children in Northern Uganda. While I am known for supporting the military and the use of violence to protect the innocent, I am not sure it would work in this area. But more puzzling and troubling to me is this: we don't intervene in Africa. When the Rwandans were being slaughtered, we stayed away. We haven't done anything for the people of Zimbabwe who are being intentionally starved by Mugabe. We haven't stepped in to protect the Christians who are being slaughtered by the Muslims in Sudan. We went in briefly to Somalia but the President who sent us in made it a humanitarian mission that, predictably, failed so the next President made us run away.

Is it because they aren't the right color and that they have no resources we need? I pray to God that that is not the case, but the idea keeps me awake at night. I told the questioners that in the Psalms we see the people praying for the death and destruction of their enemies and that in 2 Peter we are told that some people become brute beasts, born only to be destroyed. If that is true, I told them, it is all right to pray that Joseph Kony die. (Yes, I would love it if he could be reached by the gospel but I fear it is far too late for him. Forgive me for my lack of faith)

Agree with me or not, please do something for the children. God bless you.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Children and Charity

A few comments made on posts recently bring up a question that might need answered. People have wondered if our longing for heaven -- specificaly my "I'm just a passin' through" attitude -- would lead us to forgo charity and good works down here. The theory goes like this: if we are waiting for heaven to come at another place and time we will not be working hard to make earth a better place. Those who believe that fear that we will tell the poor, the slaves, or the downtrodden to wait for heaven; that Jesus will make it all better somewhere over there.

Sorry, but that doesn't follow. I won't deny some might think that way, but most Christians don't. Find charitable works anywhere on the planet and you will find that the majority of them are founded by, staffed by, and funded by Christians. Look at the roots of anti-slavery movements of the 19th century and today and you will see Christians at the helm. Every spear thrown at worldwide injustice -- with a few exceptions -- finds Christians at the pointy-bit.

And most of those Christians believe that this earth will pass away one day; that it is temporary. So do I. I know some loyal readers of this blog think God will remodel and remake this planet, but I don't. Not that I care. He can do what He wants to. I just can't find any evidence in Scripture that this planet or our cosmos was supposed to be permanent. God wasn't caught by surprise when we sinned and messed up everything. He knew all about it before He launched His plan and that's what makes His love so overwhelming.

So why, if this world is temporary, do Christians work so hard to help people? (Yes, yes, I know that some professional critics will slander the whole of the church as uncaring, ungiving, materialistic, shiny happy people but that is not my experience).
I think we work so hard to fix things and fix people BECAUSE we think it's temporary and we are moving on. Got money? Got stuff? Give it away, dude, because it's going away anyway! See people who are suffering or people who don't know the Lord? Get moving on that, buddy, because the cosmic clock is ticking and nobody gets to see how much time is left on the calendar.

So go on missions, give to the poor, bring people into your home and show them hospitality, hug a kid and let go of your stuff. Get packing for the big trip, guys, because God's bus is parked somewhere outside and He's coming for us in His own time. Endtimes? I don't know if these are the last days or not. More than that: I don't care. Why should it change the way I live if I think the world is going to end tomorrow? I should be living as if things are temporary anyway because... they are.

This evening we have the team from Invisible Children coming to our church. Josh Graves ( and I did a presentation of the situation in Northern Uganda and the work of Invisible Children last October, but we wanted to do more. The team pulled up in their RV yesterday and we will show the documentary tonight to a full house and encourage them to give and then DO SOMETHING to stop the horrible mistreatment of children that is ongoing in Africa. If you haven't gone to and seen the trailers, do so now, buy the DVDs and show them to everybody you can.

Yes, this world is temporary. But that's no excuse for quitting! Get to work. Clock's ticking, you know?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Wade In The Water

[Warning: this is a long post. It is a condensed version of a lesson given at Rochester during Connections, our weekly Wednesday seeker service]

The Israelites came up against the Jordan River for the second time. They were fully aware that their forefathers failed this test almost forty years previously, dooming them to death in the wilderness. Unlike other ancient people, they did not worship rivers. The Jordan was not a god to them but a barrier -- and a very serious barrier -- they had to cross to receive their promised land.

But other people worshipped that river and they lived on the other side. Baal was, among other things, god of water and floods. The Philistines believed that Baal would use the river to protect them and that any enemy who approached it would be drowned. Even the Israelites, who believed their God was the Supreme God, would have been very, very nervous at approaching this demonic barrier. They believed that those minor gods -- known to us as demons -- had power and could bring death and harm if Jehovah did not rise up to save them.

Let's leave them there and go back to another story...

The Creation story has a very interesting passage in it that we miss: "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Let's look at that in the Contemporary English Version: "The earth was barren, with no form of life; it was under a roaring ocean covered with darkness. But the Spirit of God was moving over the water."

We miss the drama in that passage. The ancient Jews -- as well as many other peoples in that day and age -- believed that spirits lived in the water and those spirits were not good. These desert people and their love/hate relationship with water is puzzling to us, but it was an important part of their theology. Whoever pleased the gods of the water would have life and be safe from the chaos of floods. Here, in the Creation story, we have chaos with an empty earth covered with stormy, roaring, terrible waters... but the Spirit of God had come!

The Philistines felt safe behind the shield their god of water provided. The Israelites were about to discover that their God was God of the desert AND water. The Psalmist would celebrate this fact while referencing the old stories: that God had destroyed the monsters of the deep. "But you, O God, are my king from of old; you bring salvation upon the earth. It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters. It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert..." [Psalm 74:12-17]

What monster? Who's Leviathan? The Jews didn't write a great deal about Satan or demons, but they knew that there were invisible beings behind the evil found in the world. They viewed those beings as gods -- powers inferior to the One True God -- who tried to wrestle control away from God even at creation. There, as God created the earth and began crafting humanity, the demons threw chaos against Him and His work. Water was the symbol of that chaos.

When the Psalmist was depressed, he portrayed God as allowing the waves of the sea to wash over him [Psalm 42:7]. When the Psalmist is rescued from what seemed to be certain death he used water imagery again: "The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me... He reached down from on high and took hold of me. He drew me out of deep waters..." [Psalm 18:4-17]

Isaiah used this same symbolism to describe what happens when God removes His protection and the demon-gods are let loose [Isaiah 5:30]. Again, God is pictured as beating back the gods of the waters: "You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. You crushed Rahab like one of the slain..." [Psalm 89:8-10] Isaiah references Rahab again (one of the demon gods that inhabited the water) in Isaiah 51:9,10 and says that God had to pierce it and then dry up its habitat before it was defeated.

All of Psalm 124 is a story of how God delivered us from the evil brought upon us by "the flood." In that psalm, the waters did not go peacefully and God had to war against the pounding, raging, foaming waters. [also Psalm 93:3,4]Those of us in trouble are to run to this Almighty God -- the one out of reach of the demons of the water. "Let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise they will not reach him." [Psalm 32:6]

Think of the number of water miracles and water stories in scripture. They are everywhere! The creation story, water from rocks, crossing the Red Sea and Jordan, storm stories in the Gospels, walking on water during a storm, a miracle at a sacred pool of water where an angel comes to trouble the water... on and on and on.

Maybe there is something here we should learn.

Before the people of Israel could claim Israel again, they had to step into the Jordan. They had to confront their personal demons and show their faith in the living God. When you carried the Ark of the Covenant, the place of honor was the front. Would you accept that position when it meant you would have to put your feet in the water first? The water controlled -- you'd heard -- by Baal? Water that was in full flood and bursting its banks?

Would you wade in the water? [here we played the Blind Boys of Alabama's version of the first song I learned on the 12 string guitar years and years ago in Alabama: Wade in the Water. Look it up, read it and listen. It's meaning will become clear after reading the above]

The Churches of Christ has a lot to offer the larger world of believers. One of the prime things we have to give is that we have understood and restored the place of baptism. Remember the baptism of Jesus? He went into the water and then what happened? Just like in Genesis chapter one, the Spirit of God was over that water and descended on him.

We go into the water with him. And when we do, the Spirit of God comes to us [Acts 2:38]. We enter our Jordan, taking all our sins with us into the water, leaving them there in the water. When we come up out of the water the Spirit of God hovers no longer -- but comes to us. He takes up residence in us who have come through the water. We fear no false gods, no demons -- not even death itself, for God is now with us -- the God of desert, water, fire and light.

We have been through the water and met the Spirit of God. We can now claim our promised land, leaving our sins, our past, and the gods of this world behind us. For we have been through the water and met our Lord.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bingo, Buses, and Bullets

My last post brought a lot of comments via private email and a few who posted. My thanks to all. Yet, there needs to be some clarification of exactly what I meant when I talked about the creation of programs that enslave. Some thought I was referencing welfare, etc. but my brush was painting a much wider swath than that. Some believed that Jesus would certainly support governmental social programs and that it was sinful not to vote for more of them.

Let me say this first: I am not claiming that Jesus and I are all of the same mind on this question. I have found that Jesus is claimed by every slice of the political piechart and I am fairly certain he did not intend to form an earthly kingdom so -- I will try not to make this a matter of salvation, an avenue of grace, or anything more than just the way I see things at this particular point of time. I have been wrong before. In fact, I'm pretty good at it. It might be my spiritual gift.

Let me tell you a story: in Morgantown, WV where I spent a wonderful eight years, the announcement came down from city government that they would have to cancel weekly bingo games at the senior citizen's center downtown. Their reason was that the bus company that brought seniors from out of town was giving notice that they would no longer do so. They complained that there was not adequate parking for the buses, therefore the drivers had to drive a long way away and park at the city limits, returning to pick them up later. Without a space to park the buses downtown, the company said, they could no longer offer the service. The city and county government looked at the issue and found that it would cost in excess of two million dollars to make a parking area for the buses; and they did not have the money so the games -- as enjoyable as they were to many -- would be stopped.

The seniors went ballistic. They demanded that the government pay for the creation of bus parking. Some of the city fathers and county supervisors agreed and pushed through a spending bill. The 30,000 residents of the town now had to find another two million dollars so that some could play bingo. If they refused to pay? What does the government do to people who will not pay their tax bill?

I think we can all agree that that was a silly example -- even though it was a true one. Let's do another story. Yesterday, a man came into my office looking for help. This happens quite a lot as we are on a main road and we have a big building so we're easy to find. He wanted help paying for prescriptions, for gas to get home, and he wanted to move himself and his eight children from the hotel they were staying in now to a cheaper one. I am not sure how much of his story was true or how deep his need was. However, as my habit is, I pulled out my own wallet and gave him money. I think it is what Jesus would do. Maybe he would have done more, but I am certain he would have done something! Note what I did NOT do: I did not go from door to door requiring the rest of the ministry staff to give him money, too. Nor did I, when someone refused, confiscate their property and threaten them with prison until they gave.

It is my responsibility to feed the poor, to offer the cup of cool water, to clothe the naked, etc. I am never given the right to require others to give, to name the amount, and to override any of their objections with bullets. Remember -- paying taxes is not optional regardless of what you might read on the internet, and the IRS is the only court in the country where you are guilty until proven innocent and the whole burden of proof is on the accused.

I am all for food stamps for the needy, free medical care for those who can't pay, new roads and sewers for depressed areas, etc. ad nauseum. However, where is the moral authority to force others to pay -- at the point of a gun -- for any program the majority wants? Where is that justified in scripture? The majority is not only NOT always right, sometimes it is evil and stupid.

Some social programs will have to be established because we are a fallen world and there is much we need to do to help each other along the way. But I submit that every social program falls into one of a few categories:

1. It is a result of the failure of the church to be salt and light. It is a result of the failure of the church to lead in giving, sharing, caring and driving back the darkness that invades our lives.

2. It is the result of pandering to a vocal minority, to posture for the cameras, and to insure re-election regardless of the immorality of forcing others to pay for programs they do not want.

3. It is the least efficient way to handle the problem. On the Gulf coast to this day (I've been several times recently as have my son and teams from this congregation) we see that billions of dollars spent does not mean any improvement made. Every single person we helped -- every one of them -- is still waiting for that first FEMA contact. They would walk us down the line and show us that every home that was repaired, every area that was cleared, was cleared by volunteers (almost always church groups) and not by government even though the money was allocated and taxpayers have been sent the bill. While honest people disagree over figures, most would agree that running the program through the government wastes between 20-40% of the money. Yet, if a citizen decides not to pay because of wastefulness or because they do not approve of the program (such as sex ed, free needles for addicts, funding for homosexual parades, etc.) they stand in very real danger of losing their homes, income, and freedom.

My reluctance to support parties (and Republicans are as bad at this as Democrats. The issues they push may be different, but they send the bill to the same people) is not that I don't want to do good. It is that I want to direct that good as I see fit after prayer and after receiving guidance from my elders and others I respect. I will not discuss this but suffice it to say that my family and I give until it hurts and then we give more (it eventually feels better). We love giving and will not stop. We just wish we got to choose where more of our money goes. And we will not support the unethical taking of money from those who do not want it taken, especially when their refusal puts their liberty at danger.

Now... are the waters muddy enough? Wouldn't it be great to be out of here and in heaven? One day. One day soon.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Politics and Passing Through

There's a lovely old hymn that declares "this world is not my home; I'm just a'passing through." I love that song. I'm thinking of it while I wait in the Fort Lauderdale airport for an evening flight back to Detroit and my family. In the last two months I have gone back and forth from far south to far north: Detroit-Jamaica-Detroit-Louisiana-Northern Ontario-Florida.... and, while I have enjoyed meeting my brothers and sisters, I know I am not home.

Nothing against Florida, of course. I love the weather. I even enjoy listening to the Spanish language radio stations even though I know almost no Spanish. It sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Sitting in a strange place, waiting to go home is just another reminder of our lives -- we are all just passing through.

Nowhere is this clearer to me than in the world of politics. I know that many people think they know my politics, but the truth is far more complex than any generalities they might imagine. I vote in every election. I study the issues, read voraciously, pray, and then vote. But what party am I a member of?

I could never be a Democrat. In the name of compassion they create slave states where workers have to labor half the year to pay for entitlement and government programs. And if they choose not to pay? They never hesitate to bring the power of the State down on the protestor and squash them like bugs (think Ruby Ridge, Waco, Elian Gonzales, etc. ad nauseum). They pull away too many personal freedoms in the name of the State, community, and conformity.

I could never be a Republican. While I stand with them -- most of the time -- on the moral ground they say they hold, the fact is that most of them in public office do not live moral lives. The number of them who commit criminal or questionable acts is just too large for me to be comfortable wearing their name. I am repulsed by the slickness and greasiness, the corporate club-like nature of their policies, and by the lack of spine they show when push comes to shove.

I could never be a Libertarian (with a capital L) even though I am a libertarian (with a little l) at heart. While I agree with them on so many issues, they use their conventions to attack faith and morality; making abortion a holy grail. While they shout for liberty it seems that liberty is to apply to them far more than to others: they actively fight teaching intelligent design and against any public statements of faith.

So I am a pilgrim politically as well as bodily. I am just traveling along. I will continue to study, read, pray, and vote but I do not foresee a day ever coming where I will vote a straight ticket. My allegiance to Jesus makes it difficult to have an unquestioning allegiance to anything else. I don't regret that: it is the way it is; the way it is supposed to be. Just as I have never found an earthly home, I haven't found a political one, either. As a Christian and a pilgrim, an alien in this land, I will live as faithfully as I can -- including my participation in the political process. But I will not rely on any earthly party for my salvation. They aren't able to deliver on that, regardless of their promises. Instead, I will rely on Him who is faithful. And I will wait for the day when I can finally go home.