Monday, May 22, 2006

Da Vinci drama

Okay has anybody read the novel (or seen the movie) "The Da Vinci Code?" I'm reading the book right now and it's pretty entertaining. I'm enjoying the story. I do however highly disagree with the claims the book makes about Jesus.

On our pastor's blog there's a discussion going in which I've discovered that some Christians would say I'm in the wrong for reading a book that includes false statements about Jesus. I decided to read the novel in the first place because I wanted to see what all the buzz was about, so that I could understand what some of our culture is thinking about Jesus, and because a few (Christian, incidentally) friends of mine had read it and said it was good. (In fact, just about our entire growth group Biblestudy has read it.) And I really am enjoying the book, in spite of chapter 55. Interestingly, the scandalous claims about Christ are nothing new, as they derive from the Gnostic gospels which have been around for I think over a thousand years, and I already learned about them in my "Christian Origins" class in college.

Anyway the book has gotten a TON of attention from just about everyone...some people believe the stuff in the book, some people don't, some people don't think Christians should read the book, etc. What do you think about the whole thing? Have you read the book?

The great thing is, if nothing else, the story is getting people talking about Jesus, who He was, and what He did.


Rachel said...

I haven't read the book, but was thinking about picking it up at the library. I get really ticked when Christians try to tell me what not to read. I want to read the book because everyone is talking about it and I cannot have an intelligent conversation about something I've only heard about. My mom is one of those people who read it and joined the conspiracy theorists for a while. I'm not a big fan of people writing fiction novels about Jesus, and who he is and was, but that's what free speech is all about. No one is forcing me to read it or see the movie.

As you know, I love the Harry Potter books and have been told by many Christians how bad they are. These same Christians rave about The Lord of the Rings, which has a supernatural element as well. They are also the same Christians who have never read a page out of any of the books.

There are many wonderful books out there and many that are not. I believe it is important to know what other people are reading and basing their beliefs on. So read away sister!

Anonymous said...

I do not like to go with the flow on things either Christian or Secular.Although, I am a reader person.... I guess I am not interested in reading it because from what I have heard about it it seems disrespectful to Jesus. That grieves me. And I have not seen The Passion of Christ either because I knew it would tear me a part to see on the screen the great pain of my Savior. I am glad for this movie though because it affected my oldest daughter who had been farther away from jesus then she was before she saw it. I think God can use anything....

Michael said...

Well, I am not going to read it, but not because I don't think Christians should. I am not going to read it because I don't like to read...anything...ever. Sad, eh? I guess I like to read video game reviews and things about how to build stuff and grow a lawn, but not novels. Geez, I am coming face to face with how pathetic I am. :) I have a hard enough time being dedicated to reading the Bible, so I can't give Dan Brown more of my time than the Lord. At any rate, read what you want. If I wanted to read, I'd read what I wanted. Of course, we all know I am not one to be really concerned with what others think about me. Gets me into some trouble but that's me!

Jeannett Gibson said...

You did, didn't you? Cracks me up.

shells said...

I read it, thought it was great and finished it in less than 48 hours (this is when it came out years ago) NEVER ONCE did I even think it was true. It seems too crazy to me! But I thought it was a good read. And yes I am a Christian.

Andy Gibson said...

Why would I read a book full of the crack pot devils lies?

Michael said...

Andy, didn't you say that already at Grace's blog which you know Kevin and Brianna participate in? Redundancy is the devil's workshop...oh wait, maybe that was idle hands...speaking of which, I better get going.

Avery said...

Want to really stir the pot with the nuts just ask them if it's possible for a Christian to be a Democrat.

Geuss what, God isn't a Republican, if anything he is more akin to Communist -- he rules all and gives us all what He determines that we need. LOL

Rich Nathan's book, WHo is my Enemy is an awesome read if you really wnat to pursue this line of thought (not the communist joke)

Kevin Heldt said...

Mike, I think it's "idle hands are in the eye of the beholder." :) And no, it was our other "pal" over there that said that and Andy spent much time trying to reason with him -- thus the sarcastic joke.

Avery, if the government were all-loving and all-good and all-wise like God I'd be all for communism! But alas, the government is made up of fallen people and therefore often times their ideas stink and, in my opinion, the less stinky ideas the better. As far as the Democrat/Republican thing goes, I think honest Christians can differ on many political issues but when being "pro-choice" is so often a key platform for Democrats, I'd have a difficult time with any Christian proudly labeling themselves a Democrat without a huge disclaimer that it didn't extend to their support for killing preborn children.

Michael said...

I like you Avery.

Michael said...

...but there is no way God's a democrat either :)

Michael said...

Sorry bad. Not knowing everyone or anyone for that matter, I guess I got confused. I will ammend my post to say something really witty, like "Good one, Andy" or "Way to go, Andy" or "That'll teach em". You know, something really witty. :)

Andy Gibson said...

Yes, Michael, it was an inside joke. But see, all it takes is me to post for a blog comment section to get serious! :)

Yeah, nice post Avery. Your as good at stirring the pot as I am. But I think Kevin addressed that one well.

I never considered God as a communist.....

Andy Gibson said...

Wow, we posted at the same time, Michael. Weird.

Anyways, don't worry about. I'm used to standing up to way more heat than that!

Michael said...

Yeah, I wasn't trying to "bring the heat" as it were. Just trying to defend the brother and sister-in-law from your brutal and vile attacks. :)

Andy Gibson said...

Can't get in the way of family love....

Michael said...

More random thoughts on God's political views.

He might be a Republican because of the story of the talents. He gave more to those who made the most of them and gave less to those who squandered theirs (in the dirt). Very capitalistic. :)

He can't be a communist, because while he does give us what he wants us to have, he doesn't prohibit us from trying to do more, to acheive more.

He can't be a Democrat, because while he is compassionate to the poor, he doesn't agree with stealing from the rich in order to give to the poor and he doesn't want the poor to remain in their current state of poverty, relying on others.

Now that I think of it though, you know who is a total Democrat...Robin Hood. And to think I liked that guy. :)

(All comments are meant for comedic value, what little they may have and are not necessarily representative of the views of Kevin, Brianna, the kids, or of this blogcast.)

Brianna Heldt said...

Rachel,yeah if you are so inclined, read the book, it's a good read. (I'm all about the library!)

Mike, you crack me up, I have to admit I have never read a video game review in my entire life!

Andy, your devil's lies comment made my day. Hee, hee. (And your "family love" comment, that sounds like the name of some reality show or something.)

Avery I agree, that one does stir the pot. I used to think that whole "God's not a republican" thing was dumb, but these days I can see why it resonates with people. Interestingly, while many of my political views remain Republican, I somehow now feel more comfortable being around more liberal-minded people at large, due to our mixed family and some of my views on things.

Nice rundown Mike. Though I am of the persuasion that God DOES want the rich giving a lot to the poor (personally I think that is why He gives us so much) and the fact is that many, many people will ALWAYS be relying upon others for food, shelter and/or survival. There are millions upon millions in this world who have nothing and truly no way to obtain anything. My opinion is that God wants us to help them. And for people who we think technically "could" pull themselves up by their bootstraps, oftentimes there is the whole poverty mentality for them to overcome, and again they're in a position where they need our help to do so.

Jeannett, I thought of you when I did this blogpost. Oh the drama....:) I'm currently working on a post about taking the kids to the beach--no controversy there, right? :)

Michael said...

Brianna, I am in full agreement that God wants the rich to give to the poor. That is my point. God doesn't force the rich to give to the poor. Raising taxes especially on the rich forces them to give to the poor. As you know, some of the biggest charitable donors in the world are Republican though it is by no means a party line that only one side gives. I'm okay with God not being a Republican, but He can't be a Democrat or I'd have to vote for a competing god and they just don't exist, so what would I do? :)

Brianna Heldt said...

Hmmm, I guess you'd just have to vote for Ralph Nader(?) :)

I don't know enough about taxes to know what the best way is...I think if people were more apt to give to the poor on their own we wouldn't need to tax them more. But Kevin explained to me once how taxing the rich extra hurts everyone 'cause they find loopholes or something?

I don't know. But I bet Andy does...

Andy Gibson said...

You bet I know, and yes, even I find loopholes....but I'm not telling you. Actually, I pay somebody to find the loopholes for me.

I can go off on taxing of the rich for hours...but not here.

A better solution would be getting rid of welfare....? To start.

How did we get on this?

Michael said...


You the man!

Brianna Heldt said...

What does Andy propose we do instead of having welfare? I'm curious. (Personally I am in favor of gov't assistance programs.)

Michael said...

Welfare in its current form is corrupt as there is no incentive for anyone to get off of it. Some people are just not motivated anyway, but why would I want to go get a job if I got free money for not getting a job. THe only thing eternal here on earth is a government program. They start em, but they never stop em...or really change em for that matter.

I'm all for helping out folks who find life kicking them in the shorts, but not forever. Of course I am not very nice. :)

Jeannett Gibson said...

I think that welfare is a good idea in THEORY, but not practice. The problem is that it has actually become an incentive program to not bother trying. Trust me, I have seen it with my own eyes on various occasions (we can talk about that next time we get together). I would bet that for every 1 person who truly needs and deserves welfare assistance, there are 25 others who are using the system. I'll be honest: I don't have any hard statistics on that, but I don't really think I'm that far off base either. So, unfortunately, 25 apples spoils the bunch.

What to do instead? Well, I think that welfare should be completely privatized. That way, private companies who watch the bottom line will be more careful in who and where the money goes to. There would be more monitoring, and it would be more "competitive", so only the truly needy would actually get it. The rest: GET A JOB. Weird.

Also, I think that many people end up being very weary of donating money to charities because they feel that so much of their money is already being drained into the programs. So, AIDS programs, Heart Disease, Autism...those organizations suffer because people just don't have the extra cash flow. If we got rid of those taxes, there would surely be those who don't donate AT ALL and merely pocket the money to spend on bigger boats and trucks. But many would gladly donate to causes dear to their heart.

In fact, Dr. James Dobson wrote a really awesome little book called "Marriage Under Fire" and it's really about gay marriage, but in it he even (successfully, in my opinion) argues that the welfare system is also largely to blame for the failure of marriages and families today. I'll let you borrow it tonight.

Kevin Heldt said...

Here's my two cents. But I'd like a few more if someone knows both God's heart and good economics and would care to enlighten me.

I think we need to have stop-gap measures in place for people who find themselves suddenly and truly down and out. I don't know any good way to get any private party to offer this so there probably is a place for government there. The key is that it be temporary and geared towards helping the person "get back on their feet." (Brianna, yes it is true that in some cases people can't "lift themselves up by their own bootstraps" but the goal of the assistance should be to get them to not need the help anymore. That is the only way to treat the recipient with true dignity and compassion. Not to mention this will be what the self-respecting person wants. On a sidenote, I thought it was very powerful in the movie Cinderella Man when he had to take advantage of the gov't assistance program. He didn't want to need it but he did and as soon as he didn't need it anymore he stopped using it (and in that case brought the money back). That I think is the ideal model.) When we were in Ethiopia it was heartwrenching to see the state that good hardworking people found themselves in simply by the harsh circumstances that were brought to bear on their life. No one should be completely stuck if life pitches them a curveball.

But at the same time, we need to understand that discouraging businesspeople from maximizing their profits hurts everyone. If most of the money you make past $100 is going to be taken from you, than why would you exert energy to earn it. Just stop at $99 and call it a day. And if you stop shy of your potential then you forfeit a lot of jobs for people wanting jobs and a lot of products for people wanting to purchase products. (People purchasing products is a good thing because then others see that there is money to be made by selling such and such, then they get into the act and provide more jobs and more products.) Obviously this is an overly simplified view but hopefully I explained it clearly enough to make some sense.

I get tired of the chic and trendy idea that the rich are evil and the poor are righteous. If God has blessed you with wealth (if you are a Joseph or a David in this world -- and in relation to the world everyone reading this in front of their computer screen is) then by all means, consider with sober judgement how God wants you to use your resources. Being rich should humble you like few other things. And if you are poor then take comfort in knowing God cares for you and that some day if you trust Him He will wipe every tear from your eye. But let's not villify people for having much in this life (remember, much will be demanded of them and they have to deal with many challenges to make it through the eye of the needle). God is the source of every good thing so somewhere in His sovereignty He chooses for some to have much. Instead of crying foul play and trying to enlist the government to "bring 'em down to size," let's lovingly encourage them to help that broken and bloody man on the road to Jericho even as we strive to do the same.

Jeannett Gibson said...

Amen Kevin!

Andy Gibson said...

Nice, Kevin. I go for most of that. For me, the keyword for welfare was "temporary". But isn't that called unemployment when you've been kicked in the teeth by life? Then why can you get on both?

Sorry Bri, I hate government assistance in all cases because it is all so abused....and I pay for it. I don't know how many people I see on disability, or with disability tags because they are too overweight. Give me a freaking break. Who approved that? Who is screening these people?

I'm stopping because this will bring out a political side of me you haven't seen yet. Republican is an understatement for me. I will not light up your blog. Maybe we can just change the topic of tonights growth group! :)

Brianna Heldt said...

"...light up your blog"---that is a great word image! Like the 4th of July no doubt...

Just a quick couple of thoughts: based on what I know about people in general, I really don't know that cutting tons of taxes would result in people donating more to causes they care about. We have plenty more than we need as it is, even paying high taxes, but we certainly don't give much of it away relatively speaking. Sometimes the more we have, the less we give.

I don't doubt people "work the system." But plenty of people need the assistance, and while I think the goal of welfare should help people sustain themselves, it won't always happen. Joe won't necessarily beat his addiction or overcome his poverty mentality. More goes into it than just losing a job, being unemployed. It's a fallen world. Mercifully my sin hasn't contributed to me being poor or homeless. Some people's problems do.

I think we ought to still help Joe. Some would say that makes me an enabler (who knows?), and then I start to wonder what would Jesus say about it? What's my role as a Christian? I wish I knew.

Rachel said...

I'm going to get on my soap box for a minute here. My mother did collect welfare as a single mom with her first two children. My parents have both utilized unemployment and workmans comp. My dad has claimed ten dependence because he wasn't making enough to get by and as a result not paid his taxes at the end of the year because he didn't have the money. He actually did that several years and now owes the government about 5 thousand in back taxes and 45 thousand in late fees. Oops. Now I did grow up in a very liberal home that was all for government assistance but totally against new taxes. Go figure. In high school I figured out that my parents spent on average $7500 a year on beer and cigarrettes. That was about one fourth of their annual oncome for most years, before taxes. Something tells me that without those nasty habbits they wouldn't have needed all of that help.

AND, I taught in a low income area for five years. My class had over 90 percent second language learners who had already surpassed their parents education in fourth grade. These children shared a bedroom (or living room) with all of the children in the home and often times aunts and uncles too. yet, there parents would drive up in cars that were much nicer that my Honda CRV. Hmmm... how did they pay for that. Most of the students had several TV's in their house and top of the line video game systems.

AND, my sister collected welfare for 11 years under the old program. She miraculously got pregnant months before she would be cut off. She lived with the children's husband, but claimed not to know the paternity. At one point she even collected in two counties at the the same time. Way to go Michelle, way to work the system. Oh yeah, she also lived with us for most of the time and gave my mom nothing more than her food stamps. Her kids had amazing Christmas presents. She did get a job for about six months. Welfare gave her a dollar an hour to pay the babysitter (my mom) my sister decided it wasn't worth it to have a job. The father of the children now has full custody and had to reimburse welfare most of the money after claiming paternity. It's a good thing he married rich!

I am so Republican! I saw so many programs taken advantage of in my own home and it totally irritated me! So, I went to college and got a career. In my first year I earned more than my parents. Very sad. I do want the government to assist those in need, but it seems that our government only has the capacity to cripple them further. I especially don't want a child to suffer for their parents mistakes. Sorry for the "two much information" comment. But I feel that since I lived it, I have a right to feel justified in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

It's true...


Michael said...

Andy, I must reiterate my liking you. It's probably better that we don't know each other. We could do a lot of damage. I would say I am more Reagan conservative than I am current Republican. They are screwing a lot up my not taking advantage of their numbers. What a bunch of wussies. :) At any rate, I'm sending you some of my good ole fashioned family love!

shells said...

All of this discussion just reminds me to look at my own heart. We cannot judge the people who use the system, we dont know their reasons or not. We are not here to judge them. Most of them are caught in an ugly cycle and have no idea how to get out of it (I worked for Childrens Services as a caseworker in a large city, came home many nights crying and wanting to bring all of the kids home with me!)
One of the biggest things I have been learning is that all of our hearts are so ugly without the love to Christ in them. When we look at Jesus in the bible, he helped everyone he could, NEVER questioning them. I still have not figured out, or I should say have not become obedient enough to him, to do this on a daily basis.
I just know it is easy to sit here on the otherside and say its wrong, when we have never been there.
But I dont know any of you :) so hopefully this isnt offensive to anyone (there is my people pleasing!)
All this to say, Jesus never turned anyone away or judged why they were in the situation they were. So if we are going to call ourselves followers of Christ, what should our reactions be?

Christal said...

read the book and saw the movie. LOVED the book as a fiction book, I know its all lies. Strongly disliked the movie! Tom Hanks' character was not the same in the movie, and they left a TON out! Really dissapointed...but maybe its a good thing that It's bad...

Andy Gibson said...

Yes Rachel. Thank you.

Michael...I love Reagan. What a pimp that guy was. If he could have been president forever....peace through strength!

Nothing is offensive here, we're blogging, right? However, people may be stuck in ugly cycles, but aren't we harboring it by continuing to give them free cash? I would argue yes. If you cut their welfare, etc., you force them to fend for themselves....I guarantee if you did Rachel's family would have figured out really quick they can't spend $7500 a year on booze and smokes.

While it is easy to sit on this side of the fence and essentially judge them, the people of this country need to look back at themselves and realize that with the stupid social problems we have, we are the ones who are enabling them. I don't think it is too hard to understand, but nobody actually has the guts to do anything about it. Let the lethargic monster get bigger and keep on kickin....

If I could rule the world.....

Brianna Heldt said...

I think Americans ALL generally live well above their means, whether we're working the welfare system or not--we've got mortgages on our homes and car payments and credit card debt...maybe it seems funny that people on gov't aid drive nice cars, but we all do it in some form. Someone from a different culture might see us and wonder, "Why are you buying that shirt when you owe so much money on your home???"

Some people getting this aid are probably not going to be the most functional, logical, "normal" people. But they're still people. By all means I don't want to cripple them further, but I'd rather do too much than too little, if I had to choose. I do think the gov't should have safeguards in place, but ultimately we just have to let God figure out who's "cheating" the system.

I've spent most of my life wondering why these people don't just get a clue and go get a job. But God has changed my heart in a lot of ways over the last year and a half. Instead of my past first instinct of judging people and deciding that they're lazy or dysfunctional, I want my first instinct to be compassion. I have never walked in their shoes. I want always in the back of my mind to be thinking, I am so unworthy of the blessings God has given me, be it my mental faculties to make wise decisions, a roof over my head, food on my table, a husband who loves me, my children, and God's salvation.

There will always be lazy people out there (count me in.) God will deal with them, as only He knows their hearts. But I want my response to the poor and the needy to be one of love, compassion, reaching out, and gratitude towards God for my own blessings. What would Christ's response to the poor of our country today be? That is the question I would love answered.

I've seen a place where there is no gov't help, no recourse, NOTHING for poor people to do...I've seen the crippled and disfigured and blind and sick. I've seen people trying to give their kids away because they can't feed them. This isn't some touchy feely "emotional argument", this is reality for many people, you can very easily hop on a plane to go see it yourself. Ever since I saw that I vowed I would never whine about my tax dollars going to gov't aid. Ever. Because if some people cheating the system is what I trade so that we don't have such a horrible situation I will trade it.

Christal, bummer about the movie! I'm looking forward to seeing it, just finished the book today. It really was a great book (in spite of the lies of course :) )

Renee said...


I had the same experience as you. After my trip to Africa I vowed never to bemoan our welfare system again. The truth is we don't have poverty here in America like I saw. There aren't starving children living in rags on the streets. Yes, people abuse the system, but I am thankful we do not have the scenes I saw in Africa. Our system is flawed but it is so much better than what I saw.

FWIW I don't believe it's the gavernment's responsibility to care for the poor, the widowed, the orphaned. My Bible clearly states that is the job of the Church. The Church has failed miserably in this area and that is why the government has had to pick up the ball we have dropped.


Michael said...

Additional points of discrepancy...

First, I am loving this open dialogue. But, I have to say a few things. In terms of living beyond one's means by owning a home. I can't disagree with that more as it not only helps society from getting my property taxes, but is also the more responsible thing to do than renting in that I am investing back into myself so I can be more able to give later. A mortgage isn't a debt like a credit card is, and using this line of thinking would suggest that renters are living within their means more than owners, and that to me, just doesn't pass the smell test. If your bills surpass your income to the point where your net worth is negative (not counting a mortgage), then I would agree that is living out of your means. So I guess if anyone wonders why I buy my shirts, I'll remind them that it is my home. (Arrogant American that I am. :) )

I don't want to cripple people further either, but I believe that is exactly what we are doing in the long run with the current system. Compassion is important, but so is wisdom. (Oh, and Brianna, I refuse to let you put yourself in the lazy category. Not with three little ones. ;) )

I'm curious about God's approach to the poor today as well. I am sure he would be compassionate and help them, but do you think he would just continually give them everything without any responsibility or accountability. I doubt it.

In terms of seeing a poor country like some in Africa, I definitely defer to your expertise there. It is a sad state of affairs to be sure. However, just because it is worse somewhere else, doesn't mean we should just accept the way things are here if they can be improved. That would be like if I stopped trying to be a good father, because some guys beat their kids, or I am "good enough" at providing for my family because I am sure someone is worse. I can't get behind that line of thinking. Where is the motivation to improve?

And I agree with Renee that it is the church's responsibility to care for the poor. Unfortunately, it isn't all the church's fault as the Gov has made such a point to squelch any church involvement in society. I will still go back to my unwillingness to be forced to do much of anything. Though I will continue to pay my taxes and to make sure that if I can't, I sell my big TV and my big house so I don't leave beyond my means. :)

Here's another thought...Stop giving aid and welfare to illegal immigrants. (Oooo, that oughtta stir the pot for another 35 posts or so. :) )

Love to all and to all a good day.

Andy Gibson said...

Wow, Michael...I don't even need to post. You took it all right out of my mouth...including the illegal immigrant stuff. If you shipped them all back (which I am willing to pay the increase in taxes to pursue) and ended welfare, tada, there are now jobs. Granted we would have to pay more for produce and other things, but I say bring it on. I would be happy to pay the increase in costs because other crap like health insurance, etc. which the illegals mooch on would greatly diminish.

Now let me qualify something. When I say end welfare, I am not including the "crippled and disfigured and blind and sick", as Brianna so elequently put it. They obviously needs societies help. I am speaking of the lazy, of which Brianna, you are not. Unfortunately, most of the people on welfare are lazy, in my opinion (blanket statement, I know).

So maybe some background on why I am so hard up on this: As somebody who, to an extent, created the life I have for myself, by myself, I don't feel sorry for them at all. My father was a crack head who forced my parents to separate and spoil my way of life and forced my mom, brother, and I to move from the only house we owned and the life we knew. We had to move in with my Grandma in La Mirada (LA) and without her love and compassion on us I literally would have been homeless. I realized during this time in my life that I would have to take care of myself, which I did. I began working hard in school and wisely choosing who I hung out with. I subsequently got myself into college, paid for my own college, and started my own business right out of college. So yeah, I have zero sympathy for somebody who can't get their act together because in my mind, I have done nothing great. I just had common sense and did what I really was supposed to do in life. But where is everybody elses common sense? It is this experience which made be a very conservative Republican....and keep in mind...the rest of my family is very liberal, so I came to these conclusions on my own.

Brianna Heldt said...

Andy, but what do you think is Christ's response to the poor? How should Christians and the church respond to the poor? Do you think, say, Grace's BBQ for the homeless was just enabling these people to be lazy?

I won't touch the illegal immigrant debate (I do think something should be done, but what I don't know, so I can't really debate it) except to say that we need to remember these are people, not animals.

I will also say that I notice that "self-made" people are often very quick to say, "well I did it in spite of my circumstances, why can't everyone else". Praise be to God that He gave you the strength, clarity of mind, whatever to "rise above", but we shouldn't use that to prove that "most people on welfare are lazy."

Yes there are poor people out there who are poor because they're lazy. Ideally "the system" would do something about that, guard against it, whatever. But let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Avery said...

A little background on me, a desert storm vet, only served state side, got an honorable discharge by less than honorable means and wound up homeless for 6 months through the winter in the Poconos, sleeping on a storm drain, bathing in the Susquhanna river, raise in a home that every other day my mother did a grocery store run that we parked behind the stores and she lifted me up into the dumpsters behind the store and I rummaged around to find food that we could eat by chopping off the rotten parts with a machete. All that to say, I understand the need for assistance and the inability to get it.

And all that to preface that I beleive the current system of AMerican welfare is a blantant attack on the Church. It was historically the Church that administered the welfare to the poor, taking care of those in need, but the American welfare system has effectively removed the need for the public to look to the Church for assitance. Thus they are able to remove the morality and need for Christ in that assistance as well.

I'm all for pulling the plug on that dead cow, and let the Church do it's job again. But you will never get this post christian society to do that.

Michael said...

I don't know if Brianna, you are responding to me or just the group as a whole, but I don't get the sense that you are giving much credence to or hearing what we are trying to say. Not speaking for Andy, which after the last two days, I might be able to :), I am not saying to get rid of the system and obviously not all people on welfare are lazy, but it is broken and it needs to get fixed. I guess, ultimately, that is the point I am trying to get across. I am certain that Andy doesn't think giving free food to the homeless is enabling them but again, I shant speak for him. (Always wanted to use shant) And like Avery said, the Church has been removed from the ability to help everybody and I am certain every church could and should do more. I will say it again, Christ's response to the poor is to be generous to help them out of the situation they are it. Blessed are the poor... Christ doesn't force us to give to the poor or to give up our possessions (Rich Man). However the current system does force us to do that without much if any accountability as to who gets it and for how long.

While I don't know Andy, I would hope that he would still give props to the G-O-D for helping him improve his situation.

I for one am not throwing the baby out or the bath water out. I am trying to clean and reuse the water so the right babies get clean. :)

Avery, your story is inspirational. I am sorry that you faced all that you did growing up though I am sure you attribute a lot of that adversity to help get you to where you are today. Praise God.

And finally, (because the pot is starting to settle) 3 step plan for stopping illegal immigration.
1. Build a huge freakin wall, or even a small wall with about 10 feet of combed sand on either side. Sand should be cheap as it "grows" in the desert. That way when the patrol comes through the area, they can tell if and where people are crossing and focus more attention there.
2. Make a concerted effort to find those who are here illegally and remove them from the country. The cost of removal will still be dwarfed by the cost we are spending to support them.
3. Make becoming a citizen easier. I am not a Nationalist. Immigration does strengthen the nation, and it shouldn't take multiple years for hard working immigrants to get here legally. Bureaucracy is for sucks.

In defense of my plan. I don't think immigrants are animals. I know they can contribute to a functioning society. Having no way to find out who and where they are going is insane in addition to a huge risk to our national security. (Though there are those out there who think 9/11 was a fluke. Yikes)

I am all for a national language which needs to be English.

I am not okay with rallies where the Mexican flag is brazenly waved. If you are so proud, why are you here? Can you imagine how fast we would be arrested in Mexico City waving an American flag?

I am certainly and 100% against any guest worker program or Amnesty which are one in the same. Last time I checked, when my daughter Aubrey reached for the stove, I didn't give her a cookie. Rewarding bad behavior only produces more bad behavior. (Hey, kinda ties into the welfare debate. :) )

If something isn't done, in a short period of time we will not have a country to call our own. A country without control of their borders isn't a country.

Okay, I am stepping off now. Feel free to delete my ramblings. I love my country and hate seeing so many here and abroad want to tear it to shreds.

Andy Gibson said...

Brianna, tossing some flames...nice!

I'll simply say I disagree. I am ready to throw out the baby with the bath water, because it would spark change. I'm not saying it will be easy.

Regardless of my self-made status, I feel people should be able to do it as well, again, because of common sense. It is simply what you have to do in life and I shouldn't be rewarded for it, nor do I want rewarded for it. Yes, God may have given me the will and strength to be how I am and overcome my ruts....but didn't God give all of us a brain and will to some extent? I belive he did, and gave us enough will to triumph. It comes down to each persons ability to call upon that for themselves, and a lot of people don't (aka, lazy). We could argue this one all day.

Rachel said...

Oh, the drama of it all! It has been really fun checking in on these comments the last few days. As Mike will agree, I totally feed off of emotion (my favorite is anger unfortunately). I am such a girl.

Anyway, I was thinking about this whole debate as I drove home from Starbucks this morning. Don't worry, I didn't really pay $3.50 for coffee, I am actually a brand auditor and get paid to check out their quality and customer service. A fun little side job I started last month.

Anyway, I've decided that the whole problem is complacency and fear of change. Look at all of the crap Bush got when he said he wanted Social Security reform. We all know how bad it is, but everyone is afraid to do something about it. What a sad state we are all in. I think a lot of people think that things are as good as they are going to get and don't try to reach beyond their current situation. Andy, Avery, and I broke that cycle. I prayed daily for the students in my class to be the one to break the cycle in their families too. As a parent, I need to encourage my children to set goals and help them plan how to get there. As a teacher, I did that for my students. As a Christian, i don't know where I fit in. I've always been interested in geting involved with church ministry in juvenille hall, but I've never done it. Now I have a million excuses about why I don't. Who knows. Hopefully God will use these comments as a platform to empower all of us to do more than just pay lip service to such important things. Doesn't James say that words withhout works are dead?

Michael said...

Actually, I think it's faith without works, but I get the point.

And Andy, I am easily swayed. The bathwater...GONE! The baby...GONE TOO! I think that is why the shower was invented. :)

On a side note, the origin of throwing out the baby with the bathwater is an interesting one, which I feel smart for knowing but it probably isn't that big of a secret.

Well, I am off to take my lazy butt back to watching the World Series of Poker. I am such a heathen. Just kidding...or am I?

Jeannett Gibson said...

Whew, 44 posts. Puts the Grace blog to shame! :0)

Quickly, in the book "Too Small to Ignore" Wes Stafford talks about this sort of thing...being the head of Compassion International, this is a guy who I think knows God's heart and is obviously kicking all of our butts in working to end poverty. In it he obviously implores us all to help. But he even concedes that the end to poverty is not just a monetary issue...that it's a HUMAN issue. He talks about his work at Cabrini Green, a juvenile hall in Chicago, where "all around us, big government programs were addressing everything but the human element at the cor of the problem." Money was poured into the program, yet the "violence, crime, hatred and hunger persisted". He goes on to quote Einstein who said "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity". My point: helping and giving graciously is honorable and demanded of us by God. We are to be generous and help the poor. ("Blessed are the poor..."). This is without question. But, I think the welfare system is broken. It doesn't work. It doesn't mean we quit helping people, it just means that we need to rethink how that happens. For decades, our government has taxed and handed out. It isn't working. Obviously. So, we need to think outside the box. We can't just keep giving and have it keep failing, and continue to defend it as a good idea.

We need to help. We need to be giving. I just don't think that welfare is the right way to do so.

Lastly, I would like to point out a fundamental difference in my viewpoint of the poor: I think that it is one thing to be poor in Africa, where you truly have NOTHING and nowhere to get it. And an entirely different thing to be poor in America. Even the poorest homeless American man is far richer in opportunity, nutrition, etc. than even the average tribal African. No one truly STARVES in this country. There ARE opportunities here for those who seek them. Just my 2 cents.

Avery said...

i want a job as a brand auditor...

i'm serious.


Brianna Heldt said...

Mike, I apologize if it seems I'm not listening to "the group." (I didn't realize it was me vs. everyone else--I better watch my back!) My last post was actually mostly in response to Andy's.

I don't deny that some people are working the system. Or totally dysfunctional. I also don't deny that welfare needs some tweaking. I don't know enough about welfare to know what to do about it though.

Jeannett referenced one of my favorite books of all time--Wess Stafford is a true hero. We surely do need to be treating the human condition in addition to throwing money at the problem. Ideally the church would have a much more prominent place in helping alleviate poverty, both locally and globally. But it doesn't happen. Why is that?

Some of it has to do with the inward focus of American church culture I think. Some of it must also have to do with our perceptions of the poor.

Andy you mentioned common sense. Doesn't every good and perfect gift come from above? Unfortunately not everyone has what you would call "common sense." Some are depressed or addicted or have never been shown what it means to take responsibility. God will hold them accountable for what they have to work with. If God's given you much, He'll hold you to much.

Yes, God gave us all a brain. But He gave some of us to abusive parents, some of us to genetic predispositions that make us more likely to do/not do certain things. To some of us He gave more resilience. Yes He gave us free will. But apart from His mercy and grace we're really not capable of a whole lot of anything.

I think it can make us feel safe to say, "so and so is poor/mentally ill/whatever because of the poor choices they made." Sure, that's probably the case for some people, but again, we ALL make poor choices, and they still need help. AND children should not have to suffer for that.

How to help exactly again I don't know. I agree poor people in the US do have much more on the whole than the poor in developing/third world countries. But I think the poverty mentality experienced in this country makes it very tough to get out of it.

I'm reminded of Matthew 5:40-42. How do you think that applies?

Rachel I definitely think people fear change. We tend to be complacent.

Maybe a little off topic but I will go out on a limb and say I think part of what the root problem is must be what our society values. On the one hand we say, these lazy bums, why don't they go get a job. On the other hand we look down on people who work in lower paying, non-degree type jobs. How many times have you heard or said, "so and so didn't make much of himself, he just works at _____." We value people for what they do, not for who they are. We equate success and hardwork and accomplishment with a college degree. SO, I think these attitudes can certainly lead someone who, due to circumstances, knows they can't realistically make it through college (whether due to finances, learning ability, whatever) to feel like they don't measure up or something, become hopeless, and end up in the cycle of poverty.

Just more random musings. Cracks me up that there are so many posts on here.

I want to be a brand auditor too!!!

Andy Gibson said...

What is a brand auditor?

Ok Brianna, now I know we're never going to agree on this, as it is a fundamental difference of opinion.

I like to think that God put on a little more of a level playing field than you speak of. I believe everybody in a specific situation has the exact same potential, it personally comes down to how each person chooses. Common sense means you would choose the path which would get you out of your current state because you know it is wrong. I believe that there is an element in everybody that has a sense of responsiblity in every situation. Whether they choose to use it...again, same question. It seems you are willing to let people off the hook much more easily than I am. I believe people in general are EXTREME underachievers and I am not willing to let them off the hook because of how they were raised, for example. Yes, being in a negative environment will help harbor as much, but for every negative influence, you can't convince me that there weren't positive influences there as well, if not just as much? How responsible did that person choose to be?

They used the brain that God gave them to pick up that joint....pick up that razor blade off the mirror....pick up that syringe....pick up their fist...the list goes on. Conscience decisions were made at some point.

Michael said...

Brianna, I didn't intend to pit you against us and if you were responding to Andy, then my bad. I was just wanting to make sure that I wasn't being put in the "all gov assistance is bad" camp. Hey, you're my sis and I love you. More "family love" to spread around. Avery, I'll have Rachel post about how to be a brand auditor.

Michael said...

Brianna, I wasn't intending to make it you against us. And if you were responding to Andy, then my bad. I just didn't want to be put in the "all gov assistance is bad" camp. I want to be put in the "all gov assistance is broken" camp. :) Hey, you're my sis and I love you. So here's some "family love" sent to you. :)

Oh, and I'll have Rachel post about the brand auditor gig. It's pretty cool. And for those who don't know, Rachel is my wife. That's pretty cool too. :)

Michael said...

Whoops, the first time I tried to post, it didn't show up thus the redundancy. - Mike

KelseyChristine said...

Have any of you read Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ronald J. Sider?

I consider myself a Republican, but that is based almost solely on the abortion issue. On the other hand, is it not true that Republicans support the death penalty? I do not believe we have the right to be selective about who is entitled to life.

It seems to me that the rich often give enough money to charity to feel good about themselves without compromising their standard of living. I see suburban mega-churches bragging about their ministries and the good they are doing for the world, yet on Sundays, Mustang's pull into their parking lot. How could one justify that type of indulgence if they were face to face with Jesus? On a more personal level, how I could I justify many of my own purchases if Jesus asked? I agree with Renee that the church is failing on an embarrassing level in this area. Perhaps it's because pastors spend more time preaching about the Divinci Code, than Jesus' precious children who go to sleep hungry every night. We must keep in mind that we are to model the lifestyle of Jesus, who lived with little material possessions. Mark:12 tells the story of the poor widow who gave all she had compared to the rich Pharisees who gave large amounts, but a small percentage of their total income.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.” Mother Theresa

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
Mother Teresa

“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” Mother Teresa

"Live simply so that others may simply live."

As far as the immigration issue goes, I'm gathering that none of you who posted so passionately about "shipping them out" have many personal relationships with immigrants. I live in the inner city and immigrant parents (yes even illegal immigrant parents) are some of the most hard working, family oriented people I know. And it's not like they are stealing YOUR jobs. They are working the minimum wage jobs that no one else wants. Capitalism depends on immigrants. It is such an arrogant attitude to think that because you were fortunate enough to be born in a prospering country, you deserve more than one of Christ's children in another part of the world. It is not easy to gain legal immigration status. Just ask the Ethiopian community. The earliest white settlers of this country were not legally allowed to be here, yet today their descendents are on the forefront of the immigration debate. If you really think about it, the only people with a legal right to be in this country are the NATIVE AMERICANS! This is atarting to sound like Manifest Destiny all over again if you ask me. I see nothing wrong with a father or mother doing whatever it takes to create a better lifestyle for their children.

As far as welfare goes, I believe that many of you are seeing this issue through a window of white privilege. You ask why people on welfare don't just get it together? They are not granted the same job opportunities as you are. A black man who walks into a job interview is not going to be considered the same way as a white man with the same qualifications would be. Statistics say a girl named "LaTisha" will not be granted the same opportunities as someone named "Mary". The welfare system most definitely needs reform, but maybe a step in keeping people off of welfare in the first place would be to eliminate the racism in corporate America. I can see how one would get frustrated trying to move up in a society whose economic structure has been designed to keep them second class citizens. How is it that a white man can steal billions of dollars through corporate fraud and serve a few months in federal prison, yet a black man who robs a convenient store is sentenced for many years? Obviously black men are not expected to be successful in society. How else could you explain why any African American male driving a nice car can count on being pulled over for no legitimate reason? Police officers feel the need to ensure the vehicle really belongs to them because "everyone knows if a black man is driving a nice car it was stolen or bought with drug money".

I wish people could step outside themselves and truly look at others with the love and compassion of Christ. Brianna, I love you're Christ-like attitude! It's refreshing. You're sons and daughter are so blessed to have an example like you 

Jeannett Gibson said...

Love you Brianna, and I think it's beautiful that you have such a genuinely loving heart for others and believe the best of them.

The problem is this: would you believe that I grew up in an EXTREMELY physically, mentally and spiritually abusive environment as a child? At one point in my life, I didn't know where I was sleeping at night and was exposed to raw cocaine, heroin needles and guns as a very small child? That I was the first person in my ENTIRE family to have ever graduated HIGH SCHOOL, much less go on to college? That I had NO MONEY whatsoever, yet, somehow was determined enough to get past all of that abuse, hate and chaos and figure out how to take myself out of the situation and put myself through collge?

Well, it's all true, and then some. So, I think that even if God put people in some pretty crappy places, James 1:1 tells us to count it all a joy. Circumstances only define people if they let them. (Especially in the U.S.) if you want it bad enough, you can get it. With few exception, if we played the "I had a worse childhood than you" game, I promise, I would trump most. Not proud of it. Just making the point that it isn't impossible. I believe that God gives his Grace to all of us freely. We are all welcome to drink of His cup and we are all reserved a place at His table. That pesky free will thing comes in here at this point. We can either choose to take of it, or be stubborn and refuse His divine help. It is truly only by God's grace that I am who I am, and that I have achieved so much. But I had to first pull my blinders off and receive it. And therein lies my problem with the "lazy bums" (sarcasm). If you've noticed, many of us on this blog who are most impatient with the topic are those of us who understand that at the end of the day, a lot of it is just people making excuses for why they aren't able to do the right thing, because we LIVED it. Sure, coming from a dysfunctional background makes life harder...A LOT harder. But harder doesn't mean impossible.

(And how on Earth did this go from Da Vinci Code to welfare????)

Jeannett Gibson said...

And by the way, I also agree that we should "ship them out". And yes, I DO in fact have experience with immigration. I am first generation Portuguese. My ENTIRE family immigrated here from Portugal in the 1970's...the caveat: Oh yea, they did it LEGALLY. They work low paying jobs (to this day), they didn't speak a lick of English when they got here (fluent now, with accents), yet, my grandparents never once went on welfare or felt the need to cheat the country they so desparately wanted to be a part of. So, yea...I get it.

I do agree with you on the racism issue...although I do think it is getting better...not as good as it should be, but certainly better. And my "white" background helping me? Not sure my race would have made much difference in my deciding to break the cycle in the first place.

KelseyChristine said...

You're parents were blessed to be able to do it legally. Not everyone is so lucky. I could tell you countless stories of people trying to gain legal immigration status, but it just wasn't possible for them. And what makes you think all illegal immigrants are "cheating the system"? Education is the only government program the immigrant families I know of are using. Like your family, they are working low paying jobs and trying to support their loved ones. I have no doubt that there are people who take advantage of the system, but many don't.

Racism in America has improved some, but not as much as some people believe. It's just more subtle these days. If you turn on the television, you see image after image of African American criminals. Most people clutch their purse a little tighter if they see an African American male walking down the street. Oh yeah, and if a white person is murdered it makes the front page. If a black person is shot, they are lucky to be mentioned in the metro section. In school, I have seen first hand how teachers have lower expectations for kids of color, holding them to an entirely different standard than white children. Rasism is alive and well, but it takes a lot for a white person to notice because its just not our reality.

Your race may not have affected your decision to break the cycle, but I would bet it contributed to your success in doing so.

Michael said...

Jeannett, You rock. You and Andy are obviously an awesome pair.

Kelsey, there are so many holes in your logic that I don't really know where to start debating so you win as I won't start. But suffice it to say that I am all for the death penalty. If you kill my brother, you forfeit your life. A guy driving a Mustang (which isn't that expensive) is NOT by nature a villain because he has a car he wants. The problem I have with illegal immigrants is NOT that they are's that they are ILLEGAL!!!! Why is that so hard to grasp? I don't blame them for wanting more for there lives and they are not taking my job, but they sure are taking the jobs of our kids. I for one starting out with one of those minimum wage jobs you say I didn't want. I guess I wasn't fortunate enough to skip that part. Would it be okay for me to go into my rich neighbors house and take their TV because I really wanted my family to have a better viewing experience. The legality obviously doesn't matter to you on immigration so it shouldn't matter to you here, right? Every criminal works hard to make things better for themselves. That's why people steal, cheat and lie. So I guess to you, robbing a bank is okay, because that robber is just trying to improve their families situation and it isn't really hurting anyone seeing as how the money is insured anyway. You said that you see nothing wrong with a father or mother doing anything to improve the life of their kids so I guess you would be A-ok with them coming to your house to take your stuff so their kids can have it. It is interesting to me to hear the thoughts of Christians who claim to have a moral foundation and yet have no problem with breaking the laws of another country. Forget about another country, breaking the 10 Commandments (which, yes we all have done, but don't so easily condone) What would Jesus say about that? Again, compassion is great, but wisdom with compassion is better. Are you saying there aren't any successful black men? It sounds to me like you are the one pigeon holing them into failure. It is apparent to me that you are not a WHITE MALE trying to get a job in America where you have to be not equal, but more qualified than minorities just to get past the so-called affirmative action. But maybe you are right... Cops are by nature racist. Illegal immigrants are by nature righteous. Corporate America is by nature corrupt and racist. Whites by nature are lucky, selfish, and priveleged. LaTisha is worse off than Mary. Crime can't be has to be about what the color of the person is who commits it. Oh wait, I think I said I wasn't going to debate... My bad. One more thing...Capitalism does NOT depend on ILLEGAL immigration.

Apologies to all who this may offend. It is late and I am tired. I am no kid anymore you know. :)

Jeannett Gibson said...

My [grand]parents were "lucky"? No, just willing to actually follow the laws. Luck had NOTHING to do with it.

"Your race may not have affected your decision to break the cycle, but I would bet it contributed to your success in doing so."

So, explain to me, what part of my being white had to do with deciding that I wasn't going to do drugs? What part of me being white had to do with despising child abuse and refusing to ever continue the cycle? What part of me being white had to do with putting my own white butt through college? Will you now tell me that the only reason I got in was because I was white? Weird, because my maiden name is Rocha, which is typically a Hispanic name and I always decline to put my race, and I didn't attach an 8x10 glossy of my face to my application. Oh, I remember, the usual response is that I obviously got a better education in the first place...maybe, but when uncles made fun of me for doing my homework, what part of me being white kept me doing it? And what part of me being white kept me up late at night studying when I had no one in the house who could help or even read the material?

Try again.

Rachel said...

Avery and Brianna,

There are many websites for becoming a brand auditor. This is the one that is contracted with Starbucks. click on 'contact' and then 'become a brand auditor'. For Starbucks you get reimbursed for the beverage of their choice and paid $9. It is a ten minute visit and a fifteen minute survey. They do hold the first $35 of your pay as a deposit for the equipment that is sent to complete the shops. You also need to set up a paypal account. I completed six shops for the month of May.

KelseyChristine said...

Oh my Michael, you jumped to so many unprecedented conclusions that I hardly know where to start. Let's start with the death penalty. Don't you believe that the punishment God will give to a murderer is sufficient? Where in the Bible did He grant us authority to take away the life of another. You seem so self-righteous about the ten commandments, yet you seem to be blocking out "Thou shalt not Murder". How about those who were electrocuted whose DNA samples later proved them innocent?

And wow you made quite the jump there from what I said to allowing people to rob a bank...
You can't seem to grasp that not everyone has the ability to gain legal immigration status. What should the father of a family living in absolute poverty do after his request for legal immigration is denied? Say "ok, I give up". Is that what you would do for your kids?? I think people have this image of illegal immigrants being corrupt, moochers. It's such a blanket statement and I would think people could dig just a little deeper...

Should Christians also not smuggle Bibles into other countries because that is breaking their laws? Or preach the Word of God in countries where Christianity is illegal?

Wow you analyzed my post very well. It is OBVIOUS that all this is the point I was trying to make (*since I am typing this I better make it clear that I'm being sarcastic).

"Are you saying there aren't any successful black men? It sounds to me like you are the one pigeon holing them into failure. It is apparent to me that you are not a WHITE MALE trying to get a job in America where you have to be not equal, but more qualified than minorities just to get past the so-called affirmative action. But maybe you are right... Cops are by nature racist. Illegal immigrants are by nature righteous. Corporate America is by nature corrupt and racist. Whites by nature are lucky, selfish, and priveleged. LaTisha is worse off than Mary. Crime can't be has to be about what the color of the person is who commits it.

First of all, I am not racist and I think that was a childish response you used to try and get a rise out of me. I am acknowledging what so many people like to deny exists. I have African Americans siblings who I have SEEN get treated differently in school. An Africa American friend of mine recently moved to the suburbs and has already been pulled over four times, and he was never given a reason why. I'm suspecting it was because he drives a nice car in a white neighborhood. How could you read my post and conclude that I believe their aren't any successful black men. I talked about those who WERE successful and drove nice cars, which resulted in more racism. There are many strong black men in my church community, my school comunity, and my neighborhood, but if you listened to their life story you may get a glimpse of the advantages you appear to take for granted.

You seem to be trying to victimize yourself in order to justify your feelings toward others. It also appears that you are in denial or at least trying to minimize the struggle of people of color. It is humorous to me that you try gain sympathy for the most privilaged of our society--THE WHITE MAN.

I doubt anything I say is going to get through to you. My life experiences shaped me and yours shaped you so I guess that's that.

KelseyChristine said...

That is great that you were able to overcome so much and become what you wanted to be.

Have you ever considered the children who are suffering from issues such as RAD and the affects of drug and alcohol abuse during pregnancy? Through no fault of their own, severe learning disabilities keep them from succeeding in school. Or how about the children who become clinically depressed at a young age because of all that has happened in their short lives. Some issues that lead to a life of depression or crime are MEDICAL. Sometimes there are things over which a person has no control. OF COURSE there are people who could do more, but don't. However, you have to keep in mind that that is not necessarily the majority.

I never said it was impossible for a person of color to succeed in American society. I just said it was more difficult. And if you deny white privilege, I am not equipped to erase that ignorance, so I'll stop trying.

Andy Gibson said... are so off base. You are so lucky it is late and I am sick of blogging.

They are ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. Learn that and know that. They cost good tax paying citizens a hell of a lot of money and are WAY worse for the economy. Have you seen your health premium bill lately?

I will gladly pay $5 bucks for a head of lettuce if it is picked by somebody legal. John McCain, a "Republican" who is actually for amnesty, during a speech offered anybody in the audience $50 bucks an hour to work in the fields. His "argument" was that nobody would do it, but guess what, several people went up to him and said they would. His response; "no, you say you would, but you wouldn't." That is a load. Bottom line is, the people would be there to fill the jobs, no problem, if we paid them demanded wages. Sure, it will cause the prices to go up, but I will gladly pay them. End welfare, and there will be that many more people waiting to fill the job openings.

Capitalism does not run on illegal immigrants. Capitalism and our economy run on small businesses and owners/employees that are willing to bust their butts to so their jobs to the highest of their abilities, working upwards of 80 hours, or more a week. Bottom line, period. Try to tell me again that illegals run the economy. They kill it, that is why they are ILLEGAL.

And the racism thing is a load as well. Because people like you continue to dwell on it, racism still exists. Racism is starting to turn back on the white people, plain and simple. The government has been so scared by people like you and the racism bit that they have started to discriminate against white people. When a white man goes in for a job now, he has less of a chance than a black woman, not more. When I was studing Aerospace Engineering (here is a flaming comment) I don't know how many minority students and/or girls we're hired over men because Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop, Raytheon (for you, Kevin), insert company here, had to meet some lame quota that was organized and watched the government. Now, in some cases, these students were brighter and better for the jobs, but unfortunately, and fact of the matter is, most of them we're not and we're chosen BECAUSE of their race. Competition was tough, unless you we're of race or a girl. Everybody studing in the department knew that, it was an unsaid standard. These companies have to meet these quotas, or the government will not give them contracts. Fair, I think not. Now onto a related topic. I am self-employed and I have sacrified for three years now to build a business with three other white men. If we we're woman owned, or we were minority owned, do you know how much easier building our business would have been. If you don't know, do yourself a favor and go look up and research the Small Business Administrations 8(a) qualifications. When you submit proposals to the government, or large companies who are working for the government, you are at a huge disadvantage by being white, and moreso by being male. Don't sit here and tell me that things are easy because I am white male. It is 100% the opposite. It is very sad to see that most companies that survive are in 8(a)...makes you wonder if the real competition in the economy is actually getting squeezed out because of the race card. Makes you wonder if this has anything to do with the downfall of our economy and our jobs being shipped to India. Think about it, because I can easily argue that it does. Racism is alive and well.

White privilege, where did you learn that trash? You've been brainwashed sometime in your life, dear.

Sorry to light up your blog, Brianna. I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to be told that because I am white (and a male), things were easy for me. See my previous posts. Like Jeannett, that is far from the truth and lights me. Wow, and I said I was sick of typing...I got sucked in just like Michael because the arguments are so ridiculous.

Jeannett Gibson said...

Hi Brianna. I think you are great and I love your kids to pieces. When you get those Sears pics, can I get one to put up on my living room shelf? (I just wanted to post something loving and non-confrontational on your blog). :0)

Michael said...


Your post was a delight to read as I woke up this morning. You really got me off on the right foot. Thanks. Let me address a few things. I won't bring up new points, but will address those you brought up.

1. I am not "your" Michael. :) I don't know you for crying out loud.
2. No, I don't believe that God's punishment is enough for murder. One, because God is able to forgive that sin and sitting for a lifetime in prison watching cable TV isn't nearly severe enough for taking a life. We may be reading different Bibles, but you asked where it talks about capital punishment. Here you go...
Leviticus 20:10
Leviticus 20:11
Leviticus 20:15
Deuteronomy 22:13-21
Deuteronomy 20:14
Deuteronomy 22:23-24
Deuteronomy 22:25
Leviticus 21:9
Levitucus 24:17
Exodus 21:16
Leviticus 20:2-5
That oughta be enough to get you started. We are not being selective on who dies. We are only killing those who kill, rape, etc others. Not the group I want getting out after they are "rehabilitated".
3. How am I being self-righteous about the ten commandments having admitted to committing all ten? Maybe you should look that work up too.
4. Can you sight one case where DNA has proved innocence after death?
5. I liked how instead of even addressing my bank robber comment, you attempted to disqualify it all together. Are you sure you aren't liberal? That technique is straight out of the Clinton book of tricks.
6. Fortunately, I don't find myself in that situation, most assuredly due to my "white privelege", but no, I don't endorse breaking the law.
7. Yes, I am okay with handing out Bibles and sharing the gospel in oppressed countries. I don't see how that has a negative impact on anyone, either economically or otherwise. Kind of a different law break if you ask me.
8. I don't recall calling you a racist. Where did you get that?
9. I can't deny your specific situations with your siblings about being pulled over and stuff and that sucks. I am not saying that there is not racism. I know there is. But you can't extrapolate your few examples to make a statement about all situations everywhere.
10. Where did I try to victimize myself? I am not a victim. I was born into a upper-middle class white family with 1.2 dogs. I did grow up in a predominantly white area. My comments about being a white male are not made to have you feel sorry for me. But you can't speak firsthand to the reverse racism that goes on like Andy so nicely stated in corporate America, just like I can't speak to the stressed of being a woman or another nationality. Granted, I would rather struggle with getting a good job than struggle with getting a good no victim here.
11. If all white males are so priveleged, then why are there so many poor white people and homeless white people and white guys in jail and white guys on death row? Hmmm...interesting.
12. Finally, in response to your inference of my racism. I have the same problem with white guys from Ireland or England coming here illegally. I have no problem executing white murderers and rapists. I am all for helping the poor white people get off of welfare and get a job (which will be tougher to do becuase all the illegals are here.)

Hopefully, you can see that I proved you wrong in that some of what you are saying "got through to me", but yeah, I don't hold out much hope in getting you to understand that the "white privelege" is more like the "Great White Hype", seeing as how you discount in with humor. There's compassion for you.

My fingers hurt now and it is time for breakfast. I think I'll have some Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Mmmm!

Avery said...

this thread made a left turn some where.

"where is the love y'all?" -Black Eyed Peas

Rachel said...

I know Avery, but it's like when there is a car accident on the freeway. We all have to have a look!

Andy Gibson said...

Hahahaha. That's funny rachel.

shells said...

I agree with Avery. Sometime I think this is what Satan wants, us to get caught up in the junk of this world, so that our eyes come off Christ and on to 'Christian Issues'.
Yuck, as was said above "Wheres the love?"
Mark 12:29-31
LOVE GOD AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR (even if he is an illegal immigrant, who is a deomcrat) God loves him and sees him THE EXACT same way as he sees us.

Michael said...

I am assuming that is partially directed at me. My eyes haven't come off of Christ. I do love my illegal immigrant democrat neighbor. I just want him to stop breaking the law. My in-laws are democrats and I love them. I don't have to agree with them. God loves the sinner, but He doesn't want them to go on sinning. I by no means am without fault and if this topic was about any of the numerous issues I struggle with, then I would be the first one to throw myself under the bus. I love my daughter, but I don't let her touch the stove or have candy all day. Love comes with discipline. God disciplines us too. Anyway, I am under some stress, so I should just shut up before I really make someone mad.

Brianna Heldt said...

Okay I've bowed out of the discussion, there's just wayyy too much to respond to! (And I get scared when people get upset!)Hopefully I have been a courteous bloghost. My heart is not to "argue" with anyone, or be belligerent, or anything like that. I think it's good for people sometimes, especially Christians, to grapple with these questions. Provided we're doing so in a loving way, as Avery (well the Black Eyed Peas really :) ) and Shelley pointed out.

(Jeannett you crack me up. You are too sweet, yes you most definitely get a pic, we ordered one just for you guys!)

I'll speak briefly to racism, in response to Andy's post about it: YES, racism exists. It will sadly probably always exist--we are sinful people who have an easy time drawing a line in the sand between "us" and "them", whoever "they" may be. I've known racist people over the years, heard racist statements from them, and over the last three months have witnessed racist attitudes towards my sons both obvious and subtle. And when it happens it really hurts. Please don't believe that it doesn't exist today, or that it only exists because people dwell on it. That is not true.

I don't deny that there is reverse discrimination, and that is not right either.

Having two black children has given me a unique glimpse into our society that I would certainly not have otherwise. Living in a liberal place like California is a blessing right now, but even in California my kids are not immune, especially in such a predominantly white area.

Mike, thanks for that "family love"--again, totally the name of a reality show. And I think that's the exact type of sugar--er, cereal, that your brother is having this morning!! What is it with you Heldts and your need for unhealthy food in the morning?! I'm sorry you're under stress, I'm passing you some "family love" back now...

Kelsey, you know that's funny I almost used the RAD example for something myself! I think the death penalty issue is an interesting one. Confession time, I constantly go back and forth on it. Like you I am also primarily a Republican due to the abortion issue, although there are some other principles that I adhere to as well. I struggle though identifying myself that way because I don't like some of the Republican rhetoric. When I told Kevin that he said he would never identify himself as a Republican without some disclaimers (and that as a Christian it should go the same way the other way too.)

Politics is tricky. Two parties, a lot of black and white. I just want to know what Christ would say on this or that issue--just about every issue in our country has become so very politicized. The church as well.

We've talked a lot lately at church/growth group about engaging our culture, reaching out to others. I think it starts with loving your Republican/Democrat/white/black/illegal immigrant/legal immigrant neighbor. If we start from there, we can discuss these types of things (what to do about illegal immigration for example) while still maintaining peoples' dignity and the fact that God made them in His image. It's all too easy to lose sight of the own plank(s!) in our own eye. (One last thing on illegal immigration: one of the first things we need to do is make it easier for immigrants to come legally. Like Mike said, way too much bureaucracy, silly rules, whatever. Gosh just to bring our sons here legally we had to jump through a ton of hoops the Dept. of Homeland Security set up. It's not Biblical to keep "aliens" out of one's country.)

Which brings me back to Jeannett's comment awhile ago, about me believing the best about people or something. Truly I think it's less that and more just acknowledging that people have issues. It's the human condition. God allows some of us to bear one burden, some of us another. Some peoples' burdens, coupled with their fallen human nature/sin, cause them to be dysfunctional or living in an ugly cycle as someone said. No matter HOW we think the government should/shouldn't help them, I think as Christians we HAVE to start at a place of love and compassion. Then we go from there. (This isn't directed at anyone, just my own ramblings!)

Andy you're right, it is a fundamental difference of opinion, in that I don't think God has everyone on such an even playing field--He never promised that. I can't say that my easy comfy life is comprable to the person who was tortured day in and day out as a child, or who grew up on the streets. And God will hold me accountable for what I've done--I don't have to try as hard not to steal, or abuse others, I'm a believer who has believed my whole life, I'm guessing His expectations of me are pretty high in a sense. I feel like if I chalked up everything to personal responsibility, that would free me up to not feel compassion/love for people--it was all their choice, their doing. Am I missing something?

Okay that's it, over and out. We have our 3 month post-placement visit today with the social worker!

Andy Gibson said...

No, your not missing anything. However, I would add that I also believe that personal responsiblity does included being accountable for what we have done and to have compassion/love for people. That is definately still a factor. So I agree with you there, but would say that it is part of personal responsibility via what God has given you.

And to clarify the racism issue. I wasn't saying that there isn't racism towards blacks, illegals, etc. Re-reading my, yes, visibly angry post it might come off like that. My point is that "white priviledge" is a made of load of crap and racism flows in all direction. It is not the "white mans" fault. That is an insecure argument which is meant to place blame. That is what I was really trying to say, but got too caught up in the reverse discrimination aspect.

Have a good day everybody. I think this is healthy discussion, anger and all. These are issues we have to make known. I think that Satan works to keep us quiet so we stay in our little bubbles with blinders on rather than tackle the issues.

Jeannett Gibson said...

Can we be done now? I'm tired.

Michael said...

I'm tired too, but more from stress than from the posting. Brianna, you were an excellent host. Andy, we need to do lunch when I make it to visit the other Heldt's. Kevin, you rock and so do the Cinnamon Toast Crunch (though every once in awhile I get tired of them and have to turn to something bland and know, Apple Jacks, Lucky Charms or Cookie Crisp). Avery, I hope you are successful with the brand auditor thing. Jeannett, sounds like you and Rachel would have a lot to talk about as your husbands are both a bit unstable and very passionate. :) I'm done too. Join us next week when the topics include the Holy Roman Empire, Gays in the Military, and Bill Clinton's underwear preference. :) Keep on rockin' in the free world and have an awesome Memorial Day weekend. Go thank a veteran. I'm sending a shout out to my pappie, though I've never called him that before. (I know it isn't Veteran's Day but good luck finding someone who fought in the Civil War which is when Memorial Day started.)

Rachel said...

See, the love has returned! Aubrey and I went on a pool playdate so I missed a lot of this today. Enjoy the long weekend, if you are fortunate enough to have an employer who recognizes it! Aubrey never gives me the day off. What a slave driver she is!

KelseyChristine said...

Brianna I agree! After each post you write I feel like shouting AMEN! And I agree with Avery too, this debate has taken an ugly turn and my sarcasm definetly contributed. That wasn't Christ-like of me at all!

Michael, you actually helped strengthen my in my position more than proving me wrong. I'm not gonna touch the death penalty thing again because it's not worth the anger that surfaces. I am confident in where I stand and I give complete and final judgement to God.

The comment you made about a Mustang not being an expensive car revealed just how different our economic lifestyles are. I can now understand why you think white-privilage does not exist and that I'm brainwashed. The thing is, I have come to these conclusions regarding race because of first-hand experiences in my life and the lives of those surrounding me. I have African American siblings, a bi-racial sister, and two Ethiopian brothers. I have Asian, Hispanic, African, African American, European, and Native American close friends. I know that racism against white people exists. I AM WHITE. I never said white people always have it easy. Everyone stuggles. However I see many more injustices in our society that disadvantage people of color. I can understand how your opinion has evolved based on the lifestyle you described. These issues are just not your reality so it's unfair of me to expect you to understand. I know that you disagree. I think that WE ALL need to study the life of Jesus and bring our uncertainties to Him, because He will guide us in the right direction. I agree whole-heartedly that we need to refocus our attention on Mark 12.

Michael said...

Kelsey, I'm glad to help strengthen your position. I apologize if I made you angry. Much love and have a great weekend.

Michael said...

Aside from being full of sin, I am not that bad of a guy. Just thought I would throw that in there. And you are right about my viewpoint on the car thing. My frame of reference may be a little out of whack. That was actually eye opening. Ok, NOW I am done. :)

Avery said...

I know this thread has lost it's heat, but I want to jump in, and give MY summary of how I see a lot of this thread.

1) white privelege. It's not so much a "racism" issue as it is an issue of the environment. The majority of power and money in this country is controled by the upp er class white society, it is easier to blend in and use that power to your advantage if you fit in with those currently in power. Think of Africa, there is a black privilege there, as a white person, even if I lived there, I would encounter issues dealing with certain people not because of racism, but because of uncertainty.

That being said, I think a major part of the problem of this debate has been you have all been referenceing racism, when in reality you are really debating socio economic despairity. A mustand is not a cheap car. A used VW bug covered in Bondo is a cheap car. I live a very comfortable life, but have made the choice for my wife to stay home and raise the kids rather than have the luxury of a dual income, because of that we eat a LOT of pasta (cheap, cheap, cheap) and occasionaly we have to not pay this bill this month and not pay that bill next month. They always get paid!!!! OUt only debt is our house and our school loans and a very costly stint I had in the hospital last year (cyst on the liver, mis diagnaosed and a month stay in the hospital on intrevenious feedings adds up) But I am doing so much better than the people right down the street from me in the projects. Every week we have Bible study with a group of dear freinds, and this socio econic thing hit the group really hard at our last meeting, perhaps I was the only one who saw it, but I dont think so. there are 3 wives int he group and all of them have decent hairstyles for them, no one is anything special, just the normal stuff, but they all look good. Woman 1 started talking about her salon she goes to and how hard it is to get an appointment. She goes once a month, and for her monthly die and style it's $100. I was in shock, I didn't know you could charge that much for a haircut. Woman 2 was on the same schedule, but for her, she hits cut co, or some other chain like that and get's away with $40. They made the mistake of asking my wife who does her hair, she has really nice hair by the way, woman 2 has enven said she wishes she could get the same look (same hair type) Unfortunatly one of the sacrafices we make in our house to enable us to eat every day, Is I cut everyones hair.

I was in absolute shock that one would pay $100 buck for a hair cut, I wanted to know what stock options came with the cut. She was just in shock that I used my scissor and clipper and cut everyones hair in our house, she didn't know you could do that, and in her mind it saves $100 a month. My wife would kill me if I paid for her to go there. Honestly it really set up the stage for just how divided our families are, and they all have already been struggling knowing we where the ones it made the least financial sense to adopt, but they are too afraid to attempt it. This just made that particualr tension even worse.

Now that said I am great freinds with the CEO of Barcalounger (no I won't get you a discounted chair) (and yes the freinds chair and the frasier chair have both been discontinued, and they have checked the wharehouses cause I really wanted one of the freind chairs)

We are also freinds with a few millionaires, there is a very differnt world view between our world and theirs, and they know it, and are aware of the gap. It's that knowlege of the gap that enables us to be freinds across it. We aren't mooches, in fact we don't ask them for anything, like I said we are freinds, and the freindship is beyond our socio economic status. But jsut as I am challenged by their generosity, they are so much more challenged by the simple faith we live by and the simple way we live.

1 car, and a motorcycle, that's it for transportation. I know people poorer than us that have at least 4 cars in the driveway. Why?

But there is a mentality shift and there is an issue that it takes money to make money. I had to beg for enough money to get an apartment to get me off the streets because no one wants to hire a homeless bum for a job. I had to have a job because no one wants to lease an apartment to jobless bum. I had to lie on both applications.

The flip side to white privelege is minority entitlement. Because I'm a minority I'm entitled to more scholarships, lowered expectations, and laxer rules.

Just look around the workplace, if you work anywhere like mine you will notice that what a minorty can where and call business casual is no wher close to wht they allow the whites to where. I'll leave this one right here, but there are two sides to even this coin.

A lot of the heat on this arguement is semantics, and because it's in written format, you read it and you add your own internal readin vice to it, you add anger where there is none, sarcasm where not implied and dead pan sarcasm. You have a ental image of the writer and have a view of how they see the world. Thes views may be true or not, but that doesn't matter for you because you have your interpretaton of the way it was written.

Wow, I dodn't think I wrote this much on my last post on my blog.

that's all i have to say, I am not trying to stir the pot back up, I just want to point out some of my observations on this post and let you chew on it for a while. If all it does is make you think and say Avery is an idiot, I'm right and this is why I'm right, then good, you have thought about it and figured out for yourself why you thinnk you are right and next time it comes up you will be able to dicuss it with that much more authority.

Elvis has left the building

Andy Gibson said...

Avery is an idiot.

No just kidding. You had to stir it back up, didn't you.

Acutally, I think you have a very valid point that I am going to ponder. What struck me the most, and what I agree with the most is that "racism", socio economic differences, whatever we want to call it, flows in all directions. Like you said, the flip to "white priviledge" is "minority entitlement". So rather than argue that one exists or the not, or argue that it isn't racism or not, we should all just make a conscience effort to not be a part of it and point the finger at others. We're all human, all trying to work and make a living. I'll just throw in that I hope legally.

Did that make sense?


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