Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What does the Bible say about health care reform?

I've been watching the national debate on the proposed restructuring of the American health care system with great interest. There appears to be a plurality in favor of the position that at least some reform of our current health care delivery system is called for, but there are substantial minorities who disagree that any significant reform is required. Even among those who would agree that some reform is required there is little to no consensus on what the list of problems to solve is, and what priority is associated with each problem on the list. And, even in cases where there is agreement on the nature and priority of the problems to be solved, there is no consensus on acceptable solutions to those problems.

Further, given the multitude of individuals, groups, and companies with different perspectives and purposes with regard to the evaluation of our health care system, it was never to be expected that any such debate would proceed in a very orderly, rational manner.

Rather, given the complexity of the issues involved, health care reform has come to be a fairly binary plank in political platforms with the Democrats "in favor" (without there actually being much agreement on what they're actually in favor of), and the Republicans "against" (whatever that means). This stalemate existed until the recent election when the Democrats, who took advantage of a groundswell for change in the electorate, and who had campaigned under the illusion that consensus answers to the questions above actually exist, attempted to push their signature issue and had their illusions shattered when they actually tried to commit specific reforms to writing.

The administration and the congressional leadership, surprised by the lack of consensus and realizing the weakness of their position have fallen back on demonizing the opposition as evil. And, many in the Republican opposition are at this point more excited about "winning" and weakening President Obama politically than they are in rationally answering the questions of which parts of our system (if any) require reform, and what those reforms might be. The result, of course is that the political discourse on the subject is not, on the whole, an honest pursuit of truth, but is instead an exercise in justification of preconceived positions and masking of self-interest.

It's easy, as a Christian citizen, to get sucked into the debate and become a partisan of whichever side of the debate we are naturally drawn to without making the effort to found our opinions in what the Word of God has to say to us. Said another way, in reading the various arguments put forward both for and against the proposed reforms, I have seen few that examine the proposals (or propose other policy prescriptions) from a specifically Christian perspective.

So, with that long introduction, here are the questions that I would like to pose to my readers (with the expectation that you will post replies here for others to read):

- What guidance do you think the Bible has to give with regard to health care legislation specifically or on social welfare generally?
- How does that guidance translate to specific policies that you think Christians should support?

The only rules are to support your answers biblically.

Assuming adequate participation I'll summarize and add my thoughts after a while (if there isn't participation then I may just share my thoughts without benefit of discussional prelude).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What Makes a Pastor a Pastor?

I read an article by Gordon Macdonald today in Christianity Today's Leadership Journal entitled "The 3:00am Phone Call: What Makes a Pastor a Pastor?".

The article was a very worthwhile reminder that pastors are shepherds: a job that goes far beyond preaching to encompass deep knowledge of their flocks and a willingness to sacrifice their lives for the sheep.

How thankful I am for those among us whom God has gifted and called as undershepherds of His sheep, and how we should continue to pray that God will continue to raise up pastors to shepherd the flock of God.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A good link on the Piper-Wright justification controversy

I saw this good blog post today on the Piper-Wright justification controversy. I encourage those of you who are interested in the topic to read it.

Helm's Deep: Why Covenant Faithfulness is not Divine Righteousness (and cannot be)

Blessings until next time ...