Friday, February 28, 2014

Statism & Idolatry

Most Christians I know are tired of our current ungodly, tyrannical government.  They are sick of seeing their country attacked by the very ones appointed to serve it, and they wish it weren’t tyrannical, bloated, and supportive of evildoing.  They are also weary of seeing our society gradually become more and more ungodly and immoral.
Unfortunately, these some people seem to stumble when it comes to the concept civil government enforcing “good” things.  (Especially *ahem* when that government is filled with those in red ties.)  Why wouldn’t we want to have unhealthy food banned?  Why wouldn’t we want to have harmful drugs be illegal or restricted?  Why would someone oppose caring for the poor?  Why shouldn’t government help businesses and the economy?  Why is it wrong for government to monitor the citizens if they’re doing so in an effort to prevent another 9/11?  Isn’t it good for us to aid other countries who are fighting the “bad guys”?  Aren’t these laws based on good and Biblical principles and morals?  Keeping people safe and happy and healthy?
The problem is, these folks don’t ask about whether or not these laws and actions are correct actions for the civil government to get involved in.
Should we seek to be healthy?  Avoid harmful substances and foods?   Should we be charitable?  Is it good for us to seek to have healthy, prosperous businesses?  Should we seek to be safe and avoid trouble before it comes?  Should we seek to help those in trouble?  The answer to all of this, obviously, is a resounding yes.
However, it is not the responsibility of the civil government to keep us healthy, to care for the poor, to make us prosperous, to prevent anything bad from happening, or t0 help other countries in their struggles.  The state does not have the authority to get involved in such matters, and when the do so, they usurp the power and jurisdiction of others and become tyrannical.
When we expect the state to care for us, to ensure that we have a smooth retirement, to keep us healthy, to educate us, to protect us, to prevent anything bad from ever happening to us, to tell us whether or not such-and-such food is healthy, to rescue us out of every bad situation, to make sure we drive safely, to tell us when to do what, to dictate for us our consciences, etc., etc., we have made government into a god.  These  are not the roles of a just, Biblical, Constitutional government.  In setting up a government with these duties or powers we set up a tyrannical government which usurps the role of the Almighty.
The state is not responsible for making sure that our needs are provided for.  The family and individual are responsible for that, and if circumstances render them unable to do so sufficiently, the church steps up to help.  Ultimately, however, our needs are met by God, and we rely on Him for our sustenance and well-being.  When we turn to the state for this provision and care instead of turning to God we spite Him who gives us our lives and breath, trusting instead in imperfect rulers.
Do we not remember God’s reaction when Israel sought a king?  YHWH stated, “…they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”  Yet we now seek to make our government more powerful and almighty than even the kings of Israel were.  Tyrannical as they were, those kings at least didn’t have the NSA or the TSA or a “See Something Say Something” campaign.  (So far as I am aware, anyway…)
God is the one who takes provides for us, who sustains our lives, who keeps from danger or gives us the grace to go through trials, who gives us the wisdom to make decisions and His Word to guide our lives.   He delegates various areas of authority to various governments (self, family, church, and civil are the main types) and these governments are limited in their power.  Only God rules over all, and He is the one who will ultimately judge all actions of all men.
Let the state fulfill it’s God-given role of punishing those who harm others; obey it in all things lawful – but never let it replace God or other God-given types of governments.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Me vs. "Convenience" Food

 It should have been an easy task.  Make crescent rolls?  From a can?  Why would that be hard?  I was babysitting, the five year-old was hungry, and she requested “cressies”.  Well, why not make them for her?
After all, I can make rolls from scratch without batting an eyelash.  From freshly ground wheat?  Of course!  Collect the eggs from the chickens outside?  Sure!  Knead the dough for almost-forever?  Why not?
So then, what was so hard about opening a can of crescent rolls and sticking them into the oven?
I grabbed the can and pulled out a can opener before realizing that this might not be so easy as it sounded.  This can was definitely not the type one used a can opener on; it was made partly of cardboard and there was no lip on the metal for the can opener to grab onto.
Concentrated juice is often put in similar cans, but those cans have pull-tabs on them.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that there was no such thing on this contraption.
I stared at it and decided to do what people always say should be done first: read the directions.
Only, there weren’t any.  Not regarding how to open the silly thing up, anyway.  I read the entire can at least thrice, hoping that I’d somehow missed some gem of wisdom.  But alas, there were no helpful instructions anywhere to be found.  “Remove dough…” Duh!  That’s what I’m trying to do!  ”Roll up triangles…bake on cookie sheet…”  Hey,  I can figure THAT out on my own… but HOW DOES ONE REMOVE THE PACKAGING?! 
At the point the five-year old was getting concerned and impatient.  “Do you know how to bake, Hannah?”
“Yes!  Of course I know how to bake… just… be patient for a minute!”
I vaguely remembered mom opening on of these things years ago, and suddenly recalled that the cardboard was supposed to come apart somehow.  I started tearing away at the paper label on top until all that was left was a sticky, blank, cardboard surface.  Ah, yes.  The seams were supposed to pop open, right?
After finding that the seams weren’t snapping apart no matter how much I twisted the contraption, I started banging it on the counter.
Whap!  Whap!  WHAM!
The five year-old was definitely worried at this point.  “Hannah, do you want to call somebody and ask them how to make crescent rolls?”
Ha.  No, I most definitely did not want to call anyone at this point.  I do have some amount of dignity, and asking how to pop open a can of crescent rolls would be far too humbling.  This was supposed to be something that even kids could handle, right?
I glanced down and realized that the seam between the metal and cardboard was starting to come apart.  A-ha!  Victory!  I grabbed the two edges and yanked them apart, revealing the dough inside.  I grabbed the dough with my fingers and started to pull it out of the side of the can.
It started to stretch.
I pulled, it stretched…  and I realized that the can still wasn’t opened enough.  The dough was stuffed in so tightly that trying to pull it out of one end was simply impossible.
Out came a butter knife, and I banged the seams and finally managed to demolish the can completely.   Success at last… that is, until I realized that I didn’t know how to turn their electric oven on.
Our oven has two knobs.  Just two.  One of the stays on “bake” 99% of the time, and the other simply needs to be spun to the desired temporature to turn the oven on.  Their oven had at least a dozen or so buttons, and not a single one of them was labeled “350″.  -_-
<enter panic mode>
For the record:  I did finally get those crescent rolls made.  They looked and tasted fine, but I was understandably somewhat miffed when the five year-old hardly even nibbled at them.  Pfft.  When she requested them again a week or so ago I had almost no trouble making them, so… I guess I’m not totally hopeless?  Of course, making popcorn in the microwave for the first time was also rather daunting, and I may have nearly panicked when I had to make not-from-scratch french toast…
At least I know how to turn brownie mix into brownies…

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Finished Project {Envelope Wallet}

I’m the type of person who likes lists and charts and organizational stuff, so the Dave Ramsey envelope system has always appealed to me. At this point I really don’t have enough expenses to make it needful, but I’ve been using it anyway. But after stuffing ugly paper envelopes into my wallet until they were nearly falling apart, I was getting tired of the less-than-lovely appearance. A quick Google search brought up multiple envelope wallet tutorials and ideas, and this is what resulted.
I used this method to print on fabric – I was originally thinking to print fancy text labels on each envelope, but decided to use various graphics and such instead – that way, if I want to change up my categories I can do so easily.  To me, the graphics I chose for each category makes sense (e.g., a vintage sewing machine for crafts) but I could switch them around if I want to later.
Most wallet tutorials had the envelopes stitched into the wallet, with zippers to secure them better.  I didn’t have zippers on hand, I don’t like sewing zippers when I don’t have to, and I wanted to be able to remove the envelopes – so I just made simple pockets instead.  They’re tight enough that my money isn’t going to fall out, and the button on the main wallet is more than enough to keep everything tightly secured when it’s all put together.
Inside the wallet is a cardholder/mini pouch – this was the most confusing and frustrating part of making the wallet.
(Oh, and for the record:  I don’t live in Pell City.  If I did, I’d have removed the library card before photographing this; I’m not going to publicly announce my location for any creepy people to find.  *ahem*)
DetailThis is a closeup shot of the button.  (Duh.)
I don’t like hand sewing.
I really don’t know why I’m giving you a closeup shot of my lame hand sewing.
Oh well.  Whatever.