Tag Archives: health care

The Great Response

On the first day of seminary one of my professors said, “Seminary is not about telling you the answers.  Seminary is about helping you ask the right questions.”  There was a part of me sitting in that room thinking, “Who is this guy kidding?  All I have is questions.”  Yet that statement helped shaped the rest of my seminary experience, and continues to shape my ministry as a pastor.

I started this blog not because I thought I had all the answers.  I started this blog because I thought I’d be able to offer some questions, start some conversations, and encourage some thought.

Before “The Great Disconnect”, the most popular day on my site was when I commented on the wedding dance, and I had 89 hits.  On the two days after I made this post, I had 270 visits, only a few fewer than my previous busiest week.  Thanks to the help of people posting my link on their facebook pages, and 67 “followers” through Networked Blogs, my posts are reaching more people than ever before.

What’s even more exciting then the numbers is the response I’ve gotten, with the comments here and on my facebook page.  Several people have said things like Sarah May, who commented, “This is the best thing I have heard since this whole Health Care situation began.” 

While comments like that certainly stroke my ego, the ones that I cherish even more are the ones that said, “You made me think.”  As far as I’m concerned, that is the best thing I can do with this site.

If you are interested in more of what I have to say on this topic – espcially in response to some very thoughtful comments, please go back to the comments section of “The Great Disconnect,” and join in the conversation.  But beware, doing so might make you think.

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The Great Disconnect

A recent mini-movement on facebook has people posting this as their status: Name “thinks that no one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day”

Most people agree with this statement.  The question is, what are we going to do about it?  Some believe there needs to be some form of government intervention to prevent people from dying due to lack of health care.  For others, the idea of the government being asked to sort out the mess is like asking a pig to clean up your room.  It’s not going to be helpful, and will probably make things worse.

People that want the government to fix the health care problem are not socialists.  They do not want to wage class warfare or kill your grandmother.  People that want the government to stay out of it are not heartless.  They are not greedy, corporate thugs, hording all the medicine so that poor children will die.

There is however, a great disconnect that few on either side recognize.  Those that want the government to stay out of health care often make the argument that the government is not effective or efficient.  They resent the idea that BIG GOV will come in and make decisions for their lives and their money.

They want to trust competition and the market to regulate health care.  They want private charities, churches and philanthropists to be freed of burdensome taxes so that they may help those in need.  I read on some message board that, “Jesus never told me to give away other people’s money.”

On the other side, people that want the government to do something do not trust the goodness of corporations.  They feel that health care has spun out of control becaue of greed and fiscal iresponsibility, and to think that same group will somehow reform a wildly profitable system is crazy.  They feel that it is the role of  government to take care of those that cannot take care of themselves, and that those that benefit most from the systems in place in our society should bear the brunt of the cost.

And here’s the disconnect.  Many that feel that government cannot be trusted to reform health care have no problem trusting government to defend our borders.   They are all-too-ready to have the government tell people who they should marry, what can be on their TV,  and tell women if they can have a safe abortion.

Likewise, those that trust the government to reform healthcare also want the government to get out of their bedrooms and churches.

Certainly there are those that break these lines, but there is a disconnect, and there are inconsistencies on both sides of the debate that few want to acknowledge.

Liberals trust the government to help take care of the sick and the poor, but do not trust the government to regulate “morality” issues.  Conservatives trust the government to regulate “morality” issues, but want government to stay out of health care and the economy. (I put morality in quotes because I believe all of these issues are about morality, not just the ones that have to do with sex and gender.)

I’m not sure of what the implications of this are, but I cannot help but feel if more people at least understood and acknowledged their own inconsistencies, they would not be so quick to point out others’.

It seems like all can agree that sick kids should get medicine, abortions need to be reduced, and lives need to be defended from invaders and terrorists.  The question is how can we do those things most effectively? That is why this conversation and debate can be so good.  Maybe we can come up with some answers.

Unfortunately, the debate has been more about shouting, rumors, lies, and fear.  Above all, it seems as if many are out simply to win, and be right,  instead of doing what is right.  If the debate were about humility, compromise, questions, compassion and honesty, we might get somewhere.  I’m not sure if we are any closer to an answer now then we were three months ago.

In the meantime, there is another sick kid not getting medicine.  There is another single Mom dying slowly of a disease that could be cured.  This nation’s life expectancy is among the lowest of industrialized countries and our infant mortality is among the highest.

In the end, I cannot help but think that no, Jesus might not have told me to give away other people’s money.  But the prophets told me something very simple.  Kings and kingdoms are judged on one criteria: How do you take care of your children and widows?  It’s a question not enough people are asking.

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Competition

I’ve finally been convinced.  I have decided that Competition is the only great motivator for excellence.  Without competition, no one would strive for anything.  Without competition, we will all be pathetic weak pansies waiting for handouts.  The Oprafication of America has to stop, and Competition must be restored at all levels of society – starting with the great hallowed grounds of Competition – the sports arena.

To that end, I want to create a new temple dedicated to the heroes of Competition.  Ben Johnson, Barry Bonds, Tonya Harding and Rosie Ruiz will be bronzed for all the world to worship.  These Great Champions were pushed to new heights by Competition.

Ben Johnson and Barry Bonds were tremendous athletes.  They were world-class, highly-paid professionals, yet no one would have called them “The Fastest Man on the Planet” or “The Greatest Player Ever,” until they went the extra mile.  Driven to excellence, these two achieved all-time status.  The fact that they are both pariahs today shows how weak the rest of us are.  Bonds and Johnson put it all on the line  – took chances – risked organ failure – shrunk their testes – for Competition.  What have you done in the name of Competition?

Tonya Harding was a powerhouse on skates.  She was the most powerful jumper in the world, but that Nancy-girl Nancy Kerrigan was threatening to dethrone her.  So Harding took the Competition to the next level – outside the ice rink.  She convinced her thug husband to whack Kerrigan on the leg.  Now that is dedication.  If Kerrigan were a true competitor, she would have been wearing shin guards.

And of course, the ultimate Competitor, Rosie Ruiz.  She destroyed her competition by winning the Boston Marathon after running about 3,000 feet. Driven by the desire to win, Ruiz didn’t let anything – not even the first 26 miles of the race – stand in her way.

If conservative pundits have taught me anything these last few weeks, it’s this.  Competition is Good.  It might be the only True Good out there.  Competition drives prices down, increases customer service, and is good for all of us.  Pure, unadulterated, unencumbered, untested, untaxed, unregulated Competition is the only way we may have prosperity (its probably the only way to defeat the terrorists too).

So let’s stop the bull.  I will only cheer for athletes that are saturated with steroids.  I should be able to get stronger just by sucking the sweat out of my favorite player’s headband.  In fact, owners should test their players and suspend anyone that is not completely bathed in the cream and the clear, because they obviously don’t want it bad enough.

After all, God helps those that help themselves, right?  That’s in the Bible somewhere, I’m sure of it.  I think its right after that stuff about not making idols.

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