Why Politicians Do Literally Nothing.

When was the last time you made a joke about elected officials doing almost nothing productive in Washington? Congressional approval ratings are garbage, especially since the fall 2013 government shutdown. The United States Congress and their work with The White House is hardly united, and it’s hardly work. We’ve reached a place in America, the land of opportunity, where gridlock has supplanted progress in the halls of Congress; where we are more surprised by bipartisan legislation than we are by so-called representatives who actually do what they were elected to do. For many of us, it seems like memories of the O’Neill/Reagan partnership is but a memory, a far-fetched dream that will never again come to fruition.

Washington, D.C. and its political atmosphere is the most rigid environment I can think of. It’s not because of the individuals that work there. The cause of this gridlock runs far deeper than that. Unfortunately, the cause of Washington’s crippling inefficiency is completely structural in nature – the party system. These politicians are bound so tightly by their party platforms that they can’t vote in a manner that actually REPRESENTS their constituency. The average American of voting age does not identify completely with every point of one political party. It’s so incredibly difficult to get elected and reelected if you’re a Republican who supports the right of homosexuals to get married, or a Democrat who opposes those same rights. It’s hard to get elected and reelected because if you haven’t jumped through the hoops of whichever party umbrella you run under, you don’t have access to the big money and powerful connections needed to even alert the electorate that you are running. It’s so unfortunate, this real life example of Steven Lukes’ principle of second degree power, that the real representatives of American citizens are squished out before they even have a chance to convince their potential constituents that they could represent them more efficiently than the Harry Reid’s or Mitch McConnell’s of the world. The obstacles to true progress are not these politicians at the core of their beings, but rather who are system has made them to be.

Granted, on a different side of the same token, we would like to think that the people we elect would act and legislate in a manner that is above reproach. We have higher expectations for them than we do for ourselves. Whether we should or not is up for discussion, but that’s the situation we’re in as American voters. If these people are supposed to be the best out of all of us, then they should certainly vote and govern in a way that reflects their constituencies. I think we can probably all agree that that doesn’t happen more often than it does. Political congestion has less to do with 538 individuals who somehow continue to get lucky at the ballot boxes than it does with the inherent structural inequality of the American political system.

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Weak Christianity

I’m really thankful for discouraging conversations. They teach me dependence, and that’s not always fun. But it is necessary, it is impactful, and it brings me closer to the Lord. I had one of these the other day, in an ethics class about whether or not gay marriage should be legalized nationwide. I understand this is quite the ethical issue from a social standpoint, which makes it so much more attractive as a topic to discuss in said ethics class. Throughout the course of that conversation, I realized some things. Or rather, some things were brought into my heart. 

People are so hardened to Jesus; to the Gospel. When we say that our love for Jesus is our reasoning for a certain position, people say we’re pulling the “God Card.” We humans will rationalize our beliefs and ascribe to this Christianity that resembles a five dollar lunch buffet on Spring Street – a toothless, gutless, weak and powerless Christianity. An identification that requires an updated Facbook status and an ascription to the idea that God is nice, and so all we should do is be nice. But I don’t guess love is always nice. We so often think we can give nothing and be safe from Hell. But that’s not how it works. From whom much is given, much is required, and we have been given immeasurably much. The time will never come when this type of Christianity is appropriate. The Gospel is sometimes offensive. This situation is so dire; we cannot engage in some kind of sacrifice-less faith and expect to accomplish what we have been called to accomplish.

 

Powerless faith yields powerless fruit. And that cannot happen. 

 

These conversations are so discouraging because they’re so heartbreaking. There is so much darkness in the world, and it’s simultaneously gut-wrenching as we genuinely love those in darkness. Hearts are hardened, so bring gentleness and tenderness. The world is dark, so bring light. We humans are harsh, so bring peace and compassion. Every day is a challenge, so bring strength. But never, ever, bring weakness or timidity.

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Kennebunkport

Today we went north.

Like way, way north.

To Maine.

For whatever reason, I’ve got a thing for the Atlantic northeast and its coastlines. Today, we got up before the sun and went to Maine. Specifically, Kennebunkport. We just ran around the beaches for a while, but deep into the town of Kennebunkport, there is the home of a rather well known family – the presidential Bush’s. Across a small cove are a bunch of bluffs that myself and my friends Shaw, Josh, and Andrew nearly sacrificed life and limb to get onto. We certainly threw the dryness of our clothing to the wind, quite literally.

We did so much climbing, so much traversing, so much crawling, just for the sake of a better view or a different perspective. Views like that push you to absorb every little bit of your environment, and that’s frequently what it entails. It’s life changing moments like these that make 30 hours in the car worth it. When you stand at the edge of the vast Atlantic Ocean with three of your best friends, and all of you can only stand there awestruck and fascinated and speechless, there’s something special about that. Something that makes you contemplate how little you really are; which is simultaneously humbling and invigorating. Cold water, harsh wind, hours in the Jeep, and we’d do it all over again.

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Live From the Highway

Hello!

This week, a few friends and I are on spring break, so we decided to take a little trip up to the Atlantic northeast. These journeys are always such eye opening experiences, so we thought it might be cool to document some of our experiences on this blog. Follow us, we’ll put some cool (or at least we think they’re cool) pictures up and talk about what’s happened and where our heads are at. Our home base for the week is in Connecticut, and we’re just going to do a little romping around New England. Hope you enjoy it.

Travel vicariously with us,

Tucker

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WORD BEHAVIOR

Forgive the title of this post. In light of the song that recently came out, it’s been probably much more fun than it should be to yell, “WORST BEHAVIOR” at the shenanigans that happen around me on a daily basis. Like people cutting in line, or…. really just people cutting in line. 

What this post is really about – not a Drake song (sorry). But rather, words.

Words are crazy. Like, so crazy. They can be impactful, encouraging, loving, caring, compassionate, and so many other great things. But words can also be hurtful. They can tear people down, rip them apart, bring tears to their eyes, and so many other things. So much power in words when they’re used in certain ways, and that’s undeniable. James 2:8 says check your words, because those jokers are powerful (Fleming paraphrase). No, but really, it says, “but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (ESV). Words that we use, our words, are powerful. Your words have lifted people up, brought them down, and done a number of things in between, I’m sure.

But our words fade (even Drake’s).

One doesn’t. The Word; the holy, infallible Word of God. It’s timeless, applies to all time periods and all people. That’s so cool! That’s definitely something the Lord’s been working out in my heart over the past couple of weeks. So often I take the Bible, the Word of God, for granted. It sits on my table, stays with me, and that’s cool. But it’s so powerful, and I’m beginning to grasp that. There is so much in there, so much of God’s Heart, there for us to read and access, to learn and grow with. I really wish there was some way for me to put that into words, but I honestly can’t figure it out. Friends, be encouraged, and next time you open that up, read it for what it really, truly is. 

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Digging.

Sorry for being the typical blogger. And not blogging very much.

The last couple weeks have been really interesting and full of growth for me. I’m realizing some things that I didn’t think I would, and that I don’t think I really wanted to. Some things that I buried within myself, the Lord has brought to the surface. There are no “skeletons in my closet,” so to speak, but there are definitely issues that have acted as barriers in my own personal faith journey over the past little bit. 

I don’t like digging things like this up. I don’t. Because, like most people, I want to believe that everything in my spiritual life (and really every other facet for that matter) is totally Gucci. Not because I hate intra-personal conflict, but because I think, honestly, that I don’t want to have to deal with the burden of doing anything. What I’m talking about here is something that I’m sure a lot of us deal with if we’re completely honest with ourselves. It’s a big, fat, ugly word, and it starts with a “U.”

Unforgiveness.

Is that even a word? WordPress is giving me the red line underneath it, so maybe not. I’m not going to go into details, mainly because this is the Internet. But it’s something that you can’t do the unforgiveness thing. Everyone’s heard a sermon on it. About how you’ve got to forgive because Jesus forgives us. And that is so right. And it’s something I struggle really hard with. Because I don’t want to! It’s easy to hold onto that. It feels right within my human, sinful flesh. It’s appeasing. But it’s not right! It’s not. And this is a huge internal struggle with me, and it has been for a few days. No matter if the reason behind unforgiveness is a valid one by earthly standards, it isn’t by heavenly standards. It’s hard to let go, it’s hard to love the subjects of unforgiveness, but I think, for me at least, it’s important understand that if my joy comes from the Lord, and He finds joy in me forgiving others, then that’s the appropriate course of action. 

It’s not easy. But it is necessary.

 

 

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Intentional Singleness

This morning, I had a really encouraging conversation with someone who I consider to be a spectacular mentor of mine. We were talking about relationships and singleness, and what kind of role that plays in your life, and especially in your relationship with the Lord. I learned a lot this morning, as a lot of thoughts I had and things like that were really genuinely challenged. We talked about singleness, and how even if you’re single, you may not actually be single. Because, if you’re seeking a relationship, or considering someone as a potential significant other, or pursuing someone, you’re not genuinely single. You’re not detached from that aspect of life. You’re not necessarily free to concentrate only on your relationship with the Lord. 

This was really hard for me, because after this conversation, I realized that I couldn’t really accurately recall the last time that I was genuinely and authentically single.That’s a really humbling thought. So, for the next six months to a year, I’m going to be intentionally single. I’m going to concentrate solely on my relationship with the Lord. I’m going to chronicle it on here, and you can follow as you please. I ask you to hold me accountable, and I really hope this encourages you or at least gives you something to think about. I don’t know if I’ll post every day, but it’ll probably be pretty close. If I say something that makes you wonder, or if you want to talk, or are confused about something; really anything you want to talk about, shoot me an e-mail, or give me a call, or let’s get lunch (I really love food) or something like that. I’m excited to see where the Lord leads me in this, and I look forward to putting a good little portion of it up here for you to read. Hope you enjoy it. 

 

Much Love,

 

Tucker

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