Saturday, October 15, 2011

Walking

"but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31

This is one of those verses Christians love to put on coffee cups and motivational posters and the like. Its an encouraging verse, and it sounds nice, but can anyone tell me what the context of this verse is? In Isaiah 39 Hezekiah received messengers from Babylon and was foolish enough to show them the riches of Israel and the size of his army before sending them back home. Isaiah goes to him and upon discovering this prophecies Israel's captivity in Babylon.

The Jews were about to be exiled for hundreds of years. Talk about waiting on the Lord!

Also interesting about this verse is its order. Fly, run, walk. It feels backwards to me, I'd expect it to be in ascending and not decreasing order, though I am not a literary critic by any stretch of the imagination. I think it may have something to do with the way God acts in the lives of his people.

Take flying for example, perhaps this is referring to God's miracles. The parting of the Red Sea, the miracle of the manna, the healing of the lepers, and the ultimate miracle, Christ's resurrection. Perhaps running refers to when God empowers his people. Situations where instead of his direct intervention, he empowers his servants. Samson killing hundreds of Philistines with the jaw bone of a donkey, David killing Goliath.

Usually when I think of how God works in the world I think of running and flying. I think of miracles. I think of the great men of God who did great things. What what about walking? What does it mean to "walk and not faint"? What are some examples of that?

Lets face it, God doesn't always give us a miracle just because we ask. Look at the bondage of the Israelites in Egypt, though God performed many miracles they were only to display his power, not to miraculously free his people. He didn't go to Moses and say "meet my people at X because I've heard their cries and I'm going to teleport them there." No, he made Moses, and the Israelites, work with him. Moses had to go to Pharaoh and request that he let them go over, and over, and over.

Even that is an example of running. God was still directly involved in the situation, even if he didn't immediately fix it. But what about when God doesn't even do that? What about those Jewish captives in Babylon for hundreds of years? How was God working then?

I think, he was helping them to walk.

For a while now I've had some struggles in my own life, and I've often pleaded with God to just make them go away. "Dear God help me with this" really was saying "Dear God perform a miracle in my life." But no miracle ever came and I began to doubt whether God was actually working in my life or if he even cared. I've learned enough now to understand that there is a third way that God works, it isn't as fast or glamorous as running and flying, but it is just as essential and I think its more important in many ways.

Instead of changing our situation, God changes us.

Look at the examples we just looked at, the captivity, Samson and the jawbone, most of these examples are of God changing things that are external to his people. Contrast that with Paul in Second Corinthians 12: 

"...a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

God doesn't deliver Paul from his thorn, instead he changes Paul through the thorn. I think most of the time something hard happens in our lives, something painful, God uses it like this. God is pretty much telling Paul that, "I know this hurts, I know this is painful, but I'm leaving you here. Its for you benefit, I'm not abandoning you, I'm still here."

Its a pretty hard thing to swallow, but its important to understand. If we only expect God to help us by allowing us to run or to fly, we'll be confused and hurt when all we get is walking without fainting. Its not even a pleasant stroll, its walking so far and so long they we swear we're going to faint from exhaustion, but somehow we don't.

So, have any of you ever experienced walking? Running? Flying? Have an issue with how I've analyzed these verses? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Too Fast, Too Furious

No, this is not a blog post about that movie that has something to do with driving fast and stealing cars. It is about something much more serious, and hopefully this isn't the first time you've heard of it. I am talking about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive's operations "Fast and Furious."

Before we discuss operation Fast and Furious, we need some background information. Shortly after Obama took office in 2009, there was a coordinated push for more gun control laws from the executive branch. Most notable during this time was a statistic that was tossed around by Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and much of the news media. The claim was that 90% of the semi-automatic military style weapons (or "assault weapons") recovered from Mexican drug cartels were from America. The implication being that American's second amendment freedoms were somehow responsible for Mexico's drug violence.

Immediately the 90% statistic was called into question. It was eventually discovered that it was only 90% of the weapons recovered that were sent to the US for tracing. Of the weapons recovered in Mexico, less than 10% were even sent to the US for tracing. So, in reality about 9% of the recovered weapons were not from the US. This also includes guns that were sold to the Mexican military and then diverted to the cartels (through troop defections or theft).

Fortunately, many of the proposed gun control laws failed to pass.  However there were many backdoor successes, such as the State Department's refusal to allow the importation of 50 year old collectable US military rifles from South Korea.

Fast forward to December 14th 2010, just after 11:00pm: US Boarder Patrol Agent Brain Terry is killed in a shootout with cartel members. The murder weapon, a semi-automatic AK-47 clone, is found near the scene. Two weeks later, on December 28th, AFT agents blow the whistle and alert the gun rights media of Operation Fast and Furious.

January 22nd, 2011: World Net Daily becomes the first news outlet to break the story. You can read the original article here.
January 30, 2011: Sen. Charles Grassly offers his protection to whistle-blowers. His staffers begin investigating.

February 23, 2011: Sharyl Attkisson of CBS news becomes the first mainstream broadcast news reporter to report the story.

So, at this point, what was Operation Fast and Furious? Put simply, the ATF encouraged gun smuggling into Mexico. They allowed guns to "walk" and didn't try to stop them. They did the exact opposite of what the BATFE is supposed to do, instead of protecting people from illegally purchased guns, they encouraged illegal sales. They let the guns go and did nothing to stop it. Two thousand five hundred guns, enough to arm two army battalions!

Fast forward now to March 16, 2011: Rep. Darrel Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, begins his investigation into "Project Gunrunner" and "Operation Fast and Furious." He calls on the Department of Justice to cooperate with his investigation, instead Attorney General Eric Holder stonewalls the congressional investigation.

Let us pause here and think about that. A Federal Agency refused to cooperate with the House committee whose job is to investigate the federal government. This is not a minor thing, it is a slap in the face to our system of government. The Department of Justice is NOT above Congress!

This is post is going on long enough, so where are we today? What do you need to know and why should you care? Put simply, this is the biggest government coverup since Watergate, and that is absolutely not an exaggeration. You have a government agency, encouraging gun smuggling and a government agent dying as a direct result. That is in addition to an unknown number of Mexican casualties, not to mention the millions if not billions of tax money that funded all this death and destruction! Watergate was about a few people spying on political opponents, Fast and Furious already has a body count! Folks, that's what we call a BIG DEAL.

And the the news media has largely ignored it.

The next most important thing is that we now have evidence that at least Attorney General Eric Holder knew about the whole thing long before he claimed to have found out when he testified before the Oversight committee. This makes him a liar trying to cover up this miserable excuse of a operation. We don't know if President Obama knew about the gun smuggling, but to date Obama hasn't ordered Holder to comply with the Congress.

Holder at least deserves to be fired, and probably deserves to be thrown in jail for obstruction of Justice. Which is ironic, he's the head of the Justice Department.

So what can you do? Well for starters, read more about this. Get up to speed. This is only a brief summary of what went on. The list of government agencies involved in F&F is so long it would be humorous if people hadn't already died. Also, write your congressmen and tell them you want Justice. Write the news media and tell them you want objective reporting, that they can't ignore the largest government coverup since Watergate. Write the President and tell him he needs to order his Attorney General to cooperate with Congress.

I cannot underscore what a huge deal this is. Your government used your tax dollar to send guns to violent men who use them to do things like this. Also, thank Representative Darrell Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley for spearheading the Fast and Furious investigation. Without them this would have died months ago and we'd never have a chance at seeing justice.

Finally, I'll close with a link to a letter released by Representative Issa addressed to Eric Holder just recently.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: The Five Love Languages

My apologies for my unannounced hiatus. Its amazing what getting a girlfriend will do to the time you used to use for blogging. Which actually brings me to the topic of today's post.

I recently (five minutes ago) finished Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages.  It is a very fast read, being under 200 pages in length. I read four chapters last night and finished it tonight. Overall I liked it. Dr. Chapman is a good writer and story teller, and he tells many stories. He illustrates the five love languages primarily through real-life examples that he has encountered over the course of his counseling career.

Dr. Chapman's basic premise is that people "speak" love in different languages, and he identifies five different languages of which he says there may be multiple dialects. The five languages are: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. The theory is that if you speak your significant other's language then they will feel loved and your marriage is better off for it. It makes certain amount of sense, and appears to have enough empirical evidence lend it credence.

I found the book to be insightful and interesting, though it was definitely aimed at married couples. Dr. Chapman primarily focuses on addressing couples whose marriage has lost that lovin' feeling (with apologies to the Righteous Brothers). However, as I always appreciate the chance to learn from others mistakes, I would recommend The Five Love Languages to other bachelors (or bachelorettes) for that reason alone.

Really, I'd recommend it to anyone who is or wants to be married. Its good advice presented in a clear way. So, for those of you who are interested, here are some links:

Five Love Languages on Amazon.com

http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

Monday, May 16, 2011

Evidence: Chapter 2

And you thought I'd never finish this book didn't you?  My current intention is to do a chapter a week, read a chapter on Sunday and write about it on Monday. We'll see how closely I stick to that plan, it may turn into every other week depending on how long the chapters are.

Anyway, for those of you who missed the first post about chapter one I suggest reading it before this post. Though you can skip it if you'd like, chapter one isn't necessary to understand chapter two. I am not going to summarize the the chapter this time, that would be far too tedious and you would lose interest. Instead I'm going to touch on a few highlights from chapter two.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

New Look!

*Update* Looks like Blogger has some new tools since I last played with its layout features. I'll probably keep playing with it this week. The new look isn't finished.

I have a new look! Let me know what you think. I was told the old white on black was too hard to read. This one is more of a low contrast grey on grey. I like low contrast themes, its what I use when I code.  It is much easier on the eyes, which is nice when your job is to stare at a monitor all day and rearrange the little lights.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Musings on misandry

Hey guys, I found the most hilarious commercial:


Funny right? Ok, if you thought that was funny watch it again, only this time pretend it's the wife "helping" the daughter and the husband telling her to walk the dog.

It's not so funny anymore, is it?

Well if that's putting you down I recently heard about this great new show that might cheer you up. Its about this guy who chases after women who neglect their children. He hunts them down and harasses them until they put their kids up for adoption, does things like repos their car or foreclosing on their house.

What? Not funny? Did you know that Fox actually aired that show? It was called "Bad Dads" and it was the basically the same scenario I outlined above, only the host chased after dads who didn't pay their child support. If your first thought is "that's much more reasonable" consider that two thirds of men who don't pay child support earn poverty level wages. Fortunately, Fox canceled the show after a letter writing campaign by "Fathers and Families." It was later picked up by the Lifetime channel as "Deadbeat Dads." From what I can tell it was never aired though, mostly thanks to another letter writing campaign.

Two more examples:




These ads were run by a women's shelter in Dallas back in 2008. They were taken down after backlash from men's rights organizations. You can read about the full story here

All these examples are to point out that misandry is now rather common in popular culture. On TV its practically a trope. Homer Simpson, Tim "the Toolman" Taylor, the father from Paul Hennessy (8 Simple Rules), all of these are examples of men who were portrayed as clueless dolts on TV.  There are many more I could list, I'm sure you can think of a few.

Popular culture has taken a turn from the days of "Father knows best." Today men are often portrayed as, at best, bumbling, dim-witted fools, and at worst, bullies, brutes, deadbeats and criminals. Now while the majority of criminals are men, men are after all naturally stronger and more aggressive than women, this doesn't justify the way men are often portrayed in popular culture. What's especially striking is the complete lack of positive male role models on TV.


Now before I go any further I want to talk about women's rights and feminism. This is not an "us versus them" argument, the sexes are morally and legally equal. The legal part of that being largely due to the efforts of the feminist movement, which is a good thing.  Misogyny is almost universally recognized to be wrong, and is almost entirely shunned in popular culture. The same is not true for misandry though, which if the sexes are indeed equal must be just as wrong as misogyny. Feminism, so far as its aims are to edify women and not put down men, is not the problem here. This issue isn't about men versus women, it is possible to respect both sexes. There isn't some limited amount of respect that the sexes have to fight over, we can work together on this. Really, its only when the sexes are equally respected that they are at their most edified. The abuser is never held in higher esteem than the abused, it doesn't matter which way the abuse goes.

Anyway, with that out of the way, let us continue.

I suppose now that we are aware of the misandry in the popular culture we should ask if it confined to it. Tentatively, I will say no. A 2008 study in the UK (reported by the Telegraph here) claims that sixty-six percent of 2000 men surveyed felt handcuffed by political correctness. Fifty-two percent said they had to live by women's rules. Somehow, at least in the UK, men have gotten it into their heads that its a woman's world now. This is not terribly surprising, after look at all the examples of men who are basically parented by their wives on TV.

Before you dismiss this argument, remember that the early feminist movement objected to how women were portrayed on TV. I think that men are even more sensitive to this for one major reason. Throughout most of human history societies have had a rite of passage that served to transfer a boy into manhood. These rites were essential to the boy identifying himself as a man. Men are different from women in the sense that men need assurance that they are in fact a "real man." That means different things to different people but its a question all, or at least most, men ask themselves. "Am I really a man?" Women do not seek the same assurance of their identity as women. That's why you've never heard of a female rite of passage.

While rites of passage differ greatly between cultures, they all have one element in common. They are carried out by the other men. When a man asks, "Am I really a man?" the only person capable of answering that question is another man. Not a boy, not a woman. So what happens when there are no men to answer the question? No men to challenge the boy to become a man? Men are still going to ask the question, and they'll look for the answer where ever they can find it. That is where the representation of men in the media comes in. Without some "real men" to challenge them, men will get their identity from the popular culture.

When the only "men" guys see on TV are lazy, idiotic, bumbling fools, their idea of manhood will be skewed into something more akin to adolescence. I think this explains the phenomena of falling male enrollment in college. You don't need a degree to play xbox all day. Besides, why would a man want to compete with today's highly successful and driven women?

I'm not saying women are too good and should tone it down so men won't be afraid to step up. I'm saying the opposite. What we need today is for men to step and mentor younger men. Boy don't grow up into men, they have to be taught what it means to be a man.

I was fortunate enough to be a Boy Scout. Boy Scouts of America served, at least to some extent, as my rite of passage. The Scout Law is as good of a definition of manhood as I can think of. "A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent." I was also fortunate enough to have a father that cared enough about me to spend time with me, to get me involved in Scouting, and to take me on small adventures outside of Scouting. I will always remember canoeing with my dad. Stopping to explore little water falls, or maybe wrecked cars stuck along the river bank for who knows how long. I was fortunate enough to have many good examples of manhood.

Unfortunately, my story is fast becoming abnormal. More than 26% of children in the US are raised by a single parent. Of single parents, 84% are the mother. That means almost a quarter of America's children are being raised without a father, according to the US Census Bureau (PDF warning). Now I'm not trying to beat up on single mothers, they have a hard job and many of them do remarkably well for how hard a position they are in. They can't replace a father though.

So what's the lesson here? What's the solution to the rampant misandry seen in the popular culture? The first step would be to show a complete intolerance for both misandry and misogyny. It took a feminist movement to make misogyny unacceptable, we need a masculist movement! To a large degree I think this has already begun. Websites like The Art of Manliness certainly fit the bill. They don't put down women, rather they are lifting up men. Men really need to be lifted up right now.

Just as important, if not more so, is to raise up the next generation of young men. They need to be challenged by older men or they will remain boys.  Manhood is something that needs to be cultivated, it does not happen by accident. Hopefully in another generation we'll all be able to look back on the popular culture of today and think is as wrong as the misogynistic culture of the 50's*.

(Disclaimer: as I was not alive in the 50's, I have no idea if it was misogynistic or not. That's just what they told me in my predominately public education. Also this)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Playing with a toy

This is a test from a BlogPress


I have a new toy!


Portrait keyboard is funny though.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 7, 2011

Praise Music

Praise music has become very popular in a lot of churches. Its especially used in churches attempting to draw in younger people.  Many will now offer two different Sunday morning services, one featuring traditional hymns and one featuring a praise band. The church I joined in Texas is one such church. While I originally resisted joining it because I didn't like the idea of a congregation divided in such a way, the young adult Sunday school class won me over and I soon found myself a member here.  Since my Sunday school class meets during the traditional service I find myself attending the contemporary praise music service.

I don't like praise music. Its not that I don't like that style of music or that praise music "just doesn't do it for me", no, I have a deep theological problem with it because it lacks meaning.  Praise music is characterized by romantic language and little or no doctrine. They are catchy, emotional songs, but they don't teach anything.  More than that they don't mean anything.  I will attempt to illustrate my concerns by comparing some hymns I like to some of the praise music I don't.

First up is a hymn that I like. Hopefully you've heard of it, its called "Before the throne of God above"
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
Ok, stop. In the first four lines we already have the doctrine of Christ as our High Priest presented very clearly. Awesome, who would have thought you could learn something from a hymn!
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
Again, more doctrine. "No tongue can bid me thence depart," our salvation is secure in Christ! Awesome!
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
So much here. We see that we are sinful, we see that God has to punish sin, we see that Christ substituted himself in our place, bearing our punishment for us and satisfying God's justful wrath. Wow. We even see the practical application of this! Not only are our sins forgiven, but when we're tempted to despair we are instructed to turn and see that before God we are justified. We need not carry our guilt and shame any longer. So much doctrine! So much instruction, in so few words!
Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!
 Amen. This song is everything you need to know about salvation in one package. Awesome. Too bad we haven't song this song in forever, I think we might have sung it once. Lets take a look at a song we sung a few weeks ago:
Oh God, You are a mystery
We crowd the streets in hopes to see
The Son of Man before our eyes
His holiness uncompromised
Ok, so God is a bit mysterious, he's more than we could possibly understand, and Jesus is holy, but why are we in the streets? Newsflash, Jesus lived 2000 years ago. Zacheous stopped saving you a spot about 2 AD.  Sorry man.

But Scott! It's just poetic language, you need to back off some dude.

Ok, I'll play. Poetic language is fine, but all good poetry has some sort of meaning. Poetic language absent of that meaning is just frivolous. What is the meaning here?
Oh God, we have a history
The saints who told of Calvary
And the martyrs who laid down their lives
For the cause of Christ were sacrificed
Ok, Christianity has quite the history. Much of it bloody. Some of it is pretty awesome. There's a lot we can learn from some of the martyrs, but what is the point of this verse? There certainly isn't a history lesson here, and there's no other lesson as far as I can tell. What there is though is a lot of emotional language meant to make you feel like you are part of some bigger movement. I'll get back to this later.

Chorus
Let our faith be not alone
May our hearts be not of stone
Give us souls that never close
To the grace that You bestow
May our eyes be quick to see
You are here
You’ve come to rescue me
 No lessons here, just lots of vague, fluffy requests. The chorus is also designed to make you feel. Doesn't matter how you feel, it just there to make you feel something.
Verse 2
Oh God, You are a mystery
Redemption for the world to see
The Son of Man before our eyes
His holiness uncompromised

Oh God, we have a history
The saints who told of Calvary
And the martyrs who laid down their lives
For the cause of Christ were sacrificed

Ending

You are here
You’ve come to rescue me
You are here
You’ve come to rescue me
Thank You, God
You’re here
You’ve come to rescue me
 Here we have the mandatory repetitive ending. As long as everyone is singing along its fine to repeat the last verse or the chorus of a praise song until Jesus returns.  The simple fact of the matter is that praise music is written to invoke strong emotions. They are designed to make you feel. It doesn't even really matter how you feel as long as it keeps your hands in the air. This is manufactured emotion and it is false emotion. It is not healthy.

Songs like this do not move me because they have no meaning. "Before the Thrown of God Above" almost always moves me to tears. Why? Because as I sing it I remember I have a savior who gave his life on a cross so that he could save me from sins. That creates deep emotions in me. Emotions are the natural response to truth. Emotions never lead to truth.
"The heart is deceitful above all things,
   and desperately sick;
   who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9
Emotions are proper when their source is reason and truth. Outside of that they are dangerous. Emotional decisions, no matter the emotion involved, are almost always poor decisions.  Obviously there are exceptions but I'm making a general case that applies to the subject of what music is appropriate in church. Purposefully manufacturing emotions that have no ground in truth is dangerous and it should not be taking place in the church.

There is a lot of good music out there, even hymns, that can be sung in church. There is no need to fill services with meaningless praise music. Perhaps there are other churches that have this figured out, but FBC sings the same dozen meaningless praise songs every month.

So I'll end this with a modern hymn that I almost always have a hard time singing without choking up, it has such powerful truth in it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Trusting God and Social Justice

I absolutely hate the media. I hate them because they've turned the news into nothing but fear, hype and misinformation or outright lies. Because of this I don't have a TV and I don't watch the news. Well I was home for my sister's wedding recently and lacking a computer or any good books I was watching the news with my mom.

Of all the stories that the media handles, perhaps shootings are the most egregiously covered.  The media will often play the blame game within hours or even minutes of the story breaking, before anything is really known about the shooter. Unscrupulous politicians often use this to their advantage by proposing gun control legislation within days of the shooting, and the media eagerly accommodates their bad behavior. So when news of the tragedy in Arizona broke, I knew what would come next. Sure enough the news talked about how Senator McCarthy and Senator Lautenberg planned to introduce legislation possibly by the next day!  Shame on them!

Of course this made me angry, and I expressed as much by shouting at the TV. This provoked my mom to ask me what my problem was, and when I explained how I couldn't stand the media's unprofessionalism and lack of integrity her reply floored me.

It was: "So? Don't you trust God?"

This got me thinking. Of course the Christian should trust God, and I've pointed out as much in past posts on my livejournal, but how does that apply to my adversarial relationship with the media?  Was I displaying a lack of trust in God by hating how they spread misinformation, hype, and fear?

Well, I've thought about it, and I don't think so. In fact I'm pretty convinced my dislike of the media and what they do is a good thing. It comes down to the difference between acting out of fear and acting out of righteous anger. The distinction is important and I'll try to elaborate a little bit here.

When Obama was elected president there was a lot of panic among conservatives. Some of it justified, the vast majority of it was not.  That type of panic, thinking that the world is ending because a politician who doesn't line up with your views was elected, shows a lack of faith in God. The Bible is pretty clear that leaders are ordained by God, whether they are good or bad. This is such a basic thing that I don't feel any need to elaborate on it further.

While God is in control, that doesn't mean the Christian is to take on a fatalistic view of everything. We are not to be passive.  I am convinced that when a Christian sees injustice he is to work to the best of his ability to correct it. After all, what was the second greatest commandment? Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV):
37And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
Loving your neighbor implies making reasonable attempts at two activities, preventing injustice from being done to him and righting any injustice that is done.  You see this all the time in society, you just don't think about it. The entire criminal justice system is setup for two reasons, to deter criminal activity and to punish it when it does occur.

So what does this have to do with the media? A lot actually.  In a democratic republic such as ours the people have the power to chose their leaders, and they chose those leaders based on what those leaders say they will do and what the people think is the right course of action. The media plays a huge role in this, as it is through the media that the people learn about what their leaders say and do, and what the current issues affecting the nation are.

Surely you can see the huge danger of a media run amok. If they chose to create fear by spreading misinformation they can easily fool enough of the population to cause real damage to society, meaning real harm to your neighbor. School shootings are an example of this. The media is partly responsible for the election of the politicians responsible for the ill-conceived gun free zone law.  That law, instead of protecting school children, has made them an easy target for predators.  Not once has a sign stopped a mass murderer, and children have died because of it. This is social injustice, and it is something God takes seriously.

Lets take a quick look at Amos.  Amos prophesied Isreal and Judah's impending destruction because of their unfaithfulness to God. What's interesting is that he lists some of God's grievances against both nations throughout the book, many of which involve social justice. I think the following two passages are pretty relevant to this discussion:

6Thus says the LORD:

   (A) "For three transgressions of Israel,
   and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because(B) they sell the righteous for(C) silver,
   and the needy for a pair of sandals—
7those who trample the head of the poor(D) into the dust of the earth
   and(E) turn aside the way of the afflicted;
(F) a man and his father go in to the same girl,
   so that my holy name is profaned;
8they lay themselves down beside every altar
   on garments(G) taken in pledge,
and in the house of their God they drink
   the wine of those who have been fined. (2:6-8)
Here God is condemning Israel for not loving their neighbors. They have refused to help the poor, even oppressing them. The portion about the garments taken in pledge refers to the law that if a man loaned money to another man, and took his coat as a pledge, the lender was to give him back his coat at night so that the he might keep warm. Here the lender is sleeping on the coat, breaking the law and not showing compassion for his fellow man.  Here Israel is enjoying unjust gain, social injustice is running amok, so much so that God is raising up the Syrian nation to enslave Israel.

10(A) They hate him who reproves(B) in the gate,
   and they(C) abhor him who speaks the truth.
11Therefore because you(D) trample on[a] the poor
   and you exact taxes of grain from him,
(E) you have built houses of hewn stone,
   but you shall not dwell in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards,
   but you shall not drink their wine.
12For I know how many are your transgressions
   and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the righteous, who(F) take a bribe,
   and(G) turn aside the needy(H) in the gate.
13Therefore he who is prudent will(I) keep silent in such a time,
   (J) for it is an evil time.
 14(K) Seek good, and not evil,
   that you may live;
and so the LORD,(L) the God of hosts, will be with you,
   as you have said.
15(M) Hate evil, and love good,
   and establish justice(N) in the gate;
(O) it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts,
   will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. (5:10-15)
And this entire post could be summarized by vs 15, "Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate." As Christians we are called to establish justice where possible.  In our system of government we really have no excuse, it is entirely possible to establish justice! You and I have the power to choose our leaders, and we should take it seriously.We should do our homework and vote for the candidates that we are convinced, not just emotionally but also intellectually, will do the most to establish justice.

It doesn't stop at casting a well-informed vote. We must be a voice for truth, pointing out lies and calling the media out on their hype. A representative democracy cannot survive misinformation, hype and the media's manipulation for long. It can and does cause real harm to our neighbor, and therefore we need to fight it with everything we have. I'm not talking about bombing CNN's headquarters or anything, what I am saying is turn off the TV! God gave you a brain, use it!  The old adage, garbage in garbage out, is true for you too. You need to seek the truth, which is something that cannot be found on CNN, MSNBC, ABC or even (or perhaps especially) Fox News.

Now, in the intrest of being informed, I do read news from all those sources (and BBC news, which is one of the better ones IMHO) but I do not watch it on TV. Why? Reading engages your brain more. It is also harder to get crap past the radar when you are reading. The language used in the article often betrays the author's bias, its much easier to filter when you read. Whereas watching the news its much easier to just absorb without any filtering.

So, my conclusion, desiring social justice does not show a lack of trust in God, but quite the opposite. God commands Christians to strive for social justice when it is within our power to do so.  Working for social justice, even when it seems like a lost cause, is arguably an act of faith. Get your butt off the couch and read your news instead of watching it. Work to correct the injustice around you, and don't take the threat from the media lightly. Lies are never harmless. We serve the Voice of Truth, we have no place being unbothered by liars.