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His Master's Voice
Copyright © 2009 - All rights retained by author
Written by: C. W. Booth

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Health Insurance and an Appeal for Common Sense

When Obama was elected, I was unhappy because my political views tend toward the conservative. Yet, I did harbor some hope that maybe, just maybe, healthcare would get some attention and some reform would be accomplished.

What I have seen leaves me just as unhappy as I was on election eve.

When I think healthcare reform, I mean simply:

    1. make it illegal for insurance companies to refuse applicants or to refuse coverage because of "preexisting conditions"
    2. make it illegal for healthcare providers (doctors and hospitals) to bill different prices to those without insurance "coverage" as those with (those without insurance are billed considerably more for the same medical procedure as those who have insurance--how is that fair?)
    3. the only government involvement in healthcare (aside from Medicare and Medicaid) would be to provide a spending cap for all citizens--that is, once a citizen spent $10,000 or $15,000 of their own cash for health expenses in any year then the government would pay any additional expenses--any expenses before the cap amount is met would be paid by the citizen or by his insurance company. No one will find themselves in a million dollar hole for having decided to treat their cancer.

But our current president has just gone beyond common sense with overspending and his penchant for taking over everything. I wanted reform of some aspects of the healthcare payer system, not a total tear down and rebuild of the healthcare system. We have the most competent, efficient, and easy to access healthcare in the world. The payer system was broken, yes, but not healthcare itself.

I fear that just as the president threw good money after bad in the auto industry, and ended up literally buying a private company, GM, nationalizing it, and then firing its CEO, he will attempt to take over and control all elements of healthcare. He is not qualified to run GM and he is certainly not qualified to run the healthcare business.

Mr. Obama, keep it simple. Clean up some of the abuses of the payer system, but leave the rest alone. For once in your administration, think practically and prudently. Pass a few sensible reforms that will make the payer system more equitable and stop trying to reengineer all of society after your own personal and socialistic vision.

 

 

 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What does expositional mean?

Over the past few days I have been following a debate on a religion forum. On one side of the debate are some preachers from a not-quite-mainstream Christian denomination. They have been arguing that everything that a patriarch did in the Old Testament is meant to be a model of moral conduct for us to emulate today, UNLESS the story narrative explicitly says, "and he sinned by doing this."

On the other side of the debate are some laity who have been quoting hermeneutic books and Old Testament exegesis materials. These quotes all show that often the Old Testament narratives did not explicitly call attention to evil behavior by the patriarchs. The authors of the stories expected the hearers and readers to know the Old Testament Law and to know that lying, stealing, adultery, and murder were evil without having to be told. The authors of the Bible never expected that people would assume that everything a patriarch did was always good enough to be copied without further thought.

Needless to say, I side most emphatically with the laity on that forum. The only way to be certain that an historical figure in the Bible did a good deed or did a bad deed is to compare the deed to biblical standards of conduct, like the 10 Commandments or the morality teachings of Christ as reflected in the New Testament gospels and epistles.

I took a break from following this debate and went to the local Protestant Christian bookstore. I asked the clerk if she could point me to the books on developing expositional sermons from the Old Testament. She looked blankly at me, then turned around a few times to see if there was any escape, then asked, "What does expositional mean?" I smiled and said, "Well, how about just books on writing sermons?" She smiled back and said, "We might have some over here." A single volume was on the shelf dedicated to sermon development aids. It dealt with the New Testament only.

So I asked, "Where do you keep the books on hermeneutics?" and immediately regretted asking. "What does that word mean?" Again, I smiled and said, "Oh, it just means studying and interpreting the Bible." "Oh, we donít have anything like that, but we do have commentaries and Bible dictionaries."

After thanking her for her assistance, I walked out of the store very sad. I realized that the online booksellers were putting the smaller Christian bookstores out of business, and that accounted for some of the lack. But I also realized that we are truly turning into an unchurched country, even in Christian circles. There are no books on expositional preaching and hermeneutics because there is no demand for them. Increasingly, there is no knowledge of what these skills are. And that is why we see Christian pastors attempting to emulate the sins of the Old Testament patriarchs all the while thinking they are conducting themselves in a biblical manner.

If this countryís pastors do not begin recovering their expositional and hermeneutical skills sets and begin teaching the Bible in a deeper way that will stretch and grow their congregations we are in danger of seeing the next generation of Christians grow up to be entirely illiterate with regard to the Bible, morality, faith, and the person of God. As we learn from the Old Testament story of the divided nations of Israel and Judah, there is a limit to the amount of willful ignorance and disobedience that God will permit from His own people.

But that is the catch, isnít it? To learn that lesson from Israel and Judah, one must know how to read the Old Testament and interpret it correctly. I wonder, is it already too late?

-------

No, I will not tell you which forum this was or which denomination was involved.

Yes, I did purchase books on expositional preaching from the Old Testament via the online booksellers. sigh...

Expositional preaching is the task of explaining the text of Scripture, segment by segment, in a way that preserves the original intended meaning of the biblical author but is also useful to the present congregation.

Much preaching today, if not most, is not expositional because the sermon does not follow and explicate the text of an actual passage of Scripture. Rather most preaching today is moralistic, that is, the preacher explains what he believes to be moral behavior, tells stories to illustrate his perception of morality, and then advises his congregation to go and be moral. And the congregation may go out and be moral per the pastor's vision, but without knowing the biblical basis for their actions, why it is important, or how this behavior relates to having fellowship with Christ.

 

 


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Page Originally Posted: October 29, 2009
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