Bean Patch Politics

BeanPatch

Faith, Politics

Pastor Rob McCoy with Linda Johnston, M.D.

(McCoy is now running for CA AD-44 in Ventura County)

originally published on CJ April 10, 2013

What Has Happened to America?

Lately I have been reflecting a lot on the story of a grandfather who was walking on the beach with his grandson. They saw thousands of starfish washed up on the beach, as far as the eye could see. The little boy as dashing back and forth, trying to get them back into the ocean to keep them alive. The grandfather told him to stop, saying, “There are so many of them, you’ll never make a difference.”

The little boy looks up at his Grandpa and replies, “I’m making a difference for this one, grandpa. And I’m making a difference for this one.” At this point the Grandpa reaches down and picks one up and tosses it back in the ocean. Together, they worked to throw back as many as they could.

The story touches me because it is so descriptive of where we are as a community, a society, a nation. Everything I voted for in the last election lost. Everything! That’s not the first year that has happened. I am sure many of you could say the same thing.

Wealth is subsiding all around us and we are sinking faster and faster into the morass of being a secular welfare state. Trying to operate a business is a nightmare. Any entrepreneur that wants to succeed is going to go to Texas. More people have left California than came here during the dust bowl in the 1930s.

We are watching as Gov. Perry and other governors come to take our brightest minds and our businesses away. I don’t blame them or the ones that go. I would do the same if I were a governor. All the governors are doing is stating the facts that compare the levels of freedom in our two states. The truth and the choice are self-evident. How far we have come from living by the other “self-evident” truths, those enumerated in the Declaration of Independence.

I am watching this beloved California that was once a great dream turn into a nightmare. It’s frustrating to witness. It is especially disheartening because I am a son of the American Golden West. I was born and raised in California and so were my father and his father before him. I grew up with a conservative mindset at a time when California was known as Reagan Country. Now all that seems left of that conservatism is a Presidential Library with a great view.

In my formative years, I was more Republican than Christian. My mother was very active in the Republican Women Federated of Coronado. As a youth I became familiar with the power of local politics. I saw my mother’s work. I walked precincts. I treasure the memory of meeting Ronald Reagan. His love of this country was palpable and I resonated with that.

Yet, in those years not everyone shared that patriotic passion. I witnessed the soldiers returning from Vietnam to anti-American protests, derision and being spat on. Then, as now, there were huge divisions and contentions. I so enjoyed being a citizen of this wonderful country that I was perplexed about what I saw. How could anyone not love America?

In my late teens and early 20s I came to Christ. It was towards the end of my college experience that I developed a vibrant understanding of what it meant to be a Christian. I was called to enter the ministry. Now I have been a pastor at Calvary Chapel Thousand Oaks in the Conejo Valley for 12 years.

It has been during this time that my two worlds, Christianity and patriotism, came together. I am hardly the first to walk that path. Our Founding Fathers blazed that trail deep and wide, though many today deny that road is even there. The Founders’ Christianity-based patriotism so moved me that I started deeply studying our Founding Fathers and American heritage. So many of their teachings, writings and philosophies are biblical.

Several of that generation participated in setting up Yale, Harvard and Princeton universities for the purpose of educating pastors! I saw there is a natural marriage between Christianity and a person’s political life as I had learned through my mother, enveloped by a love for the foundation of our nation, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

We are no longer standing on that solid Christian foundation. We have gone astray. It seems suddenly there has been a dramatic shift in the country towards a leftist, socialistic direction. The reality is that this movement has been going on for nearly a century, but the momentum has reached such a critical point that the speed has greatly increased. This gives the impression that practically overnight we have gone from a Christian country based on Jeffersonian liberty and the God-given rights of man to a liberal, lawless, debtor nation where Christians are called “domestic terrorists.”

We are all watching as America is transitioning into a postmodern world, a world that has no place for Christianity. Having traveled extensively in Europe, I have witnessed their postmodern move away from Christianity.

Europe was once the hotbed of Christianity, but now socialism has taken root. Europe is in serious decline, with an increase in human misery. As many of you here, I have been saddened, wondering what is transpiring.

Christian Foundation

In my early formative Christian years, I was clearly lead to believe that Christians were not supposed to be involved in politics. I was amazed when I learned that our Founding Fathers stood for and acted to the contrary. Christianity and life as portrayed politically were inseparable.

I saw the disconnection between now and the past with the current absence of pastors standing for up political understanding and representing Christ in the political arena. When compared to our history, these religious leaders are now abdicating their responsibility in bringing the Christian message in light of current events from the pulpit.

However, all precepts of our Founding Fathers came out of the Second Great Awakening. Many of them were moved by that and the subsequent transformation that occurred was amazing. I see a resurgence of these same ideas. The Tea Party is an effective and conservative movement that has captured the support of many patriotic Americans, demonstrating there is a hunger for our original values as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Unfortunately, it is devoid of Christianity.

That huge absence creates a vacuum, leaving a large area for bad philosophies to take hold. If there is really going to be revival of America, it will come from a revival of Christianity. Christianity and our politics are married. We need to reinvigorate the pulpits of America. The pastoral world must start to declare that Christ is sovereign.

Of course I am not saying we are going to establish a theocracy. I am interested in preserving and strengthening our representative form of government. However, our lives should be ruled by the Lord.

If a man can’t be governed in his own soul by God, through what our Founding Fathers understood in natural law, then the nation will not govern in freedom. That will be a nation of oppression, not a nation of freedom. We cherish freedom but we can’t have it without virtuous self-government from God. It is very simple: the nation whose God is the Lord flourishes.

Goliath-sized Problems

We look at these huge problems afflicting us and ask ourselves, “How are we going to make a difference?” For as long as I can remember, even back to when I was a brand-new minister, I have wanted to make a difference. Many of you also have long had that desire.

I’m a pastor of the church in one of the most liberal states, in a postmodern world where people dismiss the church, dismiss the claims of Christ and dismiss my political position and values. I have to share with you that on occasion I get discouraged. At those times I feel like a penny looking for change.

It is times like those that I remember I Samuel Chapter 17 that recounts the familiar story of David and Goliath. It is enlightening and invigorating to read those words. People think the story of David and Goliath is about how to kill a giant. That is not the whole meaning. There is a spiritual application but also an enormous political application that we all need to pay attention to.

The story reads, “The Philistines gathered their armies together at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah. They encamped between Sochoh and Azekah. Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in the battle array against the Philistines.

The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was 9’10”.” Goliath came out daily for 40 days and taunted the armies of Israel saying, “Bring out a man, I will fight him and I will take him down. If I win, you be my slave but if he wins, then we will serve you.”

That towering Goliath was so frightening. Every day he got bigger and bigger, while Israel got smaller and smaller. The scripture goes on to say, “They were dismayed and greatly afraid.” In Hebrew, that means they were so afraid they were on the brink of insanity.

We can identify with that. We get so overwhelmed in life and with all its complexities and everything we’re up against. Don’t we feel on the brink of insanity? What is insanity anyway? When nothing makes sense anymore, all is chaos and confusion and up is down and down is up – that is insanity.

Just surveying our country and culture and we are sure to feel that from time to time. Bewildered and disoriented we ask, “Where’s the country my parents grew up in? Where is the country our Founders bequeathed to us?”

Those questions reflect our looking at the horizon and thinking this giant of a crisis is overwhelmingly formidable and daunting. Everything we had relied on is in disarray and we don’t even know where to begin. The buzz is that our opposition dominates us in the electronic world of texting and twittering and that we’ll never catch up.

Headlines confidently predict that demographics are now against us and will be forevermore. We are scolded because we’ve wrongly invested our money with consultants who only help us loose elections. We are told that we are in a hopeless free fall. This all means we see the enemy getting bigger and bigger and bigger and we are all fighting for the few small crumbs left after their meal.

Bigger than Goliath-sized Solutions

That was the situation when David walked on the scene. He was a ruddy little boy, the most unlikely hero. He heard all the men talking. Quaking they called Goliath “the champion.” “He’s a giant. He’s a Philistine.” David never used the word champion, never used the word giant and never used the name Goliath. He saw and then said, “That Philistine is a reproach to the armies of Israel. He is in defiance to God! Who is he to us that does not have a relationship with the living God?”

David said, “This is not right. One man and God constitutes the majority. David’s power rested in the fact that he knew the fight was not between him and Goliath. It was a fight between Goliath and God. By the way, God wins. He always wins.

The Republican Party is the party that walks out on the field to face the Goliaths of the world. We faced the Goliath of slavery when over 70 percent of Americans said that we would never abolish slavery. It was too intertwined in the warp and woof of the fabric of our culture at the time.

The Republican Party was born at that moment because we said, “That ought not to be so, it is not right. No man should be enslaved.” We took on the giant. We stood proudly on that field of battle. The cost was horrific. Over 650,000 men died to secure those freedoms for every human being. Back then, the vast majority could not fathom the abolition of slavery. All they could see was a 9 foot 10 inch giant.

We are a party of morality. We are a party of truth. We have won some amazing battles armed, like David, only with morality, truth and God. Yet more recently, we have changed our strategy and not for the better.

We look at the daunting aspect of some Goliath and in our fear, we forget David. Instead we do exactly what Saul did. Saul, a warrior in his own right, said to David, “Are you going to fight this guy? You are a ruddy little boy! When Goliath was a boy at your age he was already killing people. Now he’s an adult, he eats meals that are bigger than you.”

That was all true, but Saul was looking at Goliath rather than turning to God. As a result, Saul insisted that David put his armor on to fight. It seemed such a logical, practical thing to do. Isn’t that just what we love to do? Let’s dress up like the enemy. Maybe if we do it just the way they do it we can compete with them in the political arena. If we do that we have already lost the fight because we end up being just like them. In fact, sometimes it is already difficult to tell the difference between the two parties.

When we walk onto the field of battle thinking the foe is formidable, we put on their armor. In Saul’s armor, David could barely move, let alone fight. David took off Saul’s armor because it was not right for him. He said, “I can’t do this. I can’t fight with this.” He armed himself with his weapons; his truth and his God. He walked down on to the battlefield. Goliath looked at him with disdain as only a 9 foot 10 inch giant can and said, “I’m going to tear you apart and feed your flesh to the birds and beasts.”

David said to Goliath, “I want to acknowledge your spear, your sword and your javelin. From the crown of your head to the sole of your feet you are covered in bronze. You are a shining example of majesty and a spectacle to behold. I must acknowledge that your physical endowment is far superior to mine. But I’ve got a secret. The battle isn’t you against me. The battle is you against God. You just picked a fight you’re not going to win.” As we all know, he didn’t. Whenever you get on the right side you are going to win. David took off this world’s armor and put on God’s armor and won. So should we.

There are 50 to 70 million evangelical Christians in the United States. It is the largest minority. Half of those are not registered to vote and of those registered, only about half voted in the last election. If we can move that constituency, we will change the electorate and thereby change the direction of this country.

However, those Christians will not embrace the Republican Party unless we maintain our truth and morality. If we want to say abortion is too much to take on and then we will continue to pay the penalty on election day. Then we won’t be the party of big ideas, the party of transformation or the party of morality and truth. Those are the ideas we have to wrestle with. Individually and collectively, we all must struggle with these things.

Property Rights are Biblical

Our enemies are coming after our rights in the First Amendment. The next thing they will come after will be all the others as well. We are already seeing that in the many efforts to take away our right to self defense and our guns.

Our Founding Fathers understood that we are endowed with our rights by our Creator, by God and are accountable to God. No man has any right to take them away. This is the line in the sand we need to draw and then fight to maintain it. These issues are well worth fighting for, every single one of them. They all come down to the issue of freedom.

What is freedom? You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Thomas Jefferson said freedom is having choices. For example, if you go into a restaurant with $100 and everything on the menu is less than $100, then you have the freedom to order anything on the menu.

However, if someone takes $25 from you, then you have 25 percent less choice. Therefore, you have 25 percent less freedom. If someone takes $50, you have 50 percent less choice and 50 percent less freedom. Does this sound familiar?

Many of us are paying over 50 percent of our money in taxes, giving us 50 percent less freedom. The reduction of freedom is not just in the taxes we know we pay. There are hidden ‘taxes’. Inflation is a tax. Regulations are tax. Lawsuits are a tax. Environmentalism is a tax. All these things consistently erode our money and freedom. We are well beyond 50 percent loss of freedom.

Government doesn’t create wealth, they take wealth that someone else created. Wealth is created according to Biblical principle. It is not a coincidence that we have the Ten Commandments, some of which protect wealth and property. The Bible supports and actually commands honest labor and the right to keep the fruits of our labor. Contrary to what some claim, the Bible never advocates the forced confiscation of property for redistribution in the name of ‘social justice’.

There is only one way for wealth to be created. It only happens if two people or groups of people are serving each other. Happily serving the needs of others is a Biblical principle and is the reason blessings flow. It works like this. Both parties have to benefit for wealth to be created.

Imagine I’m a farmer and I know a baker. I have grain that I sell at a profit to the baker. The baker takes the grain and turns it into bread that he sells at a profit. With these profits, the baker can buy bigger ovens and I can buy a bigger field. We both can employ more people. Then there is even more grain and more bread for even more wealth.

For wealth to be created people have to be benefited and blessed. Both I and the baker have profits, the people have jobs and bread. Everybody is better off. Unless we instill this basic knowledge and these values, we will decline as a community, a society and as a nation. In fact, where we have not instilled this knowledge and these values, we are seeing decline and misery.

I am not just talking about the economy. These are issues of morality and integrity. Morality is not doing what’s wrong. Most people are moral people. Imagine your child comes home from school and says, “Everyone was calling Susie fat but I didn’t.” The child is moral because he didn’t do what was wrong.

However, the child did not display integrity or character If he had character he would have made a stand against what was wrong. He would have told the others to stop it saying, “Nobody is going to talk to that girl that way in my presence.” They are certain things worth fighting for. Making a defense for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is high on the list.

We love freedom. That concept is enshrined in the powerful Declaration of Independence, our birth certificate and our inspired Constitution. That which has been established on our hearts cannot be allowed to slip through our fingers. We hold these truths to be self-evident! That’s a Jeffersonian way of saying any idiot can understand this. All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness or virtue.

Pursuit of happiness is often misunderstood. Our Founding Fathers knew that happiness is not the accumulation of things but is virtue. We think happiness is the pursuit of all the things we want, our unbounded and infinite desires. Liberty unchecked becomes license. We have seen that happen. The land of the free and the home of the brave has become a place where all of our kids are in rehab. How did that happen?

Liberty became license. True liberty and freedom, as the Bible and our God-given rights ordain, is not having the freedom to do whatever you want to do. It is having the freedom to do what is right. The two can’t be separated. Freedom, integrity and character are worth fighting for. That is not to say it is easy. It isn’t. It’s hard. You may end up being unaccepted or ostracized.

Come election time, you may lose. And we have. However, loss is not inevitable. We can change that.

As Republicans, we have tended to dismiss as irrelevant that Barack Obama was a community organizer. We are more focused on the fact that he has never started a business or worked in a capitalistic enterprise. We are offended and perplexed that an unknown junior senator came out of nowhere and suddenly became the President of the United States. Yet, he beat us to the punch. That community organizing background was the key and still is the key. We need to be community organizers but not organizing around socialistic ideas.

We need to be organized around Christian ideas such as the protection of property and free enterprise as the Christian basis of capitalism. We are not talking about capitalism removed from the Spirit of God mired in lying and immorality, but the capitalism infused with the Spirit of God.

Additionally, we do not want government to dictate our benevolence. They are not in charge of the welfare of people. Historically and correctly it has always been the churches who took care of the poor and unfortunate.

For centuries, up until the 1930s, most of social welfare was very successfully taken care of by the churches of America. That undertaking was purposely abdicated during the Great Depression spearheaded by President Roosevelt and his governmental social welfare laws. Now too many are dependent on government, thinking that is the right answer and it is not. That is slavery, pure and simple.

Republicans abolished slavery once and we can do it again. We must take on this Goliath of the new form of slavery – socialism and dependence on government .

The book of Galatians is fascinating because it scrutinizes the issues of slavery and liberty. In it undeniable that true liberty only comes from a relationship with the Lord.

Bean Patch Politics

We seem to be in a place nationally where we are overwhelmed. In state politics, we are thoroughly overwhelmed. We have been beaten and soundly. I’m so tired of everything and everyone I vote for losing in every election. I’ve lost federal candidates and I’ve lost state candidates. I’ve lost referendums and legislation. Through all the losses and heart-felt disappointments, I’ve come to realize something profound.

In 2 Samuel is the story about a man name Shammah. He was one of King David’s three legendary mighty men. His greatest deed was to defend a small bean patch surrounded by Philistines. All the other Israelites fled and Shammah stood alone. Nonetheless, he defeated a troop of 800 Philistines single-handedly. A bean or lentil patch was really worthless. However, he was told to protect that patch and he did! He vanquished 800 Philistines. No Philistine got a foothold in that bean patch!

This is my bean patch – the Conejo Valley. No one is getting into the Conejo Valley! I am a keeper of the gate. I want to know everything that goes on here. The Conejo Valley may be just a little patch of ground, but it’s mine. I am going to protect it with all my might and transform this little patch of earth.

I’m going to fix the Conejo Valley. Here’s what’s going to happen. I want to own the school board. I want to own the council. I want to own the supervisory seats. I want to own the water district. I want it all. From these positions, people will rise up in the ranks.

Someone starts with a small elected position. Next thing you know he’s going to be up in the ranks to a bigger office. However, he’s got to cut his teeth here. We will have an enormous influence on his life and the people he’s around. That role model will make other people want to run for elected office.

We are the salt of the Earth, the moral preservative. God calls us to have discipleship and there is such a thing as civil discipleship. That is what I am talking about. Every single office that resides within the boundaries of the community which anyone calls home will be infused with Christian doctrine.

In the book of Acts it says, “They have affected every realm of the city with their doctrine.” Let that be as true now as it was then.

We are going to teach Christians to become involved. I’m going to educate my congregation on civic responsibility. Our young people are going to go through that education. We will raise up kids to be teachers in the schools and the Bible will return to the schools at the local level.

We started a Boy Scout troop and they will go through their civic responsibility. Our children will be involved in politics. We are going to do voter guides. We will be involved in getting to know who the judges are and how they perform their judicial duties. We will have an influence.

We will educate all of the populace about wealth creation and capitalism so that unions will no longer have a foothold. We will go against the unions and every other government agency. I can’t change these groups nationally but I can make sure they will have no effect in my community.

The Philistines are going to be repelled and wiped out. We will dominate here. We will be in charge of what happens in our patch. This is our bean patch. No one gets in! When I breathe my last breath, I want to leave Conejo Valley better than before I came. I want to motivate you to do the same.

Where there is freedom, there is always going to be wealth. The greater the freedom, the greater the wealth. When there is a community with freedom, full of trustworthy people with integrity, everyone will want to do business here. They will want to live here and raise their kids here.

As a pastor I want to declare these ideas. I want to start seeing other pastors and their congregations getting involved. We are going to raise up our congregants and put the boots on the ground. It’s all groundwork. We have to get back to the simple things in life such as walking the precincts, talking to our neighbors about important issues and candidates. Let’s keep the effort local and the money local.

We will prove that this model works and can be duplicated across the country in every community and city. There are 715,000 seats coming up for reelection and the vast majority are local positions, just as we have here. Let’s win every single one of them!

If every pastor in America takes responsibility for his little patch of earth, his bean patch, then we are going to have a transformation of miraculous proportions! We will transform our community and that will transform the country.

I promised if I ever became a pastor for a church we would be politically active. I would teach, especially the young people, how to develop character and integrity and that there are absolutes in life.

I would teach that there is a Creator and that we can live in freedom rather than in bondage. People say as a pastor I can’t mix religion and politics. Nothing could be further from the truth! There’s no such thing as separation of church and state. The notion from our Founders was not to keep the Church out of the state but to keep the state out of the Church.

Democracy and a free people is more than just pulling the lever to vote once in a while. Everyone has to be active. No one is getting into my bean patch. If you want my votes and that of my constituency then do what’s right.

If you want a toe hold in my bean patch, then do what’s right. I want babies protected and marriage protected. I want the main boulevards of our cities cleaned up. That is how you get our votes. We are only interested in those who want to be part of the solution, with integrity and character.

The biggest question is how to get people and pastors involved. The first thing is to unify. We must endeavor to keep the unity of spirit and the bond of peace in the house or it will not stand. It begins with a pastoral prayer network. Praying together knits people’s hearts together.

When we pray and serve one another, we built trust in each other. The walls of the church extend far beyond any one building. As our hearts are knitted together and trust develops, revival begins. Let’s keep focused on how we are going to leave this place better than we found it.

Then with that the next step is to vet candidates. We need to know that each candidate is honorable and will operate in the public trust in such a way that there will be no question about them. We must know they will not bring a scar to the name of Christ.

As a pastor, I can vote and I can endorse a candidate, which are two different things. I might have to vote for someone that is not optimal, but to endorse and really get behind a candidate, he or she must be thoroughly vetted.

Make a Difference

At times I really thought I was not going to make a difference in this world. I reread the story about David and Goliath and my heart started to glow again. I am getting involved in my community and my heart started to swell with excitement. Pictures of a bright future started to come to my mind because of today’s efforts and transformation of our community.

I have never been more excited about being a Republican that I am now. Let’s not forget David’s armor. God makes a difference. The difference is for this one and for that one. It’s going to take a lot of work. I’m in! Are you? God bless you!

Rob McCoy is senior pastor of Godspeak Calvary Chapel Thousand Oaks which also owns and operates Little Oaks School. 

Linda Johnston, MD is a medical doctor in general practice since 1981. She writes political commentary on a variety of current events, notable health care issues. 

 

 

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