Paying for School

My ongoing adventures in life and the pursuit of more...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Teachable Moment

I heard about this video clip by a guy named Steven Crowder.  The set up is that he went to a church parking lot where they were doing some new trick or treat ritual that sort of looks like a tailgate party for kids.  I like the idea.  He decides, oh so cleverly, to create a teachable moment and he uses candy re-distribution to teach the kids about President Obama's tax plan.

Check it out.

So let's roll with this teachable moment.

First teachable moment: argument from analogy can ILLUSTRATE but it cannot PROVE.  Cannot.  Every analogy has flaws and this is no exception.

Second, we have been paying income tax for decades upon decades.  Obama didn't create the system nor has the Federal government ever asked if they could take some of my "hard earned" pay.  I understand as a citizen of the U.S. I must contribute to spread the responsibility around.

Third, these children did not earn their candy.  It came to them by the very process that Steve & Co. are decrying (I so hope he intended the irony of this).  The wealth of parents and strangers was used to by candy which was then re-distributed among those who had no earning power to purchase it for themselves.  (Though the one tall kid is a little dodgy, he could cut grass or rake leaves or something, eh?).  This video is actually demonstrating the culturally accepted policy of re-distribution.

Fourth, they are in a church parking lot.  Guess how the church had that parking lot paved?  Guess how they pay for the building they meet in?  Guess where the salaries come from to pay their pastors?  If you guessed "re-distribution" or tithes and offerings you get a bag of candy from Steven.

Fifth, are there many parents out there that haven't had to teach their children the value of sharing?  Seriously?  When our kids participated in things like this we immediately re-distributed their take.  Nate couldn't eat nuts so Josh or Em would exchange some non-nut items for his nutty ones.  Chips could be saved for school lunches, thank you very much, and there was always a "parent tax" applied so we could get our own sugar fix.  Further, we regulated when and what they were supposed to eat from their treat bag or it would have led to stomach aches, tooth decay and binging.  Sometimes big government, oops, sorry, sometimes parents need to step in 'cause the kids just can't regulate themselves.

Sixth, if we really think about this video analogy, the group of people who oppose taxation and re-distribution are being portrayed as whiny children who don't like to share even when they have more than the smaller person next to them.  Hmmmm.

The deal is that this is not only how we might be processing political things in this season, I'm afraid it's the sort of reasoning a lot of do when it comes to our faith.  We need to be critical thinkers - that doesn't mean we're critical of everything, it just means we think things through.  Let's be slow to jump on bandwagons and let's ignore the veiled threats of those who warn us we're going to miss the next great move of God if we don't... fill in the blank.  One thing I've learned from reading through 2000 years of church history, God is playing the long game and doesn't seem to ever be in a hurry about anything.  For instance, the Day of Pentecost that came as a "suddenly" was several hundred years in the making if we take Joel's word for it (and I do).

So I'm saying slow down, don't drink the kool-aid 'til you find out what's in it and don't ever believe that an analogy proves anything, especially in theology or in an election year.

I've got a lot to learn but this much I know, I re-distributed some serious wealth last night even if my stomach managed a percentage for itself.