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12-Jul-09

12-Jul-09

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Published by Joseph Winston

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Published by: Joseph Winston on Jul 13, 2009
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Conservative Values
The Rev. Joseph WinstonJuly 12, 2009
Sermon
Grace and peace are gifts for you from God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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Bumper stickers tend to fall into two separate groups when we elect a pres-ident. Last year’s election certainly followed this well-established pattern. JohnMcCain headed up the Republican slate. One could find his slogan on the back of many cars and trucks. It read, “Reform, Prosperity, and Peace.” On the other sideof the aisle, the Democrats had their man. Obama’s bumper stickers simply hadthe word “Change” or the longer version, “Change you can believe in.”Hearing phrases such as “Reform, Prosperity, and Peace” or “Change” quicklysplits the house into two separate parties. On the one side, we have all those menand women who loyally supported their candidate. These individuals stood behindthe simple slogan and gave it life. They talked with their undecided friends and
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Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, Philemon 1:3.
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neighbors and carefully explained why they were voting for their man. They wentto the primaries and handed out fliers for their candidate. Finally, they voted theirconscience. The opposition makes up the second group. These concerned peopleworked tirelessly to show the obvious problems with the competition’s bumpersticker. They sat down with anyone who would listen to them and outlined whythey supported their candidate. They also gave away literature at the polls that saidto vote for their man. You certainly could count on their vote on Election Day.The division between the two sides runs very deep. First of all, the two differ-ent phrases obviously identify political parties. The Republicans supported Mc-Cain and the Democrats Obama. More importantly, the slogans try to capture theessence of the party. “Reform, Prosperity, and Peace” might make you think of all the “conservative” values that Republicans support. Reform – Take away theburden that the government gives you. Prosperity – Let business operate with-out interference. Peace – Protect the country. In the same way, the catchphrase“Change” leads you to recall the “liberal” ideals. Change – Make health care af-fordable for everyone. Change – Give everyone good jobs with good pay. Change– Make America competitive again.The two political parties have trained us well. When we see a bumper sticker,we can quickly identify the political leanings of the driver. A McCain sticker tellsyou that the occupants are Republicans. The word “Change” or the letter “O”means a car full of Democrats. Sound bites now serve the same purpose. “Toughon terror” – Republicans. “Compassionate” – Democrats. Different careers mightbe another way to identify either Republicans or Democrats. We might think that2
 
an officer in the Army must be a Republican since that party supports a strongdefense. By the same logic, many of us would assume any social worker must bea Democrat because that party is compassionate.We could play the exact same game with Amos. Is this prophet that told thepeople that God wants never ending justice for the poor and the oppressed a con-servative or a liberal?
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Would you say that wanting to regulate business practicesmakes Amos a Republican or a Democrat?
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Does harsh judgment for the richsound like a campaign promise a Republican or a Democrat would make?
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If you agree with the standard definition that a conservative is one who up-holds traditional values, then you will have to admit that the prophet is the mostconservative person that you can think of. For the prophet is the one who calls thepeople and their leaders back to the old way of doing things.
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All of these questions previously asked about Amos are issues that the prophetaddressed. Very early in his ministry, Amos told the people that they should knowbetter than taking advantage of the poor and the oppressed. Amos continues topreach this message by pointing out specific problems that need to change. Busi-ness people need to stop adjusting the scales and manipulating the currency toinsure a profit. Justice requires the rich must not forgetting about the needs of thepoor.Look at how Amos goes back to the traditional way of doing things. The first
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Amos 2:6; 4:1; 5:11-12; 5:24.
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Amos 8:3-6.
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Amos 6:1-7.
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