I got a lot of feedback yesterday about my Morning Reflection about healthcare and “making America great again.” Overwhelming positive and supportive. But to the few naysayers that may still be out there, I say this:
I am sorry that I am experiencing “politics fatigue” (as a recent article called it). I am flabbergasted and flustered, because I did not learn in seminary how to explain to someone why they should care about other people.
And further, if there is just one person in America that declares bankruptcy because of medical bills, I say that is too much. The days are over for us treating healthcare as a commodity. It is too important. It is a BASIC HUMAN NEED. It is necessary to thrive. It is like air, and water, and shelter. You need adequate care for all to have a healthy society. And if you don’t understand that, then frankly I feel sorry for you.
If we are truly going to celebrate the 4th of July and the principles on which this country was built, then we are going to have to shelve the talk of tinkering with healthcare delivery, and start talking about actually having better HEALTHCARE. You heard me right! We are going to have to talk about what it means to believe in liberty – because I see part of that “state of being free” as being free from the oppressive restriction of medical bankruptcy. There is no self-autonomy in that, for me or the person declaring bankruptcy.
And no, we do not have the best healthcare in the world. We used to. But in the last 30 years or so, we have slide to the bottom of industrialized countries in almost every healthcare outcome that exists. So yes, we used to have the greatest healthcare system in the world. But have you looked at it in the last 20 years? Actually looked at it? Or have you just been spouting this same mantra because its what you said 20 years ago, and what your parents said to you. Have you talked to any doctors or nurses lately? Because what I am hearing from my doctor friends is that this system is broken.
It is time for Christians to claim what is rightly ours – the plight of the poor and afflicted. If it was good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for me. It is my duty to stand up for the most vulnerable among us. I will lend them my voice. I suggest you join in the fight. And if that means taking on the big prescription drug companies or the big insurance companies, then so be it.
“I wish Matt would stay out of politics.” Oops, sorry. That’s not what Jesus did. Neither will I. Sorry if your sugar-coated religion doesn’t match what the Holy Spirit is demanding of the Church today: action. I’m sorry if you want to be a part-time Christian on Sundays only. So I’m not sorry if I offended you saying that; I’m sorry for you.
Our disagreement is not one of politics. It is a fundamental divide on what it means to be a Christian, and on what it means to live in a society as a Christian, and how to stand up for our principles. Frankly it might even be deeper than that. Perhaps our divide is on what it means to be a good person.
I’m not sorry if this offends you.
Perhaps it needs to offend you.
Christianity has been in decline in this country for decades. And I believe one reason is because so many “Christians” were looking for a country club, not a radical organization that is out to reorganize all of life, complete with a radical leader like Jesus who came to upend the political equilibrium.
We raised a generation of lazy Christians, and now we are paying the price.
When the slugging got too hard, many fled for an easier religion, where entertainment or “feeling good” are the standards. We Christians remain, fighting, speaking out, demanding to take seriously EVERYTHING Jesus did, and not cherry picking a few ideals to make us feel like we are doing our part. We need Christians who are ready to follow the One who healed the Gerasene and went out of his way to reach out to the afflicted and outcast.
Passing an empty soup can on Sunday morning raising a few cents for hungry children is not Church. Church is a radical way of living our faith, where we lose our life in order to gain it. It means giving ALL to Jesus, so that others may experience the freedom of the gospel. Church is not an opportunity for you to feel good or get “refueled” for the week, but a place where you are reminded to lose yourself in order for Christ to win it all.
Church is about changing lives. Church is about following Jesus.
And at this point in our church’s life and in our country’s life, it is time for us to change our broken healthcare system. It is also time for us to change the lackadaisical way we have gone about being Christian. Gone are the days of singing a lovely little Sunday hymn and going home for the week. Jesus demands we follow him 24/7.
If you are uncomfortable good.
If you are questioning whether this “Christian thing” is really for you, good. I would rather have 1000 people who want to follow Jesus, than 1,000,000 people who don’t give a darn.