First, during breakfast I studied Oregon Ballot Measures 66 and 67 (PDFs for 66 and 67). Both are dreadful, but the state legislature has backed Oregon into a corner where not passing them may be as harmful as passing them.
A general summary is here. Compare S-Corporations and C-Corporations here.Second, after breakfast I checked my e-mail and an old friend me had asked me two religious questions.
Measure 66 sounds just, but between 65% and 75% of the "individuals" hit by it will be small businesses measuring income and taxes through the personal incomes of their owners. Sure, some small business owners should be paying more taxes. But hitting too many small business during a big recession is not the right answer, and a tax retroactive-for-2009 is unjust.
Measure 67 taxes corporate sales instead of profits. The large businesses it hits (pdf flowchart) will simply raise prices to effectively give Oregon consumers a sales tax. Sure, some large businesses should be paying more taxes. But giving Oregon a sales tax is not the right answer, and again a tax retroactive-for-2009 is unjust.
- How do I respond to stuff like this?
- Do I accept that non-Jewish Christians should convert to Judaism, as per James in Acts, or do I believe Christians should only keep Noachide laws while Jews must keep Torah laws?
The linked argument can be paraphrased: "You believe A, and then later B and C caused by X. I believe A and C, caused by Y. I'm open to dialogue when I see A and C caused by X." This is obviously nonsense not worth a reply.Third, I mentally composed some encouragement for math class after I handed back the term's first test. I decided to share a paraphrase of one paragraph from my e-mail to my Fall 2009 class after their final exams were graded and their overall grades were posted online. The original paragraph read:
I talk with Yeshua a lot, and such a relationship makes eschatology seem unimportant. When someone says, "if you even happen to see [Jesus] around at that time..." the reply that comes to my mind is a quotation from the movie Ladyhawke: "Sir, the truth is I talk to God all the time, and no offense, but He never mentioned you."
Regarding the second topic, James didn't say that. The motivation for the group decision loosely based on the Noachide Laws is ambiguous. What is meant that the reason for non-Jewish followers of Yeshua to refrain from a certain four things is because Moses is read in every city? Is the rationale merely that Yeshua's followers need to be able to eat meals together, or is there an expectation that Jewish culture will be contagious?
In any case, currently (no Temple) no one can keep Torah. The Mosaic Law is a covenant. Obeying some but not all of that legal agreement is as invalid as paying only two-thirds of your mortgage. Fortunately, scripture is consistent and clear that eternal judgment examines a person's heart, not his or her legalistic innocence.
There are two reasons to obey any scriptural commandments. First, they show God's ways: those who love God will want to follow his ways, and are called to demonstrate their validity even in a broken and sinful world. Second, we should be Yeshua's disciples, which in context means we should mimic our teacher's lifestyle in all practical ways.
So Yeshua's non-Jewish followers need not convert to Judaism, but should be sufficiently knowledgeable and respectful of all God's commandments to be able to represent God's ways on whatever paths he guides them.
I think many of you were aiming for a C and succeeded, which can be as praiseworthy and honorable as acing the class. Often someone with jobs and kids cannot invest in a LCC class the time and energy required to earn a high grade; successfully balancing numerous real-life responsibilities and distractions while pacing yourself to be successful and not burned out in math class is a noteworthy accomplishment. This term many of you dealt the flu, either yourself or a child. Many were dealing with job loss. Several were caring for very ill or troubled extended family members. One student had a new baby. I also heard about a failing marriage, an unexpected pregnancy, and living in a tent. In other words, there were lots of C's, but some of those C's hide tremendous amounts of fortitude, energy, study habits, and goals achieved. In class you were all sitting next to some very heroic people, whether or not you knew it or the grade book shows it.Fourth, while Smiley napped I read Shamus's post about guns in role-playing games. and thought about my older thoughts about the topic as well as Shamus's issues.
Fifth, I thought some about my growth in becoming warm as well as kind, a process that began with a dream I had in December of 2005. I have had very few dreams about Yeshua, but this was obviously one of them and a clear message from God.
The scene was a round hilltop. The sermon on the mount had just ended. Yeshua was walking down the mountain, pausing to talk with many individuals. He approached me and said, "You are kind. But your kindness helps little until more people come to you for support. Be welcoming so that people seek out your kindness. Be warm as well as kind."So for several years I have been aware of the task of creating a welcoming space. I pray daily that Smiley will have both warmth and kindness (so far he does). I have seen the odd truth that people appreciate peace but seldom want it badly enough to mimic people who project it.