Following The Stars

Following The Stars

The three wise men followed their star, have you been following yours?
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It is so easy to loose sight of what is important at Christmas; it just turns into countless Christmas parties, finding the ultimate gift and gorging yourself on food, when, really, it is all about Jesus and it took a really intense church sermon yesterday for me to see this.

Instead of telling the normal Christmas story, my pastor focused about the relationship between the stars and the three wise men. (Shout out to Blue Ridge Church) You see, the three wise men were astrologists, they knew all the stars in the sky and they had tracked the patterns of these stars for years. So when they saw this new star signifying the birth of Jesus Christ, they immediately wanted to find the source and celebrate this. God loves those who seek him, and those three wise men were doing just that. It's crazy how one little star led them to such a miracle, they didn't need anything but a star to see the truth. Without a star, they would have never looked to find the source, never found Jesus, and never made it into the nativity scenes we put up each year.

God plants stars in our everyday lives that point us toward him and this past year, it seems I have had a million of these stars. But given my supremely stubborn nature, I often chose to not look at these stars and follow my own path. There were so many times when a star was particularly bright, and I chose to look away, choosing to try to forge my own path. I was constantly seeking earthly comforts this year, instead of just looking forward to my most recent star. I am so embarrassed to say that I fought Him almost every single day. And it finally took Him making me lose someone close to me, as my final star of the year, to seek Him. It's almost as if He tried to do every possible thing to make me see Him, and then when we realized my eyes were closed, He had to do something drastic to jolt my world back into place. I would be lying if I said it wasn't painful and that everyday I think about the pain that the star is causing me, but I need to follow Him and not question, just like the three wise men did.

Later in the sermon, Pastor Scott was praying for us all. It was a beautiful prayer, but instead of focusing on the words, I cried out to the Lord asking why my star was so painful, why he couldn't have chosen a star that would have been easier for me to heal from. I realized in that moment I was hopelessly broken and there was nothing that I could do to fix it. In that moment, I knew God felt my pain and he wanted nothing more than for me to be whole again. It wasn't up to me, it was up to Him. Up to His grace, and His love and His loving Holy Spirit. Christmas isn't about gift giving or eggnog, it's realizing that Jesus is love and even though we are so broken, he will love us back together. Look for your stars, and follow them mercilessly.

Finally, thank you to Blue Ridge Church and Pastor Scott for opening my eyes to what Christmas means, and changing my perception on so many things.

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My Faith Is What Sparked My Interested In Socialist Politics

Jesus abhorred the greedy and had an unprecedented amount of compassion, and that's why I'm a socialist.
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If you couldn’t tell by my name, I’m Irish, which also probably implies that I was raised Catholic. And indeed, I was. I was baptized, received the Eucharist and reconciliation, confirmed, and able to recite nearly every part of a typical Mass. Plus, I go to the largest Catholic university in the United States, DePaul University here in Chicago, a city with a rich history of Catholic Irishmen.

So, yeah, I guess you can say I’m the quasi-stereotype of the typical Catholic Irishman from Chicago, but one fact about me that isn’t that much of a stereotype, aside from that I’m more Chinese than Irish, is that I credit Catholicism for making me a socialist.

Before I go on, let me just say that if you don’t really know me, then that sentence seems shocking for the “socialist” part. But if you know my admiration for Bernie Sanders and his ability to bring socialism into mainstream politics, then you might be as equally as surprised, except more at the “Catholic” part.

The whole idea of Christ’s teachings ultimately reflects the meaning of socialism.

Socialism is the liberation of all oppressed peoples and the mass organizing of people to rightfully decide affairs that affect the population as a whole. It’s seen in many of the Ten Commandments. Thou shalt not kill, not bear false witness against thy neighbor, and so on. It’s seen in the Beatitudes. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled.” “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

It’s even seen in Jesus’s words. In Matthew 19:21, Jesus said: “If you will be perfect, go and sell that you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.”

Matthew 15:32 recalls Jesus as having “compassion on the multitude, because they continue with [him] now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.”

Though this is not to say that Jesus was a socialist, it is to say that for me, faith is important in my life because without it, I would not be as exposed to the damning inequalities of the world than I have been before.

We are seeing racism, classism, sexism, and all other forms of oppression bleeding into normalcy once again, all thanks to capitalists that abuse their power and exploit the working class for their own personal benefit.

Christ reflects on this evil in Mark 10:25: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

It is often the case where socialism, and even more left ideologies and religion do not get along. In fact, it is a religion that most people in socialist causes see as an evil in itself, for it gives opponents on the right a scapegoat for their evils.

I personally disagree that religion is the root of that evil. I believe that even though religion has caused many atrocities against humankind throughout history, it goes without saying that the words of Christ offer good incentives to support socialist politics and views of the like.

This is not me trying to convince you to convert to Christianity, but it is me pointing out that faith can be utilized for the good in a world in which it has been used for the bad.

Christ’s compassion, empathy, and call for others to stand up to injustice is something that all people should see as valuable advice. There is no logic in using the rhetoric of Christ to excuse behavior that has caused far too many people to be obliterated from the Earth. For as the Golden Rule states, “do unto others as you want to be treated.”

Cover Image Credit: Nina Stehl

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Conquered.

Project Israel: Part Two
Drew
Drew
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Conquered.

I am conquered.

My mind, heart, and soul are incense before you.

Placed on the altar, are all my actions.

There my head hits the floor, knees press the ground,

Do I dare look up at You?

So, I stare behind, shadow below.

O’ Light above,

Weighing down upon me.

I am conquered.

Battle in the Heavens!

I am servant to both armies!

I am a general for Lucifer, I am a prince of Christ!

Does this please you: fallen below?

Father Above?

Such a lost thought, back & forth, between Death and Life.

I am conquered.

Weaned, bent, twisted by my own hand?

O’ Sin, are you my master?

By God’s Grace, no!

Yet it was I who stripped You, we struck You!

Strip me, strike me!

You gave me keys to the kingdom.

I threw my heart to the fire.

O’ Sin,

I am yours—all of me.

All my wretchedness is yours.

I am con—No!

O’ Jesus!

I am yours—all of me.

All my wretchedness is yours!

Mercy Maker, Death Defiler, Grace Giver!

Cover me with all!

It is all far more than enough!

Victory is at hand!

I am conquered.

—Drew Seitz

Drew
Drew

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