I'm a "church goer", although I haven't been it a month or so, and I get annoyed with people in the congregation shouting "encouraging words" to the preacher. Half of the time they're speaking without even listening to what the preacher has even said. Words like: preach it, amen, yes preacher, etc. flow from the desire to fit in to the collective, the manta humming ummmmm.
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with every once in a while "speaking" out in a sermon, but every two seconds, sheesh. A few years back, my wife and I attended my In-Laws graduation from counseling at 1st Baptist of Atlanta. At the end of the ceremony, Charles Stanley gave a sermon type talk, and I noticed that a woman sitting in the row in front of us was really, really enjoying the sermon (God forgive me for ripping her, but here goes).
Her favorite word was "say it". As Stanley was speaking she would say, "say it, saaay it, oh say it." First off, what does that even mean? Second, I couldn't focus on what he was saying because she was cracking my wife and I up.
So what am I getting at? Call me crazy, but these are the people we have to worry about, for they are easily swayed. Can they be swayed for the good? Sure, but more often than not, they are the ones who blindly follow any two bit person who half way talks with authority. "You sound like you understand this health care debacle, so I'll do what you say", or "Even though this goes against what the Founding Father's wished for our country, it's a necessary evil to prevent X".
So I think I'm perfect, right? Wrong, sometimes (albeit rarely) when I'm fed false advertisement I choose the wrong side of the issue as well. However, and this is the critical part, I have a couple of key elements that keep me on the right path.
1) I am always ready to embrace the truth, even if it goes against what I've thought since I could think for myself. Some people, lets use Democrats here, refuse to see the light, even with it's blinding them. Just look at this article here. Charles Rangel is caught red handed and yet there's nothing but hemming and hawing by the Democrat leadership trying to justify his actions and their lack of action. Then look at how he's hailed as if he's a champion returning to Rome victorious (as in the article). Using Republicans here, (although I really hate to) 99 times out of 100 would have dropped the guy flat. That's because conservatives (at least true conservatism) tend to eat there own. "If you do wrong your gone".
2) I listen to others and then form my own opinion based on my own research. I may disagree, agree (and then reform my opinion), or I may need to do more research. That's one of the great things about blogging and reading other blogs. A few weeks back Conservative Scalawag talked about saying the pledge allegiance. I had never really thought about his perspective before (you'll have to find the post for yourself), and if fits right in with the premise of this post. I don't have much against it unless your saying it for sayings sake. Are you promising to uphold the ideals of the country, or are you zombie like moaning because everyone else is? I believe in the core elements of the pledge, but am not sure its needed to be done en mass. Most people sing songs at church but have never actually read the words, try it some time you may be shocked (hopefully in a good way).
3) I understand the need to distrust my government whether there is a R,D,I, or L next to it. I do this because every single one of those punks with try to slip something by me to increase the power and authority of the government. Consider the Roman Dictator (a topic I'll discuss in length down the road). The early roman republic would call for a dictator when they needed to cut through all the red tape, in "emergency situations". They needed to do this because they had the most complex set of rules to ensure there would never be another king in Rome. The rules were for the dictator as follows: 6 months service to deal with the "threat" and then relinquish control back to the consuls (in short). Dictator didn't mean what it does today, but you can see what people mean by slippery slopes. Necessary evils have a funny way of biting us in the ass down the road.