Sunday, May 3, 2009
Our American Founding
After taking the better part of a year to read the Federalist Papers in their entirety I was ready for a long break from the subject the of our American founding. This was due to enormous amount of information and the fact that they were written the 18th Century English. Well that break is over and like any open minded person who seeks the truth in the matter I decided to read the Anti-Federalist papers in order to hear the other side.
This endeavor to understand the founding started about two years ago when I was out preaching in churches about the beauty of America and the need to get back to the roots of what made us great. At the time I was being influenced by Christian books on the subject and thought that this entailed the Christianizing of America. At the time, I was also in an organization that taught about the seven spheres of society that needed to be changed to transform the world around us and wanted to send young people out to pray for it and do it in the way they prescribed.
Then one night before I was going to preach to a youth group about God and his mission for us on this earth I woke up in the middle of the night and saw a C-SPAN special on Constitution Day. I had been preaching from Ezekiel 17 about great tree planted by abundant water that had branches that spread wide and far. I was making the argument that this allegory applied to America and our influence in the world. I also went into the whole "city on hill" argument as well. Anyway, I began to ask myself, "If we are the tree what is the bark that protects us?" That night I realized it was the Constitution while I watched the celebrations on C-SPAN.
This completely confirmed the focal point of all I have learned traveling the world and visiting the poor and oppressed. I have learned that the single greatest determinate of poverty and oppression is corrupt government. If this is true then the bark of the Constitution that has been the key to our freedom, prosperity, and influence in the world is exactly what others need. This belief caused me to leave the mission organization I was in to seek some sort of career in politics or influencing politics.
Soon I was sitting in Florida jobless living at my brother's house trying to pick up the pieces of a life that had taken a drastic change. I realized soon that I had been so heavenly minded that I was no earthly good. The words of the prayer in Matthew of heaven coming to earth had recently hit home. I was going to seek bringing heaven to earth by influencing the Seven Spheres of society. Then I watched a man named Ed Brayton on C-SPAN again and got so mad about what he had to say about Christians who wanted to influence government I began to post comments on his site at www.scienceblogs.com.
As time went by, I moved back to D.C. and found a job delivering pizzas. I used my time during the day to argue with Ed and his readers about evolution and religion. As time went by I realized that a lot of what he was saying was correct. When we debated about the whole Christian Nation thing I began to say less and listen more because he knew his stuff far better than I did. Then one day he said, "You need to read the Federalist Papers." Soon after I was given a copy randomly by a friend and started reading. It opened my eyes to the one thing I had always loved in school: History and Politics.
Soon I as teaching History again at a school in D.C. and began to wonder about getting a doctorate in something to do with the founding, the enlightenment, or something in that vain. I sought many avenues but then got so busy I just dropped everything.
Then I started to teach about common law in my History class. While researching the topicI found an article about the Law and Development theory. It states that the nations that have established law and order prosper economically. My good government=prosperity thoughts came back as research seemed to back up my experiences. Then I decided that I need to go to law school and study property law. This was decided after I read a great article by a guy named Sandfeur who was a friend of another blogger name Jon Rowe at www.positiveliberty.com. Sandfeur wrote about John Locke's political theory and its influence on American law. It inspired me.
That was a few months ago and I have decided to read the Anti-Federalist papers now to add a balance to what I have already read. I am going to get trained in the "We the People" program to hopefully teach the Constitution next year as well. So I decided to make one of the subjects I post about the Anti-Federalist papers. My hope is to go through them one by one even if it takes a while. Putting my thoughts down in writing helps me clarify things in my mind if any else ever gets anything out of it then great.
If nothing else is learned from this post take away this: Much is to be learned from people you think you disagree with. I have learned more from Ed Brayton and Jon Rowe than I did in 10 years of church sermons. I still have my faith but I have rediscovered my reason thanks to them and others that were patient with me as I came out of a cultish Christian movement. I look forward to learning from what some of the people who opposed our Constitution felt at the time and also take a look to see if any of their predictions came true.