Monday, June 15, 2009

Was Jesus a Socialist?

A blogging acquaintance of mine posted a very interesting essay on Facebook the other day. I found it so thought-provoking that I decided to share it with my readers.

As a registered Republican, Christian and one who homeschooled for almost a decade, I've had many opportunities to hear and read the opinions of others in those groups. I've also had the opportunity to become close friends with those of other religions (or none), people who prefer public school and (gasp) even Democrats. I've heard a wide range of thought and opinion regarding politics, morals, religion, etc. and am a better person for being made aware of how decent, thinking people can come to very different conclusions. I am inspired to carefully evaluate my beliefs and sometimes, often reluctantly, I've changed my mind after thoughtful discussions with someone who shares a viewpoint or information I hadn't considered.

Unfortunately I've encountered a certain attitude that disturbs me. While many people are open-minded and willing to accept that people can logically come to different conclusions about important issues, there are some who simply cannot believe that those who differ in their views can still be intelligent, informed, caring people. I've even heard people claim that it is impossible to be a Christian and a Democrat or liberal!

The problem is that some have chosen a couple of issues to hang their hat on, notably abortion and homosexual marriage, and have failed to acknowledge that there are other important issues to consider. In addition, here in America we have somehow come to believe that capitalism is biblical and therefore, socialism is anti-Christian. That is what the essay linked in my first sentence addresses. It makes the assertion that by certain standards, Jesus was a socialist. Consider the following snippets from the essay:

Jesus spoke remarkably often about wealth and poverty. To the poor he said, "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God," (Luke's version). To the rich he said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth," and "go, sell what you have, and give to the poor."For Jesus, helping the poor and the outcast is not optional: it is the essence of what it means to love God.We are to "forgive our debtors" and "give to every one who begs from you." But don't handouts contribute to moral decay? Jesus was more concerned about the moral decay in those who are so attached to their wealth that they would hoard it for themselves. Greed may be a driving force for the economy, but Jesus saw it is as destructive to community. Greed may leave a few crumbs behind for the poor, and it may do some unintended good, but it destroys compassion.

While some Christians are focused on the issues of abortion and gay marriage, and fretting about our "race towards socialism", other equally devout believers are concerned about corporate greed, poverty, health care, and the way our nation too often ignores "the least of these". Are they any less a Christian because they might not believe criminalizing abortion is necessarily the best way to decrease the number of abortions in this country? Or that granting rights of survivorship, health benefits and a degree of dignity to gay couples doesn't diminish the sanctity of their own heterosexual marriage? What about those who, while they may personally enjoy the benefits of a capitalistic society, have to wonder if perhaps Jesus might not be a capitalist?

As I said before, it's entirely reasonable for people to have differing views on these complicated issues. What bothers me is when some Christians (not all, of course) begin judging their fellow-believers as less devout or even consider them to be rebellious sinners because certain views don't line up with their own. This is evident even in something as trivial as the consumption of alcoholic beverages. I grew up in a teetotaling family and we chose not to consume alcohol while raising our children, for a variety of reasons. However, I never believed it to be a religious issue. My reading of the Bible convinces me that while habitual drunkenness is a sin, an occasional glass of wine with one's meal or even a cocktail now and then is not incompatible with my Christian beliefs. It's not like I've simply decided to disobey God in order to enjoy an occasional adult beverage. I honestly don't believe it to be a sin. Jesus drank wine. In fact, His first miracle was turning water into wine. And no, it wasn't grape juice. ;)

We each express our faith according to our interpretation of the Bible and what we feel God personally requires of us. For many reasons, that can differ from one Christian to the next. We need to be careful not to assume that because someone's appearance, lifestyle, clothing, choice of church or political affiliation is different from our own they are less of a Christian. Only God knows the heart of the individual.

It's time that Christians quit judging their fellow-believers and instead focus on those around them who are hurting and need to be shown the love of Christ.

“You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” - Anne Lamott.


Lisa Sharp said...

Wonderful post mom!!! I'm going to pass it on.

Joy said...

Great post! Very thought provoking...

Anonymous said...

I was raise as a Republican and born-again Southern Baptist Christian. I've since embraced Christian Anarchism and fully believe that Christ would not condone our government, its social policy, or its foreign policy. Jesus commanded us to love God and love one another. He did not endorse governments, and he did not endorse the use of force. He commanded us to help the poor, but he did not command us to rob our rich neighbors to give to our poor neighbors. He certainly did not command us to bomb other countries for their "radical" religious beliefs. He ministered to prostitutes, he did not endorse their judgment or imprisonment. The Bible says no man can serve two masters. I don't believe I can both serve Christ and condone laws and policies that are in direct opposition to his teachings.

Deanna said...

Liberty Tiger: Thank you for your thoughts. I do agree with some of what you've written here, especially about serving two masters. I am coming to believe that unbridled patriotism of the "my country, right or wrong" persuasion might be seen as serving another master. "I pledge allegiance to the flag..." Really? Shouldn't my allegiance be solely to Christ? Don't get me wrong. I love my country in so many ways and am happy to live here, but I'm not blind to her faults.

Cherie said...

Wow Deanna - you've expressed many of my own thoughts so well, so much better than I can. I always wonder how many people can call themselves Christians and yet completely disregard Christ's teachings. It all boils down to Love - Love God; love one another. Christianity has nothing to do with nationalism or telling others about the specks in their eyes. Thanks for spreading the gospel!

Deanna said...

Thanks, Cherie. I was a little nervous about this posting so it's nice to get some positive feedback.

Caleb said...

Like I've always said, the only time Jesus expressed anger with people was when they practiced predatory capitalism.

Caleb said...

Liberty Tiger - you need to read "Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church" by Dr. Gregory Boyd. While I wouldn't exactly describe it as a political treatise on Christian anarchism it certainly echoes several of the main ideas, namely that Christ's Kingdom is "not of this world" (John 18:36).

Anonymous said...

First I must correct the question “Was Jesus a Socialist?”. As born again Christian I know that the question should actually be “Is Jesus a Socialist?”. Jesus still lives! Now I can answer the revised question with a resounding NO. Socialism at the core is taking by force from one and giving to another. That is called stealing, so I will refer you to Commandment number 8 of 10. You should also read Paul’s exhortation in his second letter to the Thessalonians. Specifically read chapter 3 verses 8-13. Don’t work don’t eat is the very antithesis of socialism.

As Christians we are of course taught both through Jesus’ words and by His actions to be compassionate and giving. There is no such thing as compelled compassion. You can not ascribe Christ-like attributes to a forced action.

I would love to critique every piece of David Chandler’s article but I will simply end with a quote from Margaret Thatcher.

“Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them. They then start to nationalise everything.”

Anonymous said...

Socialism at the core is taking by force from one and giving to another. That is called stealing, so I will refer you to Commandment number 8 of 10.
All governments, whether democratic, totalitarian, liberal (classical), or socialist are funded by taxation. Taxes are extracted by force by the laborers, producers, and capitalists to fund the exploits and policy of the government. It is "taxation" that is theft, and not socialism in the economic sense. The moral justification for government, to protect the rights of the citizens, cannot be obtained by robbing its own citizens or pillaging other nations to pay for these protections. Stealing and killing are not justified because government makes it legal for itself to do the stealing and killing. I would not pay my taxes to this government if I did not think they would extract them from me by force. To voluntarily pay taxes to our government to fund international wars would conflict with my morals.

Jesus was compassionate and he was principled. He healed the sick on the Sabbath in violation of the law. The political leaders of the day hated him for challenging their authority. They bribed one of his followers to betray him. He was tried on trumped up charges, denied a fair trial, and was compelled to testify against himself. He was then tortured and executed. I don't see any way that his life could be used to justify the policies of our current government, or any government.

Deanna said...

Sage: It occurred to me later that perhaps I should have have used the present-tense. Of course I believe Jesus lives. When I wrote this, however, I was thinking in terms of Jesus' time on earth in a human form, His actions and His words.

As for socialism being a form of stealing, well, I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. ALL formal governmental systems rely on taxes in order to provide things individuals cannot do on their own. Even the most ultra-conservative is okay with paying taxes for some things, military for instance. It's a matter of degree. Some people are happy to pay taxes for such things as health care, believe it or not.

As for Paul's words in 2 Thessalonians, they really do not apply to this discussion as my point was not whether Paul was a socialist.

One quote from the essay I found especially provocative is:

"Is concern for the poor to be simply a private matter to be handled by charity, or does it have anything to do with politics or government? The Bible calls upon the rulers to create a just society. In a democracy, we are the rulers. We have the power to make the rules."

When I read Jesus' words I see admonitions to give to the needy, take care of the widows and orphans, turn the other cheek, not lay up treasures on earth, not to worry about what we shall eat or drink or wear.

I see nothing that leads me to believe that He ordained a capitalistic society as "godly". Therefore if someone believes socialism to be the better choice, that does NOT make them "ungodly".

My point in sharing the article was not to advocate for socialism but merely to point out that it is indeed possible for devoted Christians to view it as the more Christ-like system. I have a very dear Christian friend who also happens to be a Democrat. You would not believe the vitriol she endured during the recent presidential election from other Christians. That is completely unacceptable in my book.

As I've said, it's totally understandable that people will have differing views on political issues (or anything else, for that matter). We each have our own experiences, education and values which shape our views. The ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes and understand their perspective is a valuable skill and one that would go a long way in making this world a more peaceful place. It might even help Christians be kind to one another. ;)

Now for one of my favorite quotes:

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view--until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee.

Anonymous said...

I personally think our federal government is way too big. Most things need to be handled by local governments. We don't need to have the biggest war machine in the world. Protect our shores from invasion...fine. North Korea talks about a nuke or test fires a rocket so we run and give them money to stop. They take the money and do it again. (Clinton, Bush, Bush).

We have to stop running our country like Christ is coming tomorrow and if we have a big enough military we can stop it (or hasten His return). Ever since Christ died people have predicted his second coming. Live your life in the image of Christ and don't worry about it. How do we live like Christ? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I am very fortunate to be where I am today. I work hard for what I have. I can go out and buy most anything I want. But the only time I feel true joy spending my hard earned money is when I give it freely to someone in need. Should our Government be the one to help people? Hell no. People who claim to be Christian should be.

In the last few years we have opened our hearts to many people outside our way of life. A lot of people I was told to hate by fundamentalist Christians are some of the most Christ-like people I know. If every Christian gave 10% to the church and then the church used that money to help the poor instead of building gold encrusted buildings to go sit in and say "Look at us. We must be great Christians. Look at how much we have." there would be no one else for the government to help. Yes, some people are self destructive; some are cons. But they are all God's children and we are not to judge. Just take care of our fellow man. Republicans are not more Godly just use the name of God more often.

Lisa Sharp said...

Sage: I agree with Liberty Tiger and my mom. Taxing is taking by force. Really any laws are forcing things.

We have laws that force us to not do a lot of things and I'm talking things that don't hurt anyone but maybe yourself. So the only way that really works is if you 1. want to live in a land with no laws.

2. You want to live in a land ruled by the bible. Think that one through. Even if you said new testament only you are in for some jail time I'm sure. We all are.

I'm a libertarian but being a compassionate Christian I do see the draw to socialism. Few people theses days seem to do the right thing just because it's right.

We have become greedy. How often do we give to others? Do we really live simple lives like Jesus talked about and give to the poor?

Do we really think Jesus would feel the need to have every new item he could get his hands on and live in the biggest house he could? No, he would get what he needed and give the rest away.

We are human he was not so I don't think we all will be able to do it as well as him but should we try our best to be like him??

Also to this-
"First I must correct the question “Was Jesus a Socialist?”. As born again Christian I know that the question should actually be “Is Jesus a Socialist?”. Jesus still lives!"

You know as well as I do that my mom is a Christian. And not sure if you meant it that way but it is coming off as saying she isn't or at least isn't as good of one. I'm really doubting you meant that but sometimes we have to be a bit more careful with our wording on the net.

To all: Love is a verb. We can go around as Christians saying we are trying to be like Christ and not spread love.

If you goal in life is to share Christ with others isn't love the best way? You catch more flies with honey.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I came across harsh or judgmental. This issue is one I feel passionate about so my excitement can be overbearing at times. I was only sharing my own convictions. I realize my views might not be very popular. I've come a long way to come the conclusions I have. I hope that by sharing my thoughts that I might be able to help others see the issue my perspective.

Anonymous said...

My Bible has more than just the passages in “red letters”. I believe the entire Bible is the divinely inspired word of God. Based on that premise, Paul’s words in the Bible can not be in conflict with the life and ministry of Jesus. In addition, refer to the “red letters” in Acts 26: 14-18 where Jesus commissioned Paul go and teach. Therefore I contend the verses in Thessalonians do apply.

I like to deal with facts and results not wishes and feelings. From the measurable results of socialism I find nothing Christ-like about a system which takes by force and lowers the total productivity of those subjected to it. That is a far cry from a system of government where people are free to be the best that they can be. Man is motivated to work harder when he is free to benefit from the fruits of his labor. As everyone produces more the whole society benefits. If the fruits of a man’s labor can be taken by force and given to someone else who provides no value in return, then neither man has any incentive to work hard. The decline that follows is as absolute as the law of gravity. I maintain that charity is personal and required of us as individual Christians not as a collective. On judgement day we will all answer only for our individual actions.

To Anonymous, In my 40 plus years as a born again Christian regularly attending what some would call fundamentalist denominations, I have never been taught to hate anyone. If you were that is truly sad.

Deanna said...

Liberty Tiger: I didn't think you came across as "harsh or judgmental". You were sharing your opinion, just as I was. Actually, I wasn't even sharing my opinion on whether socialism is a good form of government; I was merely pointing out how good Christians might see it as the more biblical form.

Deanna said...

Dave: I totally agree that if Christians were doing their part in taking care of the needy we wouldn't need the government to do it. Sadly, that isn't the case.

Deanna said...

Sage: I read the same Bible you do. I recently completed reading it in its entirety, which is how I believe it is to be looked at. Do you honestly believe that we are to obey every injunction in the Bible? Really? Really??? Re-read Leviticus and get back to me on that one. ;) When faced with seemingly contradictory passages, I have to go with the words of Christ. In Matthew 22:37-40 He tells us to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbor as ourself. Jesus tells us those are the great commandments upon which hang the Law. That's the lens through which I view the world and upon which I try, often unsuccessfully, to base my actions.

You wrote:
"From the measurable results of socialism I find nothing Christ-like about a system which takes by force and lowers the total productivity of those subjected to it."

And some find nothing Christ-like about a system which rewards corporate greed. I don't see Christ advocating "productivity", either. As for the "measurable results of socialism", productivity is not as easily defined as one might think but:

"Over the 2000-2007 period, of the 17 economies studied, only
Korea, Taiwan, and Sweden had greater productivity growth in
manufacturing than the United States."

Sweden? That socialist country? How ever did they manage that?

Again, this post was NOT intended to advocate for a particular economic system so debating the merits of capitalism vs. socialism is beside the point. The point was and is that some Christians can and do find socialism to more closely line up with the teachings of Christ. They should not be excoriated for those beliefs by fellow Christians. It's as simple as that.

Anonymous said...


You do realize that you are talking to your family and not just random or anonymous people on the net? Hiding behind a spice rack pen name does not remove responsibility for what you say to your SISTER.

I'm not going to debate with you on your views because I know that you have spent a lot of time (more than the average person) coming to those conclusions by reading and studying. I have no interest in attempting to persuade you to see things my way, because I know you are pretty unwavering in your beliefs. I respect that you see the world differently than I do. However, I hope that you can accept that others can be just as intelligent as you and still come to differing opinions.

Insinuating that my mother/your sister is somehow less of a Christian than you based on semantics is something I wouldn't expect out of a decent person like yourself. THAT is what upsets me.

Beware of those black lettered pork products.

Your nephew,

Caleb said...

How can someone steal from us if it is not ours anyway? The only time we can truly say that something is "mine" is if we honestly earned it ourselves without any help from anyone, including God. If "every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change," (James 1:17) then why do we claim so often that we deserve the fruits of our hard work?

Another thing to consider is that we are not of this world. Why would we let something as secular as money completely define our faith-based political ideologies? Government and faith have no place intertwining at all - if you need proof, look at Iran and Saudi Arabia. Considering money is the driving force of this world and not of God's Kingdom, wouldn't it make sense to "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's?" (Matthew 22:21).

Ultimately, I agree with you that socialism is evil and that Jesus wasn't a socialist. However, I also think that democracy, totalitarianism, communism, and capitalism are all evil because they are not of God. Anytime there is divisiveness in the world, it is a product of Satan's work.

Now, on a more personal note: if you think that every word of the Bible is literally the word of God, transcribed by His chosen vessels of knowledge and truth, then so be it. Congratulations, you have more faith than me. Personally, that's a ridiculous assumption to make considering all of the work I've done with textual analysis, narratorial reliability, and the study of Biblical literature from a narrative perspective. Read "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart Ehrman as a good place to start.

Anonymous said...

It appears that some clarification is in order. First and foremost my words did not say and I certainly did not wish to imply that my Sister does not believe that Jesus is risen. That thought never crossed my mind because I obviously know her and her faith. I’m surprised Chris and Lisa that you would assume I could think that. If someone came up to me and said that my sister doesn’t believe that Jesus is still alive I would tell them that they are crazy and have no idea what they are talking about. David Chandler is the one who used the past tense “Jesus was a socialist” in his article and I have no idea what his religious beliefs are. We were debating the merits of David Chandlers views not something my sister wrote. Correct me if I am wrong Deanna, but you never said if you agreed or disagreed with the article. You simply said it was “thought-provoking” and I agree that it is. I like being precise (probably explains why I chose computers for a career) so my semantic nit-picking was simply setting the foundation for my argument against the views presented in the article. I do not dip my toes in an intellectual debate. I dive in the deep end. I presented my opinion and some backup for why I hold that opinion. I never attacked anyone for having different opinions. At work I am almost always outnumbered in political and religious discussions. I enjoy spirited debates with educated intelligent people who have different views than I have. It makes me dig deeper and strengthen my beliefs. At work we all get along great no matter how different our views or how spirited the debates are.

Chris, if you and Lisa and Deanna all knew that the non-anonymous comments I left were from me, how can you accuse me of hiding behind a pen name? You know that I have strong opinions and firmly held beliefs that I do not shy away from. I do not hide or back down from anyone! I did NOT insinuate that my sister is less of a Christian than I am. I most certainly do not think that. Deanna and I may have differences of opinion on some theological and political topics but I did not and would not question her obvious faith.

I would really have liked to continue debating the merits of socialism, but it seems that there is too much room for personal interpretation of other people’s words which can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. I think I need to invent a computer debating language. Computer languages are exact and leave no room for interpretation. Every statement means one and only one thing to a computer.

Daniel West
a.k.a. Sage
a.k.a. Deanna’s brother

sharon said...

When I think about Jesus and Government styles, I don't think he cares. When he was walking on this earth his advice to other humans was to submit to the government and pay their taxes. He didn't try to change the government or anything. This makes sense to me as throughout the Bible, whenever God, the Father, sets up a government it's not ever a democracy. And, when Jesus teaches us to pray, he never tells us to tell God how we feel. He doesn't ask us to vote on anything.
He only tells us how we should act as ourselves, not as a country.
So, as far as that goes, he probably wasn't a socialist, or any other political thing.

However, when he talks about how we are to behave it is ALWAYS with others in mind.

When he tells us that when you do unto the least of these my brothers, he never added, if they deserve it. Or if they are working. He does call them his brothers, you know... siblings, family members. He wants us to treat the needy as family members of our own, and of His.

This is probably hard for some people to understand. I'm thinking of course of people who don't know how to treat their family members as human beings are created to do. Sage's behaviour comes to mind.

I think the whole Bible is worthy and the fourth greatest gift from God. The first being Grace, the second being life, the third being community.
To Sage, I recommend reading and following "The Year of Living Biblically" By A.J. Jacobs. When that proves to be impossible, try "What's so Amazing About Grace" By Philip Yancey.

Deanna, never suggested that Paul, his letter to the Thessalonians or the old Testament were insignificant. She only said that she wasn't talking about them at that moment.

Using Paul's words in this is as relevant as bringing up Noah in a conversation about Moses. Two important and beloved men... totally different topics.

As for those who work eat, that's a lovely ideal. In my town, I see the opposite. We have plenty of wealthy who retire at 35 or 40 and are able to eat so much that they go to the Dr. to have their fat sucked out of them. While at the same time, the people who clean up after them, mow their lavish lawns and raise their children work 2 and three jobs but can barely make enough to feed their own children. This is not specific to my town, or this time. Jesus saw it every day.

I could go one for ages, but I have things I need to get done here. I'm not wealthy and so I have to work to feed my family.

Sage I'll pray for you. I don't say that in a spiteful way as I have had to said to me by some fundamentalists. It's not a threat. I just know you are breaking something that one day you will miss.


Lisa Sharp said...

Dan please re=read what I said.

"You know as well as I do that my mom is a Christian. And not sure if you meant it that way but it is coming off as saying she isn't or at least isn't as good of one. I'm really doubting you meant that but sometimes we have to be a bit more careful with our wording on the net."

Things like "My Bible has more than just the passages in “red letters”."

Sounds like "and you must not" or that we are reading a different bible.

When someone says "mine" or "my" it comes off as meaning the other party has something different. This is something I think most everyone would see.

Chris and I love mom so much we are VERY protective of her, this is why we have posted.

I believe family shouldn't talk about politics and religion. Mom, Dad, Chris and I do but that is because we are all friends as well and we all have a deep respect for each other and there is an unsaid understand that the debating will end if at any point someone gets hurt.

Family is FAR more important than debating and so I hope and pray that we can stop these pointless debates that lead to hard feels and/or fights.

I love our family but lately I have felt like my views are not respected and while I'm not sure who I know that family members have been spreading twisted truths and rumors about us (mom, dad, Chris and I) to other family members which is so sad.

I hope we can get past this and start having happier talks when we all get together. There is a love in our family that is not common. We are so lucky to have such a close family there is no reason to let politics and religion get in the way of that.

I know very well that you don't want that either. I know you still love all of us but because we all have very strong views and don't want to "back down" it's just not a good idea to debate. We all have friends we can debate with and there are many online ways to fill that need without risking something as wonderful as a close loving family.

With love and respect,

Anonymous said...

I agree for all of us to argue is stupid. We all love each other. For people who don't know Dan he is a wonderful person that I love as a brother. And we both know no matter what, if something bad happens we have each others' back. I have had some things happen in my life that have forever changed the way I look at the world. Before that Dan and I agreed on just about everything. It makes me mad when I see anyone attack anyone I love. I love Deanna, Chris, Lisa and Dan so this whole thing is painful. The other day when Lisa left after something was said, this was not because she could not debate the issue. I think she knows how I feel about all of this and left before things got heated out of respect for family. Thank you Lisa. And no we are not socialist. Yet:-)
David Allison Piercy
AKA Capt, Dave Pierre Blackheart

Deanna said...

Sage wrote:

"I would really have liked to continue debating the merits of socialism, but it seems that there is too much room for personal interpretation of other people’s words which can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings."

The thing is, I said over and over that I was not advocating (nor inviting debate over) socialism. I was simply sharing what I feel was a good expression of why certain Christians feel the way they do in an effort to help others understand their views. Not to try to change anyone's personal opinions but simply to shed light on their thought processes. I've seen dear, liberal minded Christian friends hurt by conservative Christians and I hoped I could help explain things a bit. I really didn't think you even read this blog and was surprised to see your comment.

As you noted, I never gave my opinion about the essay because it simply isn't relevant to this discussion.

Dan, I'm glad you clarified that you do indeed believe I'm a Christian because honestly, it came across otherwise to numerous people, including non-family members who read this but didn't comment publicly.

After writing the above, I've seen that Lisa and David have posted again. I agree with both of them. Family relationships are too important to put at risk by arguing about politics. As Lisa points out, debating with friends or other online forums should fill that need. Dan, I love you too much to allow something like this to come between us. Let's agree to avoid the topic of politics, shall we?

And now I'm going to do something I've never done on either of my blogs. I'm going to close the comments. The peace of Christ to everyone here.