Valerie is a 42-year-old, single, Reformed Christian lady who lives in Baltimore. She doesn't remember a time
before she knew and loved Jesus, but she does remember accepting John Calvin into her heart in March of 2000.
Valerie is a member of Christ Reformed Evangelical Church in Annapolis.
Though her career aspiration is to be a housewife, Valerie has not yet found anyone suitable who wishes to hire
her for employment in that field (or, more properly, anyone suitable has not found her), so in the meantime she
earns her daily bread working in communications -- editing, writing, print design and website management.
For several years, my family has had an annual Tax Code Burning as close to April 15 as possible. This started as a joke but has increasingly developed into our own form of political protest. Here's how it works.
First, we get the fire started. Then we have the invocation to the spy satellites that are watching us, saying that we have all paid our taxes, being obedient citizens and loyal Americans. But we also announce that we are the followers of Christ. We will render to Caesar what is his, but we will not render to Caesar that which belongs to God.
Then we take out the Internal Revenue Code and take turns reading. Every so often, someone begins the cry, "Burn it!" Then we tear out that page and throw it on the fire. Then you pass the book to someone else, who does the same.
Eventually, we get bored and just pitch the rest of the book into the fire.
On August 11, 2007 11:26 AMcraigellachiewrote... Nicely done, but why bother reading it aloud? Just cut to the chase and burn the thing-- if you can! Have you seen how big that thing is? I'll pass this on.
I think Romans 13 is pretty clearly referenced in their ceremony: "we have all paid our taxes, being obedient citizens and loyal Americans".
Just because a government isn't as bad as it possibly could be doesn't mean one mustn't point out where it is bad. In Rome, the citizenry (and the rest of the population) weren't exactly invited to participate in the political process. But if the U.S. government is supposedly "of the people, by the people, for the people," I don't see why the people shouldn't say, in effect, "We will obey you, but we will not worship you. And we're not too pleased with your refusal to obey even yourself, much less the Creator who ordained you."
The s'mores, I grant you, are an excellent idea. Of course I've long felt there ought to be some sort of sacramental use of chocolate.... ;-)
On August 11, 2007 2:00 PMAngiewrote... I figured the-burning-of-the-tax-code wasn't so much saying, "We will obey you, but we will not worship you," as "Up yours, Uncle Sam!" Sending something up in flames is definitely making a strong statement.
Guess it's all how it's done and with what attitude. I'd be concerned about what it's teaching their children...we Americans already have enough "issues" with submission!
Anyway, I agree with everything you said, including your last paragraph. Chocolate: the Immaculate Confection.
On August 11, 2007 4:10 PMValerie (Kyriosity)wrote... Yeah...strong, but I thought it was pretty well balanced in the overall context. And from what I know of the perpetrators, I'm guessing it was carried out with good humor.
To craigellachie: because reading bits of it is fun and funny and occasionally infuriating.
To Angie: Balance is not needed at all times and in all places. I am a loyal, obedient citizen of the United States. Indeed, I love my country enough that I desire to see it repent. Much of the Tax Code is various attempts at social engineering of our country to align with values established by Washington, not God. I reject that attempt, and I reject the attitude that lies behind it.
And what is it teaching my children? Given that it exists in the larger context of my instruction to them, it teaches them that men love power beyond what God gives and seek to abuse it. It teaches them that the powerful must also be prophetically called to account for their actions. It teaches them that even kings and presidents must bow before Jesus Christ, Who has earned all authority and all praise. It teaches them to be suspicious of the strong when they justify their predations by appealing to compassion. It teaches them that humor is a weapon and symbols are powerful and that we will use both to proclaim our allegiance to Jesus Christ in the face of usurpers. It teaches them that S'mores can indeed be cooked over a roasting Tax Code, which is also a vitally important message.
I'm trying to remember if we've done S'mores at a Tax Code Burning, and I'm honestly not remembering. It seems like the kind of thing that we would do, actually, although I'm not sure if we've ever actually done it.
To wrap things up: I was raised as a Christian, instructed to resist our cultural tendencies to individualism and to submit to the civil authorities that God has placed over us. This is where I begin. However, along the way, I have also learned that submission does not equal silence. And so, I speak out, and I teach my children to do the same.
Because Jesus owns me, not Uncle Sam, and it's about time that someone told them.
Seth Ben-Ezra Great Wolf
On August 12, 2007 4:02 PMpentamomwrote... Just keep in mind that this is the family famous for the hot dog roast New Year's Day picnic.
Not sure what you mean by this, but I think balance is always a good thing to practice.
As for your second paragraph, hurrah and amen!
Yes, symbols are powerful, as are rituals. I'm sure your burning ceremony, especially if it is a yearly tradition, is making a powerful impression on your children--which is why it would be important to impress upon them that Romans 13 is every bit as important as Psalm 146.
>> Because Jesus owns me, >> not Uncle Sam, and it's >>about time that someone told them.
But Jesus set Uncle Sam over you.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to reply--and enjoy your s'mores!