Monday, April 4, 2011

Running the Race

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares up, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

On Friday the House began consideration of the state budget at 8:30 am. On Saturday morning around 1:00 am, they had managed to get through the first three (of 11) sections of the budget. They called it a day, adjourned and came back Sunday afternoon at 4:00 to continue the debate. The budget was finally passed a little after 10:00 pm. The 23 and a half hours of debate came after well over 200 hours of meetings by appropriation committee members to construct the budget.

It was a long race. And, for many, a very frustrating one. The entire budget process has been designed over the years to protect particular fiefdoms of money through dedicated accounts of revenues. The result is that decisions of prioritization on how money can be spent are restricted. Suppose you believe that revenue funding corporate welfare programs would be better spent to fund nursing homes. The option of moving the money from the corporate programs is dedicated to those programs and it is not an option to change that.

When an attempt is made to discern why things are done the way they are done it is like the story of the little girl watching her mother cook a roast. The mother cut the end of the roast off and put the slab of meat into the roasting pan. The little girl asked why she had cut the end off the roast. The mother realized that she did it that way because that was the way her mother had always done it. So, she and her daughter called the grandmother to ask why she cut the end off of the roast before she put it in the pan. The grandmother was stumped as well. She cut the end off of the roast because her mother had always done that. Fortunately, the little girl’s great-grandmother was still alive, so the mystery was solved. When they called to pose the question to her, the response was simple, “The pan I had was too small for the roast I was cooking.”

And, so, what made sense in one generation no longer made since in future ones. When it comes to government budgets, some of those in charge have forgotten why we did some things in the first place. Then, on the other hand, there are those who realize that the system is broken. They just like it that way.

Lord, give those who govern over us to run the race you have put before them with wisdom and integrity. Amen

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