Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pride and Prejudice -- Our Reality of the Week

This week has been another episode in the journey of Man into deeper depths of depravity.  As the world has watched the coverage of the terrible killings in Boston, many thoughts and emotions have raced through each of us in our global village as we watched the unfolding of events literally 24/7. We were all frustrated, as were the news folks, saying things to fill air space based on "evidence" from Bubba, Leroy and Mary Sue on 18th Street in Boston or Hill Street in where ever.  We were all glued to our TV, IPhone, computer for we, Americans, were angered and affected by the audacity of such an attempt to kill or maim our own.
You could read the white space meaning between the print in newspapers or blogs on in the mountain of "experts" to contribute to the networks this underlying desire to tie all of this to the same people that caused the 911 debacle.  The media, and most Americans I would assume, wanted the perpetrators to be linked to a terrorist cell so we could know, KNOW, who or what the boogy man was and where he lived so we could go get him or them.  All of that is very natural and very normal especially in the post 911 era.  I at times hurt from the children, thus a generation, born post 911, for their whole life will be tied to that anchor of hate and distrust of anyone or anything "foreign" or with Middle Eastern sounding names.
Through all of this angst, fear and worry, the silver lining, for me at least, was the police presence and professionalism played out on global television and news reporting. From the FBI agent in charge and his initial new conference to the one I saw of the Police Superintendent of Boston with the strange uniform hat last night, all I have witnessed in uniform or badge is absolutely professionalism.  Diligent, determined and focused but all the time professional in appearance, posture and demeanor; it all made me very proud once more of those that choose to run to the gunfire when others trample over others getting away from it.  Uniformes well fitted, weapons carried with fingers off triggers, backs up, marching in teams during the lock down, head gear perfectly seated on the heads; yes, I thought, that is our police force and I could not be more proud. Be they FBI, National Guard, local police, ATF, etc, etc; all I saw made me growingly proud of all those that choose to do this work.
We have seen trillions of our dollars flow to Iraq and Afghanistan to fund the building, training, arming and fielding a professional police force for the police role is very different than the military role.  We have seen failure after bloody failure in this venture to train up a standing police presence.  But then we witnessed a magnificent display of what true uniformed professionals look like and perform under the heat of the cameras.  I was never more proud!
In a way, I feel a sense of sadness for the two young men that created such havoc. I am not rushing to judgment in saying that for I have lived long enough to know that even this moment the whole story is not completed. There will be more and more feeders into this web of deceit, chaos and murder. I believe there will be copycat come out of the woodwork in seeing all the coverage of this; this is our world today. This is a world growingly separated from the Creator so what else should we expect, right?
So as the talking heads and contributors continue to feed into the cameras, let us be proud of the amazing infrastructure of our nation, our protectors both foreign and domestic, and to the honor of living in a nation that others wish to hate but long to come here as strange as that calculates but true.  I know many families are hurting badly at the losses including the family of these two young kids, now called bombers.  I believe our nation is better than this. I believe our nation needs to embrace the very teachings of our Holy Scriptures for the farther from them we pull, the more craziness of things we will witness such as this week in Boston, or Sandy Hook or Fort Hood, or ... where ever else is yet to come. But you can know there are people right now, today, plotting the next event to exact hate and prejudice on a People.
Today, I am proud to be an American all over again for our system of protection worked in its reaction process. The technology, weaponry, tactics worked but what really worked was a well trained, professional presence of police and law officers.  My challenge to you today:  find a policeman, fireman, peace officer and shake their hands to thank them.  I am sending this blog to my local news paper, The Canton Repository, in hopes they will print some of it as a voice of the People.  Yes, really proud to be an American! again!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Spring is coming they say ...

As I sit here on another dismal Saturday morning after a beautiful couple of days of sunshine, one must always remember that this is Northeast Ohio.  So the weather is what it is so I will whine no longer on that immutable topic.
Over the last two weeks, I sort of went on strike as to seeking out the "news" of the world for I realized I was allowing the constant dosage of the ever present dosages of cruelty, hate and societal decay to begin to take my smile away.  Syria, North Korea, same-sex marriage and homosexuality, atrocities, our Constitution itself again under attack all for the premise of absolute "equality" and the loss of some friends to death plus the loss of one of the great people of the twentieth century, Lady Thatcher.  Each of those points on that listing is capable of pulling a smile from any one's face.  The escalating killings and slaughter in Syria is abominable while the world sits on the sidelines wishing and hoping something good will finally happen.  The Arab Spring is at best a farce as it relates to any sense of real stability in the Middle East. Israel is boxed in by incendiary attitudes by nations capable of inflicting tremendous damage to that nation of God's Chosen People.  It is really easy to project from the prophets in the Old Testament and the Revelations that perhaps the End Times are truly upon us.
The "strike" I chose to invest in was to get my head away from this chatter for my mind works too hard and too diligently in seeking to connect the dots as to why all this is happening and the ultimate implication for the global village.  Our lives on this journey seem to get more hectic and fearful with each passing day. I do wonder if my parents or my grandparents ever felt this sense of ever present doom in their world. I wonder if they ever became fatigued by all the noise of chaos in this world.  My one real memory, for example, was the events of the Kennedy assassination when what I recall was my mother holding me as we sat watching the news from Dallas on the old black and white television in trying to grasp what this all meant with mother trying to explain it as best she could.  All  remember at that young age was that something really bad had happened and there was this sense that the world, my world, was in free fall.
Today, by relativity, that assassination would be almost a side show to the constancy of world events that are beyond terrible such as a hundred thousand at least Syrians slaughtered with the fighting.  In other words, we have today been neutered to a degree with hearing and seeing so much in 24 / 7 news all clamoring for one more headline or interview with a talking head.  So my "strike" was to clear my head, rise above the noise and seek to smell the roses of Spring. I have found myself really enjoying watching the birds at our feeder as I read my Bible each morning or battling the squirrels and raccoons doing combat operations at night to get to the feeder before I take it inside. 
My blog today is about hope!  I have great hope that my son will soon complete his dissertation for his doctorate. I have great hope that God will use the labor in the jail ministry for a much greater purpose than any of us can imagine. I have great hope that my five grandchildren will grow in the admonition of a Lord that loves them more fully that they can comprehend at their young ages. I have great hope that the demon of cancer or Alzheimer's will not visit my family. I have great hope that our children will continue to be great parents creating examples of Godliness for their children that will be passed to their children. I have great hope that we will see a revival in the Land where hoards of people are drawn back to churches that will preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have great hope that the nation will cast off the chains of societal decay that is growingly prevalent to return to a life style of Christlike principles. I just have a hope!
A great old Gospel song Jake Hess used to sing talks about ... Prayer is the key to heaven but Faith unlocks the doors. Words are so easily spoken but prayer without Faith is like a boat without an oar. Have Faith when you talk with the Master, that's all He asks you for. Prayer is the key to Heaven, but Faith unlocks the door..!
 I pray for a revival of Faith in our young and our old; a Faith that will draw this nation to its root structure that our Founding Fathers institutionalized into that great document, our Constitution that has guided this nation through wars and disasters and will again if we keep the faith in that document written on Christian principles.  My heart is still very heavy at the loss of so many friends of last but it is far heavier with what I see as wholesale, blatant aberrant lifestyles trying to be rationalized as "equality for all." Wrong is wrong and no amount of wrong will ever make a wrong, Right!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

O Death, where is Thy sting!

As I sit here with the darkness of the night still filling the outside, that verse from 1 Corinthians has poured over me strongly as we face a day of mourning at the funeral of  a dear friend.  This week will be four funerals that I have been at or close to the person that passed so the smell of funeral home bouquets, handshakes and hugs, tears and reflections are heavy on my heart this day.  But the passage from the New Testament speaks about the pain of that final step of this life when all we have done, accumulated, hoped for, wished we had not done all comes to one final exit decision; Heaven or Hell and yes, that is a choice!

As we move toward the home going celebration for my great friend, Bud Keim, in a few hours, so  many have done so much to make this hour or so very special and honoring to a man that much deserves every modicum of effort invested in this ceremony.  For me personally, this will be the most involved in a funeral ever in singing a great song requested by the family with my quartet, The Pathway Quartet as we sing, Just a Closer Walk with Thee. Then getting to duet a wonderful song, Does Jesus Care? with a great friend and then to deliver a eulogy to my wonderful departed friend and brother, Bud Keim. Many will be there today, many have invested time with the family yesterday and many will continue to be linked to Bud's bride, Ms. Nita, for a long time hence.  We are all hurting, all rejoicing and all pondering our own lives and destiny; that is what funerals do in that they bring home the fragility of this earthly journey.

Death!  That word can rattle anyone at any time.  Death, for the Christian, is but a moment for it is the pathway from earthly life to eternal life with our Lord; THAT I believe as I do in this next breath God will grant me. Death does have a distinct sting for it shocks us especially if we have witnessed the human body in pain and torment as that body struggles to fight another day, an hour, a moment; for one more breath. But death always wins that struggle and then all that we have done comes to nothing as to taking any of it with us; except that one powerful decision each of us must make; eternal life in the fires of Hell or eternal life in Heaven with our friends and loved ones.
Greater Vision is, for me, one of the greatest singing groups in Gospel music. One of their great songs is called FACES. I would ask that you each watch this YouTube link and really listen to the powerful message of this great song for this song is Bud Keim:
I think the greatest element of death for the Christian is that yes, nobody yearns for that final moment but it is in the absoluteness of one blink of an eye and the pain is gone forever and the joy that awaits is unimaginable.  Please know that personally I love my life, my family, my friends, the work I get to do, I get to sing praises to His Name often, I get to witness to people downtrodden in jails, I get to be part of something that is much, much greater than I can conceive.  Bud Keim was one of those powerful influences on my life as the song speaks about. He would have never known all the Faces he touched on this journey but that same statement is true for each of us.  When I think of the literally hundreds of thousands of men and women that God has granted me access to, I quiver with excitement in hoping they heard or saw something unique about me only from God's touch on my life. I also quake when I stop and realize what a poor example for Christ I have been through far too many years of my life meaning wasted opportunity.
Lord, bless this day in a special way and the multifaceted home going service. Father, make this day special for a hurting soul seeking peace in the midst of a personal storm in their lives.  Jesus, touch each person that will be part of this event to provide calm and joy for the work.  Dear God, thank you for loving me and my family!  In Jesus name, Amen!
It is going to be Great!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bumper sticker? really?

Last night I watched a recorded program of CHARLIE ROSE which I normally always enjoy for he interviews guests in a bare fisted, straight ahead approach. The guest for the hour, I cannot recall his name which does not matter, was pontificating on the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage; so I watched and listened. He, a lawyer, was also one of the "Freedom Riders" in the 1960s that came to Mississippi which he spoke about as a reference point to his position. He, like many, have tied this whole same-sex matter as this generation's "civil rights" marches of the 1960s. I remember well those marches and issues as a young boy in Alabama. I have heard all the old, graying voices now living from those days hearken the same commentary to rationalize same-sex marriage and homosexuality as right because it "equals" minorities to the main population.

This man went to say, as I changed the channel, that the only defense of this "right" is nothing but a "bumper sticker that reads marriage is one man and one woman." A bumper sticker? A direct quote from God's Word in Genesis is a "bumper sticker?" This man was absolutely sure the SCOTUS would overwhelmingly legalize the institution of "same sex marriage" for it is the only right thing to do. We are seeing corporations, politicians, business leaders, churches, denominations, academics, etc, etc, buying into this same "equal" rationalization which, so you can know, do not mean it is right for it violates clearly the Word of God and the Law of Land; lest we forget.

I hear over and over that we "Christians" should quietly love these people through this which I do not disagree with .. too much! I believe Christians, as with any change, requires taking a position, being active, standing your ground, taking the criticism with Scriptural refuting but not arguing for the sake of arguing. Will that be popular? You have read enough negative shots at on these pages from previous positions I have taken to know that when you stake out a position, you will be criticized.  I have been Unfriended, threatened in harsh terms, angered people, been warmly embraced and supported and defended by many others.  When I choose to take a position, it is never because I am seeking to curry favor with any group but rather when my heart is pained on a societal issue, I will pray about should I say something or not. Then and only then to I begin to let me mind flow to my fingers in putting thoughts to words. 

For me at sixty-five years of age of a reasonable intelligence and a man that cares about this world through the prism of what the Bible says is very clear about, trying to move a wrong such as institutionalizing marriage between a woman and a woman or a man and a man by linking it the terrible wrong on a whole people of a generation ago does not calculate for it is truly apples and oranges. I love people if you know me. I love people that strive for the best they can be. There is not one thing right about this same-sex issue regardless of all the political pressure, money or even peer pressure. I know what the Bible says and nothing nor a poll will alter that reality. So as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord as dictated by the Holy Bible.
Christians, Do Not Be Kept silent and inactive on this matter but I see evidence that too many are doing just that.  This is societal decay that is being chipped more deeply into our daily lives to the point too many are numb to it.  I have just seen where Marie Osmond has embraced homosexuality supposedly because her daughter is now openly gay.  Fact is, it matters not whether it is Marie Osmond, Hillary Clinton or Betsy Ross, wrong is wrong.
Remember, if you do not stand for something you will fall for anything. Stand for what is Right in the eyes of God!