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7/9/15

ACCIDENTAL RACIST

If your question had been, "Are you a racist?", that would simply have been too easy.  No.  I grew up in "really white" America.  My parents used the "N" word, without impunity, because it was the common term used in their homes growing up.  I went to completely white schools and had no black friends in my formative years.  So, the deck was stacked against me, but I overcame.

I remember the 2 weeks my mom worked at our church in place of the vacationing secretary.  I went with her to work every day.  But, I spent all my days hanging out with the janitor.  She was black.  Her name was Ollie Tatum.  She and I had lunch together every day.  We became the best of friends.  When the 2 weeks were over, I asked my mom if I could kiss her good-bye.  She said "No".  I obeyed, but thought that was so wrong.  She had a problem.  I didn't.

In my college days I made friends with people of color that I still consider friends to this day.

My first pastorate was in a redneck town where time had stood still for about 40 years.  I invited a black man in town to church.  He explained to me why that wouldn't be such a good idea for him or me.  I told him, if he came I wouldn't sit on the platform as I usually did.  I'd come sit right beside him.  He appreciated the thought, but declined my offer.

When my sons grew up and were in High School, they would invite guys over.  Sometimes before basketball home games they needed a place to chill for a few hours.  My son would bring 5 or 6 guys home with him...all black.  I asked him one day if he realized he wasn't black?  He got all up in my face and asked if I had a problem with his black friends.  I explained, 
"Not at all. I'm so proud my sons have the opportunities to grow up in a more color-blind society than I did.  Just wanted to make sure you were aware you're a white kid, that's all".

I could go on, but you get the picture.  Me, a racist?  No way!

Then, this whole Confederate flag thing came up.  Look, I'm an open-minded guy, but, I've never understood all the hullabaloo over some dumb flag.  It's a flag.  It's a southern thing.  It's about history and culture.  Get over it, for Pete's sake.

Then, I read something.  One simple question: "What if you traveled to Germany for vacation and saw Swastikas flying, and when you asked about them they just said, "Oh, it's a cultural thing...a historical thing.  No big deal.  Get over it."?

No.  It's a symbol of hatred and racism and a justification to not only hate a race of people, but to attempt to wipe them off the face of the earth.  It's a symbol of superiority from a people who were inferior in their thinking, compassion and morality.  I would be disgusted.  You would too.

That's when it hit me...it is a big deal.  Call it what you like.  Justify it any way your conscience allows you to.  But, in the bottom line, there's NO DIFFERENCE.  I was wrong.  It IS a big deal. It's a symbol of our past when we chose to fight over the right to call a race of people inferior.  And, to hoist it over our capitol or to stick it on our bumper or to wear it on a t-shirt says very plainly, "I don't care who won the war, THEY are still inferior to me".

This may not sit well with some of you.  So be it.  I'm here to confess today I was wrong.  I was an accidental racist.  Plain and simple.  I get it now.  I will do better.

7/4/15

OUR NATION'S ANTHEM

As we pause to celebrate our nations's freedom and independence today, I hope it's more than just a day off from work for you.  I hope you pause and think of just how much sacrifice went into the things you and I take for granted.

I hope you remember where that all came from, too.  This week, I was reminded that, although we only sing one, there are actually four verses to the Star Spangled Banner.  Verse four happens to be my personal favorite...

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Maybe we should sing that one more.  Happy 4th!  In God is our trust!

7/2/15

A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO THE SUPREME COURT


This past week the Supreme Court redefined marriage in the United States to be any union between two people, regardless of gender.  Marriage, as defined uniquely by scripture, is a thing of the past in this country.  

Few, if any, have been without response to this decision.  The Gay/Lesbian community have celebrated it as a great victory and a day for freedom and equality for all in America to finally be celebrated, as have most of the media and those with anything other than a biblical worldview.  

So, the question is apparent:  How are we, as Christ-followers to respond?  
 

SHOCKING? 

Many have responded with shock that such a thing would happen.  I don’t understand that response.  I would have been shocked had it been decided any other way.  In case you haven’t noticed, we live in a Post-Christian time in a Post-Christian nation.  Fewer and fewer people, even those who attend our churches and claim to be “Christians”, have a biblical worldview and hold to biblical moral absolutes.  What’s more, this decision was reached by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), the ultimate Judicial branch of our government.  A group, that is intended to be impartial and simply interpret the constitution.  However, as you should be aware, that is the furthest thing from fact.  Judges appointed to the SCOTUS are appointed by presidents and affirmed by congress.  That is not an apolitical exercise.  SCOTUS is more of a partisan political group than most political parties themselves.  They are appointed according, not to their impartiality, but for their political agendas.  That this decision would be rendered was a forgone conclusion.  No one should be surprised.  The fact that the future of a nation and its moral underpinnings could turn on a 5-4 vote is frightening, but not surprising at all.
 

THE EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER

I have seen individual’s emotions run the entire gambit….from elation to anger to total dismay.  I, personally, believe all these are misplaced.  I think the proper emotion for the Christ-follower should be sadness.  Whenever anything that God calls sin is elevated to be the law of the land, we should be saddened.  For those of you who are elated, I suggest you consult the scriptures.  God calls this sin.  It’s not the only thing, nor the worst thing that God calls sin.  But, whenever, and for whatever reason, the logic of man is elevated over the sovereignty of God, it is a problem for a nation and its inhabitants.  Furthermore, the scriptures state that “God will not be mocked”, and “whatever we sow, we will reap”.  When we mock God’s law, God’s moral absolutes, God’s best plan for mankind, there will be repercussions.  God will judge this nation.  Mark it down.  For those of you who are angry, get over it.  Who are you going to be angry at?  Godless lawmakers?  We elected them.  We always get the government we deserve.  The Gay/Lesbian community?  Well, these are people…sinful, like you and I…but made in God’s image.  We’re commanded to love them.  We’re commanded that by Jesus himself.  To do otherwise would make you as rebellious as those whose rebellion you want to hate.  That would make you a hypocrite.  Furthermore, they too, like you and I, are Americans, and as such have civil rights.  They should have the rights to do things we don’t agree with.  Our issue should be with calling those unions marriage.  Total dismay?  Really?  Is God wringing His hands in Heaven and saying, “Oh my gosh, what am I gonna do now?”  No, SCOTUS may have the term Supreme at the front of its name, but God remains the Supreme Authority.  He’s large and in charge and He’s not fretting one minute.
 

ASSIGNING BLAME

So, whose fault is this?  Who are we to blame?  I’m glad you asked.  The Bible, if you believe that thing, says that “judgment begins with the House of God”.  That’s us.  You and me.  Christians.  When a nation falls apart morally it’s because the ones who were assigned to be Salt and Light have failed to be salty and bright enough.  Looking for the culprit?  Look no further than the mirror.  We have found the enemy and it is us!  Let’s face it folks, we’ve tried to create a godly nation at the ballot box, when what our nation has isn’t a government problem, but a heart problem.  We have the only answer…we’ve just kept it a closely guarded secret.  
 

POOR LITTLE US

If we are now a minority, then what hope does our nation have?  Interesting things about salt and light…just a little bit of salt can change everything.  It only takes a little to have a big impact…but, only when it gets out of the salt-shaker.  And light?  Well, one sun provides all the light for our entire galaxy.  Just one.  A little salt and light go a long ways.
 

AND THE GOOD NEWS IS…

Any good news?  Sure!  Jesus said about his return, “as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be when I return”.  So, how was it in the days of Noah?  It can be summed up in one sentence…”each man did what was right in his own eyes”.  In other words, there were no moral absolutes.  Everybody disregarded the law of God and the laws of nature and everyone just decided what was right for them.  Sounds a lot like today, doesn’t it?  Jesus predicted it, now it’s coming true…so why are we surprised?

Maybe today would be a good day to remember, “Greater is he who is in you, than he who is in the world”.  Head’s up!  Hope big.  Love bigger!  The Supreme Authority is still on the throne!!!