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5/24/16

SHOULD JOHN KELLY APOLOGIZE?

In case you are unaware, Dr. John Kelly is the Superintendent of Schools for Pearland ISD.  Recently, he, and other Houston suburban superintendents were asked about the mandate sent down from President Obama requiring all school districts in America to allow any transgender student to be allowed to use the restroom or locker room, not of their biological sex, but of whatever sex they "identified with".  Here were his comments.

"When the Supreme Court re-defined marriage and invented new constitutional rights, the door was opened for re-defining all social norms, now including Executive Branch dictates about bathroom and locker room rules in local schools," he said.
"A hostile vocal minority now rules in America aided by an apathetic, unengaged majority. What's next? Legalizing pedophilia and polygamy? Unless we return to the Biblical basis on which our nation's laws were established, we are in serious trouble — and cannot expect God's continued favor."
His remarks have sparked outrage from some members of the community, including at least one pastor I spoke to who labeled him a "bigot" and insisted he apologize publicly.

I think there are several issues at work here.  To label this a simple issue is, I believe, to totally misunderstand the issues involved.

Were his remarks homophobic?
I believe he made that clear, they were not.  His faith, which happens to be the same faith as mine, demands that he love all people and look out for the safety of all the students of the district.  He is simply compelled to do so, not simply by law, but by his personal faith in Christ.

Is the intention to limit the rights of transgender students?
I believe that is to totally misread the problem.  Freedom comes with boundaries.  Freedom can only exist when I know what I can do, as well as what I can't do.  In this case, freedom means that he, as the leader of our district and its schools must insure that there is not chaos or the total lack of order.  This concept put forth by our President mandating that anyone in any public place can go into the most private of places based, not on their gender, but on their gender "identity" is a) the beginnings of stating that gender should no longer matter and b) the creation of chaos in our society.

Let me illustrate: I am an American.  I was born an American.  I have American citizenship.  I have always identified myself as an American.  However, I believe I have English roots.  What if tomorrow I decide that I'm no longer "identifying" as an American, but now I'm "identifying" as an Englishman?  You may say, fine...do whatever you like.  OK, then when I leave my driveway this morning I'll be driving on the lefthand side of the road.  That's what us Englishmen do, you know.  And, furthermore, I expect you to be tolerant of my new identity and move over as you see me coming.  Otherwise, I don't feel safe.  I feel discriminated against.  To expect me to drive on the righthand side is intolerant, hateful and bigoted.

Well, of course it's not.  It would cause chaos.  It would put people in jeopardy.  I cannot expect others all around me to give up their freedoms and safety just to make allowances for me.  That's not hateful.  That is the role of government.  To protect society.  I have the freedom of speech, but that freedom does not extend to my screaming "Fire" in a crowded theater.

Is this a case of intolerance?
My understanding of tolerance is not that I necessarily agree with you, but that I uphold your right to state your opinion.  But, my concept of tolerance also includes your upholding the rights of others to speak their minds, even when you don't agree with what they are saying.  Shouldn't this tolerance thing flow both ways?  It appears to me from the sidelines that those who are screaming the loudest to be tolerated, are now exhibiting the most intolerance toward the one they've demanded tolerance from.  It never amazes me how quick we are to demand from others the thing we are least prepared to  deliver to others.  One-way tolerance is no tolerance at all.

I know Dr. Kelly.  I know his heart.  I know he loves every man, woman and child, no matter what their gender or gender identity.  But, there are laws of common sense and of nature that have to be held in high esteem.  Freedom doesn't mean that everyone gets what they want all the time.  Freedom has restraints.  Freedom is hard.  It has boundaries.  It tells us where we can't go more than where we can.  To have convictions and share them is not something to apologize for.

One more thing:
If what you read here is that I'm taking up for the Christian guy and putting "those people" (whoever "those people are...I'm not quite sure) in their place, you have totally misconstrued everything I have attempted to write.  I believe that Christ died for "those people"....and that as one he died for, I'm one of "those people" myself.

5/16/16

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE INSIGNIFICANT

Right now, we're doing the NEXT GENERATION PROJECT.  (It's a Capital Fund-Raising Campaign. Yes, I hate the sound of those words too.  Rates right up there with a visit to your friendly proctologist.)

Anyone who's done church work for more than a week knows you need a few BIG gifts.  That's a reality.  But, the majority of the provision will always come from lots of small gifts.  However, I think sometimes people don't get that.  They think, "I don't have a lot of money.  I could only give a little.  It really wouldn't make any real difference, so I'll just leave it to the folks with the big wallets".  This just amazes me.  I guess people just haven't read that Bible thing.  Or, maybe their pastor failed to teach it to them. (that would be me)

If that attitude was pervasive throughout the scriptures, my oh my, how different things would have been.  David would have said, "Dudes, all I've got is 5 small stones.  Have you seen the size of that Goliath dude? Five small stones?  Goliath?  Ain't happening!"

Or possibly out there in that crowd, after Jesus had finished speaking to the 5,000, some little guy would have said, "Uh, there's a hugemongous crowd here and I've got the lunch my mom packed for me!  Just little old me.  These two little fish and 5 small buns wouldn't even make a dent in this mess.  I'm gonna sneak on over the hill and chow down.  Good luck to the rest of you."

Whether it's 5 small buns or 5 small stones, God seems to do some of His best work with that which the world would consider insignificant.  When we take the insignificant and hand it over to God in faith and obedience, God does something significant with it.  If David or some unnamed young man had adopted this attitude,  the world would have been deprived of watching two of the greatest miracles in history.

If you're a Christ-follower, your whole life is an ever-present example of such.  He took you.  He took me.  Insignificant as we are, He took our ordinary, messed-up lives and has done, and will continue to do, significant things...eternal things... with whatever we make available to Him.

Simply put, there are no insignificant gifts once they are given to God.  Not when they're given in faith and trust and expectation.  And, certainly not, when they're given sacrificially.


God takes the INSIGNIFICANT and makes it SIGNIFICANT.  End of story.