Antifa/Alt Right…You are both the problem

E pluribus unum- our country’s moto. Latin for “Out of many, One”. The idea that in America we are coming together as one people. We have not always been perfect at this but I believe we need to align ourselves with people and organizations that bring unity rather than divisiveness.

I am white, but that alone does not mean I came from privilege. I was raised by a single mom who worked two jobs just to keep us from losing our home always teetering on the edge of financial disaster. I was pushed through school left completely illiterate (unable to read) until I was in middle school. I had teachers saying I would never graduate and tell me I wasn’t worth their time. Other adults insult me to my face. And classmates literally beat up on me for being “retarded”.

I resent when people think I grew up privileged. My mom worked hard, I worked hard and I overcame the disadvantage I started with.  I am first generation college graduate. I am one of the only men in my family line to not struggle with addition which leads to generational poverty.

Let’s stop overgeneralizing the issues we face. Groups like Antifa and the alt-right (Neo-Nazi/KKK) are tearing apart the foundation America was built on. Both groups are doing nothing more polarizing our country.

We need the church to reach in poverty stricken areas and share with the people there that hope can be found in Jesus. But the church can’t stop at that. We need men to rise up and be an example to the next generation of what it looks like to climb out of poverty, not by trampling on others, but by hard work, integrity, and long term wise choice.

We also need to stop giving one sided views of history that show every founding father as evil slave owners. As I said earlier we didn’t get it perfect but we have moved in the right direction and need to continue to. I love the story of George Washington getting ready to cross the Delaware knowing the battle of Trenton was the next day one of the generals (and Signer of the Declaration), William Wipple, turns to his slave and says “Prince, I hope you’re going to behave like a man of courage and fight bravely for your country.”

And Prince replied, “Sir, I have no inducement to fight. But if I had my liberty I would endeavor to defend it to the last drop of my blood.” William is recorded as being surprised by this reply, recognized that if they are fighting for liberty he should give it to Prince, and freed him on the spot.

Similarly Founding Father Benjamin Rush had a dream one night where he recognized slavery as wrong and freed his slave the next morning.

Let’s return to the standard of order MLK had where anyone demonstrating with him had to sign a commitment card that read:

I hereby pledge myself—my person and body—to the nonviolent movement. Therefore I will keep the following ten commandments:

  1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
  2. Remember always that the non—violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation — not victory.
  3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
  4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
  5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
  6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
  7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
  8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
  9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

10.Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

I sign this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to persevere.

 

 

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A Burnt Motorcycle and a string of blessings

Joy, contentment, faith, and trust. These words come to mind when we think of the mindset Christians are called to. Many times we struggle to see them in our lives.

Tonight i got tested on these things. I was riding my motorcycle home after filling the gas tank. Going up a hill it lost all power. I reached down to spin the petcock over to reserve. As i reached down i felt more heat than was normal. So i looked and flames where shooting out from under the seat. I quickly pulled over and laid the bike down along the side of the road. Near by was an old carpet. Thinking I would be slick i grabbed the carpet and tossed it over the motorcycle. Within 15 seconds the smoke stopped and i thought it was over. I lifted the carpet and the flames exploded out again. At this point it was clear I was no longer going to have a motorcycle.

I was at a crossroad. How am i going to respond? Will I let my frustration get the best of me or will i trust that even in this God had a plan?

I decided to try to look for the best. Almost right then one of my co-workers appear. His name is Harry. He had a fire extinguisher he grabbed from his home and tried to spray down the bike. Turns out I just happened to stop right across the street from his house. As we talked he said “They are going to want to tow the bike. If you want to save the money we can drag it into my drive with my tractor and once it cools down you can come back for it.”

I had another coworker offer to come pick it up and take it back to the shop and my boss is taking going scrap run tomorrow so that will get included in the trip.

So far we have one hard situation but 3 quick blessings from God. But they do not stop there. Stef and I had a busy night planned. When i called her to come get me she was cooking dinner. By the time we left Harry’s we realized there was no time to eat. We had to meet people at the church by 5:45. We where running just about on time when the first meeting called to push back their time (another blessing from God). As we walk into the building there was a meeting that dinner was served at. They had finished eating and offered Stef and I their leftovers (another blessing from God). As we where eating we met with someone and had a really good conversation. Then right as that wrapped up the next set of people walked in. They where way quicker then i expected. By 8:pm we had 3 different meetings, eat dinner, and came home.

BLESSINGS.

I could have gone thought the night upset about what happened but instead am amazed by how many details God worked out.

Next time I preach other people will be nervous

Last night I was at an elder’s dinner meeting. While we were just chitchatting Pastor Bill (my lead pastor) leaned over and said he had some instructions for next time I preach. We have just started studying the book of Daniel so I will be preaching from Daniel Chapter 2. I think Pastor Bill is getting a little nervous about what I am going to say. See last time I preached I used the term “drop a deuce”. I thought it would help get people’s attention and drive home a point. In retrospect we can stamp that with a FAIL. What happened was everyone got so focused on the fact I said “Drop a deuce” that no one heard the point. I love shock factor and using it to get people’s attention but I am also learning it can be a huge distraction. Continue reading

Is it good to be a helpless crying baby?

This evening Stef (my wife) wanted some time to sleep. She asked me to try to hold Ava (our 7 week daughter) off from eating for a little while longer. As I am trying to keep her quiet she just kept crying louder and louder. I noticed a tear running down her cheek and as I wiped it away the verse “he will wipe every tear from their eye (Rev 21:4)” popped into my head. From here my mind went to how someday we will live with God for eternity. He will be our God, but he is also our heavenly father. As I pondered over this I realized that I have not even started to understand what it means to cry out to God or the idea of the heavenly father.
Ava, this little baby is helpless. She can’t do anything on her own. We feed her, we change her, we put her to bed, and we take her places. She can’t even role over yet. When she wants or needs something all she can do is cry, grunt, make noises and squirm. We have to figure out what they all mean.
We on the other hand think we are able to take care of ourselves. We try to but we forget that every breath we breathe is a gift from God. I think the biggest difference between Ava and I is that she knows how helpless she is. I try to think I am not. She cries out when she is in need, I try to solve the problem on my own. As I was thinking about this it made me appreciate the Lord’s Prayer, “give us this day our daily bread…”
I need to work on crying out to God. Calling on Him and begging Him to move.