Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Well, it's that time of the year when I feel like skipping church.  Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends, and later Veterans' Day, are usually extremely uncomfortable times to attend Sunday morning worship services.  There will usually be a bit of flag-waving and we'll sing patriotic hymns; perhaps we'll see a slide show praising our Founding Fathers or veterans or something like that.  Many in the congregation will seem more enthusiastic than usual.  And I - and I suppose a few others - will feel very uncomfortable - that is if we attend at all.  (I will also!  Uni)
Perhaps some of my readers will agree with me; some on the other hand, on reading the above paragraph may question my patriotism, even my devotion to Jesus.  My contention, however, is that my commitment to the Lordship of Christ precludes the above behavior.  As I understand it, Jesus does not wish to share the platform with others.

This has nothing to do with my "patriotism"!  I love my country; I pray for it; I thank God for America every day.  I try to perform my duties as a citizen:  I pay my taxes; I vote; I fly my flag on appointed days; I even served as a Marine Reserve.  But this has every-thing to do with my commitment to Christ!

Those of the early church in the Roman Empire confessed "Jesus is Lord" in spite of the demands that they confess "Caesar is Lord."  And many died for that distinction.  The Roman Empire was not too concerned about the religious beliefs of its subjects, as long as they could make the required confession.  But the followers of Jesus could not do so.  For them there was only one Lord.  Should it not be the same for us?

America is not a theocracy; it is not a "Christian nation"; it is a secular democracy and as such, it is part of "the kingdom of the world," which will one day "become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ" (Revelation 11:15).  But we're not there yet.

I  may attend some Fourth of July celebration, but I'll probably stay home and watch the celebrations on TV.  I'll grow teary eyed as patriotic hymns are sung and as I sing along.  I may even post Ray Charles singing "America the Beautiful" on my facebook page.  But I pray that I may always recognize that my allegiance to my country, as all my other allegiances will be under the Lordship of Christ.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Most Americans were appalled at the slaughter in a gay night club in Orlando this past week.  The outpouring of sympathy and compassion for the survivors as well as the victims' families was quick and seemingly universal.  The words and acts of comfort, while never adequate, helped to soften the blow, at least for those of us not involved.  As a follower of Jesus, I was blessed, even proud to hear of many of the churches, of the ordinary Christians, as well as some of our spokesmen reaching out.
The pundits and politicians, however, were confused.  Should we call this a hate crime or a terrorist act?  After all, the perpetrator, a Muslim, boasted that he was doing this as a follower of ISIS. And I believe many in the Evangelical community are also confused.  We have been repeatedly told by many who claim to be our spokesmen that Islam is a great danger to America, threatening all we hold dear.  And on the other hand, we've been told that there is a conspiracy afoot by the LGBT community and their "liberal" fellow travelers to destroy America.  Throw in the fact that there are those of us who believe that every American has the right to own a semi-automatic weapon of mass destruction, and one can see why we are confused.  Guns, Islam and the gay rights' agenda - three issues that are perceived as hot button issues - have converged in this horrible act.

But where would Jesus be in all of this?  Where would we find the One who was accused of being "a glutton and a wine guzzler, a friend of tax collectors and sinners" (Luke 7:34)?  Some readers were probably put off by the title of this post, but really, where would He be?

I believe His heart would be with the ones who reached out to those who were devastated by this tragedy.  He would be with the survivors - people already discriminated  against and now traumatized .  He would be with the families of the dead and wounded, some of whom may have found out for the first time that their loved one was gay or lesbian or transgender and some whom may not have been reconciled with their loved one's condition.  And He would be with the family of the dead killer as they attempt to deal with his actions.  And He would be with those of the Muslim community who now find themselves even more the objects of suspicion and loathing.

I believe we who are followers of Jesus, have a responsibility as well as an opportunity to help these who are all victims, to know the love of Jesus.  They need to know the loving compassionate Jesus, the One who left heaven's glory to become one of us.  They don't need more condemnation and political pronouncements. 

"When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."  Matthew 9:36

Friday, June 10, 2016


" ... that the living may know that the Most High is Sovereign over the Kingdom of Man and grants it to whom He wishes, and He sets over it the lowest of men" (Daniel 4:17).

These words were spoken to Nebuchadnezzar, the great world ruler of his day, one year before he was driven mad.  We may see them as an ancient rebuke to a man, arrogant in the belief that all of his great realm was the product of his own doing.  We may fail to see that it is a truth as relevant today as it was two and a half millennia ago.

Today we see and hear in the world many Nebuchadnezzars, "speaking loud boasts of folly" (2 Peter 12:18 ESV).  And in the good old USA we have a loud mouthed contender for President who fits the description.  It seems that daily some new arrogant racist remarks spew from his lips.  And he is now the candidate of one of our two major political parties.

It wasn't long ago that Donald Trump was considered by many to be an anomaly, a rich source of material for the late night comics - nothing more.  The pundits and talking heads were predicting his disappearance from the Presidential race at any moment.  The pundits are no longer making predictions; their speculations are presented with great caution.  The comedians are getting sharper and more pointed in their comments.  Will this man become our next President??  If so, the statement quoted above will be verified.

As one who has been attempting for the last 60 years to observe and interpret American politics and history from a Christian and biblical perspective, I have been trying to wrap my head around all of this.  Presidents and Presidential candidates have come and gone, but never anything quite like what we are now seeing.  How is God working all of these things for good?  How should I as a follower of Christ, react?

Some pundits and even scholars have cautiously predicted the possible collapse of the Republican party  That's doubtful; we've heard similar predictions about one party or the other every election cycle in my memory.  But perhaps what is happening will lead to the collapse of the Religious Right, or at least the (illicit?) love affair between many Evangelical Christian leaders and the Republican Party.

To the embarrassment of many followers of Christ we have heard for years those who are (or believe they are) our spokesmen making authoritative political pronouncements, even to the point of endorsing Presidential candidates.  We have winced as we have heard people whom we have respected - even admired - inserting their foot in their mouths.

And here we are today - Republican leaders doing their little two-step:  "Donald Trump may be a hateful racist bigoted bully who seems to have no concept of truth, but we'll still endorse his candidacy."  Really?  Well, what about those on the Religious Right, some of whom have already given him their blessing?  Are they going to do the same?  Or will they (we} finally realize that they (we) need to keep their (our) mouths shut and get back to the business that Jesus left us here to do - making disciples, loving our neighbors?

I can't predict what will occur on election day or in the four years following.  I do hope, however, that somehow God will use whatever He sovereignly brings to pass to purify His church and to get the church in America (myself included) back on course.

            SEE:   I'm a Member of a Voting Bloc?
                        She's a Good Hearted Woman