Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Pledge for Freedom

Here we are on a long Fourth of July week-end. Some are on a mini-vacation enjoying some time off from work. Some have to work anyway so the holiday doesn’t matter. We have among us people from other lands who are glad to have the time off but could care less about the reason. One “Brit” that I know referred to the “So called American revolution.”

For those of us who do understand the meaning of  this holiday and fly our flags, celebrate with friends and family and watch the fireworks displays, this is a most important event. In 1776 Americans pledged their lives, their wealth, and their sacred honor to the cause of freedom and independence from the King of England. That was a pledge that started our country and has been renewed over and over again with each passing  year.

Even today young men and women are pledging their lives, their wealth and their sacred honor in service to America. In order to maintain our freedom and independence renewing that pledge is vital. As a Viet Nam veteran I remember making that pledge and still honor it along with the friends who shed their blood in full devotion to that pledge.

If you enjoy your freedom this week-end thank a vet and if you see someone in the uniform of our military express your gratitude for their pledge.  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pay Your Dues

Last April I received a notice that my dues for the Toastmasters Club were due. Like most of you who belong to clubs the annual dues is naturally a part of life. I pay my dues gladly because I agreed to them when I joined and I believe in what the club is doing for me.

You must pay your dues... In fact belonging to a community club can be a part of paying your dues to live in a thriving community. Some clubs like Toastmasters are for self-improvement and others clubs like Optimist, provide service to the community.

The question might arise, "How do we pay our dues to God?"
                                     What belongs to God?

That was part of the question in Matthew 22 when the Pharisees and Herodians were asking Jesus about paying taxes to Rome. The Dues and you can read that as taxes, were due to the Emperor in Rome. Their religious dues were the tithe and that was the ten percent due the Temple according to scripture.

It had been a question they meant to trap Jesus. The Pharisees and Herodians who challenged Jesus' opinion with the question on taxed are described by the text as being filled with malice. For Jesus to say yes to paying Roman taxes would make the Jews angry. Say no and make the Romans angry. Yes or No? It was bad news either way. But Jesus did not answer with yes or no, as expected. His answer was to the question ownership.

Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's and to God the things that are God's. It was a truly amazing answer!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

To Be A Trusted Friend

There are times in everyone’s life when something hurts deep inside. It may be a lost love, something stolen, a house fire, or the loss of a job and what you need most is “A Trusted Friend” who will listen to your tale of woe when you need to vent. Sometimes you need to be that trusted loving friend who listens and doesn’t say much. You are just a friend and not a trained counselor so how do you best be that listening ear to your traumatized friend?

A trusted friend keeps personal information confidential and honors what ever lines are drawn between you.

The trusted friend listens with undivided attention and helps to clarify statements but does not react in a negative way no matter how illogical the distressed friend might be.

A trusted friend knows that this is not a time for advice or trite clich├ęs like, “I know how you feel.” Nor do you say, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” God may not but once in a while the world does and when it does we can be there for each other to listen and love as a trusted friend.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Water or No Water

“Water, water every where and nor any drop to drink.” From the poem of the Ancient Mariner.

Lately water has been a problem in many areas of our country. There is either way too much or not nearly enough. Floods and droughts plague us.
Living on the banks of the Ohio river Louisville has experienced way too much and now the upper Missouri river is flooding and all that is heading down to the lower Mississippi where they really don’t need more flood waters.  

My family in Texas is dealing with no rain and the lakes that supply water drying up. All along the southwest drought and wild fires are laying waste to once thriving eco systems.

Changing weather patterns will affect world wide human social net works. Both floods and droughts will force people to move and sometimes to places where they are not welcome. It is happening now all over the world and I still know people who refuse to believe in Global Warming because it interferes with their political positions. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Did Satan Win?

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Krispy Creme Donuts. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?" And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "and as long as you're at it, add some sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled.

And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to size 14.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented Ranch Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.
God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them." And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.
God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake," and said, "It is good." Satan then created chocolate cake and named it "Devil's Food."

God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them. And Man gained pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald's and its 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then said, "You want fries with that?" And Man replied, "Yes! And super size them!" And Satan said, "It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.

Then Satan created HMOs