Saturday, June 14, 2014

Deep Roots

There is a tree that grows well in the arid lad of west Texas where I grew up called the Mesquite tree. It is a very hardy tree that can live a long time with out rain because of its interesting root system. The tree has two sets of roots that provides it with water. There is a shallow set of roots that spread out around the tree and soaks up any recent rain fall. Other plants around the tree have little chance of using rain water because the tree is so good at soaking up the water. The Mesquite has a back up root system for times of no rain and that is a tap root that can grow up to almost two hundred feet deep. This tap root reaches down into the water table and can sustain the tree through the worst drought.

We need a Mesquite like faith with roots that soak up spiritual blessings when times are good and a tap root that finds blessing when times are tough. It is easy to be a Christian when life is rolling along with no worries but it takes a deep faith to over come the trials that life can throw our way. The parable of Job reminds me that my faith in God can over come any adversity and that when trouble comes to me I need deep rooted faith.

Many of Job's so called friends encouraged him to give it up and his wife told him to just curse God and die. Many people are nominal members of the church in good times but fad away in times of adversity. Some change their religions as easily as they change their hats. Shallow roots will do in easy times but it take a deep tap root to go through the hard times. Send your faith roots both far out and way deep like the Mesquite.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Comfort Zone

Today we are faced with sever divisions in our country where people on the extremes of both political and religious arguments hate those who disagree. The idea of meet me in the middle is abhorrent and leaves no room for dialogue. Sometimes we are conflicted within ourselves. There are some areas of my thinking that are very conservative and other areas where I am very liberal. That confuses people who think I should be one way or another across the board. Some of them call me not so pleasant names.

Being hated or labeled for my beliefs is uncomfortable at best but is it not surprising in today’s world. The question to ask myself is, “What do I do with that discomfort?” I can hate them right back but that only makes me like them and I do not want that for my self. It is fortunate that my discomfort helps me examine my convictions and develop a positive response. As a Christian pastor I look to the scriptures for my guide and discover that Jesus faced the same kind of challenges both religious and political.

First I need to check my attitude. Paul said in Romans 12:2, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Good idea! Renew my mind by reviewing facts from all directions. If I watch only Fox or only MSNBC I get distorted views. By watching both and PBS Newshour I can sort out what is and is not. If I read only conservative religious commentary or only liberal commentary I am short on facts. Renewing my mind and seeking what is pleasing to God is a good starting place.

Second I need to accept the fact that what ever my beliefs are they will be ridiculed by someone somewhere. By accepting that concept and renewing my mind about my convictions I can live in peace with God and the people around me.

Third I need to check my actions by the teachings of Jesus who said to love your enemies and do good to those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you. Love is the real key to both my faith and all my other relationships.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Children and Guns

It seems like every time I turn on the news there is another insident of school children shooting other children. We are also faced with siblings playing with guns in their homes and killing a brother or sister with it.

I was saddened when I read of a five year old boy who shot his two year old sister. He will carry that pain with him for the rest of his life. The real shock came when I read that he shot her with his own gun, a 22 made for a five year old and painted blue. They make a pink one for girls. What is wrong here?

Right away the pro gun people were posting that it was just a tragic accident that could happen to anyone. In a sense it was a tragic accident from the point of view of the five year old who did not mean to kill his little sister. Many times my brother and I played cowboys with our cap pistols aiming and shooting at each other. They were toys and did not damage. A five year old has no comprehension of lethal weapons; he was playing with a new toy.

The anti gun group began a rant about firearms companies that produce lethal weapons made for such young children. There is also some truth to their concerns but that is not the real problem. Children shoot other children with guns left available by parents. In this case a gun made available as a gift by a parent.

My problem is with the parents who are guilty of negligent homicide by providing a loaded weapon to a child with out supervision. If you have guns in the house with children the said children need to be trained to know that guns can kill and assume that a gun is always loaded. It is OK to train a child to shoot on a target range and respect a gun but not to be left alone with the gun. In a home with a child all weapons need to be unloaded, the trigger locked and the gun locked up.

Where was the adult supervision in that home?