Saturday, July 4, 2015

Celebrating In these trying times

In over 40 years of ministry I have noticed that when people’s lives are under stress from work or other uncontrollable events that they look for places where they can have some control and vent their frustrations. Today we are under a lot of economic stress across the strata of our society. Even people who have jobs are worried about loosing them. The rich are getting a lot richer and the poor are growing in number. The gap between rich and poor is widening.

There are two places where people under stress vent their frustrations. The first is often in the family where more abuse of spouse, children and elderly are on the increase. Passing your hurt on to the defenseless is a coward’s way out and really gets you no where. It is really sad when children become the target of a parent’s wrath at society.

The second is in volunteer organizations like clubs and church. I have often watched as someone disrupts a church board or committee meeting seemingly without cause. It is all about exerting some control some where. Many church pastors have been attacked simply because some one was venting frustrations in the only place they can and get away with it.

Here we are celebrating Independence Day in a time of radical changes in our society. Many people are angry at on thing or another with no place to vent except perhaps social media. Many will still vent their anger at those who can not defend themselves and cause pain. Some how we need to instill self-control and a path to personal inner peace in all our children before they become adults in this crazy world.

Friday, July 3, 2015

On Faith and Religion

Many people speak about their faith and religion as though they are the same thing and they are not.

Faith is a very personal spiritual relationship with God and the experience varies with each person. Each person might define his or her understanding of the term god in a unique way and so may differ from one person to another. We often assume that everyone else has the same experience we do. There are also people who do not have any faith of any kind.

Religion is the organization of people with like minded expressions of their faith. We have a great many "religions" in this world. I like to believe that my church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is the correct religion. That is my opinion based on my faith in God. There are other opinions. Because of our differing points of view there are over 350 "Christion" religions and many non-christian religions.

The United States is blessed with freedom of religion. That means the government can not tell the individual what to believe, what faith group to belong to or how to pray. While we have been a predominantly Christian population there have always been other religious groups in the country and that include those with no religion at all.

Celebrate your faith and your freedom to express it as you choose.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

MY Katherine Ann

This past month has been one of the most difficult times in my life. Just over a month ago both of my darling daughters called me on my birthday and sang happy birthday to me. I did not know at the time that it would be the last time I would hear my Katherine Ann speak to me and now that conversation haunts my mind and my heart.

Katherine was borne on July 24, 1969 at one minute after midnight. She came into this world wailing at the top of her little lungs. A very healthy baby but they could not get her quiet. The nurse cleaned her up and placed her in my arms saying daddy you try to comfort your daughter. I held her and looked into her eyes and said, "Katherine your daddy loves you." Her eyes locked on mine and she became quiet and imprinted on me. She was daddy's girl from then on.

Almost two years ago Katherine developed a lesion on her spinal cord along her neck. It caused horrible pain in many ways. We were told that it was a possible life threatening condition. I sat beside her hospital bed and prayed for her. Her pain was only just controlled by powerful medicine that put her on the edge of overdose all the time.

When she called to wish me happy birthday she was having a "good day" and I was happy for her. As I always did I ended our talk with "Katherine your daddy loves you." Sometime after that conversation she went to sleep and never woke up. Her pain is over and she is at peace. That is my only consolation for my heart is heavy and tears fill my eyes when ever I think of her. I have heard that the loss of a child is the hardest thing a parent can feel and now I know how true it is.

Katherine your daddy loves you.