Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Nation of Immigrants

For most of its existence North America did not have humans wandering over the land. Then about fifteen thousand years ago Asians came across the Bering land bridge into what is now Alaska and became the first immigrants into this land. From time to time since then other people from almost every where made it to these shores.

All of us are either descendants of immigrants or are immigrants ourselves. Each group of people have added to the mix that makes us Americans. What a mix it is! We have inter-married or have created babies in such a way that we share a lot of different DNA. This has been a good thing and has proven that there is only one race, the human race.

With this in mind I am amused by the anti-immigration rhetoric going around in this political season. In the American Southwest politicians are calling people from Mexico all kinds of bad names. I remember when we forced a war on Mexico and took their lands the inhabitants were mostly Mexican and native Americans. Anglos were the unwelcome immigrants who didn't bother to learn Spanish.

From the time we founded the USA people have come from all over the world to settle here and help make us what we are. Each new wave of people were met with suspicion and hate. Irish, Italians, Chinese, Poles, Germans and many more met derision and hate from those already established. When ever we act as though the immigrants don't belong here its time to look in the mirror as we are all immigrants.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Tough Questions and Answers

Most of us know that if we have questions about faith that we can go to the Bible and find answers. Sometimes it takes a bit of searching to find the correct answer but we know that the answers are there for us. The correct answer is not always the answer we want to find but there it is for us to deal with.

Some people are very surprised to discover that the Bible also can confront us with questions that we would rather evade. The Bible is capable of asking the kind of questions that slice through the protective veneer that we build up around us. As along as we evade these questions we remain spiritually immature and weak in faith. Actually facing these super tough questions will make us stronger and more aware of our inner spirit.

Spiritual maturity and strength of faith develop out of the process of personally dealing with the difficult and often painful questions about life and faith. Do not be afraid to consider the hard questions about your faith. It is not being weak to ask any question that bothers us. It is instead the way to become stronger when we confront and struggle with our doubts, confusions, fears and lack of understanding.

Some people are afraid to ask questions about faith thinking that they will be showing doubt or lack of faith. God is not afraid of our questions and we should not be fearful either. For our faith to grow stronger we need to confront both the questions and answers that the Bible presents to us. A growing understanding of our relationship with God is available through constant Bible Study, Prayer and Reflection. Open your mind to the power of of the Holy Spirit to lead you in your quest for understanding.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Christian Sunday Worship

In an email I was asked why Christians call Sunday the Sabbath when clearly it is Saturday in the bible.

In the very early days of the church the followers of Jesus were all Hebrews. As such they followed the tenants of Jewish worship. For the Hebrew people of Jesus day Sabbath began at sundown on Friday and lasted until sundown on Saturday. Most worship was done in the home or synagogue on Saturday.

For Hebrew Disciples of Jesus they would fulfill their worship as Jews on the Saturday Sabbath. Then at dawn on the first day of the week they would gather to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. At this worship the Gospel was preached, prayers said, new believers baptized and communion celebrated. As Sunday was a work day then they would go off to work.

Later when Gentiles, that is the non-Jews, joined the growing ranks of the Disciples of Christ they would forgo the Hebrew worship and only attend the Sunday gathering at dawn to celebrate the resurrection. As the percentage of gentile Christians increased First Day or “Lord’s Day” worship became the most common form of Christian practice. Later Christians would begin calling Sunday the Sabbath even though that was not strictly true.

Today most Christians, but not all, practice Christian worship on the first day of the week to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. I do every Sunday.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

After I Die

I am now in my eighth decade of living on this earth and I know that I am at least half way to the end if not much more. At some point I will breathe my last breath as we all do. I believe that my spirit will return to God and I will not be in the shell that is left behind.

What then?

Recycling has been an important part of my life and in that philosophy I have listed myself as an organ donor for over thirty years. So what ever can be used to enhance the lives of others should be. I have reached an age when not everything is in a condition to be recycled but it can be used for research and that is OK with me.

What ever is left over should be burned and my ashes recycled into the earth to provide new nourishment for plants. If there is something of me that must be buried and forgotten it is my faults and sins. Let them rest!

If I have lived my life in such a way that you wish to remember me you should know that I have believed in paying forward. If I have blessed you remember that and bless others that cross your path. I know that which is really me will live with God forever and the memory of my life will live on in the hearts of those people whom I loved. I am at peace with that!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ups and Downs of being A Mayor

Most of the time I really enjoy being the mayor of a small city. I love meeting people and helping people when I can. I believe in letting people be on their own property as long as they do not cause problems for their neighbors. I do love a peaceful community.

It is that "As long as" clause that gives me a problem. Sometimes neighbors call and lodge a complaint about their neighbor. In previous administrations the city would send a letter of citation that really left people angry. When I became mayor I wanted to give citizens the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they did not know that what they were doing or failing to do, was illegal. I like to check out the facts and then talk to the offender face to face in a polite way.

Most of the time citizens cooperate and correct the situation and all is well. When they get mad to my face and refuse to cooperate that is hard on me. If what they are doing or not doing is a danger to the community I am required by state law to act to enforce the law. Then I must issue a letter citing the law being violated and let them know what will happen if they fail to take care of it in good order. I also pray for them to come around and be helpful.