Meditations of a christizen (christian-citizen)upon today's topics.
|I, Brother James, cultivated through my imagination and birthed via writing instruments (pen, laptop, etc) 'The Word Courier's Journal'. It is one of several literary efforts so conceived to include the "word", the mind altering, eye opening, life saving gospel of Jesus Christ into the every day conversation on those things deemed relevant to those readers who stumble upon this column. I and all other followers of the Lord are called to witness this message across the globe or at the very least to those around us. Jesus did say "Go therefore and teach all nations..." (see Matthew 28:19 KJV Holy Bible) Here lies a modest attempt to introduce the unknowing people to the Lord and immerse they who know Him in discussion with respect to His outlook on all that matters.|
|Baseball is that most American of activities. It is American birthed, Cooperstown N.Y., where the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame resides. Also, it has led the way as an American invention that has been exported around the globe.
The recent Little League World Series displayed baseball at its best. The intensity, precision and excellence exhibited by the boys and at least one girl (who merits a Word Courier entry of her own) from here and abroad brought out the best of youthful pursuits. One team in particular comes to mind for me.
Jackie Robinson West, the hometown team from Chicago’s long suffering south side, won the U.S.A. Little League championship and our country’s hearts. The scrappy, speedy team won in its trademark fashion by overcoming a late inning deficit and defeating a rival,the West Regional champion, Las Vegas 7-5. The comeback and the fact that this same team had previously beaten them in the double elimination tournament on the “mercy rule”* 13-2 showed that these boys have some character to them. They fell short in the final losing 8-4 to Seoul South Korea. Still, they captured our American hearts. They are also getting credit for inspiring black youth to a renewed interest in the sport.
The inspiration goes further than black kids and baseball. The pride is not limited to a black pride, a south side pride, a Chicago pride, or even an American pride. Rather, this is about seeing the best in athletic competition, sportsmanship, community (witness the citywide caravan/parade upon their return) and the human condition.
Theirs is the legacy of #42. That of course, is the number Jackie Robinson wore during his trailblazing run as the first African American player to play in baseball’s Major Leagues. He defied the nation’s curse of racial oppression and bigotry (see Cult’l cov’t) by surviving a rough introduction to the “big leagues.” He joined in at a time when Jim Crow was the law of the land, north and south. And he overcame.
Jackie Robinson’s faith and toughness carried him. Likewise, the Christian faith of one Branch Rickey too propelled the true forerunning of the modern civil rights movement. Here was a white man in a world of which being white was equated with being right who stood up to and against the cultural dominance of Jim Crow. The Christ in him demanded that America live up to her lofty language and apply it to this most American game. It seems every time a believer in and belonger to Christ decides to minister outside the comfort zone that is the church the world somehow is made better because of it.
*The Mercy Rule refers to Little League baseball rule that stops a game after the score is run up
|We should not mistake not knowing where we are with being lost. We are not lost when we travel in the direction of the destination that belongs to us even when we have no ideal where we are. Not lost, just misplaced. And that which is misplaced need only to be found and that which is found is not lost.
|Michael Brown, an African-American male, the son of Leslie McSpadden and Mike Brown Sr. (also stepson of Louis Head) was shot and killed by a white Ferguson Missouri police officer Darren Wilson on Saturday August 9th, two days before what would have been the beginning of his education at a vocational school. He was initially approached by the police officer/shooter for what amounted to jaywalking. In short,his life was really just beginning when Darren Wilson snatched it away.
The following is a list but by no means exhaustive set of media supplied information related to the incident:
-The Ferguson police initially said Michael Brown was a suspect in a robbery. However, they later admitted the arresting officer was not aware of that crime when he approached the young man.
- The Ferguson police chief claimed Michael Brown attacked the officer but witnesses said the teenager lifted his arms in the air to surrender.
- A private autopsy revealed that at least six shots were fired from a few feet to 30 feet away. Furthermore, two shots that hit the 6’ 4” victim in his head were fired from a downward slope which conforms to eyewitness accounts that the aspiring student had kneeled in a surrender position.
-Michael Brown did not have a criminal record.
Ferguson Missouri Police Dept.
Theirs is the most shameful response. They assassinate the deceased victim’s character, hid the identity of the killer for a week and respond to unarmed protestors with guns and tear gas.
The citizenry decided to protest with prayer vigils and their constitutionally protected right to assemble. The vast majority protesting this murder and miscarriage of justice demonstrate peacefully. Yes, riots have occurred but it this simply displays the law of the harvest as expressed by Job “… they that plow iniquity and sow wickedness, reap the same.” (See Job 4:8)
The Federal government will hold an independent investigation to determine if Michael Brown’s rights were violated. President Obama issued a thinly veiled warning with regard to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s decision to send in National Guard troops. He said “I’ll be watching over the next several days to assess whether in fact it’s helping rather than hindering progress in Ferguson.” Since then, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has visited Ferguson as of Wednesday August 20th.
The Christizen’s (Christian-citizen)Perspective
Some among the ‘Word Courier’s’ limited audience may wonder why the strong public reaction towards this killing. Michael Brown is eerily similar to Trayvon Martin in that they are both young black males who were shot and killed simply due to their presence. They were killed by people who initiated confrontation and have not truly justified the use of deadly force. They were walking.* They were there. And for that reason, just their very presence in a place led to their untimely and unnecessary demise.
The police are supposed to serve and protect. Who would feel served and protected by people who are ready to kill them upon sight. Darren Wilson and his ilk breach the covenant they swear to enforce when they act out in this outrageous manner. The protesters want what we all want: justice. When justice arrives, real peace will accompany it. No justice-No peace. Know justice-Know Peace.
* The initials dwb (driving while black) is used to describe racial profiling by police. Apparently, wwb (walking while black) is another racial profiling tactic. Now it seems we have twb (there while black) as a reason used by police to confront any black male.
|Abraham, the first patriarch listed in the Scriptures and progenitor of the Jewish nation, is spoken of in the Bible’s hall of faith. (see Hebrews 11th chapter) He is included alongside the likes of Enoch, Moses and Noah as people who exhibited such deep faith that they bare special mention in this famous chapter of scripture. It is written of him that he “….obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whiter he went” when the Lord commanded him to leave his house and family. (Hebrews 11:8 Holy Bible KJV) This act of faith places him upon such a pedestal.
It is written “ Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great generation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:” (Genesis 12:1-2)
I can’t help but notice that the Lord commanded Abram to leave his birthplace and family in the history recorded in the Old Testament. Yet, by the time the New Testament book of Hebrews is written, he is Abraham. The interpreters that brought us the King James edition of the Bible did not misspell his name in Hebrews. Instead, the man who was Abram became Abraham which means father of many nations.
The first step to changing from Abram in Genesis who was yet to father anyone to Abraham, father of many nations, therein after was to leave home country and family. The first step to be a blessing and the ancestor to the chosen people was the act of obedience displayed in leaving everyone and everything of which he was familiar. (Not quite- he brought a nephew with him who would later prove to be a headache)
Today, the Hebrews, the Jewish people are his genetic descendants (as is ironically their most bitter rivals) whereas all among us who take part in the Christ covenant are his spiritual descendants who will join him in the new home of eternal life with God. Again, none of this happens for Abraham unless he leaves the comfort zone that is birthplace and family.The fact is many among us need to leave family, birthplace, and yes church homes in which we've been raised. The same some need to leave and stay gone. I don’t mean people should necessarily disown their familiar roots but rather they should go that they might grow. When they grow their relationship with God will grow and their service to the world will grow.
The Scriptures make it clear that the Lord called a man named Abram to leave home to establish another home. I interpret the Lord’s definition of home as follows: home isn’t where you’re from it’s where you belong. so go home already!
|The faithful won a victory in the U.S. Supreme Court Monday of last week. The court in all its wisdom ruled that payment for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (hereinafter Affordable Care Act) controversial contraceptive provisions could not be forced upon people of faith who object to financing activity that run counter to the tenants of their faith. Praise God!
Two families, owners of three companies, were the parties to the suit. The families, David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby with his wife Barbara represented their family, Mart Green their son and founder of Christian book retailer Martel and Conestoga Wood Specialties founder Anthony Hahn with wife Elizabeth were the plaintiffs (the ones filing a complaint) in this case. They objected to the possibility of financing abortion as it goes against their belief.
The Greens are faithful who belong under the Pentecostal umbrella. I as a member of my church body also fit under the Pentecostal label. We belong to different denominations under the umbrella but we share espousing holiness as the standard via belief in the risen savior Jesus. We will likely vote differently come election time but with regard to this issue we are on one accord.
They practice what they preach. The latest Time Magazine article detailed the fact that Oklahoma Hobby Lobbys pay employees a starting wage of $15 per hour so as to share the wealth. This is unheard of in retail, a traditionally low paying industry. Furthermore, they do this in a red state* like Oklahoma, which like many such states is a so called right to work state.** Time also reported that close to half of profits go to various charities. They even go so far as to close their stores on Sundays to allow fellow Christians a day free to worship.
Consestoga Wood Specialties build quality furniture and emphasize the biblical based principle of doing quality work and standing by your word. The founders of this Pennsylvania based company are of the Mennonite faith. Martel was founded with the same intent as the parents’ company to earn a living and do a mission via business.
The Court in a narrow 5-4 majority decided that the family owned businesses of Hobby Lobby, Martel and Conestoga Wood Specialties would not be coerced into paying insurance coverage for 4 contraceptive options that may result in abortion. The refusal to go against faith and finance other peoples’ activity that may lead to abortion would have otherwise come at a steep price. Hobby Lobby for one was looking at the possibility of shelling out $1.3 million per day if they refused to go along with that small fraction of the Affordable Care Act. It would be so shameful had the court ruled otherwise and allowed an effectual government extortion to make them finance abortion. Sometimes it does good to do good.
*Red states are those who traditionally vote Republican whereas Blue states are those who traditionally vote Democratic in these days of divisive politics.
** “Right to Work states may be more accurately labeled “Right to Work for less” states as the laws in such states inhibit employees from organizing into unions.
|It is ironic how the United States of America, the good ole USA celebrates its 238th birthday tomorrow the 4th of July and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 arrived at its 50th birthday yesterday the 2nd of July. America, founded on the principles of freedom, took nearly 100 years to free a substantial part of its population and another 100 years to enforce that freedom via law. Righteousness moves slow but ultimately it arrives at its destination.
I as the author of the ‘Word Courier’s Journal’ have previously used this space to show how the Gospel faith based movements have worked to improve life in this country. (see Southern In-hospitality 6/28/13 and Drum Badgers for Justice 6/5/12) We believers, to whom I refer to as Expatriates in another journal on this web site, strive to renew the places we inhabit, America for instance, in the image of the place to which we belong which is the habitation of the almighty God popularly known as heaven.
The place where He resides has no room for evil or injustice of any kind. The natural result of trying to remake any place in God’s image is to improve upon that place. The abolitionist movement grew out of Christian ministry outreach during the 18th and 19th centuries. The mantra “Am I not a man and A Brother” symbolized the efforts of African-American and Euro American activist who sought freedom for the enslaved population.
The faith based movement continued into the 20th century. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is but one plum among the many fruit to blossom from the vine planted, pruned and produced by the Gospel faith based activism acted out by saints of old. Now, I don’t deny the contributions of Jewish, Islamic and the non-church attached for many of them risked their necks, spilled their blood and suffered life loss. However, the root and seeds of this movement was about making a supposedly enlightened nation live up to its lofty aspirations.
The Civil Rights Act is and was not about “rights” so much as it is about what’s right. What makes an act (or acts) wrong is not simply the hardship inflicted upon those who feel its sting but rather the willful violation of covenant executed by the bringer(s) of pain upon the bearer(s) of pain. The crushing poverty, violence, fear, humiliation and other degrading effects suffered as a result of segregation served not as the disease but as symptoms of such. The decision to write despise and disparage into the nation’s code and custom defies the” do unto others” creed so central to the Gospel’s message on how we treat our fellow human beings.
So today (or yesterday as of this publishing) we celebrate a nation’s belated attempt to redeem itself of a shameful past. Happy birthday Civil Rights Act and many more to come.
|"The Christian army is the only army that shoots its wounded." I don't remember if I viewed this quote on a bumper sticker, poster or in a publication but then and now its truth resonates. It is so unfortunate but experience and observation has displayed this truth to me all too often. The army of the Lord is supposed to fight the devil not one another.
|If something or someone is worthwhile then act accordingly. You must be willing to dedicate self towards an all out effort, determine to fight for the cause or outcome wanted and dare to act on faith for a result that may not be easily achieved. One who can does not dedicate effort, determine to fight, and dare to act on faith does not deserve what he or she desires.
I wrote the following in a January 2012 post on my semi active Just-Us blog: The Teapublicans should leave their ‘sink the ship to drown the captain’ attitude toward President Obama back in the 2011 calendar year. The article from which the quote ensued focused on those things that needed to be left back in 2011 and not brought in the calendar year 2012. Apparently, the Teapublicans (Tea party Republicans) did not heed my advice. The strategy to say no to anything and everything that can help the country so as to defeat President Obama failed. A presidential election took place that year (2012) and Mr. Obama is still Mr. President.
I will reiterate now what I wrote in an earlier ‘Word Courier’ blog: It’s apparent that the Teapublicans love getting their way much more than they love America. (see Stopposites Distract October 8,2013) They continue on their merry way impeding progress for our nation. Here are just a few samples
-June 2013, Senate Teapublican Marco Rubio of Florida, offers an amendment to immigration reform legislation that would delay by five years the eligibility of legal immigrants the ability to receive benefits from the newly expanded health care law dubbed Obama Care.
-Florida, the state that elected Rubio to a state wide office is among 23 states that have not expanded their Medicaid to comply with the Patient Care and Affordable Health Care Act’s provisions. To be fair as of March 2014 four of these states are debating the topic.
-Two Senate Republicans, Dean Heller (NV)and Jerry Moran (KS) voted in favor of the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014, a bill favored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the American Legion. However, 41 of their party colleagues voted against it in February of this year.
-The ever present delay of extending unemployment benefits in an economy that still lags even after significant improvement.
It is unbelievable and unprecedented that a minority party in this country would sabotage the nation’s efforts to rescue itself from the economic doom that has happened following 40 years of failed policies. They don’t get it. The President cannot run for a third term via the Constitution. So he won’t sink with their stupidity, but we will. The solution is simple. They were elected in so to they can be elected out. Otherwise, we best be grabbing some life jackets.