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.|
|I must admit that I felt close to euphoric on this past Saturday (6/1/13) en route to the dry cleaners. I went there and picked up my white suit so I could wear it to the following day’s church service. Ecstatic feelings do not normally occupy my heart while going to the cleaners, but this time was different. I anticipated my spring ’13 debut of being draped in white. Furthermore, I looked forward to jazzing it up with my fire engine red dress shirt.
The white sight lifts my spirit for two reasons. First, a clean bright white suit provides me with the feeling of looking especially good. I must confess succumbing to the temptation to spend too much time in front of the mirror while getting dressed up. This is especially so when the pearly white threads are involved. The togetherness factor provides the second way white light gives me a good vibe. We at my church show up and show off our whites on Communion Sunday which we recognize as the first Sunday of each month. The color white is often used to symbolize purity in the Holy Scriptures. (see Isaiah 1:18 and Revelations 7:13-14) As such, it is fitting that we show white while doing Communion.
The 11th chapter of the first book of Corinthians (also the 46th book of the Holy Bible) records the initial Communion gathering. The Lord instructed his disciples to eat bread which represents the sacrifice of His body and to drink wine that denotes the shedding of His blood for our sin. He declared that the observance he introduced during the first Communion evening was to remind them of him. (1 Corinthians 11:24-25)
The Communion along with feet washing is one of a select few church rituals that are ordained in scripture. We, who believe in eternal grace, salvation and favor with God via faith in the divinity, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, mark our awareness of Jesus’ sacrifice by taking part of the Communion sacraments. The group of believers of which I am part mark this occasion on the first Sunday of each month. Other believers may do so more or less frequently.
Paul wrote with respect to this observance “For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” Paul wrote as often, yet he did not write how often. It appears then that the Scriptures provide some leeway as to the frequency we observe the Communion ritual.
The significance of the person and events associated with this hallowed memorial none the less should remain with us always in our thoughts, meditations and deeds. Paul also said …”brethren whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Given the magnitude of our Lord’s sacrifice and what it means to me, I should always be giddy with joy even when I am not attired in bright white apparel.
|The other day I considered listing the 12 best Christmas themed entertainment productions that have ever appeared on television. I struggled Tuesday morning but still the ’12 best’ Word Courier Journal entry did not come to fruition. It was easy enough to think of 12 favorites. It was a little less easy to rank the best list. I had a list but not a completed blog entry.
The morning moved forward but my blog had not. I ate breakfast and soon thereafter visited the coffee shop where I often find literary inspiration along with my cup of joe. The list I had put together included (in no particular order) the following:
A Christmas Carol (particularly the Mr.Magoo version)
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Tournament of Roses Parade
Miracle on 34th Street (both ’45 and ’73 movies)
Frosty the Snowman (in the ‘70s ole Chuck and Frosty ran back to back on CBS)
It’s A Wonderful life
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (the whos, whoville and cindylou who)
The Walton’s Homecoming Christmas Special
The Year without Santa Clause
Holiday Inn (the classic song White Christmas introduced here)
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
I discussed my list with the proprietor of the coffee shop, a cheerful young lady who greets her patrons with a warm familiar welcome. We engaged in the discussion concerning the 12 best list. She mentioned a few pictures, “A Christmas Story” “Bad Santa” and “Home Alone “that I have never seen. She then spoke of the elephant in the room disguised as a reindeer: the Christmas programs we spoke of without exception did not focus on Jesus Christ.
The popular culture’s distortion of Christmas is pervasive when I, a believer in the incarnation, life , death and resurrection of Jesus Christ think about my Christmas themed entertainment, it does not include anything that pertains to the real Christmas story. It is up to we church folk to put Jesus back into the world’s consciousness as it concerns Christmas. I along with fellow believers have slacked in this duty with regard to Christmas for too long. Christmas derives from the words Christ, meaning the Anointed One, and mass which translate to celebration. Lest we forget, we will throw a holiday party and fail to invite the honoree for whom the holiday is named.
|“ Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6 Bible KJV)
The sparse ‘Word Courier Journal’ readership numbers (as of Wednesday November 21st 2012 398 views for a blog that began June 2012) are but a few among many aspects of my life that I seek to change. Still though,I am grateful. I was going to put together a new list of those things for which I am most thankful. I looked at an old list from 2008 for inspiration. It did inspire me. And, so except for a few tweaks, I have pretty much written the same list.
Without further ado my Thankful at Thanksgiving list:
1.The Goodness of the Lord
God is all powerful, imbued with the mercy to over look our shortcomings and the grace to love as we are.
2. Good Health
I am not encumbered with physical limitations. Furthermore, my health does not prevent me from doing certain jobs. Good health is liberating.
3. A Good Family
The Lord has blessed. I have parents who are still among us, able to get around, and of sound mind. Also, my siblings and their families lead blessed lives. I remember a former coworker who jumped at the chance to work on every holiday. She told me that get-togethers with her in-laws were so contentious and unpleasant that she would rather spend Christmas at work. Fortunately, we don’t have relatives that I dread meeting with on the holidays.
4. What I Have
I have what I have and am glad of it.
5. The Promise of the Future
Writing is the chariot that will whisk me to the proverbial promised land.
6. 4 MORE YEARS-President Obama’s wide sweeping election triumph
The impact of this election is not so much the next four years as it is the next 40 years. Praise God!
7. Good times, and Good Food Enjoyed with Good People
Wow! I can't wait to visit my sister and brother in law's house for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving holdiay to all of you (assuming there is any of you) who will read this.
|Federal law enforcement officials should not concern themselves with the referendums passed in Washington and Colorado that legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Instead, they should ban whatever ingredients were in the kool-aid the Republican Party was drinking. It seems that if you drink whatever that stuff was you shouldn’t drive for the next four weeks.
The ideal that millions changed their minds within a month and suddenly several blue states turned some shade of gray is outrageous. And why would this happen? Because Mitt Romney showed in the first debate that he was less of a stiff than we thought.
The GOP actually believed they stood a chance in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. I detected from canvassing via phone and field in Iowa and Wisconsin that they were true blue. TheGOP was truly delusional to believe Minnesota would turn red. Minnesota voted against Ronald Reagan, a President so popular that the term “Reagan Democrats” is still used to describe blue collar Republicans. Yet, somehow they honestly believed their divisive tactics would win out.
How did they lose? Let me count the ways
-Two Republicans in red states, Indiana and Missouri, lose their bids for the Senate largely because of vulgar, distasteful remarks concerning rape.
-Florida, a state in which Republican leaders devised a scheme to identify potential “illegals” among the Hispanic population,* so as to deny them the vote went the way of President Obama.
-Mitt Romney lost Michigan and Ohio (surprise) because they didn’t forget his sentiment towards the auto industry –“Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”
The aforementioned list is just a sample. The Republicans, including many who claim to follow the God of whom it is said is love, have become the party of hard heartedness and hostility. The Lord while speaking to the Judeans who fell capture and carried away to Babylon, said unto them “…Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3 KJV) The Christians among Republicans should lead their party to lure with love instead of dividing with disdain.
|To explain the reelection of President Obama and the defeat of Mitt Romney look no further than their campaign videos. The people in the President’s campaign party looked like America-all of America. The photo shots of Romney’s group looked like it could have been a family reunion. They all appeared to be older and younger versions of Mitt and Anne Romney. The difference in perspective is reflected in their following.
The President received 93% of African-Americans votes, 73% of Asian American votes, 60% of the votes cast by 18-29 year old voters and more than half of the overall Female vote. It wasn’t just so called “minorities” who chose him. The small minority population states of Minnesota, (90%+ White) New Hampshire (90%+White) Wisconsin, and Iowa punched the Obama ticket. Why? Because he doesn’t write off half the country as people he isn’t worried about.
The book of Revelations describe those who followed Christ and received their reward as “…a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” (Revelation 7:9 KJV)
Diversity clothed within unity. The body of Christ represents different people from different places but united around the same personality. The person of the holy God as represented via our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He died and rose for everyone regardless of who they are, how they failed him, their appearance or national origin. And, his following reflects as much according to Revelations 7:9.
The Church of Jesus Christ works best when we realize that he commanded his disciples to preach the Gospel to the world, not just to those who look, act, and think like us. We of course are not to approve of everything everyone does but we are to love all of them. A church that does this may not get everyone to join but it is a successful formula. A unified cause, the Gospel and the person of Jesus Christ can succeed with diversity among its following. Don’t believe it-just look at America’s Presidential election results as an example.
|I believe tonight’s ESPN 30 for 30 movie special brings some perspective on the big picture. I say this without yet having watched the television show because of its topic. The telecast speaks of the competitive success accomplished by the University of Mississippi’s football team during the clash between the ‘old South’ and the remainder of the country. The battle between the old feudal South and the newly arriving U.S.A. was ignited by the enrollment of James Meredith as the first African-American student at the state’s name school.
The big picture outlook that ties into my little universe is in the timing. It was during October of 1962 that Mr. Meredith officially integrated the school that to this day is nicknamed the rebels as in confederate rebels. And, to this day, the Mississippi state flag bears a striking resemblance to the flag waved by the Confederacy. I was born far removed from that action (the Midwest had its own dog fights) in September of that ’62 collegiate football season.
The “Rebel” football squad rolled towards an undefeated regular season, S.E.C. (Southeastern Conference) championship and #3 final ranking in the A.P. (writers) and U.P.I. (coaches) polls. They capped the autumn success with a New Year’s Day 1963 Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas coached by the legendary Frank Broyles. I was at the time an infant, the youngest of six raised by my parents at our snug tenement which offered a picturesque water front view of barge traffic floating down a polluted river.
I recently heard a preacher compare Mississippi for many of my fellow church folk to the Egyptian past the Hebrews experienced. The comparison is appropriate. The feudal systems of sharecropping and “jim crow” remained alive and well in Mississippi at the time of my birth. This reality caused many among us to flee north for the better opportunities promised by union membership and a less oppressive atmosphere.
The 50 years has witnessed radical change. Upon my birth, it was still dangerous for African Americans to seek the ballot or an education in much of Dixie. Today, we have an African American man and his family residing in the Whitehouse as its chief occupants. I don’t pretend everything is solved but a change has come. And, we must not forget that similar to the children of Israel, the God that freed the Hebrews from bondage and out of Egypt is the God that brought African Americans from old time Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina (et al)with their sharecropping, klan raids and Jim Crow.
|It's over. The Cardinals were blanked Monday night 9-0 by the SanFransico Giants. It is a disapointing end to an otherwise fine season. The run scarcity over the last three games reminds me of how the Bo-Sox silenced the Cardinals bats in the '04 World Series. However, there lies one key difference between then and now: I made it to a game in 2004, but this year I did not.The real diappointment this season for me was not watching them live at the ball park. Wait 'til next year.
|What kind of birds migrate to the promised land during Autumn? Cardinals, specifically the St. Louis Cardinals. The never say die Cardinals responded to the possibility of post season elimination the same way for the sixth straight time: they won. I saw the Washington Nationals, the team with the major league leading 98 wins, first post season clinch (July 4th perhaps)and feel good story of the national past time in the nation’s capital blast three fast runs in the third inning. Their lead then grew to 6-0. It appeared my cardinals were in trouble. I certainly thought so.
Ah, me of little faith. The cardinals in the ninth inning simply scored four runs with two outs after having twice been one strike removed from their season’s end. Look at those redbirds now, back in the NLCS-again. Yes, they lost 7-1 last night to the Giants, but they go back home for three games beginning tomorrow.
The Cardinals flew into my heart during the autumn of ’82. The’82 redbirds played baseball the way it should be played. Today’s fans know that famed former Cardinal manager Tony LaRussa (he managed my American League favorites Chi-sox once upon a time) mastered the match up art of winning games.
Whitey Herzog, the redbird manager from 1980-1990 mastered the catch-up* art of winning games. Speed, fielding, speed, pitching and more speed were the trademarks of his teams both in Kansas City and St. Louis. The ’82 team earned the rare distinction of hitting the fewest home runs in the majors and winning the World Series in the same season.
I liked their style. They were Cinderella like but they were not anyone’s fairy tale. They were (and are) legitimate winners. I was a fan while in Iowa before I visited St. Louis. They had won it all in ’82 and won two more National league pennants (including an NLCS series win against the Giants) before I set foot in St. Louis.
The autumn of ’82 was also my first time living away from my hometown separating myself from my native family. I left to attend The University of Iowa. I have come to think of my fondness for the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals as comparable to someone’s love of the family in which they’re born (Chi-Sox) and the family of which they start (Cardinals) with their spouse.
The book of proverbs declares that “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” Finding a wife who is a winner like the St. Louis Cardinals, would make Brother James one ‘favoured’ dude. I pray the Lord bless me with at least another 30 years to root for the Cardinals and a wife (and kids) to accompany me to their games with all of us draped in Cardinal red.
*The Cardinals signature style became known as “Whitey Ball.”
|The current calendar year 2012 is a year of significant eleventh anniversaries. The two events recognized upon their respective anniversaries are inextricably woven within the same quilt of fate that will forever align the duo. The one is a cause of the other and as such these ties shall not unwind. The first of the 11 year honorees changed America forever. It made us understand that we’re not immune to the evils of this world. It took place on one lone day but its affects linger.
The Word Courier entry “The Blessed Homeland” (Sept 12,2012) emphasized how God has graced America with a relative lack of militaristic attacks on American soil even as the nation paid homage to the 11th anniversary of 9-11. Sunday October 7, 2012 marked the 11 year anniversary of Operation Enduring Freedom. The American military response to the perpetrators of the 9-11 atrocities began on October 7, 2001. The U.S. deployed troops to Afghanistan with the intent to topple the Taliban regime which provided cover to the architect of the mass murder of innocent people. To this editor, it seems that with the exception of a neighbor family flying ‘Old Glory’ at their front stoop, the nation greets this anniversary with a collective yawn.
I could be wrong. I did not watch any sporting events on Sunday. I was hitting the pavement for my chosen candidates for much of the afternoon. Therefore, I don’t know if any NFL games or Major League playoff games began with or included any acknowledgement of said anniversary. And, I then came home and went straight to the laptop. I stopped only to eat and watch Julianna Margulies and her show that should be called “The Good Looking Wife.” Still, I doubt that attention is being paid to Operation Enduring Freedom and Afghanistan.
Lest we forget, more than 2,000 Americans have lost their lives in this theatre of war. Injury casualties have befallen more than 2,200 troops from the states of California, Florida and Texas alone. Also, Obama got Osama. This occurred in May of last year. The master mind behind the 9-11 tragedy is gone. Al Qaida is severely weakened and the Taliban is out of power.
The politicians are out there on the stump. Woohoo ! The unemployment rate is down, however, one particular political ought to talk up these accomplishments of taking out Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban while crippling Al Qaida. Furthermore, this leader should remind America of the promise to leave Afghanistan to the Afghanis by the end of 2014. The date 10-7 is well worth some attention.
It has come to my attention that a Roman Catholic bishop in my home state suggested that voting Democratic i.e. a vote for President Obama can cost us our soul. He apparently bases this opinion on the official party so called pro-choice platform and the President’s support for gay marriage. He also found no flaw in the Republican Party platform.
Bishop John Paproki of Springfield, IL is quoted as having said the following:”…a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.” Whew! I gather this is his back handed way to say a vote for the Democrats and our President is a one way, no return ticket to hell.
I think a little reality check is in order. Allow me to amend that previous sentence. Actually, a big reality check is in order. I have put together a reality check list that starts with the reality of politics. The list is as follows:
Democrat vs Republican is not God vs Satan
The government, leaders and political parties are of the world. They base their philosophy upon self-interest, ideals and honest love of their country but not necessarily upon the Word of God. We do not have a Holiness Party here or elsewhere in this world. The choice is between two worldly institutions (political parties) who have different views on how best to lead the nation.
Sin is Sin/Wrong is Wrong
I understand God values the sanctity of life. He told the prophet Jeremiah “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 KJV) I also understand the Lord’s disgust with sexual immorality. (see Leviticus 18:22 KJV) I understand God detest wrong doing.
Let’s get real Bishop:
-To invade a country that doesn’t pose an imminent threat to our security, and to do so under at best misguided information and very likely deceptive intent is wrong.
-To drain the nation’s treasury with irresponsible revenue depleting tax cuts while engaging in wars on two fronts shows nothing in the way of wisdom that the Lord demands of his leaders.
-To “win” two elections under mysterious circumstances that we normally associate with tin man dictators in other countriesis not right.
It seems the Bishop’s words “intrinsically evil and gravely sinful” would apply to the three aforementioned acts. Yet, the good Bishop supports the political party that is responsible for these situations.
The Republican and Democratic Parties both have ‘pro-choice’ and allies of gay marriage among their ranks. Clint Eastwood, the notable tough guy actor spokesman at the Republican convention supports the abortion rights and gay marriage camps. Rudy Guiliani, former New York City mayor and 2008 Republican primary presidential candidate is also favorably inclined towards these groups. Somehow, that did not prevent the righteous Rev. Pat Robertson from granting him his endorsement. Hmmm
I have some advice for Bishop Paproki. The next time he eats out, he should pick up the check… the reality check.