September 23, 2005

Where oh Where Have you Been Pastor Bill?

Where oh where have you been Pastor Bill? Maybe some of you didn’t even know I was gone! Quick say something nice about me, I’m feeling very insecure. Not really; if you’re a pastor and have self-esteem issues, you won’t be a pastor for very long; at least not in the same church. People are too fickle to place your significance on their opinion of you. But that doesn’t answer the question of where I’ve been.

In truth, I guess my soul was empty; my spirit drained, my flesh too pooped to peep.

These two minutes we spend together may not seem like much but they require an unceasing pursuit of what’s happening in the community, the state and the world. That gets to be wearing let me tell you. No one’s shoulders are broad enough to carry the weight of the world’s woes except God Himself. But with all our new technologies, we can know what’s happening in a country whose name we can’t even pronounce moments after an event has occurred. And let me tell you, having a constant flow of human sin and tragedy deluge you every single day will bury anyone. I’ve said it before, but even Jesus—Immanuel—God With Us--abandoned the needy crowds to take care of His soul.

So I figure if God needs a break from it all, there’s a good chance I do to. So after my vacation break, when I came back to the office, I just couldn’t dive into the pain and turmoil of the world once again. So there you have it. And ya know one of the best things I did, was to cut down my watching or listening to the news or reading of news weeklies for these past couple months.

But here I am for good or for bad, keeping you abreast of the hottest news and issues that impact your lives and all from a world view informed by the inspired, infallible, inerrant, authoritative Word of God.

American Generosity

That Americans are generous is a fact that is hard to avoid. The outpouring of time and money to the victims of the tsunami last December was immense and most of those recipients are Muslims. That America would ever be accused of anything other than tolerant, generous and giving is to ignore decades of history and a well documented track record.
As the clean up for Katrina continues, nothing has changed. Already over a billion dollars has been given and the money continues to pour in at a rate faster than even for
9-11. Roughly 7 out of 10 Americans contribute to charities.
Nothing is different at the church I pastor. We collected over $3,000 for Katrina and that doesn’t even reflect the numerous families who contacted us about opening their homes to displaced families or the men who are planning to give up their vacation time to go to New Orleans to lend a hand.
But all over the country, churches and Christians are giving in many different ways. And why? Because we understand just how blessed we are; we understand that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, and we know that, but for the grace of God, anyone of us could be in that position.
Now what I want to know is this; I heard Bette Midler using a Katrina fund raiser to obscenely bash the President as I have so many others of a liberal, political persuasion and a godless morality.
So how much money, how many hours and how many lawyers from the ACLU, People for the American Way, Moveon.Org, Planned Parenthood and Family Planning to mention only a sliver of the anti-Christian, god-hating groups and people out there have helped in this time? These are the big mouths who never tire of telling everyone how hateful and intolerant Christians are. And instead of showing up at a concert so everyone else can go into their pockets for such things, why don’t these wealthiest of the wealthy shut their mouths and open their wallets?
When the nasty stuff hits the fan, it’s the church of Jesus Christ people look to; not the ideologues of self-centeredness and arrogance. Ah, yet another shining moment for the people of faith whether the world acknowledges it or not—they are afterall, but dust…

Here We Go Again...

As I write this Hurricane Rita is about 4 days from landfall on the coast of Texas. It is currently at a category 4 storm. Have you been impacted by how easily the mighty structures of men are upended by a single episode of weather? Remember it’s not just the residents of coastal areas affected by this storm but by everyone who puts fuel into their vehicles or heats their homes with oil. And already predictions are forth coming that if Hurricane Rita does what the experts expect it to do, oil will shoot up again, even worse than before.

And yet for all the machinations of Washington; for all the legislation; for all the posturing and blathering with words as copious as the rains brought by the storms, all we can do is stand helplessly by and take our knocks handed out by an impersonal an amoral force of nature. We sure don’t like that one bit!

We can attack Al Queda, throw land at the Palestinians, close our eyes to the Sudanese, and withhold favor and funds from Israel but when some swirling winds kick up and torrential rains fall or the earth opens up or mountains give way, all we can do is hope for the best and prepare to start over again. Pretty soon, and the folks living on the coasts of the world are going to feel like Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a hill only to have it cascade down before reaching the top.

And for the few who tend to get real religious at these times, why in Heaven’s name should God lift a finger to bale out those who spit in His face when the sun is shining?

Thank heaven for the “remnant.” The faithful—relative--few, who because of their fidelity to the Father, have an ear and hopefully a helping hand. Abraham bargained with God to spare the city of Sodom if he could only produce 10 people who had a faith that resembled anything like real faith in the real God. Sodom was destroyed; a heck of a commentary on the state of religion in that community.

Is there any lesson in that for us today? What do you think? What do you think?