Pastors Letter: August
Altar A. Ego
God Bless America
In April, 1775, Samuel Johnson wrote, "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel."
Unfortunately, too often, too true. More crimes against humanity have been committed in the name of patriotism than almost anything else, with the possible exception of religion. But on a Thanksgiving weekend I think even the most cynical among us would agree that patriotism has its place. There are times we need to recall our national heritage, to remind us of our roots and to help us reaffirm our priorities. And for the sake of our own national self-esteem, we need to feel the sense of pride that only citizenship can bring.
More than half century ago, in his 1941 State of the Union address, Franklin Roosevelt enunciated what every American has a right to expect. They were called the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom from fear, freedom from want, and freedom of worship. And if we are tempted to take them for granted, and not to think of them as the magnificent gifts of a gracious God, all we need do is count the other nations of this world that enjoy the same things. Painfully few, painfully few.
Are we perfect? We know better. We look at those magnificent natural resources with which God has blessed us and see them despoiled and depleted - we are working to retore them, but we have a long way to go. Our good government, this free democracy, is SO free that it can grind to a halt in mean-spirited partisan politics as we have witnessed for over 12 years. This so-called "Land of Opportunity" offers more opportunity to some folks than to others. Our Black and Brown brothers and sisters don’t have the same “opportunities” and many of us white folks have. This nation has never done for them what it has done for me. They do not have nearly the reason to celebrate. No, this nation is not perfect.
The list of our national woes could go on and on...but it does not have to. As we read the Old Testament accounts of the history of Israel, we find that they too were a people truly blessed. But they also strayed, and they paid the price. They suffered the ravages of conquering armies and natural disasters. God gave them a way back: II Chronicles - "If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
America would do well to listen to that. The Psalmist says, "Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord."
We are a pluralistic society with a variety of approaches to God, and despite what we hear from some quarters, we are a better society when that variety is constitutionally protected. But each of those expressions have moral standards, and we will be a better people when those shared standards are taken seriously.
The BEST thing we can do is make a personal commitment to live lives that are pleasing to our Lord, then demonstrating that commitment in the unselfish management of our resources, the prayerful support of our leaders, and a loving reaffirmation of the principles of "liberty and justice for all."
Then with a full heart, we can truly Sing: God bless America, land that I love; Stand beside her and guide her Through the night with the light from above. From the mountains to the prairies to the oceans, white with foam, God bless America, my home sweet home; God bless America, my home sweet home.
Happy thanksgiving everyone.
Why one person stopped attending Sports Events
We know that we have to grow as a church, or we are going to die. Now we face are all sorts of excuses why people don’t join and why we get frustrated. I ran across the following piece to show all of you that the church isn’t the only place that has trouble with membership. Note the reasons below why one person stopped attending sports events. I wonder if we can find any comparisons.
Every time I went, they asked me for money.
The people with whom I had to sit didn't seem very friendly
The seats were very hard.
The coach never came to call on me
The referee made a decision with which I could not agree.
I was sitting with some hypocrites — they came only to see what others were wearing.
Some games went into overtime, and I was late getting home.
The band played some songs I had never heard before.
The games are scheduled when I want to do other things.
My parents took me to too many games when I was growing up.
Since I read a book on sports, I feel that I know more than the coaches, anyhow.
I don't want to take my children because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best.
I guess all groups have the same problem.
Yours, trying to find the money,
Altar A. Ego
(Thanks to Holy Humor and Cal and Rose Samra for the above idea.)