Archive for October, 2012

October 30, 2012

Church On Fire

by pastortimfowler

I know its been a few days since my last blog and for those of you whose mental well-being depends on my blogs, I am sorry, but, you are crazy anyway. Things have been really bizarre over the last week, including a church fire. So let me enlighten everyone on what is happening.
As I have told you many times, I pastor an incredible church. The people there are desperate; desperate for doing good things for God. I am SO blessed. We see many people helped all year round. People who are hurting and in need are loved on and taken care of and most importantly, people have their sins forgiven and come to know Jesus. All this made possible because of the people of our church. But there is one bad thing that comes from the people in the church being “on fire”; lots of spiritual warfare. And let me tell you, it has been a battle field in the spiritual realm.
As a pastor of almost 20 years I have seen spiritual battles take place and I have seen God work in some amazing ways. It usually happens during a time of intense growth of the church. I have been part of churches who never seem to have any troubles, but thinking back on those, they also rarely saw people come to know Jesus. You see, spiritual battles are not over things that you and I often think are important, like carpet and music in the church, but it is over those who are lost and those who are saved telling those who are lost how to be saved. I am not talking about a mechanical spiel or a guilt trip, I am talking about sharing love and forgiveness that comes from God to people who need it. And when that happens on a regular basis, spiritual battles erupt.
What are these spiritual battles? Things like tensions between people in the church. If the enemy can get the church turning against each other, the church will quit thinking about those outside the church who need Jesus. Things like getting people focused on material things over spiritual things. Far too often the church worries about stuff and forgets about people. When the church thinks that its buildings and the stuff in the buildings are as important as people, the battle swings to the enemy’s favor. And if the enemy can’t get the people fighting with each other or worrying about their stuff long, then they are defeated.
Yep, we have been faced with some stuff like that. Some things that should have been trivial were escalated and some people who should be working together got to working alone and our focus was being pulled away from God and started focusing on stuff. All of this because we are winning this battle for souls. God, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, won the war on sin. But the battles still rage. The enemy can’t take our souls back, so they try to keep us distracted enough to where we are not reaching others who need salvation.
I am so thrilled that over the course of this year, our church has seen nearly 100 people come to know Jesus. And because of that, we see the heat of the battle. And because we won’t give in to the those distractions, the heat was turned up; literally. I believe the church fire was part of this spiritual battle. Sure, accidents happen, but everything happens for a reason. God allows us to experience things for a reason and the enemy will move in to areas where weakness is displayed. But I am confident that this battle is going to be a terrible defeat for the enemy. Just two months away from starting our 2nd worship time, we are now faced with not being able to use half of our building. A devastating blow to a church that loses its focus, but a rally cry to a church that is on fire for God. So I look forward to watching even more people being loved on and even more people coming to know Jesus and an even more determined group of people putting aside the trivial things that have tried to distract us over the last week, turning into an even greater focus on the things of God. That is just the type of folks I get to serve as pastor.
Our church may have been damaged by fire, but the fire of its people just got fueled. Don’t doubt me. The fight is on! Our church is on fire!

October 25, 2012

Voter ID

by pastortimfowler

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/madison_guy/6919635377/

I try to stay away from political stuff when I blog, but this is a subject that I think defies logic. Voter ID requirements seem to be a source of conflict. I just don’t understand it and here is why. From what I understand, the argument against requiring an ID to vote is about people who may be poor or live a long way from a place that issues IDs and therefore it is a hardship on them and risks disenfranchising them. If that were the case, I can see the point of the argument, but something about that does not make sense.
Voting is not something that everyone can do. You must be 18 to vote. You must not be a convicted felon. You must be a legal US citizen. You must live in certain districts to vote on certain races like county and city races. Without some form of ID, several of these requirements can not be verified. I think if the laws are on the books they should be enforced. I do not want a bunch of 15-year-old kids deciding the local school board or the president of the US. I don’t want someone who lives in another county deciding who represents me on the county council. I don’t want someone who is not a citizen of this country deciding who is our president. Call me crazy, but I can see the reasoning behind these laws.
But my argument is not against the laws, but against the logic of how difficult is is to get an ID for some people. I know that there are some in society who have a more difficult time than others when it comes to matters like this. It does not matter the race of the person, it is a matter most often of health, wealth (or the lack of), and age. I know these things can make doing anything more difficult. But here is my question, how long does it take to get an ID if you need one? Even if it were to take months or even a year, elections don’t come around that often and we know that most state and national elections happen every two years. Even under the worst cases, with that much time, and knowing the law requires it, anyone could get proper ID.
And what about other laws that require ID. For instance, you must be 18 to purchase those evil cigarettes. Every store that I have ever been to in the last 10 years says that they ID everyone before they will sell them a pack of cigarettes. Sure, if you are an 80-year-old man, you can buy them without an ID. Common sense says that he is older than 18, but what about that poor person who is in a wheel chair who wants a pack of cigarette and he is 18. Do they have to show an ID? Is that okay? Is it discrimination? That person has to have a proper ID and from what I remember, people purchase cigarettes quite often and I do not remember anyone ever claiming that proper ID to purchase cigarettes or alcohol as being disenfranchised.
I have to show proper ID to get the power in my house turned on, board a plane, drive my car, get into some buildings, catch fish or shoot deer and any number of other things that happen daily. But for some reason, getting an ID to vote, something that happens at best, annually, and something that has definite consequences if abused, is looked upon as evil and even racist by some. Try to get into a labor union meeting without proper ID. Try to get into a nightclub without proper ID. Try to get into Canada without proper ID. It won’t happen. Quit trying to vote without one.

October 22, 2012

It Hurts

by pastortimfowler

You are Joy, Luisa!

It would be great to live in a world where there was no pain; physical, mental, or emotional. But if that were the case, would we learn anything about how precious life is? I write today from the point of view of a person who has lived with constant back pain for years. I have mentioned it from time to time before, mainly because I like the pity, but it has yet to yield someone to cut my grass for me. Life stinks, huh? And I am grateful to have a yard to cut.
To be honest, life does not stink and I think pain helps us to know this. I think if we will let our pain remind us of how precious it is not to have pain, we will be more grateful of those things that are void of pain. This past weekend I took my grandson camping and really enjoyed the time spent with him. But I found myself telling everyone how much pain I was in rather than how much fun I had. I should have been encouraging others to spend time with the ones they love instead of giving them excuses as to not do something that may cause pain. For that, I apologize.
Pain is a part of life. It is a teacher of what not to do. It is a motivator to push harder to accomplish a task. And it is a tool to remind us what is really important. You see this morning I was sitting at my house, in pain, and did not go into my office. There are other reasons that kept me home, but it started with pain. As I struggle to get my socks on, the pain reminded me of how grateful I was of slip on shoes. But as I sat there planning a pity party, I was reminded of a time when I could do about any physical activity and it did not hurt. As I reminisced about those days, I was nudged, I think by God, to think, “When was the last time you said thanks for all of those days of no pain?” As I thought about this, I realized that I had far more days in this life without pain than with it. I had been able to do more than many would ever hope to do. It wasn’t until recently that even the pain had put a limit on my activities. So I said thanks and took some Advil.
Here are some times in my life that pain made me remember the good and then I will sum thing up and quit bothering you today.
My mom died of cancer many years ago. It was a long battle and if you know anything about cancer, it is painful. But mom had a unique way of taking my mind off of her physical pain and mine emotional pain. She would break out old pictures of the kids growing up and we would laugh and remember the good times. I can’t remember ever sitting with my mom and hearing her complain about the pain. I could see it in her face and eyes and the way she moved, but never in her heart. She always saw the opportunity to remember the good stuff. So when she died, my last years with her were not filled with dread and sorrow, but of joyful memories and laughter. Her pain was beautifully used by God to show His grace in the toughest of times.
My dad died of heart failure. We did not have a good relationship and it was hard to get that phone call about his death when I had not talked to him in months. But, we did what all families do, we gathered to say good-bye and some began to argue over what stuff of dad’s they wanted. As this was happening, I looked on the wall over my dad’s chair and there was a picture of him and me. I had it bronzed and gave it too him when I was in the Navy. I was 4 years old and we were standing together with golf clubs in our hands and under it I had an inscription that said, “worlds greatest golfer and his dad.” It took me back to all the great things my dad was and I forgot all about the bad things that made me have so much emotional pain. In this moment of grief, God showed me that years ago He was preparing me to be the type of dad and granddad that I had become. He was giving me joy to over-ride the pain and memories that over-rode bitterness.
Recently, and I blogged about this, my dog died. It seems a bit unmanly to say that it really hurt and I cried when she died in my arms. But she was very special. I got her when I was going through a tough time in my life. I had never had a dog that I raised, it was always the family dog and I was never much of an animal lover. But she stole my heart and in the days after her death, I began to look for pictures of her. Every time I found one it was a moment of joy and happiness. I began to laugh and smile, even through the pain.
So this morning I was reminded to look for joy while the pain is there. Pain does not end joy nor does it take away good memories. Pain is not evil, it is a part of life. And life is a gift from God. This life has so many wonderful things to offer. Camping with my grandson is one of those and I was just looking at all the pictures I took this weekend to remind me. No, the pain in my back did not go away, but it was not bad enough to stop the smiles.
Jesus knows what pain is. He took a lot of pain to save humanity from our sins. His pain was physical, mental, and emotional. But through it all He never forgot the love that drove Him through the pain and to the cross. It was through that pain that we are forgiven if we believe. It is through that pain that we have hope of a life to come where pain is no longer a part of it all. But that hope and that future joy should only be a part of our focus because in this life, we have so much to bring us joy and share love with.

October 18, 2012

Me Me Me…

by pastortimfowler

Help Others

Mark 9:33-34 33 Then they came to Capernaum. While Jesus was at home, he asked the disciples, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 They were silent. On the road they had argued about who was the greatest.

Ministry is a beautiful thing. It allows the church to help those in need. It is a source of great joy. Unfortunately it can be a source of arguing and troubles. No, this did not start with my church or your church or even your grandparent’s church, it started with the very first people who were followers of Jesus. (see above)
The reason this happens is that we forget to put self aside and be more considerate of those in need. The Apostle Paul said that he died daily to himself so that he could live daily for Christ. Far to often Christians forget that this is needed in our lives. We forget that once we are saved, we become workers with Christ for God. We are to become like Christ to people. Christ died for people and lived for God’s will to be done.
The church is not a place to complain because someone else did something to help another. It is a place to rejoice because someone was helped by Jesus and Jesus happened to use one of His own. It is a place to find joy that others are ministering to those in need, even if we can’t or aren’t part of it. Jesus knows our hearts. He knows if we are doing things out of love or for self glory. I trust that and let Him worry about it. Meanwhile, if a person in need gets help and it is from a believer, I give God the glory.
When these disciples were arguing about who was the greatest, they were as far from being Christ-like as they could possibly be. Jesus goes on to tell them that they must be childlike, not childish, in order to become great. Children are obedient. He later tells them that if they want to be great they need to become servants. Servants don’t think that they are great, they too are obedient.
As we grow as Christians we must always be aware that not everything can be explained. Not everything can be communicated. And not everything is meant for us to do. I am sure that others who saw Peter walk on water were a bit jealous that it wasn’t them. I am sure that some may have wished it was them who received the vision of the book of Revelation. But the important thing to remember is that the people who God wanted involved were involved in the things that He wanted done. It just is not about us once we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
We must also remember that others are watching how we handle adversity. Every Christian has someone watching how we handle things to see if they want to follow us or not. It is not about them following you or me, but are we following Jesus and therefore they should follow us. Some may see our attitude and be offended because they don’t understand why we are upset. It may involve a weaker person and our reaction causes them to fall away. So be careful how you react to things.

Remember that children and servants are to be obedient, not important. Jesus is the important one and so is that person who needs help. We don’t want to hurt someone who is a weaker and younger believer.

Matthew 18:6-7 6 “These little ones believe in me. It would be best for the person who causes one of them to lose faith to be drowned in the sea with a large stone hung around his neck.
7 How horrible it will be for the world because it causes people to lose their faith. Situations that cause people to lose their faith will arise. How horrible it will be for the person who causes someone to lose his faith!

October 17, 2012

Undecided

by pastortimfowler

Voting

During this and most of the past few election cycles, the focus has been on the ever-present undecided voter. The debate last night was of the town hall-style debate in which the questions were posed by 80 undecided voters. Both candidates tried their best to say things that would get them to make up their minds and vote for them. I am not convinced that we need to place the future of our country on people who do not have enough information by now to make up their minds who they will vote for.
I know that some of you want to lecture me on the importance of every vote while others want to tell me how in the presidential campaign, the individual vote is worthless due to the electoral college system. Please, save it for someone who is undecided. I know who and how and when and where I will vote and made my mind up a long time ago. I also understand how this system works and understand that there is something far more important than your vote to some people and that is called getting the attention.
Right now pollsters want to talk to and hear what the undecided voter is saying. If they call me and tell me they are taking a poll, I doubt that they will care for my opinion if I tell them that I have made up my mind. I also doubt that they will ask me to come to a debate and ask questions.
I did not find any question asked last night that most of us who have made up our minds did not already know the answer that we believe. I also heard nothing that made me want to change my mind. What I wanted to do was change the channel. When asked a question, each candidate carefully worded things to be as much in the middle or as far from controversy as possible. That makes them followers, not leaders. Dear Mr. and Ms. undecided, real leaders make decisions based on convictions, not potential votes. That means that I will not agree with everything, no matter what political party you are affiliated with. Make up your mind what you believe and follow the person that you believe will lead in that direction. If after four years they have been found to be a liar or unable to meet your expectations, vote them out. That is what decided voters do.
Undecided votes need to learn how to make up their minds. But if you can’t, please stay out of the voting booths with all those emotions running through your veins. Making last-minute decisions on things that are important is not good. If you are undecided about getting married just a few days before the wedding, it is not a good thing to go through with it. If you are undecided a few days before closing on a house it is not a good thing to go through with it. If you are undecided about getting off on the next exit of the interstate, don’t do it at the last second, it could cause a wreck.
Here is my advice to the undecided voter. Take this year off from voting. Pay attention to things over the next few years and see if you like the way things are going. If not, then you may want to vote for someone else. If you do, then vote for the person who is already there. Take the time to form some core beliefs in your own life and not what you hear on the news or from the internet. Decide if life is important and when it begins or if you like the amount of taxes you are paying or if you think that person who wants your vote can make tough decisions based on facts or popularity polls. Here is another idea. Keep track of what these guys are saying now and if they lie this time, they will probably lie next time. Voting is an important process that should be taken seriously, not taken as an opportunity to get attention and have people sway you at the last-minute.
Our political system is great in that it always gives us choices. It has left and right, conservative and liberal, and most importantly it has a history to follow. Get informed and stay involved and make up your mind. The Bible has a great verse about people who are undecided about things. Ephesians 4:14Then we will no longer be little children, tossed and carried about by all kinds of teachings that change like the wind. We will no longer be influenced by people who use cunning and clever strategies to lead us astray.
It is okay to believe in something. But like the old saying says, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

October 15, 2012

Appreciation

by pastortimfowler

October is pastor appreciation month and this Sunday our church celebrated. The Pastor Bunny brought everyone heart-shaped gifts full of eggs and fireworks, wrapped in mistletoe. Not really. We did not have fireworks.
I was so grateful for the dinner and gifts and kind words. I am the one who should be giving the gifts and tokens of my appreciation.
I don’t hide it; I love my church and my church family. They never miss an opportunity to show God’s love to people. They make it easy to be a pastor and for the record, it is not always as easy as I make it look. After all, I am a trained professional.
So today I wanted to give a shout out to everyone at The Body, A Church for Anybody; my church! I wanted to say how much I love you guys and how blessed I feel to have the privilege of serving as your pastor. I wanted to say that gifts and meals and cards are wonderful, but pale in comparison to the love I feel all the time from you guys. There is never a time that I doubt your love or don’t feel like I am appreciated. And although I rarely like to speak for other people, I believe that I can say the same is true for my associate pastors as well.
One of the great things that you do for me on a regular basis is love my wife. In fact, I think that we can tone that back a bit. She is beginning to think that she is more important than me. Just kidding. She is humbled by your love and affection for her. In no other church that we have ever served in has she felt so genuinely loved. And if anyone wants to win over my heart, that is the best way to do it; love and appreciate my wife. For that I say thank you, very much.
Our church is on an amazing journey. We are growing both numerically and spiritually. We see folks introduced to Jesus every week because you guys are bringing others. Those people are coming because they see your love for God and your belief in our church to show that love. We are seeing people who’s lives are being changed in every aspect of life. Marriages being restored, friendships being developed, people called into ministry and to the mission field. None of this happens in a church because of a great pastor. It happens in a church because of great people who serve a great God.
So since I have had my time in the spotlight for pastor appreciation month, I would like to make the rest to this month about me, the pastor, showing my appreciation for the people I get to serve. I am sad to say that I won’t be able to buy everyone a gift or cook everyone a meal, but I will say thanks to God every time I pray and every time I think about each of you. I will try my best to smile and give you all a hug as often as I can and express my appreciation to you as best I can.
For anyone who does not attend my church, please show your love and appreciation for your pastor, not just this month, but all the time. Love his wife and his family and watch how God will bless you and your church. October is Pastor Appreciation month, so take some time to show it. If you aren’t sure how, I know a bunch of people who are experts at it and can show you anytime.
Thank you!!! The Body, A Church for Anybody!!! Your pastor appreciates you!!!

October 12, 2012

Date Night

by pastortimfowler

Being married for 32 years and pastor of a growing and busy church and playing host to an international teenager and having grandkids all would seem to be a dream come true for most people. For the most part it is for me too. But it cramps my style a bit when it comes to date night with my favorite wife. In case you don’t know, she is an incredibly gorgeous woman and dating her has been one of my favorite activities from the first day that we met. We try to date as often as possible because it is fun and keeps the romance alive. She loves taking me out in public and showing off her “trophy husband” and then telling all of her girlfriends how lucky she is. I love taking her out in public and watching the eyes turn to have a look at her and knowing that I am going to cut the night really short so that I can get her home where only I can look at her.
I want to encourage married couples to date. Not to schedule a time away from kids to go eat, but a time to get dressed up, open doors, turn heads, flirt, and get a good nights sleep…Right. We need to have fun as married people. Life gets really busy, really fast, and really often and this can cause the romantic fires to dwindle down to nothing but a pile of ashes if we are not careful. It doesn’t have to totally depend on date nights, but they sure do stir the embers. Getting dressed up as if you wanted to impress the other person and then walking around in public and holding hand and sneaking a kiss or an accidental touch here or there makes you remember that you use to do this a lot and you enjoyed it.
I am very fortunate that my wife and I know how to enjoy ourselves without date nights. Like many of you, a busy lifestyle makes date nights few and sometimes far in between. But we still sit around and flirt across the living room and hold hands around the house and she still tries to cop an accident touch of my butt while I get a Diet Mtn. Dew from the fridge. We flirt on Facebook and send texts that say silly things like “oh baby you sure look good in those cut off gym pants” and “what the heck is that in your hair?” We know that being married is much more that flirting and romance, but one thing we are really good at is flirting and romance. Yes, she is a lucky woman and I am a great husband.
Last night we got away for a date night and it was just as much fun as the first date we ever had. The only difference was that I knew I had enough money to put gas in the car and I knew that when we got home, I didn’t have to meet her dad. Other than that, we looked good, we had fun, flirted, and neither of us can wait until the next time we go out for date night.
Proverbs 5:18-19
18 Let your own fountain be blessed, and enjoy the girl you married when you were young,
19 a loving doe and a graceful deer. Always let her breasts satisfy you. Always be intoxicated with her love.
I would want to disobey God’s word now, would I? And you shouldn’t either. Date again and again and again.

October 10, 2012

What Are You Doing?

by pastortimfowler

I am very blessed to be serving in a church where people “get it”. Last week, many of those who serve in our children’s ministry and greeter ministry as well as our music ministry were away on Sunday and yet the church did not fall to pieces. The reason is that others did not hesitate to step up and fill in where needed. Every Sunday our church functions in ways that I can only describe as incredible. For a church our size, we do more than other churches two and three times our size do and this is a testament to the people who attend.
Sure there are those who have not found their place yet and there are others who have not found the motivation yet and there are still those who don’t care yet, but they are few and they are being taught otherwise. I always ask people what are they doing and if they say nothing or I don’t know, I try to find them something to do. You see, we want people who act like the own the place not members who think that they deserve a staff to meet their every need. This is how God wants us to view the church. In fact we are told that we are God’s building blocks in the church and that we are His co-workers in building the church. There is no place in the Bible that teaches us to join in membership with privileges.
I don’t know where you attend or if you attend a church on Sunday morning. If you are attending somewhere, are you serving? Do you have a reason to be there outside of “doing your weekly sacrifice to God”? If you don’t show up, do people miss you? If you didn’t find someone to fill in, would things go undone? Every church member should evaluate their importance in the church as workers and not attenders. We are to let our good works shine before others and glorify God. If you don’t have a place to get involved, perhaps all you need to do is ask. But if you are told there is nothing needed, try picking up trash that no one else will or sprucing up the bathrooms just before church starts or maybe do something as simple as greeting everyone with a smile and a friendly “hello”.
If you don’t go to church and you are thinking about it, look for a place that has needs. Look for a place that you can offer to use your talents and then get involved. It will make getting to know others and getting to know God a lot easier. It will help you to feel needed and wanted and you might even help others who would not attend because of something you are willing to do that “regular” church people won’t, don’t, and haven’t thought about doing.
Make it your priority to be missed if you aren’t there. Train others to do what you do and do it better than anyone else. Serve God with the gifts and talents that He gave you and you will find joy and satisfaction at whatever church you attend. I know that as a pastor I sure do appreciate those who get involved in serving at my church. We are growing and new folks are coming every week. I would love to say it is because the pastor is such an awesome dude, but, I don’t need too. I mean, I am only doing my part. Others are the ones who make it the friendly and welcoming place where they feel safe and excited about bringing their friends and family.
If your pastor hasn’t asked you lately, then let me…What are you doing?

October 9, 2012

Prove It

by pastortimfowler

évidence

Proof- evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true.
Last night in our men’s Bible study we talked about proof of God. We were mixed on whether or not you can prove that God exists. I say no you can’t. But, you also can’t prove that He doesn’t exist. This all started as we were talking about evidence and particularly the verse in the Bible that says that faith is the evidence of things hoped for and the substance of things unseen, (Heb. 11:1) We were actually studying from Paul’s 2nd letter to the church in Corinth and he was telling them that Christians need to live their lives as if we believe in this unseen God and therefore provide evidence of His existence to those who don’t believe.
Sadly the most common statement made about Christians by those who are not Christians is the we are hypocrites. Not a great witness if we are trying to provide proof of God. We tell people about a God that loves them and provides for them and is our source of happiness and complain at the first hint of trouble in our lives. We tell people who God has blessed us with a great job but don’t give from the money that the God-given job provides. We say that God made our lives better but are the first ones to post on Facebook how miserable we are at work, school, with our relationship to others. We tell people that we pray to a God that answers us and yet we have no idea what answer we got because our prayers are basically, “Bless them”.
Years ago a man wrote a song called Amazing Grace. Now there is evidence of God. Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see. We need to live like we have been saved. We need to live like we have been found. We need to live like we received our sight. We need to live like we use to be something that now we are not.
Because we are not made perfect in the flesh there will always be some hypocritical ways left in us. But those need to decrease with time and while we are struggling with this new-found grace, we need to allow God’s grace to cover us. We need to be able to tell others through our actions that God is changing us and let the words be reflective of our actions.
We will never be able to prove that God exists at least in the sense of being able to touch and see Him. We can only offer evidence as we discover Him through the truth of the Bible and put those truths into practice. If the evidence we present is contaminated with lies and inconsistencies then it will be hard to convince others that God is anything more than Santa or the Easter Bunny. But if we live our lives with integrity and true change that comes from God’s strength and words, then over time, as the evidence continues to mount up, people will have no choice but to weigh the evidence and find that the evidence is overwhelming, and the only verdict that can be rendered is that of, yes, there is a God.
How does your life as a Christian present the evidence? Is it convicting enough that you live like you believe it in order for others to begin to believe too?

October 8, 2012

Politics And Friends

by pastortimfowler

Politics Balloons

Politics can really put a strain on relationships. It makes me wonder if we shouldn’t put a bit of thought into what is happening in our politics, or better yet, in our friendships, if we can become so divided over something like an election.
I have really tried to avoid voicing my political opinions very adamantly because I know that it would strain some relationships with some of my friends. It has already cost me one or two Facebook friends, which obviously were not real friends, because I either responded to something they said or they did not like what I said. Sadly, we can allow politics to interfere with friendships when they are rarely why we became friends to begin with.
Have we forgotten that as Americans we all have freedom of speech? It seems as if one side is always trying to make the other side sound as if they are anti-American or even bigoted if their opinion differs. But the beauty of America is that we all have the right to say what we think. Yes, even bigots can voice their opinion and I can’t do anything about it. I can lobby against their cause and I can vote against their candidate, but I cannot stop them from saying what they want to say, and yes, they can call me names too.
Isn’t friendship stronger than politics though? What makes your friendship strong is a relationship. That makes me wonder what kind of relationship we think that we have if an election season and ruin friendships? Facebook friends for the most part are not really friendships. I am talking about people whom we know or at least thought that we knew for some period of time. This precious bond of friendship is supposed to be one of respect and mutual admiration. We are supposed to know more about our friends than what pages they like and what pictures they share on a web-page. We should know what their deep-rooted beliefs are. Do they think that wealth should be redistributed or do they feel like they should be able to keep the money they earn and give to charity as desire? Do they believe that life is a precious gift from God and it begins at conception or do they feel like a woman can do whatever she wants with something that is within her own body? Do they feel like marriage is already defined or needs to be redefined? But do these things really make a friendship?
You know what surprises me? These things are rarely talked about when two friends get together for a lunch or game of cards or to watch a movie. These things are important, but most people don’t meet at political rallies to begin friendships. most friendships begin in school or on the golf course or at a kid’s soccer game. Most friendships are formed with the idea that you like that person for who they are, not what political views they have. And, these friendships should last even when you find out that he is a Republican and you are not or she is a liberal and you are not.
Some of my best friends hold vastly different political views than I do. I have known that for a long time and though they are wrong for disagreeing with me, (haha), we work together, play together, laugh together, cry together, and yes, we attend the same church together. We do this because politics is not the driving force behind our relationship. We can be different and still like each other. We can hold views that are very polarizing in the political world and not let it cause our friendship to suffer. Different is not always wrong and even if it is, how will you ever change someone’s mind if you don’t like them as a person?
America is a beautiful place where people from every walk of life can live together and voice their opinions and still love each other as fellow Americans. We can work together and play together and vote opposite of each other and at the end of the day, still be friends. If you can’t do this, perhaps you should evaluate who you call friends and what a true friend really is. Perhaps you should decide if politics is more important than a friend and if so, be prepared to live a lonely life. Politicians will say whatever it takes to get your vote, a friend will doesn’t care about your vote, whoever it is for, they care about you.