Posts tagged ‘fairness’

July 5, 2012

Freedom Fading

by pastortimfowler

US Flag

I love our country. As yesterday celebrated the birth of our freedom, I couldn’t help but get a bit nostalgic. I served in the US Navy for nine years and come from a family where my dad was a twenty year Navy vet. From the time I was a child, I was taught to love our country and its freedoms. Standing at a baseball game while the National Anthem played, removing my hat and placing it over my heart was a regular event in my childhood. We would go to cemeteries and place American flags on the graves of veterans for patriotic holidays like the 4th of July. In elementary school I got to be the one to raise and lower the flag and was selected because my dad had taught me the proper way to fold it.
The freedom that we have here was earned and won on the battlefields through the years. Freedom does not come without a price and that price is a high one. But men and women from the beginning of our country’s founding have thought it worth paying whatever price needed to secure it. Every generation has those who question the times and fear that freedom is fading. Our founding fathers put many layers of protection into the documents of our government to help protect what had been won and to remind each generation of the fragile nature of freedom.
Today we are experiencing many things that threaten our freedom. People who use this freedom to fight against free markets and religion don’t realize that if they are successful, they could lose the very freedom of speech that they are using to fight what they disagree about. The attack on our free market society is one that scares me. The demonizing of people who own companies that hire good, hard-working Americans is counter-productive to our freedom. The idea that if you work hard and achieve the American dream of owning a business and having it be successful is somehow made to seem wrong. Instead, we are being force-fed that our country is about fairness rather than freedom. And, somehow we are supposed to think that fairness means taking what someone worked for and giving it to someone who does not work? I am confused.
I also worry about how our schools and local government make anti-American laws and policies. I am always hearing about cities and communities who won’t allow the flag to be displayed, even on the graves of veterans. Or schools that don’t allow the pledge of allegiance or patriotic shirts because they might offend those who are here illegally. That flag represents a country that loves those who come here for help and offer opportunity for all who are willing to work hard and legally to make a better life. Our schools are a place to teach children how to read and do math and science and to grow up to be productive members of a society of free people. Nothing is offensive about that and pledging to support our country and our freedom is not a bad thing. If we quit supporting what this country stands for, we won’t have people coming here for freedom…duh!
Religion is another place that I feel our freedom is being threatened. Yes, I am a Christian. I am a pastor and I have a personal attachment to this part of freedom. I guess the two areas that I feel most threatened from freedom of religion standpoint it the way we are being told that separation of church and state is a constitutional issue. It is not. That phrase is not in the constitution; read it for yourself. This is what the constitution says about religion and government: The constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Separation of church and state was a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, talking about the intrusion of government into church business and how unconstitutional it was. Government is not to intrude in religion, not vice-versa. All legal citizens are free to participate in whatever level they chose in our government, no matter their religious beliefs.
Secondly, I feel freedom threatened by the bending over backward of our government to accommodate the Muslim religion and even to allow a perverted part of that belief, Sharia law, to override our countries laws, in some cases. Nothing against that faith, but that perversion of that faith allows for the killing of many people, including Christians. How can our government work so hard to suppress Christianity, which is responsible for more charity work all over the world than any other organization, and promote, often through silence, or making of special exceptions, a religion that kills those who don’t believe their way? I know these are isolated cases, but this is a serious issue that must be watched.
I am not in a panic mode, but I think that we should take a hard look at how some are attacking freedom. No, it is not a perfect country that we live in, but it is the best country and the most generous country in the world. I was happy to celebrate its independence yesterday and look forward to continuing the annual celebration. Freedom can only fade if we let it. Let freedom shine brightly for the world to see!

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April 11, 2012

What Does That Word Mean?

by pastortimfowler

I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to people using words that don’t mean what they think it does or perhaps they have no clue what they mean but they are trying to sound smart. I had a professor one time use the word flabbergasted as he was trying to tell us how good it would feel to be healed completely after you met Jesus. I thought the word meant something negative but it was in fact proper use of it because it means to be overcome with astonishment.
There are lots of words that people use because they hear them on TV or in a song or in a conversation. The word surreal is one that I hear a lot and I don’t think it is always used properly. I hear it in about every interview on the news when something happens that people think is special. It may be close, but not what the intent of the word is supposed to be. I have a friend who got in the habit of using the word phenomenal. Everything that was better than normal was phenomenal, but if that was so, then nothing would really be phenomenal.
Lately there is a word used by our president that bothers me. It is not a hard word, but I don’t think he is using it correctly; fair. The word fair means free from bias and so how can you tax someone more than others for any reason and call it fair? Usually it is used when talking about the rich not paying their fair share. But how can anything be fair if there is bias based on income? What about those of us who don’t have minor children? We pay more in taxes than someone who make the same wages who has minor children. Is that fair? And my biggest question of all is who elected anyone for the purpose of telling me how much of my money I need to give them to spend on fairness?
If you want to be fair, perhaps we should use a standard percentage for everyone to pay no matter how much they earn. 20%, and that is not the amount I am suggesting, would be the same percentage for someone who make $10,000 per year or $10,000,000 per year. That would be fair. And forget about deductions for children or houses or anything else, just pay your percentage and it will be fair.
There are very few things in this world that are fair. I find fairness in the Bible. God says that all believers should give 10% of their income. No matter if that is a penny or millions of dollars, 10% is the standard and it is fair. It teaches that everyone is a sinner in need of forgiveness. Everyone will have to either die for their sins or accept Jesus’ death for their sins. That is fair. Anyone can be forgiven, no matter the sin or amount of sins and the fair thing that God requires is that everyone ask to be forgiven believing that Jesus died for our sins. God has no favorites and it is not His will that even one soul perish, but that all should come to know His great love and forgiveness. That is surreal. That is flabbergasting. It is phenomenal. It is fair.

November 16, 2011

Please Keep Winning

by pastortimfowler

Congratulations to Coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils for becoming the all time most winning coach in NCAA basketball history. Last night his team won the 903rd game of his coaching career and that number will only get higher as this season progresses, unless we start being more fair. After all, it is not fair that his team wins so much when there are so many other teams that are not doing as well.
There seems to be a more defined line between winning and losing teams these days. Winning teams always have more points and losing teams always have less. It just isn’t fair. I would like to see the NCAA put some new rules in place to fix this. They need to find a way to take points from the team that is scoring more and give them to the teams who are scoring less. This will make it much more equal and fair and everyone will be happy.
Right now there is a terrible injustice going on in college basketball. Teams like Duke are manipulating the system by using money and their continued winning year after year to unfairly entice better players to their team, thus keeping the worse teams stuck in a losing way. These other teams will never be able to compete as long as Duke is allowed to keep all the points that their players score. That is why I would like to see point equality rules put in place to even the playing field. Here is how that could work.
If Duke is playing a team that is not capable of beating them, and we know they can’t because we will continually tell them that they can’t so soon that will quit trying, that team will get the first 36% of the points that Duke scores. Now this other team should not worry about practice anymore either because this system will fix the inequalities. If that 36% is not enough for the other team to tie, and that is all we really want is for everyone to be the same, then for every basket Duke scores, the points will be divided according to how much the NCAA decides it is needed. Also if the other teams players should decide not to play anymore because of this unfairness, then Duke’s players should be made to finish the game for the other team.
We will also need to address the height thing too. Many players on other teams are not as tall as Duke’s players. This in not fair. Players who are less fortunate than those tall players should have options to make things fair too. Short players should be able to either lower the goal that they are shooting at, use a ladder that is wheeled to them, preferably by a Duke player, use a trampoline to provide extra height of his jumps, or it would just be easier for Duke’s players not to be able to try to block their shots and all the previous mentioned suggestions be available if necessary.
Duke will not be exempt from practicing hard and spending their money to provide top coaches and facilities even if most of their points are taken away. They will need to practice harder and score even more points to maintain the level needed to attract top players and staff to their program. Duke will be responsible for trying to keep the stands full of fans and the networks broadcasting the games even if the other teams don’t try. Remember it is not their fault that Duke is so good and they stink. Basketball has become unfairly controlled by corrupt winners of games and championships.
As far as Coach K’s winning record, that will need to be dealt with too. There are coaches who will never attain that many wins because Coach K is a fat-cat coach. His wins need to be stripped from him and given to coaches who have never coached in the NCAA or are getting fired for not winning any games. This is largely due to “Big Basketball” like Duke winning so that others can not. Perhaps Coach K should be fired and his wins taken and redistributed and a less fortunate “wannabe” coach put in his place to help make things fair.
Fairness and equality will make basketball a game that anyone can play and all teams compete at the same level. Although TV revenue will drop dramatically due to the predictable outcome of every game, money will be taken from other more successful programming that is unfairly being watched.
Coach K…PLEASE KEEP WINNING!

August 19, 2011

A Job Well Done

by pastortimfowler

The other day I talked with someone about why they need to stay on their job. It was hard to believe that they were even considering quitting a job in this economy. They wanted to quit because they did not like anything about the job. The people were difficult to work with, the pay was lousy, the job was difficult, and the hours were unpredictable. That has to be tough, but is there a positive twist you can put on it?
First, from the standpoint of the economy, we could all probably give an account of someone we know that does not have a job and can’t find one. Few places are hiring and those who are have so many applicants that they can be very picky over who they hire. Many people are looking for any job, and that means employers can set the highest of standards. Add to that the number of people who are applying for these few jobs and it is tough. Quitting a job now is a recipe for even harder times if you do not have another job to transfer into.
Second, let me share a biblical point of view. This will be fun, so read on.
God gave you that job. Rejoice and be glad in it. He said that He would meet our needs not our wants. Perhaps God wants us to show faithfulness in the small things before He gives us the big things. The workplace today needs to see what a good work ethic is. It would be a great witness, to those who don’t believe, to see a Christian work hard and honor those in authority. People need to hear and see that our actions match up. They need to see that we believe that good things come from God and a job of any type right now is a good thing.
Sometimes we forget that the strongest witness we can give to others is in our workplace. Another time is when we are going through a struggle. Combine the two and there is a real opportunity to let our faith shine. We live in a world that promotes a victim mind-set. People really believe that life should be fair and I have never found that to be true. The only two things that are fair in life is the fact that we all face judgement, the same judgement, for our sins and God through Jesus Christ forgives us, any of us, if we ask. Other than that, fairness is only equal to the opportunity that is in front of us not the results of it. If fairness is what was important, it would only be fair that a blind man could drive a car on our interstates and I could be a brain surgeon even though I know nothing about it. I mean, it just isn’t fair that I don’t get to do what I want, is it?
I believe that God puts us in various situations to see if we remember to honor Him in all things, not just the stuff we think is good. Difficult work means a chance to test our perseverance. Those people who are so hard to work with may need to see Jesus in you. You may be that only example of Jesus that they will see. Low pay means a chance to practice good stewardship and faith that God will provide. Unpredictable hours mean a chance to be ready to share our faith in season and out of season.
Let me leave you with this example of someone who had a tough job, with tough people to work with, unreasonable hours, and their pay sucked. His name is Jesus.
He was hired to work with fishermen and tax collectors. He left Heaven to work on earth during a tougher time that we know now. He was on call 24/7 and never got the pay that He deserved. No matter how hard He tried, people turned on Him and ended up firing Him from His job in a most cruel way. All the time He never quit, never gave up, and never stopped honoring God. In return, many were saved, He is the example for all to follow, and God said, “A job well done!”