Posts tagged ‘society’

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!

September 26, 2011

Monday is Funday!

by pastortimfowler

Why do we hate Mondays so much? It is almost like on Monday we lose all hope in humanity and ourselves and go into a deep depression. I laugh at the negativity on Facebook and Twitter as people moan and groan about going to work. You would think that just the opposite was happening, that they had found out that they had no job and couldn’t go to work.
As a Christian, I find it so wrong to be this negative, just because it is Monday. I have always thought that we should be the most positive on Monday and if we were going to be negative, it would be somewhere near the end of the week. I think that we have been influenced too much by a society that has become very ungrateful. I think that Christians are too focused on self, instead of others. Let me elaborate.
If you go to church on Sunday and you have an experience that puts you closer to God and His people and you fill up on God’s word and see Him working in people’s lives, shouldn’t we be excited about getting to work Monday? A friend of mine once told me that church was the a pit stop in a race. The race was what happened Monday through Saturday and on Sunday we pulled in for a filling of fuel, refreshing drink, some new traction, and have our windshield cleared. After that, it is back on the track where the race is won. I don’t know about you, but I have never seen a race-car driver not want to get back into the race.
Church people have been too influenced by those around us instead of being the ones who influence. We allow all the negativity of a worldly point of view to cause us to lose our joy and when we lose our joy we are no different that anyone else. We are to be salt that flavors the world and light that brightens the world. We are to be thankful for the blessings we have and joyful for the life God has given us. We are to show hope to the hopeless and love to the unloved. We are supposed to have a relationship with a God that is so awesome that He makes even the worst situations better and yet we hate Mondays.
There is an old song that the church used to sing and it goes like this. Count your blessings. Name them one by one. Count your blessings and you will see what God has done. I don’t think we are counting our blessings much anymore. In this economy, if you are going to work on a Monday, you should be singing God’s praises and not complaining because its Monday. If you have a boss who is a jerk, you should be praising God for the opportunity to show what a difference being a Christian makes by working harder and better than anyone else so that the jerk sees Jesus, not you. If you have a home, and family, and job, your health, a car, your salvation, then you should be smiling all the way to work on Monday and keep on going as Friday rolls around.
Mondays are a great day to see how many people you can tell about how thankful to God that you are to have that job and them as co workers and that you feel extremely blessed to be working when so many are without. If your work is a dark place, turn on the light! If it is a miserable place, spread some joy!
Here is a suggestion for those who are Christians but you still hate Mondays. If you hate going to your job, tell God that you are not appreciative of what He gave you and maybe He will take it away from you so that you can rejoice in unemployment and poverty. Then you can really look forward to Mondays, because it won’t be any different from any other day that you DON’T go to work.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Always be joyful.
17 Never stop praying.
18 Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this.

June 16, 2011

Warm and Fuzzy

by pastortimfowler

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant.
5 It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs.
6 It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.
7 Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never ends.

I am officiating a big wedding this weekend which made me start thinking about love.There are a few famous verses from the Bible that are read at almost every wedding before the vows are taken. I love to read and re-read them as a reminder of what love really is. Unfortunately too many couples enter into a marriage as in love as they will ever be and from that day it is a hopeless journey toward a divorce. It is sad that half of all marriages end in divorce and that doesn’t change among Christians. Maybe we don’t understand true love.
Society tells us that we can date until we find the perfect man or woman. Today there are any number of websites that can scientifically match you up with the perfect mate. We shop for our mates like we shop cars and even trade them in just as frequently. I keep waiting for the “buy here-pay here” wedding chapel to pop up in a neighborhood near you. Why we could even sell extended warranties on your marriage, how cool would that be? Or instead of a purchase we could just lease and have a new spouse every few years! Sound dumb? Well we are already acting like taking our potential spouse for a “test ride” is okay, so why not go all out?
My belief is that we do not fall in love, we fall into lust. We get trapped into focusing on the physical part of the relationship and the only emotions that we pay attention to are the warm fuzzy feelings that we get while dating. And if all that goes well, we move in together as a trial run, and only if we don’t fight too much, then do we even consider the marriage option. And then we decide to walk the aisle and tie the knot and we spend thousands of dollars for that special day all to have some guy in a suit ask you if you promise to take that person for whatever reasons, ’till death do you part. But, we don’t have any idea what we just said and don’t care when the sick, the poor, and the worse come along. All we want is the better, healthy, and rich.
I have been married for 31 years as of this July. I can tell you that I made mistakes before and after we were married, but I can also tell you that one day, we really got it. We realized that life was tough. (That required very little time and effort to figure out.) We realized that making it together was easier than making it alone. We realized that lust had turned to love because God was patient with us so we began to be patient. The love grew because we tried to be kind with patience. We stopped getting jealous because we were kind as we waited for each other to grow. We quit singing our own praises and started singing each others praises as we realized that we had nothing to be jealous about because of that kind person we had grown so patient with. We are still working on not being rude and selfish and irritable and stopped telling each other about the last time we did any of those wrong things because arrogance denies the needs of the other and keeps you from singing their praises and leads to jealousy which isn’t kind or patient. We stopped being happy with winning the fight and started telling the truth more instead of quoting the wrongs and being rude, selfish and irritable.  That helped us to sing each others praises more and led to less jealousy, more kindness and patience became easier. So we never stop being patient, we always believe that our marriage will never end because of hope, and we never give up no matter what life throws our way, because love never ends.
It isn’t easy, but nothing easy is worth much anyway. We still have the lust for each other, but it is fueled by love and only focused on each other. Love never ends because it is alive and grows. Feelings come and go, but love is here to stay. Study the verses in the beginning and grow your love God’s way and you will have plenty of time to be like us…Still, warm and fuzzy after all these years.