Saturday, June 27, 2015

Wait for it. Wait for it....

 My View Today

+* The conduct of the republican party in this nomination is a remarkable indication of small intellect, growing smaller. They pass over . . . statesmen and able men, and they take up a fourth rate lecturer, who cannot speak good grammar.  

Ah, the times they are again a-changin' - and for better or worse depending on your beliefs, as the U.S. approaches another presidential election, November 2016.

Recent Supreme Court decisions have disappointed many. The abandonment of centuries of fact and law  about marriage as God created and established it. . . I found to be the most difficult to hear. 

The recent massacre of nine Christians at a historically black church--during a Bible study and prayer meeting--in Charleston, SC, was horrifying news only days earlier. It stirred up the usual reaction to grief, to find a subject to run to, in this cases the racism debate. Yet, my ears rejoiced upon hearing how the church and surviving families, with a judge's help, quickly poured cold water on any spark of revenge and hate: "We are people of faith," they said. Their living faith saved a city, I believe. Ferguson and Baltimore needed such outspoken people of God.  

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) tries to change the meaning of marriage--an insult to beliefs of biblical Christians, Tanakh Jews, moderate Muslims, and others.  The SCOTUS unwillingness to allow unborn human life into the human rights arena is another example. We wait, work, and pray--for it will depend on prayer--for that change which, I believe, will come during or after my earthly lifetime.   

I read somewhere recently that what one generation or flow of generations sees as being good often gets a different reading in later light of day. As this happened in the Dred Scott case, many Americans pray and work for it to happen regarding unborn human life and marriage as it has been defined since the beginning of time and for the good of centuries of civilization. 

The White House was lit up last night in palette colors to reflect the president's approval of the SCOTUS marriage opinion. It was the night after I saw a movie about the White House being gunned, bombed, and claimed by terrorists. I reminded myself after the movie that the White House was almost destroyed by enemy troops in the 19th century.

Things have always changed in exterior displays.  Some have always tried to rewrite history. 

The point here is that such displays are not new: the later-reversed Dred Scott SCOTUS decision to deny rights and full human citizenship; I think, too, of the record of Booker T. Washington, who ignored criticism that he was not "standing up for his people" and continued his work with white citizens for more black employment after slavery; I think of the inspiring perseverance of people in every kind of life-threatening fight, including the Holocaust and the current terrorist attacks spreading--all remind that nothing of earthly decision or pressure goes on forever, whether legal, moral, or anything else. The gullibility of some and the steadfastness of others makes the difference, one way or another.

Historically, Americans are not a despairing people. We may continue to lose our way for a decade, a century, or centuries; yet, eventually God's strength in today's powerless and weak will gain higher ground for all. It never fails.   

Wait for it. . . the tide appears low now, yet the tide always rises. Human thought and feeling are not dead toward defending faith principles and the laws that grew from the Judeo-Christian faith. The more free speech reflecting traditional beliefs is ridiculed, the lesser the distance to change, to reversing for the better.

I will wait for it, and I will urge grandchildren to wait for it. I will encourage them to hold onto their faith in God and a desire to serve and please God. I will encourage them to shun revenge and anger and patiently to speak their beliefs when and where they want to, and to prepare themselves for flashback.   

Another matter in which I hope to influence others is that when I hold my beliefs--by faith in God and how I understand the age-old, scriptural ways--I do not lack compassion for others, although I hold different views. I refuse to fear accusation, dislike, disapproval, or hatred directed at me because of my beliefs. As the interim pastor of the Charleston, SC, church said, "We (Christ-followers) are different." We do not retaliate, and we obey God's requirement to forgive. This does not rule out legal justice in our time, if it will come, or divine justice that will, inevitably, come to all--a humbling truth.     

In my view, the only way to resist the temptation to be afraid when accusations come is to make sure of one's beliefs, why they are so, and to forge ahead, secure in one's principles while holding respect for the life of every other human being and his or her right to hold and express--even as you do--their views. This freedom from fear of verbal or physical retribution is under threat today, if not by law then by inference and the flow of public opinion. 

It is only the strong of faith who will, I believe, withstand the pressures to yield to popular opinions of the day.  It is not too late to seek that strength from God. I am thankful for the Supreme Court justices who, this week, refused to bow to the times, the trends, and the politics before them--to hold steady. They did not lose in the very important arena of honor.

You might be interested in reading: New Name for Same-Gender Marriage
+Publisher of quote at top of this post -- *The New York Herald, referring to Abraham Lincoln's nomination by the Republican National Convention for president (May 19, 1860).

The greatness of Napoleon, Caesar or Washington is only moonlight by the sun of Lincoln. His example is universal and will last thousands of years. . . . He was bigger than his country--bigger than all the Presidents together . . . and as a great character he will live as long as the world lives. --Leo Tolstoy, *The World newspaper, New York, 1909.

*Source for New York Herald and The World quotes: Front matter, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2005.

Monday, June 22, 2015

"We are people of faith." - Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, Reacts

Christian Faith

Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, has been at the front of news since it suffered an attack last Wednesday evening. A group was meeting in fellowship to pray and study the Bible with their pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, also a state senator. A visitor in the group sat with them for one hour before drawing out a gun and killing nine people, including the pastor, and critically wounding others.

In reaction, some, including media, worried that the most common recent reactions to such tragedies--protests growing into violence--would be the case; because the congregation of the church is historically black and the attacker who killed on Wednesday night is white. (Investigation into the shooter's behavior showed evidence of racist motivations.)

However, the remaining church members quickly united in a rare example of faith. Amid their pain and the shocking awareness that evil had entered their church in deadly disguise, they chose to rely upon God. The church has called the slain Christians "the Mother Emanuel Nine."

From USA Today online (with video), the words on  Sunday of interim pastor Rev. Norvel Goff:

"A lot of people expected us to do something strange and to break out in a riot. 
Well, they just don't know us. We are people of faith....

"The blood of the Mother Emmanuel Nine requires us to work until not only justice in this case, but for those who are still living in the margin of life, 
those who are less fortunate than ourselves, that we stay on the battlefield 
until there is no more fight to be fought." 

Our nation hungers and thirsts for righteousness, for cleansed hearts in spiritual revival. Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, shows signs of the spark of revival that through the ages has often ignited from events of persecution.