What is Really Responsible for Orlando?

The cause of the shooting in Orlando is SIN. The cause of all the mass shootings – and not so massive shootings – is SIN.

Taking guns away from law-abiding citizens will not erase anybody’s sin nature. If ALL guns are gone, then man in his ingenuity will find other ways to kill. He already has quite a track record in that regard.

God made man with the ability to think and create. Mankind has used these gifts in deplorable manners.

Let’s pray for those who were injured in Orlando and the families who lost loved ones.

Let’s pray for revival.

Let’s pray for the police, medical personnel, chaplains, and others reaching out to help in this heinous situation.

Advertisements

A Political Aside

This post did not go up when I scheduled it. Maybe better late than never.

It has been a while since I posted a political piece. So, here we go. Before I began what will basically be a rant, let me ask you to:

pray that I’m wrong.

In the Bible book of Daniel chapter 5  we read of Belshazzar, King of Babylonia who was holding a big banquet. During the banquet he saw a human finger write a message on the wall. That message was mene, mene, tekel, parson.  Try as he might, Belshazzar could not find a wise man or astrologer who could interpret this. Then the queen suggested he call upon Daniel, a Jewish exile. Daniel interpreted the inscription. It was not positive. In fact, the king died that very night.

Well, I believe that the handwriting is on the wall for the upcoming presidential election in the U.S. I believe that I can interpret it – and it’s not good.

thI believe the election is over. It’s rigged and the winner is already determined. Consider this. There have been one caucus and one primary so far. On the Democrat side, Bernie Sanders has come out of the two events with a tie Decided by flipping a coin six times) and a decisive win. Yet he is very far behind in the delegate count. I haven’t even described the “coin-toss victory” of Hillary Clinton in Iowa. There were six tosses to decide the winner, and she won each of them. How likely is that? Well, according to one political blog,

We find that the percentage odds of correctly calling the outcome of 6 coin tosses exactly 6 times by chance is 1.56%, or rather, the odds are that this exact outcome will occur by chance just once in 64 opportunities.

Which is also to say that there was a 98.44% chance that this outcome would not occur by chance.

It seems fixed; rigged; settled. OK, so the Democrats, by means of “Super Delegates” choose Hillary to be their candidate. What of the general election? There is another party,  after all, isn’t there? The Democrat machine seems to have many tools in its arsenal to take care of that as well. Consider these factors:

  • The liberal Media (Is that redundant?)
  • Illegal voters (Illegal aliens, dead voters, and multiple ballot voters)
  • Democrat-dependent voters (Keep them fat and happy; give them a ride to the polls; give them a new phone and EBT card)
  • The Republican Party acting like the church (being divisive and shooting their wounded)

The Democrats are not going to leave this election up to the legitimate voters and the Supreme Court as they were forced to do in 2000 with the Bush-Gore race being decided by the justices. They cannot afford to be legit, especially with a Supreme Court seat likely to be waiting to be filled.

So, will the Democrat machine thwart God’s will? As the Apostle Paul was wont to answer to many a question (usually posed by himself), μει  γενοιτω. This is variously translated: “may it never be”, “God forbid,” and “No way.” Romans 13, verse 1 states, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” In 1 Peter 2, verses 13-15, we likewise read,

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor  as supreme,  or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

God institutes the authorities. Governors are sent by Him.

Be not fooled, friends. No matter how this election turns out, God is still in charge. He has a plan – and it may be time for punishment for the arrogant nation known as the United States of America.

I predict that Hillary has already won.

PLEASE PRAY THAT I AM WRONG.

Contest Finalist – Part Two

As I posted last week, Sandra and I had quite a bit of success in a writing contest sponsored by the group Almost an Author (A3). Here is the text of the second piece which earned me the finalist award. It was in the category of “article.” ENJOY.

Fresh 2015 Voice

We Can’t Go Back

I’m at the age when various groups of which I’ve been a part are planning and/or holding reunions. I’m not much of a reunion — or nostalgia — fan. I’ve only ever been to two reunion events. The first took place more than ten years ago. It was not a school reunion, however. It was a gathering of former crew members of the USS Georgetown, the ship on which I served more than fifty  years ago, when I was on active duty with the U.S. Navy.

We old fogies had a good time. We wore nametags, because some of us had changed just slightly. We watched some grainy super 8 movies, mostly having to do with our antics when we crossed the equator together. We sat there in amazement, wondering who those slim young men on the screen were — and where they’ve gone. We all spent time visiting with one another and walking around Key West, a port of call with which we were all familiar — decades ago.

Key West has changed, just as I and my shipmates have changed. We all got older, raised families, and did other things that are pretty normal. Most of our families are grown now, and some of the wives aren’t the same ones with whom some of the guys started out married life. Key West went from a sleepy town with a Navy base to one of the premier tourist destinations in the country.

You can’t go back.

Most of us realized we were not going to relive the days of our youth by visiting Key West. Our bodies wouldn’t have handled it if we had tried. I have come face to face with this realization numerous times in the past few years.

A few years back I took my youngest daughter to visit the city in which I had grown up and the high school from which I had graduated (fast forward a few more years and I attended another reunion – the 50th anniversary of my graduation from that same school!). The reality was somewhat shocking. None of the houses in which I had lived were still standing. The school had bars on the windows and doors — and probably hadn’t been swept since I graduated. My daughter grew to have a better understanding of the socio-economic background from which I have emerged. I learned a few things, too.

You can’t go back.

It’s good to have memories — and it’s important to actually think about creating memories as we go along in life. It’s good to remember both the good and the bad in our own biographies. The good we can improve upon. The bad, perhaps, we can learn from. But we can’t change any of it.

The most important change in my life since “the old days” was one over which I had no control. For His own reasons, God chose me to be one of His own. In 1978, a dozen years after I separated from the navy, I was enlisted in God’s army. Now I am on a career path which leads to eternal life.

I don’t want to go back.

Fortunately, we can alter our present and our future. I was reminded, more than once, while in Key West, that I could easily have been voted “least likely to succeed,” if they voted on such things aboard the Georgetown. I drank hard and fought often and generally kept myself in trouble. Shipmates told me they are surprised at “how well I’ve turned out.”

Me too!

When I left the Navy, I went to college; not because of a thirst for knowledge, but because the G.I. Bill gave me money to do so. My attitude and my behavior didn’t change much. But things are very different now. God has ordered my steps. He has allowed me to have the kinds of background and experiences and education which some people find helpful. His hand has been obvious in my life. Just when I thought I was going to sneak off to Maine and become a semi-retired type, a congregation recruited me to be its pastor. I have been called upon to use skills and education for which God had prepared me, but which I have scarcely used in the past few years. And I have plenty to share with these people to whom He sent me.

Then I “retired” from that congregation in Maine and lived and ministered in Prague, Czech Republic.

You can’t go back. I really wouldn’t want to, but it is fun reminiscing about “the good old days.” We just can’t live there. We have to move on.

We of the USS Georgetown talked about the next reunion. It never happened. I guess once was enough. I enjoyed that reunion, but I’m glad to be back in the present. There’s never a dull moment in the adventure.

By the way, I also can’t go back and visit the USS Georgetown. It was decommissioned in 1969. My understanding is that it was sold as scrap metal to the Gillette company. Maybe I shaved with part of it this morning!

Contest News, Oh My!

In January my wife and I entered a writing contest. There were several categories in which to enter. I sent pieces in for the “flash fiction” and “articles” bracketsFresh 2015 Voice. Lo and behold, I was a finalist in each of those two categories! There were only two finalists and the winner announced. As a matter of fact, Sandra, also was a finalist in the two groups she had entered, “devotionals,” and “articles.” The only two finalists in the Articles grouping were Curt Lovelace and Sandra Lovelace. My award is proudly displayed here. Here is the really funny part. I do not write fiction! This was just something I put together out of the blue one day and Sandra encouraged me to enter it into this contest. Below is the flash fiction piece. Next week I’ll share the article. Let me know what you think.

 

To The “Old Sod”

The tide rolled in, as tides will inexorably do. Bob sat on a rock looking across at where he imagined Ireland to be. He’d never been to that land of his ancestors. Heck, he’d never been anywhere except New England. “I don’t even have a passport.” He thought. But, he dreamed of Ireland.

At 32 years old, Bob had a stable and mostly enjoyable job. He was an engineer. “Engineers don’t dream fanciful dreams,” he told himself. But, he dreamed of Ireland. He was not interested in a short visit. No, Bob wanted to go all in. He wanted to move to the “Old Sod.” He knew the history. He knew the geography. He’d heard Larry Cunningham sing “Lovely Leitrim” hundreds of times. He longed to see Loch Allen and watch the Shannon waters flow.

It would be irresponsible to just pack up and leave, wouldn’t it? He would leave behind his family and his friends, the familiar places, the girl with whom a relationship just might bloom. He knew he could get a job. He’d already checked online. Engineers can get jobs.

On Monday morning, Bob was at the Post Office in Portland where he made out his passport application. He even paid the extra $60 for expedited service. He’d made up his mind. He was going. He was moving to Ireland. There was no need to dawdle now. Having taken the day off from work and made a list, Bob went about his business, his exciting business. Bob was moving to Ireland.

Next Bob went to his bank and made sure of the procedure for transferring his savings to an Irish bank once he was settled. As a single, employed, unattached engineer, Bob had accumulated a sizeable amount of savings. He made sure his ATM card would work in the Republic of Ireland.

Being an engineer, of course, Bob had a plan as well as his list. He’d already checked Ireland’s website for entry requirements. He needed no visa. He could make arrangements for a stay longer than three months once he arrived and settled. He had already booked airline tickets on Aer Lingus. He was flying to Shannon Airport in one month. A room was booked at a bed and breakfast in Carrick-on-Shannon for two weeks. He had signed on with an engineering head-hunter. He was already getting job possibilities.

“I’m moving to Ireland,” Bob exulted. Now he needed to resign from his job, with good references, he assumed. Then he’d dispose of his belongings, give notice to his landlord, and begin the series of goodbye parties that would undoubtedly ensue. He was on his way.

Three months later, winter had come to Galway. The temperature was near freezing. A slight rain was falling. Bob loved it. Secure in his new lodgings and his stable and enjoyable job. He was happy. “I did it. I moved to Ireland,” he mused. It hadn’t been entirely easy. There had been some difficult periods in the transition and he still had to go through the legalities of long-term residence. But, he was beginning to enjoy a new circle of friends and he’d already had a visit from his lady friend who still lived in Boston. Guinness was better when it was fresh. Bob was home.

The tide rolled out, as tides will inexorably do. Bob sat on a rock in Galway Bay and looked westward, imagining the rocky coast of Maine – and smiled.

© Curt Lovelace, 2015

We interrupt this blog…

10 from Dock

From our dock one can see the beach and the house. Notice how clear the water is.

…to share this important message (at least it’s important to us). Some of you may be aware that Sandra and I have put our home on Loon Pond in Maine on the market. We have created a website to showcase this lakefront property. I show it here because, even if you don’y have an interest in it, you may know someone who would like a place on a lake. Please feel free to pass this around.

11 fall trees (1)

This could be your view. This photo is taken from our sandy beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see the whole story and more photos, please click here or go to https://lakefrontretreat.wordpress.com.

Church Culture III

We’ve been looking at an overall picture of general culture. There is a lot to be learned about popular culture by looking at the signs and the bumper stickers that people display

There are academic studies on bumper sticker culture. For some they just let us know where they recently vacationed. For others they describe a worldview. Of course we have the whole “I (heart)…” series. Here are some more:

  • 38Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway.
  • No Matter Where You Go, There You Are.
  • My Child Can Beat Up Your Honor Student.
  • Don’t Laugh – Your Daughter Might Be In Here. (On Old Truck)
  • Stamp Out Crime – Abolish the IRS
  • Dare to keep the CIA off Drugs.
  • Just say no to sexist Pro-Lifers.
  • My Other Car is a Broom.
  • Quit Sniveling.
  • Have You Flogged Your Crew Today?
  • Husbands Are Proof That Women Have a Sense of Humor.
  • Forget the Whales, Save the Cowboy.
  • Eat American Lamb. Ten Million Coyotes Can’t be Wrong.
  • “If You Call Some Animals Pets, How Can You Call Other Animals Dinner?”
  • Old Skiers Never Die. They Just go Downhill.
  • Money Isn’t Everything, But it Sure Keeps the Kids In Touch.
  • Happiness is the Ball in the Fairway.
  • Have You Hugged Your Stockbroker Today?
  • My Karma just ran over your Dogma.
  • My Mother was a Travel Agent for Guilt Trips
  • Hug Your Kids at Home and Belt Them in the Car.
  • I brake for Hallucinations.
  • Illiterate? Call This Number for Help…
  • Welcome to Colorado – Now Go Home
  • If You Love Jesus Tithe – Any Fool Can Honk
  • I’m OK. You’re So-So.
  • Will Rogers Never Met Howard Cosell.
  • Use Caution in Passing – Driver Chewing Tobacco
  • If Men Could Have Abortions, It Would Be a Sacrament
  • Your Mother’s Choice was Pro-Life.
  • Don’t Honk – I’m Pedaling as Fast as I Can
  • If You Can Read This Bumper Sticker, You’re In Range

And Finally, “Help Stamp Out Bumper Stickers.”

That’s an overview on culture. It’s an interesting and rich subject. We’ve only scratched the surface. Next time we start looking at what this has to do with the church.

Church Culture II

Aspects of Culture – There are many aspects of culture both in society as a whole and in smaller groups such as corporations, social clubs, and churches. Here I take a look at just a few of these items and how they relate to society in general. How do these cultural maters affect the church?

  • Language – One of the most obvious aspects of culture, and one which is often the most sensitive. French have a gov’t bureau to protect theirs; we have a constant issue about English as national language; Canada has areas where signs must be in French – no English allowed. The church, of course, has its own vocabulary.
  • Art and literature – Very often the morality of a nation is seen through its art and literature, including music. Especially, but not exclusively, music has been an ongoing battlefield for many churches over the past twenty years or so.
  • Technology – Very often our obsession with our technologies will say a lthot about our culture. During the decades of the Soviet Empire, their only technological growth was in those areas which provided military applications, including the launch of Sputnik in 1955. Other areas suffered (medicine, agriculture, etc). How does your congregation employ technology?
  • Dress – How people dress does help to give understanding to the moral health of a nation – or congregation. My wife refers to the church as the “mudroom to heaven.” How do we dress as we prepare to enter the church? How does the pastor/preacher/presenter/facilitator (we see a cultural issue right there) dress?
  • Law – Homosexual marriage; state-sponsored gambling; marijuana laws all affect the entire nation and conflict many church groups. How does the church relate to the society? This affects the internal workings of the church, not just its relationship with the culture-at-large.
  • Relationships – How we treat one another. Battle of the sexes – at the same time as the sexual revoltion. Hip Hop demeaning women; racial tensions continue. Do these attitudes get carried into your congregation?
  • Communication – How do we communicate? Important field of studies with departments at many major universities. The big publication in this field was “The Medium is the Message” by Marshall McLuhan (though it was many years ago). He introduced the idea of a global village as a result of communication technology (like the fax machine. This was the 1960s. Anything by McLuhan is worth reading, BTW. He actually coined the term “media.” This is one of the most fascinating aspects of culture to me. It is very important in the culture of the church. How do we communicate with one another?