This is Us?

I’ve never seen it before.

Reality TV, eh, not really that real.

The news – is it truly factual or is it someone’s opinion?

Then there’s this TV show – called “This is Us.”

It’s been around and it started with a bang.
⁃ Triplets where one of them died at birth.
⁃ Adoption – a baby of color by the white parents who lost a triplet while the other two were healthy.
⁃ Grief, going from 0 kids to 3 kids at once, all of the plethora of emotions all piling on at the same time.

And then it starts this season tonight……
⁃ Impending births (I’m trying to not give too much away)
⁃ 40th birthdays for the three.
⁃ Aging issues for Mom
⁃ Racial tensions between siblings (they aren’t all white)

Overtop of all of this is woven the story of George Floyd’s murder and the riots and protests and Covid and the impact that has. The impact on the “trio” of different racial makeup and the impact on the bigger family, very difficult and very hard to watch.

A conversation with one of Randall’s daughter’s boyfriends illustrates how painful everything that’s going on really is.

Attempts at mending fences inside families – doesn’t happen quickly, happens little by little.

In depth but subtle insights in what the Covid virus is doing to our county but especially to the people of color who are struggling.

This is Us…….

This is Us?

I believe it is……

TV

What to Do? What to Do? What to Do?

Every time I’ve heard that series of three questions, (typically at church) it always makes me pause and think about it in three ways:

What to do?? What is God showing you that you need to do to follow him? Let’s look at three things in Micah 6:8 that God tells us we need to do:

Act Justly – oh yeah, got that one in the “win” column. But hold on a minute, if you’re talking to/to about the people at work that you socialize with, yeah, it’s easily to act justly (at least most of the time). But what about the single mother who is living in the homeless shelter downtown? And what about the family member who insists on voting for the presidential nominee that you think is abhorrent?

To Love Mercy – oh yeah, this one is easier. I’ve got this one in the bag. I just have to be fair to everyone. Right?”

.eh,,,,yeah, That means I need to show mercy to my neighbor, how hard is that? What about the guy with the REALLY LOUD pick up who either comes home from something at around 2:00 in the morning or leaves at that time. Wakes dogs, dogs bark and bark and bark and wake up most of the dogs in the neighborhood which then wake up more people.

Now how easy is acting justly and loving mercy? Let’s put it down this way:
• If you act according to God’s design and follow his rules, all will be well.
• If you act justly to the “good guys” that doesn’t make a dent in this requirement. You need to act justly to the not so nice guys. Huh? Why would I want to be just and merciful to people who are on the opposite side of one of the _________(fill in your own four letter words) presidential elections in our time. Why because God says so.

Looking just at social media, how can we walk humbly with our God?
• Always respond in a set time frame. If someone compliments something you wrote, thank them right away.
• If someone responds with a clear well thought question or opinion and you are not sure whether it’s something you agree with, thank them for the feedback. And then put it on your schedule to be dealt with a bit later. We owe God the time to let him stir in our hearts the right way to respond.
• No one ever said something more obnoxiously by waiting and stepping away from it for a bit. We need to take a middle ground – not necessarily our opinions regarding the issue but with how we talk back and forth about it.

This is Not to say that you don’t speak from your heart and you don’t speak boldly, it’s to say that you speak calmly with conviction and with well thought rationality.

Don’t get way too excited and pushy about it, stay calm and your words will ring much more true and will be taken more seriously than if your readers feel verbally attacked by what you say and they will then shut down and won’t listen to you..

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8 NIV
https://www.bible.com/111/mic.6.8.niv

Tom V

The Church and Donald Trump

The following is a quote from an article in Politico magazine. In it, they summarize some things but they also quote the current President a number of times.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump refused to condemn white supremacists. On Wednesday, he blamed suburban, low-income people of color for “ruining this American dream.”  The comments represent a feature — not a bug — of Trump’s presidency and campaign that are ramping up in the final month of the election.
A day after he told the far-right Proud Boys, to “stand by,” igniting outrage from Democrats and concern from Republicans, the president equated having a low income to being a minority. He also claimed — falsely — that Joe Biden wants to turn Minnesota into a refugee state.
Speaking to a mostly white crowd in Duluth, Minn., on Wednesday, Trump gave a shout-out to the suburbs, particularly “women in the suburbs.” He boasted he was the person to end an Obama-era fair housing rule, which he said brought “low-income housing” to suburbia.
“By the way, just so we can get this straight, 30 percent of the people in the suburbs are low-income people. Thirty percent of the people in the suburbs are minorities. And so we’re ruining this American dream for everybody,” Trump said.” From the Politico News

Can someone do me a favor?

Answer this question – “As a Christian, meaning you believe in Jesus, and you believe that what the Bible says is true, can you please explain to me how that works?

How does what Donald Trump does and says line up with the Bible calls Christians to do and to believe in and to support?

I’m not talking about the stuff he did and said in the 2016 campaign or the way that he verbally abused people (one handicapped reporter comes to mind). I’m not talking about those, I’m talking about the last couple of weeks.

If you feel you can answer that question in a calm well thought thorough manner and would like to share it with me and the rest of my readers, write it up and send it to me. But a couple of guidelines:
1. No name calling or blaming anyone else for anything (no words that I have to blank out either.) This has to be about you and Donald Trump. Why can you, a professing believer in Jesus Christ support him for president.
2. If it’s going to be more than 500 words, it needs to be split into parts so that each piece is no more than 500 words (give or take 20).
3. No using the term, “if only” or “but when” or “he tried” or “the Democrats wouldn’t allow him.” I don’t want you to make excuses for “the Donald.” I think that after four years, we pretty much know what we’re getting with (though it might be worse than we think based on hints dropped lately).
4. Pretty much what I’m asking for is for someone to attempt to explain to me how a Christian can vote for another 4 years and can at the same time acknowledge the ways that he has violated what God tells us in the Bible.

If anyone would like to take a stab at answering that, I would be happy to share my relatively small stage with you.

I will report back with brief updates if anyone says they are putting one together or anything like that. My hope is that all of us, Christians, non-Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and any other religious groups out there look at their beliefs and attempt to match it with our current president’s behaviors.

I look forward to seeing your thoughts and I will share mine once there has been ample time for others to share there.

Sincerely,

Tom

Breaking a Promise

I told myself I wasn’t going to do it.

My kids agreed it was a good idea to stay away from it.

My cousin proved by his comments on my Facebook posts that it wasn’t going to be easy.

But, I’m currently attending a seminar at church (well, from my basement) on healing racial trauma.  One of the things that was brought up was Dr. Martin Luther King’s book, “Letters from a Birmingham Jail.”  He is “down” in Birmingham helping them fight back against segregation and he gets thrown in jail.  No surprise if you ask me.

Well, while he’s in prison, he can’t talk to people on the phone, can’t e-mail, can’t do much.  So he wrote letters.  One set of them got turned into a book – “Letters from a Birmingham Jail.”   It was written on April 16, 1963.  There is a lot of good stuff in this book.  I mean there’s a lot of good stuff if you want to try to make a difference in the world.

That book, particularly the part that I quoted right below this paragraph, is a large part of why, even though I said I wasn’t going to talk about race and the political situation, I am.   But……

First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate.’’’

I’m going to talk more about some of the details Dr. King brings up, but for today, I just want to share one point

I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace…..

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Letters from a Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

I believe, from this relatively close to middle age white guy, that there is no better or more well respected leader of the civil rights movement from that time.  And when he says the moderate Christian is his biggest stumbling block it would do well for the church to sit up and say, “Who me?  We’re always supportive of Civil Rights for all people?

Are you really?   Are we really?  Are we really prepared to step out of our comfort zones and be more of a neighbor to those who don’t look like us?   According to Dr. King, no we are not.

According to Dr. King, we are worse than the Ku Klux Klan.

Ouch

You know those guys who used to ride around on horses in the middle of the night, plant burning crosses in the front yard of black families and then haul out the men and/or boys, tie them up and lynch them.

He said we’re worse than that?  Yes, he did.

We are just over a month away from the presidential election.  Some call it the greatest freak show on earth, some call it the most amazing transfer of power in the governments since the time of, oh I don’t know, the Crusades?

Presidential Debate

Between the natural disasters, the medical disasters and the political disasters, there is a LOT of stuff going on.  And it’s time, actually it is past time to engage these issues and try to make a difference the way God would want us to.

I’m going to talk about this more in the coming days and weeks, but I firmly believe that we have a huge problem on our hands – the problem of the one issue voter.

You know the guy, he says, “I’m going to vote for _________ because he was endorsed by the NRA.”   Or “Mr. Smith is pro-abortion and so I will never vote for him.”   When someone does that a couple of things are happening:

  • They are totally ignoring the rest of what that person stands for.   You might like this particular policy but are you really willing to put control of _________ in the hands of someone who has never __________?
  • Mr. Smith says that he’s pro-life.  He says that he would only allow an abortion to save the life of the mother.   What’s his stance on the discrepancy in funding and everything related to that for schools – where, on average, black schools get, I believe, close to half of what white schools do?
  • Does he support reform in the mental health and adoption/foster care areas of life that both need substantial reform?
  • What is his or her stand on immigration?
  • What is his or her stand on healthcare?

There is a lot more to being pro-life than just being anti-abortion.  So, when someone says they are going to vote for ______________ because of his stance on gun control, then you are ignoring a lot of very important issues related to guns, related to domestic violence, related to immigration, related to free elections that all are impacted by someone if they say they are pro-life.

So if someone says they are opposed to adoption, ask them what they think about the kids being “warehoused” literally, in vacant Walmart stores.   If they aren’t really upset about that, ask them how they can be pro-life and not opposed to that?

The world is complex.  Very very complex.  We are in the first election in my lifetime where you can no longer say,  “If they say they are a _________________ then you can vote for them because they believe the same.”

It doesn’t work that way right now.   If you vote for someone who meets your rules for one issue, they might be totally against what you stand for in other ways.

Don’t look only at one issue.  Don’t look only at whether they say they will or won’t raise taxes.  They can say one thing now and then something else later.

Don’t be a moderate one issue voter.   Look at multiple issues and also those other “things” like character, flexibiliy, truthfulness, respect, treatment of those with disabilities and the list could go on, but there’s too much other ground to cover in the next month (and beyond.)

Thanks for reading, stay tuned.  I don’t know what all we are going to talk about, but I know it will be “interesting” to say the least.

Respectfully,

Tom

Lecrae

Remember that part in the Bible where the Good Samaritan sees a man in the road hurting and before stopping to help he said,

“Before I help, do I fully agree with his philosophy?”

“Let me wait until I know the full story.”

“What did he do to end up in this situation, maybe he has a criminal past.”

“Is he REALLY hurt? Did he bring this on himself?”

“What about all the other issues going on in the world?”

Can’t seem to find that verse…can anyone help me? 

Copied from Lecrae’s Facebook page.