“HEROES AND SELFIES!”

12 09 2016

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Brian Wilson once wrote a song that is featured on the classic Beach Boys album, “Pet Sounds.” The title of the tune is “I Wasn’t Made For These Times.” There is many a day that I believe that this would make an excellent theme song for me. I can’t tell you how many statements made by so called prominent Leaders have me shaking my head. I also marvel at the amount of attention that deeds done by marginal celebrities receive when it might be better off for the state of our entire Nation if they were just simply ignored. One such stunt that seems to be stealing headlines is the backup Quarterback of the San Francisco 49er’s, Colin Kaepernick’s, refusal to stand for the National Anthem before games because he believes that the United States is a country that oppresses black people and people of color. He says, “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

 Now one of the freedoms that make our Nation great is that Mr. Kaepernick has the right to say whatever he wants and not be faced with imprisonment or worse yet death for articulating his thoughts. What I have a beef with is that there are those within the Media who are labeling this man’s actions as heroic and courageous.  There is nothing very heroic about not standing for our National Anthem. I go to many a ballgame where individuals do not remove their hats, they talk incessantly through the ceremony and they display as much disrespect to our flag and country as they possibly can. They are allowed to do whatever they want to do but please spare me with the motion to move these spoiled millionaires to be considered for canonization. Real heroes are those men and women who actually put their lives on the line every day to protect these freedoms. Real champions are those who have sacrificed their very lives so that others of different color, creeds and crowds may live. Real bravery involves people who still love those who are filled with hatred towards them and real Believers continually caring for others who have no intention of ever being grateful or thankful for even one second of their time. These are the characteristics that should dominate headlines. These are the unsung citizens whose behavior deserves to be addressed and emulated in the media.

 Tolerance is a tricky topic in our culture. It appears that I will be tolerated as long as I stick with the politically correct party line but the minute I might break rank and dance to a different drummer is the moment that I am labeled a heretic and a hater. Honestly, I don’t hate anybody. I have been known to even form some friendships with Yankee Fans and worse yet, those who cheer for that football team from Dallas. Their outspoken cheering and faithful allegiances have no shot of weakening my love and passion for the Mets, Jets and Eagles. And I love Jesus. You get me, my faith comes with me. I will not check my beliefs at the door. What I have given my heart to definitely drives my behavior, and dictates my directions. It is funny when those who have never even given me the opportunity of having a simple conversation go on and on with their narrow minded ranting and prejudicial assessment confidently defining who I am and what I am for and how I bash that which I am against. If you don’t know me, you have no authority from which to speak from.

 I was in a local coffee shop a while back waiting in line when all of a sudden my ears perked up because the people in front of me were talking about Pastor Rudy and The Lighthouse Church. The one woman spouted out that she had heard that Pastor Rudy is not a real pastor and they don’t even use the Bible at the Lighthouse Church. The other woman shook her head in agreement saying that Pastor Rudy is very liberal and they just let anybody come into the church. It was too delicious a circumstance for me to not say something.

I interrupted and said, “I hear Pastor Rudy is a pretty good guy.” They almost simultaneously chimed together, “Do you know him?” I answered with a big smile on my face, “I am him!” That ended that conversation with a thud!

 I make no apology for being a Christian. I would be dead if it wasn’t for my relationship with Jesus. I would love for every person I meet to share my devotion for God and for one another. But I can’t force anyone to do anything. I can invite you to dinner but I can’t make you come and if you enter my house, I can’t make you eat. Still, don’t kill the messenger because you don’t like the message. There are thousands of Christians being beheaded each day because they will not denounce their faith! I call them heroes but they would probably deflect the attention and say they are just doing whatever a disciplined disciple would do. I would hope that if push ever got to shove and I would have to choose between the Lord and my earthly life, I would decide boldly to honor God until my last breath. It is that radical commitment that has made me who I am, whatever I am doing, wherever I may be doing it. I am pretty much the same guy whether I am Pastoring, Coaching, Disc Jockeying or composing this article. I would hope that you too would be consistent and not hypocritical when it comes to your actions and activity.

 There once was a song that Dave Mason sang in the 70’s entitled, “We Just Disagree.” I am afraid that in the not too distant future of our Country, it will be unlawful to disagree with the government. My heart aches over the fact that we are venturing too close as a Nation where we make faith illegal and God a curse word. This faulty philosophy will flourish under the umbrella of the separation of church and state but I’m not buying it. It won’t be Christianity that fuels this fire. Christians are those who are ingrained with the spiritual promise and presence to love God and love one another. Christians are the ones who will lay their lives down because they know that it was their very Savior who did the same for them. So don’t blame Believers when maybe the villains in the room are those who propagate the “Selfie” gospel and the every man for himself mentality. While I have life and breath, I will continue to dedicate each day to God and treat each 24 hours as the precious gift that it is. But don’t look to me to sanction self-centered behavior as heroic because it never was and it never will be. And if you aren’t willing to become part of the solution, then please don’t expect me to like your sanctimonious self-righteousness on Facebook or Twitter.

Greater love has no man or woman than an individual be willing to lay their lives down for their friends and their enemies. Because when you are truly ready to die, I believe you are finally free enough to live.         


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