Monday Morning Musings for 08.14.17

"Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?" Psalm 2:1

  1. From this Psalm, George Handel crafted his famous Aria in The Messiah, "Why do the nations so furiously rage together?" We saw that rage in Charlottesville on Saturday - hatred and anger spewing from a false nation of those who espouse evil. It is the abject denial of Revelation 7:9, that glorious view of heaven containing people from "every tongue, tribe and nation." The gospel calls us to relationships of mutual understanding and love, relationships which Christians must pursue while standing strongly against the violence and bigotry. For that reason, I am grateful for my friendships with men like Bishop Allen T D Wiggins, Pastor Tim Johnson, Pastor William Andrews, and Pastor David DL Outing. Pastor Tim Johnson will preach for me at First Presbyterian on September 10, and I am honored to be Preaching for Bishop Wiggins at the Hope Church on August 27. We stand together, but that started years ago. We meet regularly. It is intentional, and God will use it for just such moments as these. For more on the responsibility we bear, especially in predominantly white churches, here is the link to my sermon on racism from April, 2016. Message: "Racism and the Gospel of Jesus Christ" 
  2. I'm at the carwash on Saturday having a perfectly peaceful, enjoyable day when the car ahead of me in line has a problem. The owner is unhappy with something that has been done, and he proceeds to dress down the two workers. This leads to the manager's arrival, more conversation, more tension. Meanwhile, the cars in the other lines are moving. I sit in line for 25 minutes watching this unfold until I finally get so irritated that I say something to the manager. They agree to move my car into the next line, and I go to the waiting area. Five minutes later, my car comes through ready to be dried, and the worker is a very small man with one leg much thinner than the other. He limps, slowly, around my car, doing his work. Other cars have come out, been dried and left, but he goes on. Can't this guy speed up? I'm thinking, "No way I'm giving him a tip. This is ridiculous." Even so, I was not in a hurry, and the delays had not been this guy's fault. I give him five bucks, and as I get in the car, he's changed my radio to… Z88.3 (It was tuned to country music when I got out.) He's out there in the sun working his tail off, and he's thinking about how he can be a light to the people he encounters.
  3. I'm showing my age, but I was nostalgic and sad when I learned of Glen Campbell's passing. He wrote some of the music of my youth, and many nights I went to sleep listening to "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Wichita Lineman". For those of you who don't know much about him, try this on: he outsold the Beatles in 1968. Yes, the Beatles – in the late 60's.
  4. Sometimes, I cannot fathom what is running through the minds of legislators as they vote on various bills, but last week seemed to reach a new low. The state of Florida was 49th in mental health spending even as our population size continues to grow, so what did they do? They cut spending such that now we are last in the nation and our region must make do with $28 million less. To be clear, this is not a handout. The people needing these services are often unable to help themselves, adding to our homeless population and our emergency waiting rooms. This may save money now, but it will cost us dearly in the future.#shortsighted
  5. The bird that symbolizes TWITTER is named Larry T. Bird. Seriously. Why? Twitter co-founder Biz Stone was born and raised in Boston.
  6. I've always been a baseball fan, but these days I find it almost unwatchable. Even with all the talk of speeding it up, there's simply not enough happening. 33.4% of at bats end WITHOUT the ball being put in play - either a strikeout, a walk or a home run. There's now little team work, strategy, base running, hitting cut off men or the like. As one writer said, there are "yawning gaps of nothingness" as hitters step out of the box after each pitch. Each game now has an average of 117 minutes… of nothing.
  7. I busted on my alma mater, SMU, last week for caving to student fears of feeling "triggered or harassed" by a 9/11 Memorial in which American flags were planted in the ground in the middle of campus annually on that day. I commend administrators for reversing that decision after listening to reasoned voices.
  8. I went to a movie theater last week to see Dunkirk. (I thought it was good, not great.) I realized I had not been to an actual theater to see in a movie in… I couldn't remember the last time. There are simply no movies that I want to see. I was not surprised to learn that movie attendance is down 5% this summer continuing a year's long trend. What's happened to making movies like Forest Gump, A River Runs Through It, Schindler's List and Dead Poet's Society?
  9. The Cowboy's Ezekiel Elliott got a six-game suspension for beating up his girlfriend a year ago. The NFL suspends him, but a judge declines to press criminal charges?