Thursday, November 17, 2016

Election 2016 Postpartum (Actually I Don't Miss the Ads)

Wow. Let me start by saying that I did not see this outcome prior to some of the exit polls on Tuesday evening last week. I actually thought that Mrs. Clinton would win with about a 3% margin (48-45ish). Actually it looks like she has won the popular vote but obviously was defeated in the electoral college. That has happened before where a candidate has won the popular vote and lost the election due to the electoral vote. And just a reminder that the US is a Republic and not a democracy. The simple explanation of the differences is that a republic is a representative government ruled by law (the US Constitution) while a democracy is a government ruled by the majority. Here is a list:

1824 - John Quincy Adams
1876 - Rutherford B. Hayes
1888 - Benjamin Harrison
1960 - John F. Kennedy (disputed)
2000 - George W. Bush

I am not a political expert. I decided early on in this presidential race that I was going to abstain from making political comments on social media. I think that is best practice for me. I also will add that I was not able to vote for either of the major party candidates due to my own personal convictions. I do agree more with one party platform over the other, but I do not believe that either or perfect by any stretch.

I have friends who are legitimately scared by some of the things that have been said by President elect Trump and I have friends who would have been legitimately scared had Mrs. Clinton been elected. I hurt for those who are scared. I am choosing to get more involved in making this a safer place to live for everyone. I hope that I will be viewed as someone who is trying to mend relationships and tear down walls that only cause division.

And I firmly believe that we can love each other and actually like one another even though we have differing views. I have been asked if I think that God has clearly spoken about the direction of our country. I personally believe that God has been speaking for many years and too many times I have been distracted or refused to listen. I believe that God is more concerned about His Son being lifted up and glorified and I know that it is His desire that none should perish. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 Let's not lose sight of what God has called us as believers to be involved in with our lives.

I know that as a believer that God has called me to join Him -  The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the captives and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4:18-19

I pray that I will not be guilty of loving America more than I love God or more than I love people. And I mean all people. Not just the ones I want to kind of love. I am grateful for the freedoms I experience as a citizen of this great nation. I am keenly aware that I can also make my rights as a citizen idols as well.

I commit to pray for President-elect Trump the same way that I committed to pray for President Obama eight years ago and renewed that commitment when he was re-elected in 2012.
You and I may disagree on issues. I really think that is okay. What is not okay is for me to withhold love and friendship toward you because I disagree with you.

I am praying for our nation. I am praying for you. I am praying for me.

Monday, November 14, 2016

These Kids!

I signed up to work with little kids at church once a quarter almost 5 years ago. It was a little bait and switch because the once a quarter materialized as once a month but I digress. At first I was a little intimidated by these 3-5 year olds but now I am just resigned to the fact that they have it figured out for the most part. Sure they are young; they at times don't think through the consequences of their actions; they might have an accident in their pants; they might be challenged with a "mine" attitude, but THEY TEACH ME SO STINKING MUCH!
Not actual kids in the Owl class.

Sunday morning was the final day of our church's Disciple Now and Sondra and I hosted 7 young ladies that were a joy to have in our home for the weekend. I "helped" serve pancakes to the entire youth group (if you count trying to convince students to eat crazy amounts of pancakes as help that is). During our church's worship hour I headed to our Owl room which is made up of 5-year-olds and yesterday it was a room full. Sixteen to be exact. I worked with another lady and our lesson all centered around "rebuilding the wall" and working together to get it done. (Draw your own conclusions on the timing of this lesson.)

Our Owl classroom is made up of boys and girls, many different cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, skin tones, physical and mental challenges and differences, and socio-economic strata. Sixteen totally different people vying for some of the same space, toys, snacks and resources. One of our students is physically challenged and not as mobile as some of the others in the room. There are some limitations in performing some functions but I wish you had been in the room to witness what happened and usually happens among these kids. Here is my limited observation:

1. They don't care that they all do not look alike.
2. When someone cannot complete a task, others come to help without being asked.
3. Sometimes kids want the same toy and an "adult" has to intervene.
4. Water and goldfish can be anything you want them to be using one's imagination.
5. If you need me to help you eat those goldfish, I can help feed you or just take them as my own (with your permission of course or if I see you looking away).
6. Sometimes there is pouting when things do not go one's way.
7. Hugs, fist bumps, hair musses, laughter, correction and grace are all needed at various times and are all happening at the same time. Most of the time I am the recipient of that grace from the kids.
8. Getting outside for even a short time during the morning is good for everyone! Sunshine, fresh air and running around like crazy are good for the soul (and the complexion and attitude).
9. Sit down and listen. Kids want to talk. They want your attention. Sometimes the best lessons learned are not among the kids but from the kids to this "old guy who plays and teaches us" as I am becoming affectionately known.

One of the most beautiful pictures from the morning (and there were many) was a boy coming across to help a girl eat her goldfish because she was having trouble making that happen. He fed her everyone of those goldfish.

Here is what I was reminded of - And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2

I am always tired those afternoons after learning from these kids. But it is a good tired.