A blog dedicated to starting conversations.
Last night I saw on TV that Off. Virgil Pickelsheimer of the Lake Mary Police Dept. is retiring at the age of 72 after 22 years on the Lake Mary Force. The streets of Lake Mary will be a little safer for speeders from now on. They said that in his career here he had handed out more than 500 DUI tickets. The TV did not mention how many speeding and moving violation tickets he had given but I would bet that the number would be staggering! I say this because Officer Pickelsheimer has given me 8 to 10 tickets in the last 22 years. If you were stopped in Lake Mary the odds were good that you got to know this officer. He is famous for finding the most out of the way spots to set up and watch drivers. You could find him on North Sun Dr. behind the Medplex, on Old Lake Mary Road near the railroad track, on Broadmore half way to SCC, and on the long curve of Country Club where the speed goes down to 30.
While I am aggravated by the hundreds (thousands?) of dollars that his tickets have cost me over the years as I look at it now in this writing I realize that his vidulance has caused me to drive more carefully in the city of Lake Mary. Therefore we say a fond fairwell to Officer Pickelsheimer, but not really since he said that he was going to continue to patrol as a volunteer at least once a week.
So to all of you speeding drivers out there, as the officer used to say, "You drive safe next time you hear!"
Betty and I got a full week's vacation and we went to Northern California, Napa, Montery, and San Fransisco. This is our third trip to Napa and we truly enjoyed our time there. We got to sit and talk with two different Wine Makers and hear the stories of their families. Then we left there and went to Muir Woods and a Mt. overlooking the Bay! We saw the beauty of the ocean and the sea lions and otters. God's creation was at its best.
Then we came home and I immediately went up to Detroit for the SELC Church Convention. This would probably be the opposite of God's Creation. Factories and buildings, all the best that Man has to offer.
Then back to Florida and a day at Daytona Beach the opposite ocean! Also truly beautiful.
Now we prepare to celebrate our country's birthday and I am struck with what a great place we live. Not just the beauty of God's creation (although that is pretty unbelievable) but the fact that we live in a country where we are free to go wherever we like with no restrictions. The news gets worse and worse from Iran. But also we are free to earn a living that allows us to be able to travel in this way. What a great Country!!!
I spoke with someone last night who was talking about our ability to respond to an Iran or North Korea and his comment was that he did not think that we had the same country that we had in WWII when everyone would sacrifice for the good of our country. I wonder just where we would be? We all are whining about our retirement shrinking away, but we live in a country where we expect to RETIRE! In many countries of the world no one retires they plan on working until they die.
On this holiday weekend we need to pause and thank our God that he has given us the opportunity to live at this time in this country!!! God is Good, All the Time!
So I am reading through first and second thessalonians for this weekends talk. There is some interesting stuff in those letters; several things caught my eye, but one that I'll mention here. In 2Thess 3.10 Paul says,
"If a man will not work, he shall not eat."
Now that is interesting. As I mentioned last post, I am trying to build more serving the community into my life. Just this past monday I gave some money to a guy on the street who wanted a bus ticket. I am trying to think through what Paul is saying there. I am wondering, does this apply only to folks in the church. Some churches at that time pooled some of their resources, maybe people were trying to take advantage of the generosity. Maybe some were just taking and not contributing to the pool. Is that different from folks who choose not to work and live on the generosity of others? There are a lot of questions here, but I want to take Paul seriously. I suppose it is good if the text makes me ask questions.
I got a phone call yesterday asking about a news story I hadn’t heard. Looking around on the Internet today, my only excuse for not hearing it is that I spent half the day in the car (otherwise the story would have certainly hit my ears). Tragically a man was shot Sunday morning as he was passing out bulletins at a Lutheran Church in Wichita Kansas. The person walked up and killed the usher with one bullet. Bad. Real bad.
Someone got the plate number of the car as it drove away and the police have apprehended the guy. Apparently the suspect was on the FBI’s radar as a potentially violent anti abortion activist. See the usher at the church was one of only three doctors in the United States who would perform third-term abortions. His office has been sort of infamous: it has been bombed and attacked.
Immediately when you hear the story your heart goes out to that guy and his family. It is so weird every time we are faced with the frailty of these bodies: alive and ticking one minute, worthless the next. As I got the story on the phone yesterday I was pretty taken aback; then the question really had me back peddling. It went something like this, “How could a guy who performs this sort of abortion, be an usher at a church?” Abortion is more complex than a blog post. But the question has gotten me thinking about how much people are watching us, whether we realize it or not. I mean I looked up official statements from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Holy Cross is affiliated with a different family of Lutheran Churches). But then I realized that the belief of individual members is not found in official statements but in the choices they make everyday. What we really believe is revealed by the way we live our life at work, at home, on vacation and the world is watching. Unfortunately, they seem to always be looking for the inconsistencies.
The second generation Hoyer family is spending the weekend in Pensacola. I have the privilege of officiating at the wedding of Megan’s cousin and our friend. We drove up after work on Thursday; the seven hours was a little long that late at night, but it was nice to have Wes sleep most of the way. When we arrived my Father-in-law was sitting amidst a whole slew of letters. He is an elected member of the school board and all the letters were from folks who wanted him to hear their opinion. Over the next half hour we got the scoop.
Some time ago the ACLU brought a suit against the school district. The union was concerned about the place prayers had been given in various aspects of the schools, including graduation ceremonies. So this year the board is being very careful: because the valedictorian and salutatorian are selected without faculty influence they can speak and even pray (if they want),however because student government officers need recommendations from faculty(which means they are somehow endorsed by the school) they cannot pray. This has caused quite a stir.
There are signs in yards all over the area that read “Pray for Our Schools.” A local church held a rally where people came together in some show of solidarity against the changes, we saw a car this morning with “let them speak” on the windshield, and school board members like my father in-law are being pressured with slews of letters and emails.
The letters speak of disappointment and Christian foundations; the rally’s call for grand gestures and refusals to cooperate.They’re reacting like they are a church under persecution. They seem to think limiting prayer during public school ceremonies is persecution. The irony is that most of the churches pushing this view grew out of the revivals of the first and second great awakenings. The leaders of those movements were great proponents of a clear separation between church and state. They knew if the lines were blurred it would be bad for the church.
They knew that if we started relying on the government to teach creation, we’d get some watered down version like intelligent design.They knew that prayer would boil down to “our thoughts are with you” or prayers sent out to god generically (think of the political conventions last year). I appreciate a clear separation of church and state it lets Christian and government be themselves unabashedly.
My brother, who has been out of the country for several months, recently sent me an email asking about our newest president. He said that he and the people he’s traveling with have heard a lot about “the changing face of America.” He wanted to know what he should check out to figure out what that really means. Three things came immediately to mind:
1. I don’t know if he was here for this point in the election, but I will first tell him to check out the speech that Obama gave on race relations. You know when the news wanted to talk about his pastor. I thought that speech was pretty good
2. The next thing I will tell him to check out I learned about in a Time article. They mentioned how Obama and his team are sort of leaving classical economics behind in favor of what is called “behavioral economics.” Apparently classical economics is based on the theory that consumers will make decisions in their best interest, and those consumers will keep companies in check; this way if you feed the systems it works in the best interest of all involved. As I read it part of the new approach says that consumers won’t always choose in their best interest (they won’t spend more money for the electric car even though it’s better for them in the long run) so the government puts things in place to nudge the system in the direction of the greater good. Sounds smart until you realize that someone has to decide what the greater good is.
3. The last thing that came to mind is that his first interview with al jazeerah. I will tell him to read some about his approach to foreign policy. He seems to be ready to talk in a fairly open-ended way.
He usually reads this blog, so you should tell him how you think Obama is contributing to a changing face.
I can't help but see some of the problems of Israel in the Old Testament in the current problems of our country. The prophets complained to the nation that they had quit worrying about anyone but themselves. As long as they had enough everything was fine. The nation never listened to these prophets and it was only after Israel was overrun and enslaved that they would stop and listen to God and how He wanted them to live!
In the recent past there were those who said that our country was becoming too segregated (the haves and the have nots) and that our rampant capitalism was the culprit. As we lived here in Lake Mary (4th best place in America to live) and contemplated which car we should buy next or whether or not we could afford a house on the beach we would respond to the detractors that this is how it should be, people should reap the benefit of their labor. Those that do not have just have not figured out how to get it yet! But now that "regular people" i.e. our parents and others we know are losing their savings and retirement while CEO's contemplate bankruptcy for their companies and a life for themselves with millions in a foreign country we look at the situation with a different eye.
Suddenly there is an outcry that we need to care for the poor and homeless, we need to make sure that people are not put out of their homes, that children don't live out of their cars! The rich need to foot the bill taxes and rules are good if they level the playing field. Now it seems that everyone should be looking out for others as well as themselves! It would seem that just like the Israelites we have come to realize that living selfishly leads to a country of selfish people!
However, our concern for the less fortunate may simply be a new form of selfishness. We are outraged that there are those who continue to have enough money to build 94,000 sq. ft. houses and sent their dogs to New York City for their styling, while we are worried about keeping our jobs and our homes! Our seeming concern for the less fortunate may be a thinly veiled cover for our concern that someone is making sure that I can keep my stuff!!!
Maybe we all need to do a self check? Have we become too worried about things? What should our standard of living be in this country? Just because I "Can" have it "should" I have it?
What do you think?
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- Nigeria Mission Trip Review - by Pastor Zach
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- All In! - by Pastor Zach
- The Weight of Sin - by Pastor Zach
- Common and Ordinary Guys Making a Difference - by Pastor Zach
- Different Doors - by Pastor Zach
- Nouwen is no Dummy - by Pastor Ben
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