Thursday, March 30, 2017

"In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity." Often attributed to others, it appears to have been coined by an obscure theologian, Rupertus Meldenius, in 1617

Good morning and welcome. Today is Thursday, March 30, 2017. I grabbed that photo off of a Twitter posting where the fellow was drawing attention to some of the in-house debates that take place within Churches and other religious forums. I thought his point to be well taken. Let me be clear. In my opinion, there are things that a person should be willing to go to the mat for, to use the picture as a metaphor, and there are others that don't really amount to much. Knowing the difference between those two clearly impacts our fellowship and connectedness. In my own case, my three score and ten plus years have taught me a few things. When I was younger I was ready to take on any and all challenges to my limited viewpoints involving Scripture. What have I learned? I don't really know so much, after all. A buddy of mine growing up was Pentecostal. I am a lifelong Baptist. Being either of those will not get someone into heaven, but, he and I used to stay up all night debating the differences between the two practices. I even consulted my pastor who gave me a book very appropriately titled, "Once a Pentecostal, Now a Baptist." I read it and then gave it to my buddy. Some of the things we argued about were not inconsequential. They involved how a sinner can be made right with God. (Worth debating.) Others, not so much, like whether girls should wear makeup or not. See what I mean? My point is that we should always major on the majors because when we beat each other up over stuff where the truth is unclear, we end up both being beat up and typically sore; physically, mentally, and emotionally. That is usually not conducive to brotherly love. Something I learned along the way.

While I've done my fair share of slipping and sliding around, I am still actively engaged in the practice of my faith, as God has provided. As far as I know, sadly, my old buddy threw his away some 30 or more years ago. That's not a commentary on our debates as teenagers, it's more of how life unfolds. He has had to deal with his troubles and I have had to deal with mine. He is known to be a very soured up, cranky, and some say, even, a mean old man. While I have my moments, hopefully, I'm not known for those character traits. At the same time, I have no doubt that there may be some who could say I've mishandled my attitude and testimony during my sojourn here. The bottom line is always what we believe about God and what that belief brings about in our life. Our class is currently engaged in a verse by verse examination of Genesis on Sunday mornings. Those individuals we are studying about who were singled out as being faithful had their flaws, their failings, and their lapses in their walk with God. Yet, their belief in God always brought them back to their connection to Him, and that, my friend, is a picture of our struggle to live as He would want us to. The truth? All believers. All. Struggle. In one way or another. The even better news? God was faithful to those we are studying about even when they were not, and, He is the same way with us today. Something I learned along the way.

That wrestling photo made me a little homesick for when I was a kid and we watched them toss each other around the ring. Not enough to make me watch it again, but, you will have to admit, that's a large number crowded into that particular ring. I wonder what a group of wrestlers is called. Maybe a melee. Maybe not. There are people who still defend the professional wrestling you see on TV as being legitimate. One fellow said that only in America will you find people who believe the moon landing was fake but professional wrestling is real. One wrestling participant said it is real in the sense that it's entertainment and the person who entertains the best wins. Forbes reported last year the highest paid professional wrestler was John Cena who took in nearly $10 million. I'm almost certain they didn't pay him with Monopoly money, (fake). I know my grandfather used to take out some of his frustration while watching the bad guys, (The Ruskies, the Japs, the Germans), get beat up by the USA flag waving heroes. Harmless fun? My guess is that if you don't take it too seriously it probably won't do that much damage. As for those with all the banners who have lost their voices screaming, well, maybe some kind of hotline might be made available to offer them help. What about my enjoyment of NASCAR? The old saying applies: That question implies that you have now stopped preaching and you've begun to meddle. Take care. Enjoy. And, may God add His blessings to our day. Amen. ....More later.

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