Oklahoma – Red “skin” People

Choctaw Chief Allen Wright suggested the name Oklahoma in 1866 during treaty negotiations with the federal government.  The name literally translated means okla (red) homma (people) or the modern day pejorative of redskins.  I added the skin term in the above title because the color was referring to the skin of the Indians in general.  The “red” was not referring to their eye or hair color, but the color of their skin.  I suppose this might be a case similar to the freedom of black people to refer to themselves using the “N” word and an actual Indian being able to suggest a name for our state using the now (today) blacklisted “Redskin” term.  Or is this just another case of some very small special interest group trying to exert a disproportionate amount of influence over one of America’s more favorite football teams.

Of the answer to those questions I’m not sure, but I am for dang sure that the US Patent office was not ever intended to be some linguistic annalist of etymology thereby giving them the right to withdraw the decades old registered trademark of Redskins from the football team of our nation’s capitol.

By that same logic, we here in Oklahoma will need to be looking for a new state name since the two terms are basically identical albeit in two different languages.  So I will begin the new state name search by suggesting a term that hopefully could never be construed as being offensive – It.

And here is a great idea, they could change the name of the redskins to the Washington Oklahomans.

The Stone Age Called and Wants Their Etiquette Back!

Where do these people come from?  My son Chad works at an upscale restaurant here in Tulsa where the average per person tab is $40-$50.  Needless to say they had a very busy weekend this past weekend due to Fathers’ Day and a special they were running allowing for unlimited “refills” of any of the courses.

One family had already been seated and Chad had prepared the table next to them for the next reservation of 9 with plates, napkins, water and silverware.  He later returned to the 1st group only to find the father bouncing his bare footed baby all over the freshly prepared table for 9 like a dancing marionette.  Of course Chad had to wash and reset the table for 9.

diety fet

Once the table for 9 arrived, the unthinkable occurred (as if the dancing baby wasn’t enough already).  That family also had a baby and they changed his dirty (and I mean dirty) diaper right there on top of the table in the middle of the restaurant.

dirty diaper

Then a group of rather large folk (Chad described them as some of the largest he had seen who could still move) took full advantage of the re-orders with everyone at the table re-ordering the meat entre 6 times and the desert course 4 times over.

pig

All of these groups only confirmed their lack of societal norms by barely there or no gratitude (tips) to Chad for his service (Chad has won awards for his excellent service record there).

Ultimately I’m sure there is no answer or point to this blog, just an unashamed rant.

Muddying the Waters – “Christianity” on the far left (or right for that matter)

I was recently made aware of a social media page started by a Christian who is self described to be on the far left.  As I was reading the “About” page I found myself agreeing with some of the things they stand for – especially those based in scripture.

They believe in compassion for the poor, they are against abortion and other good to great issues.  They are also unashamedly socialistic and communistic, against the death penalty for any reason and for totally free health care.

I am not a big protestor or proponent of the death penalty.  But the Father’s embracing of the penalty of death for sin is why I have the opportunity to live forever in heaven with my benefactor – Jesus – on whom the death penalty was carried out because of my sin.

I would love free healthcare except for the fact that I had enough math in elementary school to know that something on that scale is never free and in fact if enacted to the fullest extent would financially bankrupt the entire world.

In similar fashion I would love the opportunity to live in community where we all shared in common our housing, food, work and wages.  But alas, like free healthcare, this socialistic ideal was put to the test by the New Testament church in Jerusalem and it failed miserably.  Too many were not working and just living off the common kitty.  It went so bad that the surrounding churches had to end up supporting the Jerusalem church and in the end they had to enact the “absurd” rule that if you are not working and contributing to the common kitty, you will not get any food (our current welfare system could sure learn a thing or two from this experience in the early church in Jerusalem).

As you look deeper into left wing themed “Christianity”, you begin to find conspiracy theories and staunch opposition to gun ownership, being against war for any reason and other more fringe issues that are more related to social and geo-political issues instead of biblical principles.

But the truth is the left does not have a monopoly on fringe issues.  There are plenty of extreme right wing Christians whose agendas can be just as harmful.  Although we would all (left and right leaning) like to hide when someone mentions Westboro, snake handling or clinic bombings the truth is they show up in the community of ultra conservative right wing “Christianity” and yet many of these issues have little to do with those things on the heart of the Father.

My suggestion is that we stop putting God in some of these issues and put ourselves out there in obedience of sacrificial service to the heart and message of the Lordship of Jesus in the life of the believer.  If you don’t want to own a gun – fine, don’t own a gun, but don’t make it a God issue.  If you support the death penalty – OK, but don’t put God in that box.  And if you want to handle snakes – knock yourself out (pun intended) but why not drink the poison as well as letting us see the fruit of people being healed of sickness in your midst (Mark 16:18).

On the subject of guns, the left opposes them on the grounds that they are mostly made for use in war and killing.  I am pretty sure that on any given day guns are used more for sport and hunting than for killing other humans.  But using that same logic, we should oppose the use of all airplanes as there are more military planes in the world than those used for commercial purposes and it has been that way from the beginning.

Bottom line, whether left, center or right leaning in your “political” views, I think it is safe to say that we are in almost total agreement against abortion.  We agree that compassion should be exhibited towards the poor with the difference being the left wants to give them fish and the center to right want to teach them to be responsible to fish for themselves.  Both points of view are believed by those who hold them to be the most compassionate thing to do.  Although many take positions on the death penalty, this one is not so clear.  It would be hard for me to imagine God smiling at a bunch of Christians promoting the death penalty.  But at the same time we can’t ignore that after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, the Father carried out the death penalty on two people in the church “just” for lying.

So have your soap boxes, have your strong opinions and have those groups you join who hold similar views.  But don’t invoke the name of God into your platform unless you can cite multiple chapter and verse (preferably in the New Testament) scriptures for your position.  The reason I say multiple, is because Jesus only once encouraged his disciples to sell an extra coat in order to buy a sidearm and I am not prepared to start a gun ownership movement on that basis.  But then neither can I oppose devises of personal protection because of that occasion when Jesus did advocate it (for the skeptics, Luke 22:36).

PS  My Down Under Shelters facebook page has 85 likes – almost twice as many as Left Wing Christians

The Death Penalty or the Penalty of Death

I recently read an article by Shane Claiborne entitled “If it Weren’t for Jesus, I Might be Pro-Death Too”.  I must say the position in the article is not one that I totally disagree with.  I am not some avid death penalty proponent.  If it were outlawed tomorrow I’m not sure I would lose any sleep over it.  But then neither am I an advocate for its abolishment and I cite the death of Jesus on the cross as my reason.

If not for the wage of sin being death and the fact that Jesus took my sin upon Himself and submitted to God’s eternal law requiring death for sin – then I would be still standing accused and guilty with the only eventuality being my eternal death.

If I were so inclined, which I am not, I could easily write an equally long article entitled “If it weren’t for Jesus, I would be dead”.  I think it is often all too easy to get on some band wagon because something sounds “kinder and gentler” on the surface but when evaluated on a deeper level it’s not quite so cut and dried and in fact may be counterproductive to our lives and eternity.

Frankly I wish my rescue could have been accomplished without the death penalty being carried out on Jesus.  And just so we are clear, it was not the Romans or the Jews who passed that judgment, it was God and Jesus’ plan for that death which was required to maintain the integrity of the laws of a Holy Creator.  But in the end I am so fortunate and the recipient of eternal blessings because God maintained that death penalty integrity – even though carried out against His own Son.

Ultimately, with eternity in mind, Jesus’ death was Pro-Life!  Can anyone say divine tension?  So feel free to protest the death penalty, either side, but don’t be too quick to put God in either of those boxes.

Seeing the light – the Church Un-Plugged!

This past Friday my wife and I hiked up to Indian Lake in north central New Mexico for an overnight camping trip.  The lake is situated about 9500 ft., is so very picturesque, is the result of an extinct volcano and is miles from the nearest city.  That last characteristic is what helped inspire this blog.

farviewofcampsite

At about 1:30 am, both my wife and I were up to experience one of the most breathtaking views either of us have ever seen.  Being a moonless night high in the Carson National Forrest and miles from the nearest city, the amount of visible stars was like nothing we had ever witnessed before.  It took our breath away as it seemed almost fabricated to inspire total awe.

night sky

I know I am stating the obvious here, but as I was contemplating that magnificent view the poignant thought came to me that the only reason we were able to “see the light” of so many stars was because there was no artificial light anywhere nearby to diminish, obscure or minimize those “thousand (upon millions) points of light”.

Perhaps this can help illustrate the risk I, you or the church takes when we engage in bright, loud, extravagant or other modern elements not central to the simple message of the Gospel.  When we start to sound or look like the latest multi-media concert, sales promotion or advertisement it may be that we are offering “artificial light” which although bright and attractive diminishes the pure and simple light of the Gospel.  I do not want to “throw the baby out with the bath water”, but I do want to consider what I do in the flesh that causes the un-churched to see me as just another voice in the cacophony of voices competing for the hearts, minds and passions of the populace.

In my post from May 2 – Lessons from the Ark (not Noah’s), I point out the error king David made in taking a cue from the secular Philistines in building a modern pretty cart on which to carry the ark up to Jerusalem.  There are many scholars and books written on all the parallelism in the fixtures, dimensions and design of the ark and temple.  I am not one of those scholars, but if the ark is a metaphor for the Gospel and the Word of God (as most suggest), then there must be a reason there was an absolute law the ark was to be born on the shoulders of men and not by some conveyance of man’s invention for convenience sake.  Sure an ox driven cart easily carried the actual words of God.  In fact it would be easy to design a cart that could carry many arks all at once with little input from man other than the occasional outstretched hand to steady things ….. Oh wait, that didn’t work out so well for Uzzah.  This embracing of “secular innovation” did in fact cause death and discouragement and ultimately failed.

How am I, how are you and how is the church conveying the Gospel message? I am not suggesting we avoid modern conveniences, but I am saying that the light of Christ within each of us is enough.  It’s always been enough and it will always be enough.  Enough inspiration, love, truth, compassion and salt to attract any who would be saved to the “un-plugged”, powerful yet simple and un-matched message of salvation found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Apples and Broccoli

I Just had to make a short political post on the recent exchange of the 5 GITMO detainees for the 1 likely army deserter.  In the official statement from the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said, speaking of the exchange, “it is absolutely a situation with a long history and precedent where we engage an exchange of prisoners”.  He referenced several wars in which prisoner exchanges were made to include the Japanese and other wars.

Why I have not heard anybody else bring up this point is beyond me – Jay, Obama and any other defender of this exchange, you are overlooking a critical detail in this prisoner exchange in comparison to ALL others.  In all the other wars you referenced, the war or conflict was OVER with signed surrenders, cease-fire, armistice or a clear and definitive end to the conflict.  In the case of the Taliban and other Islamic terrorist, that is simply not the case at all.  What were the Japanese soldiers to do when released, go back and take up arms again in a war that was no more????  The war against Islamic terrorism is ongoing and this exchange is an embarrassment and compromise to the future security of the US (not to even start with the emerging details of Bergdahl’s betrayal, Islamic conversion, sympathizing and collaborating with the Taliban).

Just Saying!!!