G-Poppers … June 1st, 2018

G-Pop wants his children to know that 155 years is just too long.

This is the amount of time that has passed since Abraham Lincoln offered the Executive Order of the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves.

But the slaves aren’t free.

With the mixture of lingering bigotry, cultural confusion, social fears and entitlement entanglements, the American black man or woman will never be free–until we stop the foolishness of color-coding our choices.

Of course, the most ridiculous notion is the recent declaration that these individuals are “African American.”

It is insulting. They have lived here longer than many white people and this is their country–not the unfortunate prison which they’ve never been able to escape.

If we had made the same progress in the medical field over 155 years, we would still be amputating limbs because a bone is broken.

In the transportation system, the Wright Brothers might have recently discovered the possibility of flight.

In the business world we would still be clinging to twelve-hour days, with no restriction on child labor laws and women relegated to nothing more than secretarial duties.

I don’t know–if you parallel the educational system to the progress we’ve made on racial relations, we might have evolved to the four-room schoolhouse.

It is no longer a mar on the American image–it has become our image.

Our musicians and artists rallied against South Africa and boycotted the country to get rid of Apartheid. I wonder what would happen if they refused to work cities in America due to the mistreatment of people of color?

Three things must happen:

1. We must disband the different approaches to culture, and really take up the banner of being a melting-pot–a single culture called America.

2. The black community should be given the question of the doubt in its conflict with the police department. We’ve done this with women who accuse men of sexual harassment–the men are basically considered guilty because of the accusation. Why is this not true with the police? If police are here to protect and serve, and someone does not feel protected and served, then they must place the onus of responsibility on their officers.

3. We need to get rid of anything that is spoken before the word “American.” African, Irish, European, Mexican, Hispanic, Asian, Indian–whatever the prefix. It does not extol these individuals–it targets them.

155 years is too long to solve a problem that should have been rooted out through the educational system within two generations.

We have just decided not to do it.

It is time to change this pernicious piece of history, and in so doing, show the rest of the world that we are a “shining city on a hill,” and we are prepared to lead the way in human rights, including the equality of race.

 

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Who Is the King of Glory? … June 4, 2012

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I read it on Facebook.

It was a posting by a dear young lady who shared a verse from the Bible, but at the end of the statement, she added, “I know it sounds religious, but in the moment it was very meaningful to me.”

It gave me pause. Why did she feel the need to apologize for the impact of a moment of inspiration? Actually, it is one of the greatest dividing lines in our society—people over the age of thirty-five are fairly comfortable sharing their faith or elements of their beliefs. People under thirty-five are reticent and have great trepidation—that espousing acknowledgments of God makes them look out of the flow, or dare I say—even ignorant?

Part of this is due to the influx of pseudo-intellectualism in our country, which attempts to make all believers in a Divine Being appear to be barefooted hillbillies who have never cracked a book in their lives. But honestly, most of it is due to a phenomenon that occurred just about thirty-five years ago. Take the journey back in time with me.

Thirty-six years ago, God was pretty cool. For after all, Jesus Christ was a Superstar. “God,” Himself, could put a wonderful “Spell” on you. The Doobie Brothers told us that Jesus Is Just Alright with Me. Even old-time evangelist Billy Graham grew his hair out a little longer and every once in a while added a little “mod” to his God.

And then something happened. I would call it a reverse revival—a decision to go backwards in the faith to try to find the future of God’s will. Religious leaders addressed the tragedy of AIDS by referring to it as a gay plague, sent by Divine judgment to destroy the homosexual community. Of course, they were proven wrong when the virus was no respecter of persons, wiling to inflict and infect everyone. These same religionists found themselves on the wrong side of the issue of apartheid in South Africa, when the system was corrupt and needed to be overthrown. Rather than sitting down and having an intelligent discussion about birth control and the value of human life, they instead picketed–and often harmed those who worked at clinics that offered the option of abortion.

They took a belief in God from its simplicity of personal faith and made it into a machine gun that sprayed bullets of condemnation into the unsuspecting masses. And then, on September 11th, 2001, when religious charlatans flew airplanes into buildings, killing innocent people, it became obvious that there was a danger in accepting any form of Godliness into your life without flirting with insanity.

So who IS this King of Glory? Who is this God, if He exists? If He’s a Creator, does He comprehend His creation? Does He understand us? Or has He taken a sabbatical and left His shop in the hands of less-than-competent micro-managers?

There are three things that every human being requires, and if the experience they are pursuing does not offer these possibilities, then the endeavor fails to provide satisfaction.

First, we all need to be saved.  If we don’t confess our shortcomings and sins, we begin to develop an elaborate web of lies to deny our weaknesses instead of admitting them so they can be addressed and ministered to. God must save us or He’s really not God.

Secondly, we also need to be richer. Now, understand, I am NOT saying “rich.” Just a few dollars above our own indebtedness. Just enough money so that generosity seems to be in order instead of a desperate act of sacrifice. We need a God who teaches us how to use our talents more effectively so that they multiply and provide us with greater capacity for solvency and success.

And finally, every human being needs to be wiser. Wisdom is the ability to take our experiences and turn them into ideas that allow us to learn from what happens instead of always getting burned. All of us need to be wiser. All of us need to understand that the greatest wisdom is acknowledging that “NoOne is better than anyone else.” If we stop trying to prove that we’re better, we can actually make our own situation … better.

Somewhere along the line, religion has failed to deliver anything from this trio of demands except salvation. So unless you are terribly desperate to confirm your heavenly passage to eternity every single week, the need to attend a local house of worship is often dimmed by the offering of a bright, sunny day.

God seems to be outdated to His own agenda.

Some of the poorest people in the world spend the most time praising the Almighty—and certainly many of the selfish, more short-sighted causes are pursued by those who pray without ceasing. The end result is that those who have been born since Jesus Christ stopped being a “Superstar” now are a bit afraid to embrace the heavenly Father for fear of being smacked in the head instead of receiving a pat of approval.

Ironically, I spent yesterday morning sharing at the King of Glory Lutheran Church in suburban Denver, Colorado. At 9:00 A.M., I stared out at a sea of faces and they back at me. We were trangers. We were cautious with each other. We wondered if any good thing could come out of us—to enrich the life of the other.

Blessedly, when I left the stage at 9:51, I had made a bunch of friends. I put the King of Glory to work. I presented God as a forgiving, divine, almighty Being who is prepared to forgive us and save our souls. I shared that He was an intelligent presence who expects us to take personal responsibility for our lives and improve our financial status by using our own talents and abilities, so that we don’t need to beg for bread but can give bread to the beggar.  And together we talked about how to be wiser, rejecting the stupidity of striving to constantly be superior to other people, but instead, taking what we know and use it effectively in our next project.

The King of Glory made sense. He was not only powerful to save; He was also prepared to enrich and to grant us wisdom without making fun of us for our lack.

I wish I could take a whole generation that has been scared away from intimacy with the Creator on a journey to discover the true height and depth of His love. But religion is powerful. Religion is predictable—and therefore inhaled by those who have grown comfortable with stale air. Religion is political, and therefore prepared to insult and attack in order to maintain its position.

So I quietly will go about my business loving those God sends my way as simply and as gently as I can. I will tell them who this King of Glory truly is:

He is a friend who wants to save them, help them find ways to be richer, and impart to them a great journey… into wisdom.

   

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