Archive for November, 2011

Freedom, Again

I saw a caterpillar today crossing the five-lane road near my house. I breathed relief as my Kia straddled him going sixty mph. He was going 6 mm per second. If he could just make it to the butterfly stage, his life would not be in such grave danger.

I wonder if this is analogous to freedom we humans contemplate and sometimes loudly articulate. I think many people think they are free because they feel the call to soar, flit, and dart about randomly cavalier, but actually they are living quite serpendipitously in the highways of life. As a caterpillar they could meet their fate suddenlly, unknowingly —  something like splat. They are unaware that to be free we must struggle against what we cannot see, much like the caterpillar, but what is nonetheless real and powerful — the machinery of power, the droning rush of the crowd, and the disdain for philosophical debate.

I recently met some beautiful people at a Veteran’s Day memorial — honorable veterans, upright citizens, proud decendants of Revolutionary heroes, well-meaning city council members, hopeful cheery singing children, and the police officers there to guarantee their safety.

I tried to share a message with them afterwards, but was met with an unusual, surprising resistance. Not surprising in the fact that people generally try to ignore street preaching, but surprising in another aspect. There were many people who were clearly impacted by what I said in the way of honoring our dying heroes on the battlefield but they were struggling to let themselves listen to me. I then realized that most of the people simply were not free to choose to listen. There were so many pre-conditions to their hearing. They had become immune to listening with a fresh ear and a receptive mind. They were so accustomed to having something presented in a formal, planned, predictable way of their choosing that they were unable to process anything novel, unorthodox, surprising, unplanned, unscreened. I find this to be an extremely sad commentary on our lives as Western civilized people, people who cry ‘freedom’ so loudly. People who venerate freedom of speech, but no longer believe in it. Freedom to express only one’s own ideas can only lead to a shouting match, or to the demand for a new ‘freedom’ — the freedom not to have to listen to other ideas. It is strange, but some people believe they have a constitutional right not to hear unwelcome speech.

I see the protesters at occupy this and that city park, the chanting  and angry signs at political events, the shouting matches and clenched fists on TV talk shows, and I wonder if we as a society are past the point of civil discourse– a clear mark of a civilized society. Instead, we have a policy that whoever can shout the loudest, or drown out the other person, or ridicule their opponent is the one who wins the argument, when there is no true argument at all — only frozen-in-place,  intellectually non-defensible beliefs based on selective numbers, subjective experience, or bizarre examples. My query is this: if we cannot debate, are we still free? And if we are not listening, is it because we cannot listen? Our opinions become nothing more than pre-emptive strikes, and any contradiction means all-out war.

So, if we are no longer thinking people, educated in truth and history, and operating with open minds, wisdom and intuition, then we may be ripe for indoctrination; conversely, we must brace for the authoritarian response to the anarchy such a perilous posture will eventually lead us to.

We may be marching as fast as we can, blindly onward, only to be sideswiped by the wheels of an autocratic machine. Just like caterpillars.

Wait… whew, I just saw a monarch butterfly!

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Veteran’s Day Lament

Every national memorial since WWII has been secular in nature. No reference to God, conspicuously absent scripture, missing national documents referring to God, zilch about our servicemen’s faith.

I know that in my hometown of North Richland Hills, in a park dedicated to the ideal of liberty, LIBERTY PARK, there is not one reference to God, not one scripture reference, not one mention of liberty as endowed by our Creator, no inscription of our national motto “In God We Trust,” not one cross or Star of David. Nothing.

As you consider that cold reality, please contemplate the following message:

Countless thousands of the men who fought for our country died with the name of God, or Jesus, or Christ or  Mother Mary on their lips. In WWII alone, a hundred ministers died on the battlefield with our brave men..  Priests and ministers ran into the war zone and gave them their last rites and they died along with our heroes.

  • heroes who gripped tiny crosses and New Testaments as they slipped into eternity;
  • champions in battle who, with trembling body, held on to the chaplain’s hand;
  • wounded warriors who listened in  desperate trust to their band of brothers’ tearful and solemn prayers of “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,”
  • defenders of our liberty who hastened up to memory Psalm 23 “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me…

Yes we are a religious people, a God-fearing and Bible-believing people, but we are afraid to show it in our public parks, afraid of government censorship, or the ACLU, afraid of mixing church and state. But — we’ve allowed state to silence religion, and that was the fear of our founding fathers.

I tell you, timidity and liberty cannot long be friends. Liberty is born and sustained by courage.

We should demand a symbol of our faith every park dedicated to our servicemen. This symbol should be

  • Engraved in granite and in marble with the tool of historical accuracy
  • struck in stone and cement with the blows of faith and national heritage,and
  • pressed into the very earth with steel, unrelenting resolve.

    Because . . .

We cannot hallow any ground without acknowlg the Hallowed One

We cannot make something sacred without the Sacred One. It’s impossible!

The words “In God We Trust” should be forever emblazoned in our memorial parks. In addition, the words “We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness” should scream out to every passerby.

If not those, then a quote by President Reagan:

“Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.”

Or Thomas Jefferson, who said….

The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.

Why do we think God gave the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel written in stone, but for

  • their preservation,
  • their permanence,
  • their testimony
  • their supremacy and
  • their application

to every succeeding generation.

What we are giving in these sanitized memorials to succeeding generations are

  • lofty ideals with no absolute guarantee
  • inspiring words with no Source of Inspiration
  • lasting symbols w/ no everlastg authority

These marble stones and granite structures will outlive us, but what will they say to our grandchildren? Will they think we have no God? That freedom is not endowed by Him? Will this make them think of God’s guidance, God’s blessing, or the sanctity of blood sacrifice? The greatest sacrifice of all?

We must let them know that we are

  • a chosen nation
  • a blessed people
  • a destined America.

And who has called and blessed us and destined us, if not Almighty God? Who will we turn to in a time of crisis?

How long can we safely ignore HIM?

I end this soliquoy with these true words by JC Ryle:

“Begin with not honoring God’s day, and you will soon not honor God’s house; cease to honor God’s house, and you will soon cease to honor God’s book; cease to honor God’s book, and by-and-by you will give God no honor at all.” ~ J.C. Ryle

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