Thursday, June 28, 2012

Liberty's End

On the eve of the celebration of my ancestors' arrival on these shores in 1739, and just days before our annual celebration of Independence from a paternalistic and oppressive government, the Chief Justice of the Supreme, Justice Roberts, effectively sided with government tyranny over the rights of the people and the states in his historic swing vote decision on what is commonly called ObamaCare. Why? I have no idea. Of all the justices on the court, he was the one least likely suspected to have favored this far reaching power grab on the part of the federal government.

What I know is that no matter how long he sits as Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, his legacy will be forever marred by the events of this day. The press may praise him today, but history will not. The people of the Republic looked to him to uphold their rights and the rights of the states against an ever growing centralized power, and he betrayed us. Unless the next Congress and the new president repeal this horrendous law, we are doomed as a nation to the fate of Greece, Portugal, and Spain--socialist nations reeling under the weight of overwhelming debt, joblessness, and insufficient revenues to support their well-intentioned but failed programs of public assistance. May God spare us from ourselves and give us a Congress and President in the next election who will turn back the hand of tyranny and restore to us the guarantees of our Constitution and limit federal powers.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tribute to Dad

Father's Day is a mixed day for me. On the one hand I reflect on my own father, who died when I was 14. Dad was a great man in my eyes. He only completed the 8th grade but was full of traditional wisdom. Few people I've known knew their Bibles as well as he knew his. He worked hard all his life, often 16 hrs a day. He was what we call today a "bi-vocational" pastor. He served as pastor of a small church on the edge of town and had a paint contracting business. Dad encouraged all of us to get a good education--something he never enjoyed the benefits of. He emphasized learning proper English, math skills, and history.

My dad's passions were the Bible and Baptist history. Granted, my dad grew up in a generation saturated with Trail of Blood landmarkism as the lens through which all church history was interpreted. His Bible was the 1906 C. I. Scofield Reference Bible. He would have nothing to do with the revised Scofield Bible that came out in the late 1960s. All attempts at modern language translations were, to him, a corruption of the Bible. From my dad I learned to love and trust as inerrant and authoritative God's word, and I learned to love Baptist history, even if we would not see eye to eye on every point now.

Dad taught me the value of hard work. From a very early age I worked, helping in my spare time with painting houses and learning the trade. He encouraged each of us to learn other skills as well. In addition he encouraged me as I went out in the neighborhood mowing lawns in the summer. Work was a part of life for us, and we never resented it.

He loved music, had a ringing bass voice and could sing almost to the bottom of the piano keyboard. I'm still envious of his voice. He learned music in a day when people learned by "shaped" notes rather than "round" notes. He could not read lines and spaces on a score but knew pitches by the shape of the note (each note in the scale has a different shape). I learned to love music from my dad.

Dad loved the outdoors. He loved fishing the most, but he also taught us to hunt. Gun safety was a big issue with Dad because his Uncle John Land was killed as a result of a hunting accident. Every year, at the beginning of hunting season, Dad would tell us how Uncle John reached behind the seat of his Model T truck, grabbed his .22 by the muzzle thinking it was unloaded, and the trigger hung on a spring and it went off. Uncle John lay in a hospital in an "iron lung" for two weeks before finally dying. Dad would talk about sitting on a bench outside the hospital on a moonlit night, listening to the sound of the iron lung and Uncle John fighting for his life. What did we learn from that? Two things. First, no gun is ever "unloaded." Secondly, a gun can get you killed. Treat it with respect.

Most of all I learned that spending time with God, my wife, and my kids is more important than time spent at work. Work will always be there. My kids will be grown and gone some day. God's word is my treasure, and my wife is the one who makes me complete. What's the point of working 60--80 hours a week if you miss seeing your kids grow up, your wife becomes a stranger, and the Bible is squeezed out of your schedule? Thanks, Dad, for some great life-lessons.