Saturday, June 16, 2012

Life is Short, Good Samaritans, & State Farm

Yesterday I was reminded of 3 things.
1. Life is short and can be taken from us at any moment unexpectedly. 

2. There are still good people in the world
3. Some State Farm agents are still true to their slogan.

Around 4 pm our house phone rang and my mom answered it in the kitchen. I was 2 rooms away, but could still hear her. "What?! Where?! Are y'all okay?!" I ran in the kitchen and she was still on the phone. I asked her what happened and she said that my grandparents had been in a bad wreck in Macon, MS (about 45 minutes from my house). They were both okay but the car was torn up. We jumped in our SUV and quickly drove to pick them up. It was the year anniversary of my great aunt Bobbie's death. My grandparents had gone down to my grandfather's hometown to put flowers on her grave. They were driving home on a 4 lane highway. There was an intersection in the highway, but only the crossing road had a stop sign. My grandparents were on the highway, when all of a sudden, from the crossing road, come a car flying past the stop sign. Not only did the car run the stop sign, he sped across 3 lanes of traffic, hit my grandparents car, and finally hit & knocked over the stop sign on the opposite side of the highway!
Luckily, my grandfather was able to swerve to avoid any further damage. He and my grandmother were both okay, save for a bruise on my grandmother's arm. While they were standing outside their car after the wreck, a nice lady drove up and let my grandmother sit in her car with her and then drove her to the hotel (the wreck was right in front of a hotel), got her some water, and stayed with her until my grandfather had finished business with the insurance and police. The lady did not know them, yet stopped and helped out of the kindness of her heart. A genuine "good Samaritan"! When my grandfather and the State Farm Insurance agent got to the hotel, the lady left. The State Farm agent stayed with my grandparents until my mom and I arrived. The agent was the nicest and most helpful old insurance agent that I've ever met! He treated them like he knew them, which he didn't. I guess their motto is correct: "Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm Is There" =)

Even though nobody was seriously injured, it was a shocking jolt of reality that made me realize that no matter what we do or how safe we think we are, our lives can be unpredictably taken. It makes me think about the important things in life, and what I want to accomplish before I die. When I die, I want my life to have meant something. I want to have made a difference in people's lives. I know that if I continue to live my life for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then I can accomplish those goals. We needn't worry about the little things, for we need to focus on God.
Matthew 6:19-34 talks about where our focus should be and what we shouldn't worry about. 

  • 6:19-21 says:

    “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."

  • 6:30-33 says:

    "And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." 

In conclusion, I was reminded of 3 things: life is short and can be taken from us at anytime, there are still good people in the world that do good things to help others, and some State Farm agents really o stick to the motto! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tolerance and Religious Persecution

I was listening to the radio this morning and heard of a case that the Alliance Defense Fund was taking in New Mexico. A Christian couple owns a photography studio in NM and a lesbian couple approaches them and wants to hire them to photograph their "Commencement Ceremony". (In NM, Gay marriage isn't legal and isnt recognized) the Christian couple politely declines to take the job because it goes against their religious and moral values. The angry lesbians then commence to suing the small privately owned studio for discrimination! The couple is fined $7000 for their "intolerant" views. The ADF is now taking this case to the state supreme court in attempts to protect the religious freedom of the Christian couple. Now, an analogy to this situation: Would a photography studio owned by animal rights activist be wrong to refuse to take pictures of a hunting group's taxidermy animals? NO! It goes against their beliefs! Is that intolerant? I don't think so! Michael Hamblin states:

"... what does it mean to be "tolerant" or "intolerant?" In the past, tolerance meant that other people have a right to their opinion, and the right to express themselves, and that even though we may disagree with their opinions, that we can tolerate their view and live in peace, with the understanding that all people are working toward truth. In recent years, however, tolerance has come to mean something radically different, that tolerance should be never saying that someone else is wrong. All value judgments are viewed as intolerant, except of course, the value judgment that says "value judgments are wrong." Rather than tolerating other people's opinions (or perhaps, learning from them), many people have come to believe that "Judge not, lest ye be judged," and hence not making value judgments, is the basis for tolerance.
In an intolerant world, rational dialogue gives way to argument by insult. As Greg Koukl notes, "Most of what passes for tolerance today is not tolerance at all, but rather intellectual cowardice. Those who hide behind the myth of neutrality are often afraid of intelligent engagement. Unwilling to be challenged by alternate points of view, they don't engage contrary opinions or even consider them. It's easier to hurl an insult-'you intolerant bigot'-than to confront the idea and either refute it or be changed by it. 'Tolerance' has become intolerance." When thoughtful principled arguments can be refuted by insults or speculation about hidden motives (a hermeneutic of suspicion), rational discourse breaks down.""

The point being, the Christian couple has religious and moral values and as a privately owned business, they have the right to accept or decline any client they choose. They have the right under the constitution to religious freedom. They have the right to live their life without fear or without being persecuted for their beliefs.

As a Christian, I am tolerant of others beliefs. Even though I might disagree with them on their beliefs, I am called by Christ to treat them with kindness and compassion. I can still love and be friends with them regardless of their values and ways of life. But IF their ideals threaten me or the lives of others, I will not hesitate to fight back!

I have friends that are gay and I don't treat them or love them any less than I do my straight friends! The Bible calls us to treat others lovingly and kindly. Hate speech, animosity, and violence isn't an acceptable way to treat people you are called to love.