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Pastor's Commentary

The Elephant
Sunday, August 18 2019

Some time back I was traveling along a back road with my teenage grandson. It was a wooded area of some thousands of acres, a beautiful country scene, where I happen to spot some deer not far off the fence line. I told my grandson; hey look over there at all the deer, to which he looked and looked and just couldn’t see them. He asked me, how do you do that; you seem to see things I just don’t see? I must admit I do have a knack for that, but, in reality I am attuned to wildlife’s shapes and patterns of movement more than the average person having spent much time in the woods camping when I was younger. It is also true many creatures seem to blend in with their surroundings very well, that of course is no accident as their very survival depends on it.

In the case of the elephant he is not much attuned to camouflage, he’s huge, he’s obvious and that’s the nature of the beast. There was a phrase that came out back in the early 1950’s called; “Elephant in the Room”. The idea behind it was from what I read, it was like a metaphor for something so obvious that it was not, nor cannot be overlooked, but was. They chose to not recognize its glaring presence. This metaphor would forever reveal a process by which people, people groups, maybe cities and yes, even nations may do exactly the same thing, ignoring the obvious, even to their own detriment.

            As I write this article our Country has just experienced three mass shootings in a little over a week. With over thirty souls perishing in the aftermath and scores more injured, many are asking; what in the world is going on? Many intelligent people are looking at this glaring problem and asking themselves; what can be done to stem this violence? I have read where one political side believes the answer lies in removing the weapons from the populace; as surely that will irradiate the problem for good. Of course this doesn’t take into account that weapons can be obtained from many under the counter establishments, cons, just about anywhere. If someone is so consumed with mass murder they will find a way seems obvious, remember the big truck in Paris. Whereas the other political side seems to believe we just need to be more vigilant in identifying people with corrupt minds and signs of instability, can’t argue with that. Many of the collective voices are saying we will not be a Nation based on hatred. That sounds good, but it’s already imbedded in our society/culture. Unless I’m wrong, people are still allowed to think what they want, just don’t let your personal ills and prejudices overflow into society. And where is this violence coming from? Much of it can be attributed to the violent images people see on a daily basis. I’m told the video games are one of the worst purveyors of violence imaginable; images of death and destruction are the normal in many of the games. And what age group is caught up in this, you guessed it, the same age as the shooters in the recent mass shootings. But this is not the elephant in the room by any means. Our beloved Country seems also to have a love affair with alcohol, and drugs and just about anything that can bring harm either to oneself or one another, as bad as this is, it is not the elephant either.

            The last time I checked or watched the news, serious crime such as murder is against the Law. I’m quite sure, people that do such acts are aware of this, but seem to justify their acts anyway. The point is, the Law, written words with the authority to enforce such law, has no power in itself to change the heart of the person. The highways of any city has speed limits to safeguard all that travel these roads, but it’s just a number on a sign, the power to obey that law has to come from within. In order to stop this serious crime against the citizenry, people are demanding steps to be taken. Along with that thought, consider a movie that came out years ago called; “Minority Report”. If I remember the plot, crime had gotten to place where public outcry demanded action to be taken. The police department was able to monitor the population through mental telepathy (? two girls), that even thoughts of potential crime were enough to incriminate folks. Is that where we are headed, let’s hope not, but don’t think this isn’t a possibility with all the intelligence networks available in our day and time.

            This takes us back to the question of what is the; “Elephant in the Room”? History has a way of revealing things past that may portend to events in the future. As the old saying goes; they that forget the past, are destined to repeat it. In a book written in 1738 by Bishop George Berkeley; Discourse Addressed to Magistrates and Men in Authority concerning morality in old England, early 1700’s. It was during this time people were not being exposed to the Gospel message as a result of governmental suppression, that moral decline had taken root. In order to stem the crime rate, severe punishment was meted out by the state, even capital punishment for the smallest of criminal acts, as children as young as ten years old were being hung along with adults. Interesting quote from Bishop seems to fit our day and time; the youth born and brought up in wicked times without any bias to good from early principal; or instilled opinion, when they grow ripe, must be monsters indeed. And it is to be feared that the age of monsters be not far off. In other words, where values are instilled in the youth as they grow up, values will be part of their life when they have grown up, or the opposite takes place. There was another occasion where depravation took its toll, as most would remember the book; Mutiny on the Bounty. There were nine mutineers plus native men and women islanders that went ashore on the Pitcairn Island in 1790. It wasn’t long before they discovered they could distill alcohol, resultant, it didn’t take long after that before they descended in moral depravity. Amazing how that stuff works, no one is excluded from its deadly grip once it has you. In just ten years, there remained only one the original mutineers, plus the women and children. It looks like that would be the end of the story, but, I just read where there was a surprise ending to the story from world famous author Jonathan Cahn. That takes us to our last part of what the Elephant is.

            As I quoted the downward slide of Old England in the early 1700’s, there would be a turnaround. One would think the country itself provided the answer, could they not have come up with some type of draconian punishment that even the most hardened criminal would never dare to commit any crime, after all, was this not where the “iron maiden” came from? Here is what happened, in 1769 after many years of absolute decadence, God raised up the Wesley brothers, John and Charles, Protestant Pastors, Bible Teachers to rescue the perishing. They preached to and prayed for the masses, bringing them back from the depths of despair through the Gospel message, not man’s wisdom, but God’s Word. They set up a Sunday School System to teach the masses the Word of God. Did it work? History reveals crime almost disappeared; alcohol disappeared, if there had been drugs in that day and time they too would have vacated the scene. Yes, the magnetic power of evil had been broken, laws weren’t needed where people will voluntarily want to do what is right, are we listening? In the case of the mutineers, something most magnificent happened on that island as well. The last surviving mutineer was looking through the Bounty’s Treasure Chest, no there were no jewels and gems to be found, but there was a treasure that far exceeded all they had ever hoped to find. He found the old ship’s Bible; that had been stashed away all those years, and began to read it, share it; obey it. The Islanders were transformed, the distillery was destroyed, hope was instilled, and reverence for the Eternal God in whom we must all stand before one day was accepted by all.

            The “metaphor” for the Elephant in our present time has to be the Presence and Person of God! We can talk forever on curbing violence, bad behavior, but it all starts in the heart of man. Until we recognize that only the Lord can fix the ills of the heart, it matters little how many laws one passes. Mankind without the Presence of God will not get better, we will only destroy ourselves. Ask yourself, have we adhered to God’s directives outlined in His Word, have we sought His help, or have we refused to admit He is even part of the equation? To the extent we have removed God, is to the extent we will allow the vacuum of an anti god spirit to control the hearts of men. Go ahead and say it; he’s right, but we don’t want the fix. God cannot be ignored forever. God has always demonstrated an open arms policy to all that come with a repentant heart. It’s time for a change of heart to fix this mess we are in.

Pastor Thomas Nosworthy

Light the Way Ministries.

lightthewayministries.org

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Special Guest Commentary

101 BODACIOUS QUOTATIONS

TO

INSPIRE PATRIOTISM

Introduction

You might be wondering what prompted the writing of this bodacious quotation book? What better time than now to be reminded of how both essential and fragile our country is. America is experiencing one of its darkest periods in recent history.  For over three years, we have witnessed some truly vicious and ugly political unrest.

          A ceaseless cacophony of accusations, innuendo, and intrigue have kept those in Washington and the media ever busy. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, to watch the daily news and social media, one would never know that the stock market had hit all-time highs numerous times in the last 54 months, or we’d had the lowest unemployment numbers in decades, and the lowest unemployment rate among blacks ever!  President Trump also renegotiated trade deals that  were fairer to America.

          Then, in January 2020, our nation was rocked when the Coronavirus landed on our shores and ended our way of life as we know it. Soon there were daily press briefings from the White House and various doctors. Each day virus information was plentiful, contradictory, and confusing. People were dying. We heard that hospitals were going to be overrun with COVID cases.

          The army set up hospital tents in various cities to handle the tens of thousands that were expected to land there. It didn’t happen. Hospitals were going to be inundated and unable to care for all of the sick. The army hospitals were never used – not one patient was seen in many of these. They were eventually dismantled. What happened? All non-essential surgeries and doctors’ visits were canceled. Hospitals were virtually emptied. And now? Many health care workers have been terminated or furloughed because the hospital's operating capital has vanished.    

           Now, thousands have died! Our elderly, who were not adequately protected in nursing homes, have had the most significant number of deaths. The actual numbers of COVID deaths cannot be relied upon because of highly questionable methodologies for assigning the cause of death. The rationale for this might be related to government funding to hospitals for each COVID case.     Time will tell as we compare data from previous years for various causes of deaths to see if the other numbers are in line with past years, OR if there's been a sharp decline in other categories, and they have been pushed into the COVID category.  And, suddenly, in the last several weeks, cases have begun to spike again. There is substantial debate on if it’s because many more people are getting tested. There is so much information out there – unreliable at best, that there’s no sense in discussing it at this point.

          Governors in many states issued draconian lock-down orders threatening people with arrests and the closure of businesses, or cancellation of necessary licenses if they didn’t abide by these rules. Masks and gloves were donned, not in hospitals, but stores and any public places. We even saw a parent handcuffed and arrested in front of his little girl because he dared to play ball with her in an empty field. A salon owner was arrested and jailed for opening her salon to pay her bills and put food on her table. Many other Gestapo tactics, such as these, were used to keep people in line. YES, I am talking about America!

            Americans have turned against one another. Some believe everything that the CDC, World Health Organization, and government say. Others believe there is a conspiracy to subjugate the people as a test to see how much they'll tolerate and for how long. It's been, in my opinion, a phenomenal success. People hate each other more than ever. Make no mistake; the various powers have observed very carefully to see how we've all responded. Unfortunately, it's been too much for many, and suicides have skyrocketed. Prescriptions for mood-altering drugs to cope with the crisis have also gone up dramatically (as if we didn't already have an opioid epidemic.)

          Younger Americans seem to be suffering more than most from deep depression, isolation, and loneliness.  I find this completely paradoxical since they are the generation that is so disconnected from one-on-one relationships, and so completely connected to their phones and other electronic devices. You can’t sit in the same room, or at the same table with them, without sharing their time with their hand-held devices! And yet, they are  the ones suffering from their own self-created lack of meaningful relationships with others.  

           The mainstream media, who now chooses to cherry-pick what they report, excluding vital details, has become an op-ed machine rather than a fair and unbiased media. What was once the actual news is now a daily dose of propaganda. And fear mongering. I once believed everything I heard on the evening news! I now question absolutely everything I hear on the evening news! I have no faith in the honesty, integrity, or intentions of what is being "reported." Who exactly can we turn to for the facts and not opinions? I don't know.

           Just when we were beginning to see the light, and the states were opening things back up, one rogue cop, caught in the horrendous act of murdering a black man by kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes, captured the country’s attention.  The anger and outrage at this injustice rocked every corner of our nation. But, within the black community, it ignited a firestorm of rage and anger. That moment symbolized, for many, both black and white, the brutality of a small percentage of police that has unfairly tarnished ALL police officers. To believe this of an entire segment of people is blatantly untrue and unfair.

           That was the tinderbox that erupted into the scenarios we are now witnessing, hour by hour, day after day, that could be right out of the movie “Escape from New York.”  Cities are burning. Businesses looted. People are being shot, and armed citizens are patrolling their neighborhoods to keep looters out and their areas safe with their weapons.

          A six-block area has been taken over by anarchists. Checkpoints have been established for entering and exiting, and there are check-points to allow people in or out. They are extorting business owners, and the Mayor of Seattle seems to think it’s a “summer block party.”  I guess she is not aware that a new country has been set up in a six-block area now known as CHAZ/CHOP – Capital Hill Autonomous Zone. You can’t make this stuff up!

          All across our country,  statues and monuments are being defaced and torn down – while those in charge sit on their hands and let the anarchists destroy America, insisting there is nothing they can do. Every day the frenzy continues as the calls for changing names of military bases, schools, colleges, sports teams, etc., escalates. It is complete insanity.

           Right on cue, the media and politicians have seized upon the opportunity to stoke the coals of division and hatred. I cry for our nation and what we have allowed ourselves to become.  I don't know the people seen on T.V. I don't come in contact with the level of black, or white,  Americans seen on there – they don't represent those with whom I daily interact.  People with thinking brains understand that these broad generalizations are not only untrue, but inherently harmful to us individually, and collectively as a nation.    

          Many officials of these large cities have refused to address the rioters and insist upon calling them, protesters. They seem to have limited knowledge of vocabulary for no one in their right mind would equate a protester and a rioter who burns, loots,  and harms people, as the same thing.        The very thing that the black community, what all communities need, are jobs and businesses. Now, thousands have seen their streets and businesses burned and destroyed, some of which will never return. Those jobs are permanently lost.  Those black communities will again know the pains of hopelessness and living in burned-out hulls of their former cities.

           But take hope. While all of this has happened, America's elite have raised over twenty million dollars – wait for it – not to help rebuild those cities, but to bail out the “protesters” who have destroyed those cities. Yes, this is where we are. There seems to be no help for those who work and play by the rules. No support is arriving from Hollywood elites and wealthy athletes for those people. One must question why?

           I’m watching this and feeling astounded, and at times utterly hopeless. The Washington leadership (can we call it that?) is still dividing us, still trying to rush through bills that are an atrocity, and I'm thinking to myself, has pandering and appeasement ever gotten anyone anywhere?'  Has that given people jobs and hope? Has that lifted them out of poverty? And, I feel, most importantly, has that increased their self-respect and self-reliance?  That I can answer with a resounding NO! To deny any human being the chance to work and produce, to feel a sense of accomplishment for a job well done, is to deny a basic human need – to feel valued.

          I don’t understand all of the machinations of politics (I couldn’t sleep at night if I did). I do know one thing as a person who loves their country – that we can’t, we must not give up on America. Too many people have given their lives for our America. We are in a fight for the very soul of this country. That might sound dramatic, but it is a fact. Many want to tear it apart – rebuild it into what they “envision” would be a better place. The founding fathers had a profoundly inciteful vision for the greatest country that the world has ever known. They knew history, and they sought to use their knowledge to create a more perfect union. (Where have we heard that before?)

            There are days when I question everything. At moments I give up hope and want to surrender. Times when I think if that is what THEY want, then they can have it. But it is not ours to give away! We owe a debt to our country to protect it from enemies, both foreign and domestic. That is our duty as a patriotic American who is willing to speak up and stop the insanity.

           I call upon my strong faith in God, knowing that whatever He has in store, He is with us. When America turned Him out of their schools, their homes, and their hearts, our decline began.  That is what happens when we shrugged our shoulders and said, “Oh well, what can you do?” Or, “Live and let live.” Now you can see the left doesn’t want people to live and let live. They want to control us. There seems to be no middle ground. This indeed is something new.

            I have seen the thousands of crosses marking graves of our soldiers who fought for democracy around the world and paid the ultimate sacrifice. I mourn with families who have known the pain of losing those heroes. I remind myself that I will do everything humanly possible to ensure that America is a country of citizens who deserve to live in peace and prosperity, fellowship, and understanding. Abraham Lincoln was well aware, as our country teetered on the brink of civil war, that "A house divided against itself cannot stand."  (Mark 3:25)

            America is equivalent to a marriage. Sometimes we see all the best she has to offer, and we're starry-eyed and optimistic. Other times, we see everything as irreconcilable and dark. Then, it's as though we would like a divorce.  But saving America is worth the fight. We have a lot of work ahead of us. A great deal of understanding and healing needs to be done.

          We need to commit to providing more opportunities for all. And, more of a commitment to make each person responsible for their actions. We must step up to the plate and take personal responsibility – stop pointing the finger and passing the buck. Even though it seems impossible through the lens of the current crisis, I do believe in miracles. It's going to take courage, strength, consistency, fairness, rules for all, and laws that everyone must follow - not just a few. It will also necessitate a commitment from those in Washington to come together and serve America – not themselves. I don’t believe they will do that willingly. Their strength lies in our discord!

            How could I express all of these thoughts and feelings in a small book? I've always been enamored with quotations! With just a few carefully chosen words strung together like a beautiful strand of pearls, they present a profound concept. These BODACIOUS quotations have been hand-picked for an important point or reminder about freedom, honesty, politicians, government, personal duty, economics, liberty, and above all else, man's responsibility to think for himself. History has gifted us with brilliant people, whose insightful reasoning and words of wisdom have proven ageless. They deserve to be heard once again as valuable reminders to each of us.

          It is my sincere hope that you will become even more bodacious in your patriotism. I hope that you will find meaningful ways to become a better, more involved citizen. I pray that this will stimulate conversation and inspire each of you to understand your unique "Power of One" and step into your new bodacious life! America is depending upon you.

 

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