Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Safe Place On College Campuses

I know I recently wrote concerning my frustration at events occurring on our college campuses.  I fear the foundations of our society are being openly undermined by professors who teach that our country’s history, our churches, and even our families are an evil invading the personal freedom of our college students --- and they must take their freedom back, “to be whoever they want to be, to pursue their own truths.” 
And, as the professors teach, anyone who disagrees with that is hateful of them, or –phobic of their ideas.
So, you can imagine that I felt more than a little surprised, recently, when I found myself agreeing with those words being so emphatically proclaimed on many a college campus today:  “We need a safe place,” one where we can go to get away from those people who obviously don’t love us or respect us, or our freedom.
And, after thinking on it, I agree with their words.
Now, I grant you that my initial reaction WAS negative to this idea.  Their cries sounded like some overly-sensitive students whining: “Mommy, somebody hurt me.”  And I reacted with sarcastic comments and laughter, and even perhaps a bit of pity. But after I thought about it some, I realized I was being judgmental AND sexist to their words.  For when I changed their cry to: “Daddy, somebody hurt me” I suddenly saw things in a new light.
It indeed IS right to want a place to go to for safety, a place where you know are loved, a place you feel safe.  This desire is deep within our very soul (regardless of what some college professors may try to teach our brains).  This desire for safety is one we were made with.  And, it is not a new feeling, nor is the place these students seek new.  That safe place has always existed, and been called a sanctuary, and for many thousands of years THE place for sanctuary was known as a church.
So:  our college kids by their own words are calling for the building of more churches on the college campuses!!  I agree!!  I’d even agree they should be built with state money.  I’d even agree that perhaps attendance at morning churches should be mandatory, and perhaps even mandatory prayers at the start of each class.
After all, we need to protect our kids ---- with God’s help.  Our kids are calling out for the building of a place of safety; but it’s already there on many campuses, or just down the block. 
Just ask mommy or Daddy about it.    
Why don’t our college professors teach them that?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

I Want More, Please

Oliver Twist spoke those words humbly asking for more of the basics of life:  food.  As I spoke to God in prayer this morning, I suddenly found myself saying those same words:  “I want more, please.”  And in response I just hope God isn’t looking down on me with the same eyes of indignation that the poorhouse overseers cast down upon Oliver.
I want more, please.  I don’t think I even have to proclaim those words aloud; He sees my heart --- but what does He see?  Does He see a man not nearly grateful enough for His many blessings?  Does He see a man whose prayers He has answered so often, and think him selfish, greedy, in wanting more?  Does He recall His own words, “Ask, and it shall be given you,” and think:  but you abuse My generosity; You are MY servant, not I yours?
Do I test His love?  Do I assume too much?
Oliver humbly asked for more, with trust, but not knowing the response forthcoming to his question.  Do I assume I know the mind and the will of God?  Oliver asks for the basics; it seems to me that what I consider the basics has changed over the years.  I trust God loves me and all others, and wishes us the best of all things possible:  to be with Him.  Trusting in that, I want more to come to Him, just as He does.  I consider THAT the basics of our relationship.  My most fervent prayer is that those He brings into my life might, through me if He pleases, grow closer to Him, to know, love and serve Him.  And I also pray that prayer’s corollary:  And please, let not any be led astray because of me.
I am so blessed.  So many people come into my life; so many bless ME.  I wonder if I do enough to bless them.  Through the Eucharist I see and often feel God’s presence.  I am so blessed.  When I hear others in honest confusion say: “I don’t know what that feels like,” I feel sad.  I want more --- for them.
What can I do, Lord, to better do Your will?  How can I trust in Your love, and not assume it? (--- or is the correct word “pre”-sume it?)  Am I a pest, Lord, when I pray the same prayers over and over, even as I am assuming You WILL answer them, in Your way?  Are my repetitive prayers a desire to have my prayers answered, but in MY way?
In Isaiah I heard today:
As a young man marries a virgin,
your Builder shall marry you.
And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride,
so shall your God rejoice in you.
It says He wants to give me everything.  Dare I ask for more?
Today I also heard the gifts of the Holy Spirit enumerated in 1Cor 12:4-11:  Dare I ask for more?
And as I knelt, the post-communion hymn echoed through the church speakers, and it echoed in my heart:
My Lord, my King, my God and my all,
Who was and is and is to be,
I bow in humble adoration,
at what You have done for me.

My Lord, my King, my God and my All,
give me grace to do my part.
To lay my life down at the foot of Your cross,
and to give You all my heart.
--- My Lord, My King, by Ann Berger

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

It's Never Too Late to Build a Foundation

I stumbled across many a vital lesson in college; perhaps I should say God often opened my eyes to things I should learn.  Whatever.  In many a physics class I memorized mathematical formulas or theorems to describe physical actions.  I could ace a test by writing down the correct formulas, but often I did not know WHY they were correct.  They were the answer, but not necessarily the logical answer.  Oh, every now and again I did have the “aha” moment, where some previous foundational lesson clicked with the current study, and then “I saw the light” and reasonableness of an answer.  But often I did not.

In physics, there today continues the search for “The Universal Theory of Everything.”  Much is known about the big things: the movements of the stars, light, and time.  Much is known about the microscopic things: atoms, electrons, and photons.  We believers in God know that all things make sense in His plan of creation, but physicists are still looking for the “aha” moment to logically connect all of physical creation’s relationships.  Perhaps it will be found, but if it is, it will be a connecting of things already known --- it will be a building on the foundations already created.  That’s why it is so important to get the foundations right, and build on them.

Life is like that.

In my physics studies I sometimes forgot the basics, the foundations, of lower math, the calculus, trigonometry, or geometry basics, and so the higher equations didn’t make sense to me.  In our colleges these days the social sciences should be building on the basics we learned earlier in our lives ABOUT the foundations of life --- God and family --- but colleges today are not only not building on these teachings, and they are often rebuked as unneeded to understand the complexities of life.  They teach that life is what you want to believe it is; there are no foundations.

My friends have a 20-foot living room ceiling.  Whenever they wish to paint it, they bring in scaffolding or tall ladders --- foundations to stand on to get the job done right.  Our colleges would teach you don’t need those foundations, you can choose to paint that ceiling any way you want.  Perhaps that is true, but things will get pretty messy, and it will be a rare ceiling that looks pretty.  And when we’re done we’ll wish that --- somehow --- we could have done it better.  Life without foundations is life without meaning.  It is life without any answer to the question:  WHY?  It is the physicist knowing many formulas in many areas struggling for the Universal Theory of Everything.  It is man trying to understand the works of God, trying to understand:  “Why am I here?  How should I live?”

Every man was created for a reason, and is a link in the chain of God’s creation.  All life IS connected to all life, but we cannot choose how we connect, or the linkage falls apart.  There ARE certain foundations, certain rules of life.  At one time colleges DID build on things taught in the Church and family --- colleges were started and promoted by the Church.  Then the time came when man thought he had discovered a new foundation, one he could more easily build, not in God, but in himself.

We recently celebrated the Baptism of Jesus.  Many people question:  “Why did Jesus need to be baptized?”  A saint described the necessity of Jesus’ baptism this way:  The Light of God led the Jews out of Egypt through the Red Sea, and to the way to the Promised Land.  This pre-figured Jesus’ baptism, through which He leads us through the waters of Baptism to the Promised Land.  Jesus LED us in Baptism.  The waters of Baptism, and all Jesus taught us by His life, are Ways to the Promised Land.  They are, if you will, the foundations of eternal life.  This goal gives life meaning.

If we reject those foundations, those directions, just where do we think we are going?  “I am the Way,” He said.  Our colleges have confused who that “I” is.

There is one more thing about the faith foundation of life which is most important to remember:  that foundation is not just for children to learn.  If we forget; if we become lost, it is never too late in life to begin studying Scripture, and the Way to happiness taught there, the purpose of life shown there.  It is never too late to try to make sense of your life, to answer the question:  Why did God create ME?  And then build your life on that.

Ask Him; He will tell you.  It does make sense.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Why I Am God

I am not a political animal, worried about political things all the time.  I wanted to note that, so that a wrong impression isn’t given, as I write this, my second political/culture-related post in a row.
While riding around just now, I was listening to the Laura Ingram radio show and she had a guest on who said something in what I thought were just the right words.  Part of my reason for writing these postings is to record what I believe are God-given insights to me that I want to give praise for, and remember.  And sometimes He speaks through others.
The guest was speaking about the increasing numbers of “diversity” classes being offered in colleges, and even majors in some areas of focus.  So there are classes on women’s empowerment, black culture or history, Jewish culture, Gay identity, etc., etc., etc..  In commenting about these new offerings the guest said something to the effect that “these classes are certainly permissible, the First Amendment says so, however … I would like to see them offered with the stipulation that women may not take women’s women-focus classes, nor blacks black-focus classes, etc.  If these are truly classes of diversity-learning in our colleges, then they should be teaching diversity to others not of that understanding.  What I suspect, however, is that these classes are by and for select groups which say to them: ‘Here’s why you are right in your thinking, and everyone else is wrong.’  I suspect there is nothing critical said about the topic in these classes; they are ‘feel-good-about-yourself and your opinion’ classes.  We don’t need more such classes telling young people that everyone but you is wrong.  This does not bode well for the future of our country, or the world.  These are classes to boost egos and promote narcissism, so people feel good about proclaiming ‘Why I am God,’ and you are not” --- and why I have the right to say that, and you have no right to disagree.
Perhaps this man is wrong in his assumptions; I suspect he never took any of those class offerings, but I had the same feelings when I worked at Ford Motor Company where there were various diversity groups sponsored by the Company.  They typically were groups of like-minded people wanting to convince themselves – and the few others who might drop by their meetings – why they were gods in their views and/or cultures.  I never saw the value of that.  Perhaps I was and am wrong about these matters; I know I am not God.
I was happy to hear my thoughts explained this afternoon, in words that say how I perceive things.  (No, please don’t comment that I am –phobic or a hater of anything; I am not.  I too have First Amendment rights --- for now.)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Cosby's Sin

Bill Cosby took sex.  Mel Gibson took booze.  Catholic priests abused kids and bishops hid it.  Mark Twain used the N-word.  And our country’s forefathers had slaves.
All are now judged as evil by some, who wish them and their works to be banished from further offending their sinless, pure sensibilities.  But a great majority of Americans still believe there was only One truly sinless Man, and to us He said:  “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  How soon we forget.
Sin is not a darkness we should be shunning or fearing.  It is a cloud in front of the sun present in of each of our lives.  If all we see are sins of others we will miss a lot of their sun --- and the world needs more light.  All of the men cited are a great blessing to the country and our culture, even if they sin.
God came to save us from sins; who are we to say He can’t, or that He needs our blessing --- or our help?

(Sorry, I just had to post this).