Archive for category Say Something Nice

With

Eyes to blind to see

Ears to dull to hear

Hearts too cold to bleed

Mouths to full to feed

Souls to faint to plead

Knees too stiff to bend

Wills to callas to cow

Heads to fixed to bow

God to distant to heed

The enormity of the need

The world is left to spin

Indifference spells the end.

Love alone provides the key.

Too much to ask of you and me.

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Talk to ME

I am a patriotic person. I love the 4th. of July celebrations. I vote. When my children were small I took them with me to the polls just like I went with my dad. They were always welcomed just as I was as a boy. I grew up in politics. People wanted my dad’s advice.

I grew up in the segregated South. It was wrong and I knew it was wrong at a very early age. When I think of what John Lewis and thousands of others went through to exercise a right that I take for granted, I begin to understand white privilege. I have felt the bitterness of discrimination but what pain I have endured is nothing in comparison. This is a great country full of hope. It is a work in progress and every day moves us closer to the ideal.

I went from grade school through a Ph.D. program without having a single black person in my classes. My children have never not had black classmates. I was president of the PTA the first year of integration. We did not have one racial problem. I worked hand in hand with many organizations in Charleston to foster a healthy racial atmosphere. The Charleston Speech and Hearing Center led the way in serving the Head Start programs. My wife and my children were with me every step of the way.

I believe that people of good will can solve problems. The art of the deal is compromise. Neither of us might come away with all that we wanted, but each one of us will have something. What part of the dream can I have now? What is available to me at this moment? How can I help you get what you need?

I believe strongly in the social Gospel. In fact, if the Gospel isn’t social there is no Gospel. The good news is that we are set free to make this a better world. There is plenty of work to be done. We should get to it.

 

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Christian Leaders

Tom Guerry and Mitch Carnell at French Huguenot Church

Mitch, Carol and Dr. Martin Marty at FBC

“Remember your leaders Carol Carnellwho spoke God’s word to you. Imitate their faith as you consider the way their lives turned out.” (Hebrews 13: 7 (CEB)

When I was eleven years old our pastor gathered a group of us preteens together every Saturday morning for two or three weeks to talk to us about making our public profession of faith. I have always had many questions. Most adults did not want to deal with them. Preacher Gowan was different. “Mitch,” he said. “God created all of you. That includes your brain. God did not expect you to turn off your brain when you come to church.” I did not realize it at the time for I was much too young, but what a gift he gave me.  He was giving me permission to grow as a Christian. He was encouraging me to eat solid food.

Sixty-five years later Dr. Cynthia Campbell, President of the Presbyterian Seminary in Chicago, expressed the same though a bit more eloquently. “There is no place you can go that God isn’t already there. There is no question you can ask that God hasn’t already answered.” Her message was urging us to grow in our faith. I am blessed by the Christian leaders God has brought into my life to show me the way, to encourage me, to comfort me, to challenge me.

Prayer:

Thank you God for the saints you bring into my life to guide me and to strengthen my walk with you. May I be that encouraging to others. Amen.

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Where’s the Joy?

My favorite hymn is, “Ode to Joy,” from Beethoven’s 9th. Symphony. Our Sanctuary Choir does it beautifully so does The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and a host of others. What follows in the sermon in churches and in television sermons is not joy. Unless you tune in to Rev. Susan Sparks at Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City at 11:a.m. on Sundays. What usually follows is an indictment of the faithful for not being good enough, for missing the mark, for being less than holy. Let’s face it, the unfaithful are not there, not tuned in, not listening. Why do the faithful need a guilt trip?

In Jesus’s parable about the prodigal son’s return, there was no lecture from his father on what a terrible son he had been to waste all of his inheritance. Instead there was a lavish party welcoming him home. When the widow who had ten coins. but lost one and found it after diligently searching for it, ”she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ Matthew 15:9 (NIV)

Jesus tells us to leave the 99 sheep that are safe and go rescue the one that is lost. “And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ What does that sound like? It sounds like rejoicing. “Restore unto me the JOY of thy salvation….” Psalm 51:12 (NIV)

“Rejoice in the Lord Always. Again I say rejoice.” Philippians 4:4 (NIV) Yes, I know a pandemic is taking place. Yes, I know there are race riots. Yes I know the economy is falling apart. How are these calamities any different than those in the rest of human history? When was there not an epidemic of some sort? When was there not a war? When was there not an economic crisis someplace in the world? Were we Christians not made for such a time as this?

We need an encouraging word, a cheerful word. We are not helpless pawns. God has given us everything we need to weather any storm that comes our way. We have not been left without resources. We have family, friends, and neighbors. We have brains, hearts and muscles. My neighbor mows my lawn. My friend takes me to the pharmacy and a delivery person brings my groceries. My daughter calls me every day and so does my sister. My son helps with things I need to get done. Another friend and I go out to lunch when we can find a place that is open. I have a healthy collection of male friends with whom I solve the problems of the world at least for an hour or two once each week. I go to Sunday school on a conference call. I even teach once in a while. Class members have become family. We check up on each other.  I go to worship services on the internet and I mail my offering to my bricks and mortar church building. I donate to the food bank.

We were not given spirits of fear. Fear breeds discontent and hate. Fear looks for a scapegoat. No one, no organization and no political party is responsible for our current situation. Our question should be, what can I do to be helpful? We all know that we should wear a face mask in public. We should practice social distancing and we should avoid large crowds. Why? Because these are the right things to do. These measures are not for ourselves, but for the protection of others. If you need a Biblical reason, listen to the words of Jesus, “…, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. “ Matthew 25:40 (NIV) or perhaps try St. Paul, “I have the right to do anything,’ you say–but not everything is beneficial.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV)

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