Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Can we vote already????

If you are like me, (which is a scary thought that I could devote another writing to) you are sick to death of this current political Season we are in. It seems, more than ever now, that the only Ads that a Candidate can run are negative ones about their opponent. It's as if the best we can do is vote for someone from a "they are not as bad as the other guy" point of view. Why can't someone, ANYONE, ANYBODY, please run a Campaign based upon their own strengths and plans of what they can OR AT THE VERY LEAST will attempt to do?

If you want true government reform, I have a few ideas. (no, I'm not running for anything)

Campaign reform -
1. All PAC monies should be given toward the party that they represent and divided equally among all the Candidates of that Party by that Party, not the PAC.

2. All Media Ads, regardless of the forum, are to be paid for by this equal spreading of the PAC monies. No Candidates will be able to fund their own Commercials or Campaigns. Everyone that makes it on the Ballot has equal footing. Millionaire Candidates are more than welcome to fund a PAC, with the knowledge that the money will be spread across the board. NO MORE BUYING ELECTIONS!

3. The first Ad that attacks another Candidate will disqualify the guilty party from the race. Yes, you will have to run on your own character or lack thereof. (yes, Illinois will have to import Candidates but-----) The remainder of that Candidates alloted Campaign funds will be redistributed among the other remaining Candidates.

4. No Ads are to be run until 6 months before an election. A failure to comply will disqualify the guilty parties.

5. No phone calls of ANY kind to the General public will be allowed by Candidates, Parties or PAC's including Labor Unions. (anyone caught saying "vote your paycheck" will be jailed until the election is over)

Governmental reform

1. Within 60 days of taking Office the "winning" Party must publish an Agenda of items that they will attempt to accomplish with the first year. Within 30 days of this posting, the minority Party must post the items that they will oppose and support of their opponents. This process will be repeated every January along with a scorecard of how said Party's have honored their commitments. This way we know what our common ground is, giving accountability to those we elect.

2. No Governmental Official will ever be allowed to vote for their Pay raise, EVER AGAIN. Raises in pay will be determined by bringing in balanced Budgets at every level. If there is a budget defecit, NO RAISE, you haven't earned it. Governmental raises will be given at a rate of 1% of every thousand dollars that we are below our Budget. Shouldn't government be given an incentive to save money rather than spend it foolishly?

3. EARNED TERM LIMITS Your term in Office will be limited the current structure that is dictated, (i.e. 2 year, 4 year or 6 year) You can earn additional years based upon the amount of Bills you write that actually get passed or for bills that you help pass. For every bill that you write or co-write that gets passed into law you earn an additional year. For every bill that you help pass with your vote, you earn and additional 6 months. ANY earned additional time will only be enacted with the winning of the next election, meaning that if you are just passing Bills without the approval of the People, you only earn a ticket out.

THERE,  I think this will cover the majority of our problems! :<) If only I were King!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Walking in New, Old Territory

Please excuse the seemingly, contradictory title but hopefully, when I've finished it will make perfect sense. OK, I'll settle for a little sense, since I've needed it for so long any way!

In January of this year I resigned my pastorate at the Narragansett Church of God after nine years of service there. It was a bittersweet decision because after so much of my life transpiring there I had truly grown to love the Church but I was convinced that I had God's leading, so we left. Unlike many "Preachers" I didn't have anything lined up or worked out as far as trading Churches. All that I had heard from God was that it was time to go. I was OK with not having an assignment to go into. After 9 years of driving at least 100 miles per week and giving all that I had of my heart, soul and finances, I was looking forward to a time of rest.

Things were going well. What had been my bi-vocational job was flourishing and I was enjoying a time of visiting Church's and listening to Preachers that I had always wanted to hear. In fact, I was getting very comfortable. I would get an occasional speaking engagement to stay somewhat fresh but I would have been OK to just stay the way that I was. I should have known better because I found out long ago that comfortable is not a place that God will leave you for very long!

Toward the end of May the phone rang and it was my Administrative Bishop, Darrell Rice. Bishop Rice is a man that I have long respected and am privileged to call a Friend. However, I had not been bugging him about finding me a Church to Pastor or anything like that, even though I knew there were several openings in our Region. Many say that leaving a Church without having "the next one" lined up is career suicide in ministry but I always knew that I could call Bishop and that he would be fair. I just didn't want anything. I was good, just the way I was. The call would blow me away though because it was an offer of a Church. Not just any Church but the Church that my Father had pastored in the mid-70's. The Church where I had first met the beautiful Girl that would eventually become my Wife. The Church I had left as an awkward Teenager.

I must admit that my first thought was "yeah, right, I really want to go to where my Dad had one of his most successful pastorates!" I mean who would want that pressure? lol My second thought was that this was an honor to be asked because this was one of the more beautiful properties in the Region. The call ended with my promise to pray about it but honestly never expecting it to go beyond that. I was going to wait a few days, pray about it and call back and gracefully turn it down. I LIKED WHERE I WAS.

The funny thing about that is that God had other plans, as He usually does. To make an already long story longer, my thoughts would continue on this offer day and night. Before long I began thinking of scenarios of what I would do if----. After several weeks of not bowing out and sharing my heart with Debbie, Bishop Rice called again asking where we were at on the decision. I believe it was to his surprise that I used a Poker analogy, of all things. "I'm all in!" I could sense a stunned response on the other end of the Phone because Bishop had asked my to make some BIG commitments along with it but I had been given a sense of "being born for this moment" that hasn't left me yet! (of course it could have been that one of His Pastor's used a Poker term too)

We've been here since Mid-July and have fallen in love with the Church. It isn't where it was in the mid-70's by a long shot but we are growing and there is a genuine sense of expectation among the people. One of the things that God impressed upon me early on was that I was sent here to be a healer of hurts and I've gone after that with all that is in me. I believe we are well on our way to going beyond the hurt and into the future He has planned.

The funny thing is that even though it is new, there is a memory in every corner. Yes, I am walking in new, old territory but the best thing is that God is walking with me. In fact, He's already gone ahead! I'm just working to catch up and loving every minute of it!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Hello Again

Yes, as I have been repeatedly informed by e-mail, it has been awhile since I have blogged. Sorry about that but I've been through a time of introspection and just haven't had much to say. I've gone through the loss of my last remaining Grandparent and the resignation of a nine year pastorate, culminating with the beginning of a new pastoral assignment in relative cyber silence. Throw in the diagnosis of a grade 3 herniation of the L5 disc in the lower back and it appears that I've had a lot, not to write about.

Actually, it was the ongoing process of the recovery of the back injury that spurred my desire to write again. The injury is not serious enough at this point to warrant surgery and I have been assured that with therapy and common sense, I will be fine. (yes, I am probably in trouble)

This week, the Doc ordered a deep tissue massage. I thought to myself, "cool!" What I didn't realize is that a theraputic deep tissue massage is actually a painful thing but I now know otherwise! The theory behind it is that to the degree that you are injured, the body, in its amazing God designed complexity, begins to do things to compensate for the injury. In my case the Back muscles tightened around the injured area to prevent further injury. Part of the healing process required the breaking down of the natural defenses of the body and Brother, did that breakdown hurt. I was nearly to the point of tears by the end of that massage and not to thrilled with the Therapist! But it was on the drive home that a release came that caused me to realize how hurt I had been and how long it had been going on. I felt soooooo much better! (until the next day when I was soooooo sore)

The entire episode put me in mind of our natural tendency to build up walls of defense when we have been hurt. We come to a point of "injury" and determined to not let it happen again, we build up those defensive walls determined to keep people out. After awhile, we function again as if nothing ever happened but down deep we are hurt. Because of the "hurt" our relationships suffer because the walls we have built to "protect" us actually keep people out that care about us. The healing we need, like my Back, needs a breakdown of the defenses and the reason many people never "get there" is because that breakdown can be a painful but necessary thing.

God never intended for us to walk around with walls meant to keep People out. Yes, unfortunately, there are People who abuse that kind of vulnerability. It's a sad but true thing. The trouble is that in building those walls that we think protect us, we actually can alienate those in our lives that can help and heal. It reminds me of those little one caption, "Love is" cartoons that were so popular several years ago. "Love is being vulnerable, trusting the ones we bestow it on to not abuse it and learning to forgive them when they do."

It's good to be back! Hope you enjoyed or at least endured.