Tom with kids in Kuwait

Tom with kids in Kuwait
Tom with kids in Kuwait

Friday, February 19, 2016

In Familiar Genre

I can't wait until March 2nd.  Why?


It is perhaps the quintessential day of the year for aspiring writers. It has nothing to do with announcing Pulitzer Prize winners. It is Dr. Seuss Day.

Theodore Geisel had been a struggling writer for years. One day he was challenged to produce a book with only fifty words. He did it. You know it as Green Eggs and Ham. Ever since then, America and the world have known him as Dr. Seuss.

The rythmn and idiom of many of these books still sticks with us as adults. In fact, many an event may be lightened up a bit by describing it in Seussology.

Here is something I wrote in familiar genre over a decade ago about the 2000 election. Most of those reading Dr. Seuss books for the first time were not even born when America experienced this once in a lifetime event.

Do you recall our friend Chad?

In Familiar Genre

Did you vote on that November Day?
Did you sing along the way?
Did you vote for good, not bad?
Then why are all the voters sad?

Did you punch through your ballot or just make a dent?
Will the machine know your true intent?
Did you vote out of duty or because it was rad?
Did you get to meet the infamous Chad?

You talked about Dubya, Nader, and Gore,
But you never mentioned Chad before.
He's on the news a lot these days,
But they never let you see his face.

He's quite athletic, that's for sure,
With all the swinging and hanging he endures.
But now I've heard of pregnant Chad,
Is there something you haven't told me, dad?

Did you leave out something about the birds and the bees
Chad's a guy, right? Like you and me.
I'm not saying that this is bad,
But is he mother or father, this pregnant Chad?

Was he even married? Did he elope to Niagara?
Could this be the result of Palm County Viagra?
Look, I'm still sorting out puberty and pimples,
Please tell me this had nothing to do with his dimples.

You said this voting was about an election,
But it sounds like this Chad didn't use any protection.
Yes I know about that. You needn't get sore,
I've seen eight years of the news about Clinton and Gore.

You should be proud of my thirst for political knowledge,
I've even applied to the Electoral College.
I can handle their schedule and still drink lots of beer,
It seems that they only meet once every four years.

And if my grades fall even the slightest amount,
I'll send them all back for another recount.
Again and again, until they're real mad,
It seems to have worked for this fellow named Chad.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Can a Democrat be a Christian too?

Can a Democrat be a Christian too?

Many will skip the discussion and go straight to the comments section depositing an assortment of derogatory terms. The title is provocative by nature and the concomitant of that is that I know it will receive assorted hateful responses based upon that alone.

What a dilemma, post a vanilla headline and hope someone says, “I was sure in the mood for something non-provocative today. The last thing I want to do with my mind is use it to think.” The alternative is to post a more provocative title and accept that some will skip the piece and go straight to the abuse, but perhaps in this latter mode, I will reach a few more who might read the few lines meant to move us out of our comfort zones just a bit, maybe more.

So I ask the question, Can a Democrat be a Christian too?
And the answer is….
No!

OK, Now I’m jumping to the comment section and posting my obscenities like a good Christian should.

But permit me a second question and answer.
Can a Republican be a Christian too?
No!

What? Do I think only Libertarians or Tea Partians or is it (Tea Partiers) can be Christians?
No.

The question itself is not a matter of party affiliation but of identify.
My identity is in Christ alone. I am a Christian.

I register Republican, but that is not my identity. I agree with some things the party stands for and disagree with others. Politically, my preferences lean more to being Libertarian, but pragmatically, I don’t think a true Libertarian would work out well as president or judge or governor.

I am not the party with which I am registered. I belong to Christ alone. I follow Christ. My allegiance is to him. I love America and cherish the very liberty that we enjoy every day, register as a Republican, and vote my convictions.

If I know absolutely nothing about the candidates for the commission on legalized gambling in the third precinct of the fourth district, then I might vote for the Republican candidate. Why? My general leanings are for smaller government and more liberty and that’s the general direction of the party, though the stated goal seldom is realized.

But my identity is as a Christian.

I am not permitted a second and third and fourth identity. I live as a Christian and fulfill many roles.

Son
Husband
Father
Brother
Grandfather
Pastor
American
Oklahoman
Writer
Marine
And surely some others.

Some of these are callings. I know without any doubt that I was called to be a Marine officer. I know with even greater certainty that God called me to ordained ministry. But I have only one identity. I am a child of God. I am a Christian—by definition committed to following Jesus wherever he leads me.

I am not following any political party wherever they lead me. On any given day I can change my political affiliation. I follow Christ forever. He is Lord. He is King. He called me servant, trusted servant, and even friend. My identity is in him.

That identity gives me incredible freedom. I can live fully. My future is not in the hands of the next president. My identity does not come from a political party. I belong to Christ. I am a Christian.

I am also free to challenge the thinking of the world in which I live, and today’s challenge is this.

Let’s stop calling each other by our party affiliation. Let’s stop condemning each other because of our party affiliation. That’s not who we are, at least that’s true for most.
Some sadly, have given their identity to a political party and are slave to it. But we who know Christ are set free and are slave to nothing in this world. We should not fear anything in the world. Jesus said, “I have overcome the world.”

If we have political issues to discuss, consider, evaluate, and even promote; let’s do it as a people who preserve each other’s dignity. If you differ with me, you are not evil by definition. The converse should be equally true.

Our politics, social groups, geography, and culture are not our identity. We are Christians. We might be blessed to live in a country where we can register with the party of our choice. We might be privileged to live in Oklahoma, North Carolina, California, or Nebraska—OK, that’s a stretch to say privileged to live in Nebraska. We like to sing, I’m Proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free, but we must remember that we follow Christ. We are Christians.

Am I saying that we need to restructure our syntax so as to never say, “I’m a grandfather,” or “I’m an American?”
Absolutely not!

But we need to understand that the identity of every Christian is in Christ. It’s not Christ plus the Republican Party. It’s not Christ and the Democratic Party. Our identity is in Christ alone.

So let’s back off this vitriolic bashing of Republicans and Democrats. Those are political parties and not who we are. Elections do not have to bring out the worst in us.

We are Christians and we should be known by our love.