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June, 2015

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Stepped On Toes ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: June 30th, 2015 | Category: belief, Christ Follower, Christianity, Hope, Love, Understanding | Comments

Stepped On Toes

Civil rights? The rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality. If I told you that I have been routinely barred from such freedoms and equality for decades, in my workplaces, public forums of every sort, public institutions, by being told that I could not even speak about my family in those places where anyone might hear me, am I a victim? I was told that such discussions might offend others who did not recognize my family, as my family, but just some group whom they felt were inconsistent with their own ideals of family. All while others talked of things which I found to be totally offensive, and I am far from alone in this statement. As a family, we were the founding fathers of this democracy. The Constitution of the United States was written and signed by fellow believers in God. Our family Bible’s registry was taught in every school and in every public (and most private) universities in America for well over a century. Until the Age of Enlightenment convinced some that “our Father” was not acceptable, that my family was or might be offensive to others. Civil rights, such as these are always being violated in our expectational pursuit of happiness and security. “The person who obeys my heavenly Father’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50 MSG). For myself and many others, billions of us actually, this is how we define family. Not by any civil license, birth, color or sex, but by love, faith, common principles and beliefs. I am quite sure, in drafting our Constitution, especially, “Amendment I, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech …,” that our forefathers did not foresee the recurrence of the same civil rights violations which drove us out, following us into the New World. It was the reason we came here to begin with.

Our societal take is that we are free in America to do whatever, as long as it does not hurt, offend or impinge upon somebody else’s freedoms or rights. Not as easily done as said and certainly not true.  The following general areas of civil concern all try to balance this delicate bowl of potentially offensive, civil rights: Abortion, Capital Punishment, Marriage, Privacy, Profanity, Execution, Right To Die With Dignity, Right To Prolong Life, War, Freedom of Speech, Arts, Segregation, Voting Rights, Prohibition, etc. etc., the list goes on and on. For everyone who favors one of these, there is another who opposes it. Hence, somebody is always being offended. That’s democracy in a nutshell. As a Christian, my toes have been stepped on by the government, other religions, employers, societies, neighbors and businesses almost every day. The principle difference between our family and every other family is that “our Father” told us that we WOULD always be persecuted, “They are going to throw you to the wolves and kill you, everyone hating you because you carry my name.” (Matthew 24:9 MSG). So we got settled in with that idea and let everybody else trample on our civil rights while we pursued our own enlightenment in the security of our sanctuaries. We are however somewhat less impressed with civil rights than we are with spiritual assignments, guarantees and our inherited rights of grace. We don’t (usually) enjoy being suppressed, silenced, or relegated off to tiny windowless chapels in public hospitals, such that we might talk openly with family, to struggle with our fears or through our grief. We do go off anyway because we don’t want to oppress or offend others who might also be suffering. Why or how we are offended by others is a matter of thousands of generations of our family convictions, yet we as a family should not be imposing our convictions on those around us. We share them at times, but it ends there. We walk every day and everywhere with our Father, brothers and sisters, our counselor and our guide. We don’t like being told to keep out, stay hidden or shut up. We have many different ways of talking with our Father. We don’t want to be offended either, but since the entire concept of offensiveness is based upon the beliefs and values of others, it is to be expected to some degree. We are no better nor any worse than others, but we ARE equally as sensitive. It’s complicated and everybody must agree to compromise something, not everything, to hopefully get along in a democracy. When we state a position of defense against something which offends us, as a matter of civil rather than religious pursuits, we should be accorded a fair hearing, even though we don’t expect it. We’ve been silenced for half a century now. Christians are people too and we also have dreams. My family is still being beheaded, executed and martyred all over the world. When it comes to being hate crime victims, we are second to none. We don’t get much press because we turn the other cheek, but those cheeks are constantly bloodied now. Christians of every color and persuasion have been silenced and shamed everywhere. The silence is deafening. We get it, it comes with the family name. There is much injustice in this world, especially when viewed in the context of civil rights. I wasn’t born a Christian, I chose it, so maybe I don’t get any compassion but that’s fine, I have something more. We all do. We are not trying to increase injustice, just to be afforded our right not to be offended, in the country which was founded for that purpose by our family.

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The Next Step For Morality ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: June 29th, 2015 | Category: belief, Understanding | Comments

Proverbs 9:712 Message Bible: “If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face; confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins. So don’t waste your time on a scoffer; all you’ll get for your pains is abuse. But if you correct those who care about life, that’s different—they’ll love you for it! Save your breath for the wise—they’ll be wiser for it; tell good people what you know—they’ll profit from it. Skilled living gets… read more

There’s More Than Legalism ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: June 27th, 2015 | Category: Christ Follower, Common Sense, Hope, Humble, Inspirational, Love, Meek | Comments

The primary reason that our legal system is structured the way that it is (innocent until proven guilty, beyond reasonable or any shadow of a doubt) is that it’s actually much harder to PROVE that we didn’t do something, than it is to prove that we did. We need protection from false allegations, be they subtle or rampant. There is evidence to prove that we did something, but only the absence of evidence to prove that we didn’t. Absence is… read more

Discernible Truths ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: June 19th, 2015 | Category: belief, Inspirational, Truth, Understanding | Comments

We know the truth as we hear it from God. We know that God has connected His voice to us, using a unique frequency over a private channel, which not every human ear can discern. A frequency where the discernible volume can be cranked up. God opens and closes this channel as He sees fit. WE do too. The difference is that God only turns off His amplifier, not His receiver. We tend to turn off all of the power,… read more

Love, An Inclusive Relationship ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: June 10th, 2015 | Category: Faith, Hope, Inspirational, Love, Understanding | Comments

What’s it really like to surrender and submit to God? I suppose it must depend entirely upon our personalities, life status, the lostness of our needs or the unharnessed light of some sought after, elusive freedom. If we’d been justifiably incarcerated, subjected to an unpardonable life sentence and then suddenly released out of forgiveness, would that somehow exemplify our potential feelings of euphoria toward the unknown pastor of our undeserved pardon? To surrender and submit always carries with it some… read more

Custom Built ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: June 9th, 2015 | Category: belief, Hope, Love | Comments

We rely too much upon others to fill in all of the blanks in our lives, those personal curiosities which we no longer have the time or interest in addressing. The Do-It-Yourselfers of the 70’s and 80’s became extinct in one quick generation when Googling replaced thinking, almost overnight. Even worse, we’ve become accustomed to relying upon information, which comes from unknown and often untraceable sources. This is sure to wash us individually and collectively in intentionally, muddied waters. It… read more

Trendy or Not? ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: June 5th, 2015 | Category: Christ Follower | Comments

Are you a gift receipt kind of person? That’s the kind of person who ALWAYS returns a personal gift or exchanges it for something they would rather have, something which better suits their chosen personality. That kind of person is always given a gift receipt along with the offered personal gift. I’m not talking about returning or exchanging something that’s defective or the wrong size, I’m talking about our inherent, driving need to differentiate and exercise control over everything which… read more

House AND Home ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: June 4th, 2015 | Category: belief, Christ Follower, Faith, Hope | Comments

The idea that each of our bodies is a temple, is understood by many to signify a singular house, to be shared privately between our spirit and Holy Spirit for our period of time on earth. To be spent growing in both understanding and relationship with God, while also participating in His works. That’s somewhat correct, yet wholly incomplete. It’s more, much more. It’s as much that metaphor, as is a whole body more than a single cell. It’s important… read more

Prayer Transcends Time ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: June 2nd, 2015 | Category: Christ Follower, Hope | Comments

There’s a storm up ahead, which has been forming for quite some time. Nobody is especially concerned because the sky above us seems blue and quiet. We might tune in to the local weather forecast just long enough to decide what to wear or how to plan our fun for the day, but we’re not interested in changing course just because there may be some temporary interference. Storms in skies other than our own, are just a distant curiosity for… read more