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Archive for July, 2017

Is the United States of America really a melting pot? If you are a product of the 1960 as I am you were at least told that was true. The older you get the more you experience the inaccuracy of that statement. The more you travel outside your little or large community the more you find the inaccuracy. So what is community? In simple language Common Unity. Think of it like this in a community Risk and Reward are shared by a group of people. Lets be honest because you live in the same city or town doesn’t mean the conditions are all the same. Even a city or town is divided, when I was kid growing up in a small town it was the tracks, which side were you from. That was simple and understood by all, oh! its not righteous but just a fact of life. You knew the police were going to act different on how they respond to a call. Risk and Reward it was all there. Every thing in community was based on those two questions, what’s the risk? whats the reward?

I worked for 17 years for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world and my job was unique. I was a liquid’s compounder, officially you could say Apothecary. I, with my coworkers made 10,000 kilo batches of liquid medicine. Several of those meds were what were called suspensions. What is a suspension? It is simply the solids collecting on the bottom and the lighter liquid at the top and very visible to the eye. On the direction’s would state the amount of time and or energy of shaking to bring the suspension into conformity and ready for consumption. The active ingredient in most cases would be a solid so without shaking water and die would be all you drink, thus no benefit. The Unites States of America I would describe is not a melting pot BUT Compounding Container. If something comes and shakes it up from the outside it can homogenize but only for a short time. We are a nation of historical lines of division. North south Mason Dixon, East West Mississippi Valley, blue state red state, right wing left wing.

Our current political situation no matter which side of policy you stand it might seem clear there is trouble brewing. The highest levels of fear and NON-trust from all sides to the opposing views I have seen, and I have been around a while now. In that context I will shift gears to a dream I had last night. I have not been thinking about this at all, so my dream has produced my current thoughts. Here is the dream.

Congress had changed our Country’s name from The United States of America to America. It had caused a terrible state by state revolt and chaos followed. I found my self in some huge auditorium with people disillusioned by the governmental turmoil. I started to sing and to my amusement sounded good. People began to join in and a strange peace came over the crowd. We sang these three songs in order Smoke on The Water by Deep Purple, then Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd then The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot. I got up and looked up all three songs on youtube and one thing for sure all three are classic Rock songs.

I put the dream on facebook just to get a laugh but then I had a side thought the dream might have some prophetic significance.

I started to do research and found some almost weird coincidences to the context of the dream. Meaning the difference between the founding name and a political chaotic situation ending with a release of peace.  

1st song  Smoke on The Water by Deep Purple is a song from an actual event that happened in Montreux Switzerland on the 4th of December 1971 Deep Purple was in the area to record their next album. Across Lake Geneva Frank Zappa was performing in a casino theater and in the crowd a flare gun was shot off, a fire started and engulfed the Casino. The view of the fire over the lake is the real story of the smoke on the water. Several things I find interesting is Roger Glover the bass guitarist for Deep Purple woke from a dream a few nights later with the idea for the name of the song. Next thing is the location.

 Location, Geneva Lake Switzerland, where have I heard that before and does that have any thing to do with this United States of America. YES it’s very founding. The Geneva Bible, there is a load here but will keep it as short as possible. 

The Geneva Bible was carried over on the Mayflower by the Puritans and following separatists who were fleeing Europe’s religious persecution.

Found this quote from Dr. Marshall Foster Advisory Board Member, 1599 Geneva Bible Restoration Project Founder & President, The Mayflower Institute

The Geneva Bible’s Application for Today The Geneva Bible providentially was unleashed upon a dark, discouraged, downtrodden English speaking world, at a time when Christendom was in real danger of regressing to a form of Caesar-worship. A Bible appeared that created the conditions for a Christian reformation of life and culture, the likes of which the world had never seen—its hallmarks including the explosion of faith; an emphasis on integrity; a unique and vital missionary movement; creative literature, economic blessings; and political and religious freedom. By the time of the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, just 28 years after the first printing of the Geneva Bible, it was already being said of the English that they were becoming a “people of the Book.” Almost 500 years later, our culture is once again desperate for the Truth. Many people have forgotten, abandoned, or rejected the great lessons of the Reformation and the Biblical theology that inspired the greatest accomplishments of Western Civilization. We fervently pray that the re-introduction of this powerful tool of Godly dominion, the Geneva Bible, will, with God’s favor, light the fires for another powerful reformation. As we read this sacred volume, let us remember the sacrifice of the persecuted scholars on the shores of Lake Geneva.

Bottom line Lake Geneva and Smoke on the water has tied to the founding of the United States of America!

2nd song Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  This song was actually written as a response song to Neil Young as a sort of name check. Neil had done 2 songs “Southern Man” and “Alabama” which called out the extreme racism of the south and Alabama in particular. Neil has always been a button pusher, pick your topic but this time there was something profound. Rock and Roll had its roots in the south, not just the south but southern blues. Let me be blunt, literally Cotton pickers so wore down from generations of slave labor they hardly live yet they sang. Could they sing? Make the hair stand up on your arms and stay there. That’s how they sang and that’s the roots of this music. Neil was a anti war folk singer with an axe to grind, and ready to take on any injustice, BUT he was a musician as was mr Lynyard as in Skynard Ronnie Van Zant. Sweet Home Alabama was picking up on who the south was, and a justification of it’s history, if you will. The song swept the country and is one of the most recognizable songs of all time. If you do not know history and who George Wallace and Richard Nixon were and what they did you will not get the song. Let me just say if this song represents anything it is America is not a melting pot and you can not clean up history, BUT WE CAN CHANGE THE PRESENT AND LOOK TO A BETTER FUTURE. Many of the members of Lynyrd SKynard went down in a plane crash in 1977. Ronnie and Neil had an appreciation for one another, Neil would sing “Sweet Home Alabama” from time to time and Ronnie, I have heard would were a Neil Young shirt, who knows. We from the beginning have lived in a divided nation only the lines have changed.

We as a Nation are divided and history warns us what coming, if we dare listen.

 

3rd song The Wreak of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot. Who was Edmund Fitzgerald? He was the Chairman of the board of Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company. When the ship was christened Edmund’s wife Elizabeth had to hit the champagne bottle three times over bow to break it. The launch was postponed for over 30 minutes because of crashing waves. During the turmoil a spectator had a heart attack. Quote from the book below saying the ship was “trying to climb right out of the water”. Schumacher, Michael (2005). Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. New York and London: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 1-58234-647-X. It was as if the Ship knew where it would be heading many years later, to the bottom of Lake Superior.  

Gordon throws in this very interesting question in the middle of His historical song.

“Does any one know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?

Could that be the question of this generation, in this very hour that we live in? Many would think America is like the Fitzgerald about to sink. For eight years republicans thought the Ship was almost sunk, and now Democrats know how it felt. Here we are as a nation with nothing in common, well maybe that’s not true. Maybe for the first time in several generations everyone knows what it feels like to be in a nation of raging seas. If the nation could figure out “our help can come from God alone, and not a man, or a political philosophy, or any type of news” then, maybe ask that question about the love of God. Could it be found here?

Psalms 107:23-31 23 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; 24 they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep. 25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. 26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; 27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits’ end. 28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. 30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!

The United States of America is in a very unique place. Much more divided, and need of God’s intervention that most would admit. The Fitzgerald released no distress call. We have name calling, from all sides of debate.

There is one name that will be desired, because it is the only name with the answer. Jesus!

 

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I was born in 1961 in Independence Missouri. I was embarrassed to admit that for years. Well not for the City, but the hospital, Independence Sanitarium. The 1960’s were times exploding with CRAZY things. Somehow I always felt I took a bit of that with me. When in grade school it was a common theme to be asked where were you born. Most kids would just say the town, city, or maybe the state but NOT me, Independence Sanitarium I would blurt out, and then came the eruption of laughter. This would be followed by words like this. “No wonder you are so crazy” or “that explains a lot”. I came to enjoy it.

Independence Sanitarium

 

Years later my friend Bill Jones and I had traveling to Wyoming. We pulled over to view Independence rock. I began to read about the western expansion and how wagon trains would leave Independence Missouri for Oregon. Early July they would reach this large Rock outcropping. The story goes if they did not reach this point on the wagon trail by July 4th they were behind schedule. That would have been important, because they had to beat the snows to the mountains that awaited them in the great northwest.

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Photo from the national archives https://catalog.archives.gov/id/516895

Independence Day, early this July 3rd 2017 as I contemplated that word I remembered one particular year. I was coming back from Uganda on a mission trip, and had a layover in London England. I was seated next to a very nice elderly gentleman. At some point in our conversation he must have felt comfortable enough to ask me a pointed question. He started it like this. He said “You know this is July 4th, and I just wanted to say happy Independence Day”. I said “Thank you” and smiled. Then with a smile he said, “have you considered that what some people call Independence others call Rebellion.  WOW, No I had never thought of that, but did for the next week or two. It was very difficult to contemplate because I am a bible thumper and this is what came to mind.

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Wow that was God’s word to Saul 1st King of Israel. Just a tad bit interesting to me being our Independence from England was a system of Kings. Israel had received their 1st King because they rejected God himself as king. Just a bit ironic for me a young man at the time so full of National Pride. I wondered had my freedom become a bit of an idol in itself. The answer is yes.

From that day forward until now this Independence born guy says “I am IN Dependence to Jesus”. That has served as a sort of reality check for me that the whole idea of a king and kingdom for an american is a terrible idea. That said I bow my knee to My king Jesus now and forever more.

I also want to give honor where honor is due. For all those who died to give me the national right to worship God as I see fit I say thank you. In great respect I say that with no reserve even in a time when our nation is so divided. That honor though as it should be is under GOD. With all this said I wrote this poem this morning and it seemed as if I could not have stopped the words from coming. They seemed to come from somewhere deeper than me. Maybe it is from my spiritual DNA from those from whom I came.

My hope is that these words in the poem below would impact you. That they would give a balance to our patriotism and voice to our faith.

INDEPENDENCE DAY

A life Dependent on Jesus

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