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Monday, November 3, 2008

From A Slave To A President!

Amanda Jones, 109, the daughter of a man born into slavery, has lived a life long enough to touch three centuries. And after voting consistently as a Democrat for 70 years, she has voted early for the country's first black presidential nominee.

[...] Amanda Jones, a delicate, thin woman wearing golden-rimmed glasses, giggled as the family discussed this year's presidential election. She is too weak to go the polls, so two of her 10 children — Eloise Baker, 75, and Joyce Jones — helped her fill out a mail-in ballot for Barack Obama, Baker said. "I feel good about voting for him," Amanda Jones said.

Jones' father herded sheep as a slave until he was 12, according to the family, and once he was freed, he was a farmer who raised cows, hogs and turkeys on land he owned. Her mother was born right after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, Joyce Jones said. The family owned more than 100 acres of land in Cedar Creek at one point, she said.

Amanda Jones' father urged her to exercise her right to vote, despite discriminatory practices at the polls and poll taxes meant to keep black and poor people from voting. Those practices were outlawed for federal elections with the 24th Amendment in 1964, but not for state and local races in Texas until 1966.

Amanda Jones says she cast her first presidential vote for Franklin Roosevelt, but she doesn't recall which of his four terms that was. When she did vote, she paid a poll tax, her daughters said. That she is able, for the first time, to vote for a black presidential nominee for free fills her with joy, Jones said. Congratulation OBAMA!

Jesus Is Not A Republican.

Why do some people think that all Christians are Republicans? At lest that's the impression I am getting. Who ever said that "Republican" must equal "Christian." Many believe Christians have a specific political agenda, more specifically, a conservative Republican agenda. When the term "religious right" is used, everyone knows it's really Republicans that are being referenced. Even "evangelical" is used to connote "conservative Republican." People associate evangelicals with people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition." How did the word evangelical--from the root "evangelize" meaning "good news," and referring to Jesus' Great Commission to share his teachings and promises with the world--become political terminology?

There are plenty of Christians who feel one must have certain political leanings in order to be a good Christian. One must be a Republican. One must be a conservative (whatever that means). One must be pro-life without reservation. One must oppose gay rights completely. Sometimes these views come direct from the pulpit. What would Jesus do if He was walking among us today? He'd surely address poverty, calling for more social programs and international aid to feed the children worldwide that die from hunger each year. He'd reach out to prostitutes and drug addicts, and embrace people most of us are afraid to touch or even acknowledge. He'd give comfort to AIDS patients and to women who've had abortions. He would speak out against hate crimes. He'd support the preservation of his Father's creation (AKA the environment).

Some argue Jesus would be a liberal today, deeply concerned about righting social wrongs. Personally, I doubt Jesus would register with any political party. During his time on earth, his primary "agenda" wasn't feeding or healing--it was forgiveness. Above all else, he wanted everyone to know they could have a relationship with God. His last words to his disciples were to spread this news. Our primary objective then, as Christians, is to share that love and forgiveness with everyone: welfare moms and A-list celebrities. Skid Row residents and billionaire tycoons. I bet Jesus today would approach each of us individually and ask us to give our best resources to help the homeless, the hungry, the sick, and the hurting. In fact, that's exactly what he instructs in Matthew 25:37-40:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

If The Church Offers You 25$, Would You Then Go To Church?

What do you think about offering first-time visitors to your church $25 to attend the Sunday morning service? I was reading where a church gave money to the first 75 adults aged 16 or older at each of their two services with the only stipulation being that the cash recipients stay the duration of the 90-minute service. Another church in Iowa has drawn visitors by giving away tickets to performances, movie passes, and $10 gas cards.

Do we perceive something as more valuable if there's a dollar figure attached to it? In the case of the churches above, visitors were getting something for going to church. Salvation is free! Some folks can't quite process the free gift of salvation. Why do you think people don't go to church? I believe what ever you offer a person beside Christ and He alone you will have to offer all the time. What do you think? Do the church need to offer grimaces to get people into the church?