Since the 2016 election I have taken a somewhat intentional hiatus from social media. The vitriol in which people spew their thoughts, emotions, reactions to every minutia of information real or fake has caused me to hit the pause button. I have un-followed folks on both sides of arguments. It seems as though the 24/7 news feeds are streaming us with a constant barrage of “hypotheticals” where we expect the worst rather than assume the best of each other. It’s less news and more hot air and heated rhetoric. At the end of the day it is not entertaining, informative or really helpful. So I have backed off.
Some of the social media feed is simply a distraction from the day-to-day tasks that I have on my “to-do” list. Who has the time? Every now and then when I troll Facebook for a few minutes I am tempted to wade in the waters of political discourse. I have opinions, I am fairly bright and can make an argument. I have gone as far as writing a post but discretion got the better part of me and so I deleted my post before hitting the send /post button.
To some it’s borderline criminal to be a Republican. Others feel the same towards Democrats. The rhetoric has become so charged that the recent shooting at an Alexandria Baseball field should not surprise us. It’s so sad, and so unnecessary. There are wiser folks who can figure out and explain how we came to this place but the reality is we are here. If we do nothing we, our nation will not survive.
I am reminded of this passage from the bible… All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12) I do not want to be dominated by the positioning, posturing and endless barrage of commentary.
My freedom of speech is a guaranteed right under our Constitution. I can speak and say almost anything without recrimination from the powers of government. I may pay the price with people who disagree, who will un-follow me or call me out for my position but that does not take away my right as an American citizen to speak my mind. I would not want to take those rights from any of my fellow Americans, regardless of their political stance. In an Information Age; knowledge and data are expanding at an unbelievable rate. There is too much information and not enough wisdom, reflection on all the information flooding our lives. .
Is it lawful to have a play that portrays President Trump being assassinated? Is it lawful to have an ISIS like beheading photo of the president passed around the internet? Evidently, Yes. Is it profitable? I would say no. It raises the tenor of the conversation instilling a real hate of one side against another. Let’s go back a few years, Is it a good idea to hang in a noose the a depiction of President Barak Obama in effigy? No, it is not helpful. Our enemies do this sort of thing. American citizens should not be enemies of each other. I believe this level of protest weakens our call to be One Nation. It is a clear and present danger to our democracy and way of life.
We can do and say many things legally but is it profitable?
We need a healthy debate on the issues facing our society and culture. We need wisdom on healthcare and tax reform. We need greater understanding, compassion and mercy regarding race and border security. We need to understand the real threats in this world in which we live. We need economic justice. We need to squash the ideologies that use violence and acts of terror. We need to respect others and choose to coexist amongst our differences. On all these issues and more we need a respectful, healthy exchange of ideas. We need to find compromise where we can and work for the common good.
One last thought, my friend David Teems recently composed some music, really an anthem to another biblical text…
whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8)
This was wise counsel in an age when Christians were being killed simply for being Christian. Yes my blood can boil when I hear certain rhetoric, I hang my head in disbelief over the hatred and heat in our national dialogue. So I pause and look for what is honorable in our nation’s leadership. What can I commend? What lifts my eyes to see something deeper, more profound and eternal? What is lovely and of good report? If I look for it I can see these things and meditate on them rather then the hate and evil in the world and in doing so we can alleviate some of pain and suffering. Maybe we should take this to heart and Think On These Things.
Even if you are not attending our dinner please feel free to participate in, and share our Silent Auction!
You do not need to be present to win, we had several winners last year that only bid on line! There are tons of great items this year from the every day, to the one of a kind! Artwork, furniture, tickets, dining, inspirational items, and area activities!
Consider the following…
Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady averages $2 millon a game. With endorsements he’ll make about $328,100 a day (working or not)! Assuming he sleeps 7 hours a night, he makes $102,000 a night. If he goes to a movie, it will cost him $8.00, but he’ll make $36,550 while he’s there. He makes $8,415/hr more than minimum wage. Tom will make $18,710 while watching a baseball game. If he wanted to save for a new $90,000 Mazerati it would take him a all of 6 hrs. If someone hands him his salary & endorsement money, they would do it at the rate of $4.00 every second. Amazing isn’t it? Even more amazing: Mr. Brady will have to save 100% of his income for 270 years to have a net worth equivalent to that of Bill Gates.
Stewardship is about priorities
What is first in your life? What has preeminence? For Israel when they were rebuilding the temple after the exile, they encountered opposition, the economy was way down, resources are scarce; there were threats and much of day to day was merely survival.
We could claim many of the same problems… economy, resources, threats and more – the issue for us is the same as well – Is God first in our lives? When He is, provision abounds.
Proverbs 3:5-10 Trust in the Lord with all your heart & lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him & he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord. This will bring health to your body & nourishment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first-fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing & your vats will brim over with new wine.
Stewardship asks the questions: What is your priority? What are you living for? What is your goal–What is first? When we live life in sync with God’s priorities we need not worry about what we need. It would be easy to get worked up about all sorts of things, This election, the economy–National Defense, Terror–the Church & more–but what does it profit me? I don’t desire to be ignorant but I want my focus & energy to be on the Kingdom.
In 44 years of following Jesus I ‘ve never been disappointed or forsaken. God has always provided for every need. I have struggled, been frustrated, confused, bewildered, but never disappointed. In the mission of the church we work, struggle, have course corrections, and walk sometimes with questions but we are never disappointed or without provision to answer the call. What are called you to give for the kingdom of God? What financial commitment are you going to make? What gifts, talents & skills are you going to share? What sacrifices?
Let us be wise, joyful, sacrificial, generous, stewards. God has lavished his treasure on us; may we in turn lavishly share his love with the world!
You were fierce and looming. You brought massive destruction to the Caribbean, especially in Haiti. You pounded the southern Atlantic coast and brought rain, wind and waves to bear, damaging homes and properties. In the midst of your rage you took lives. Far too many.
For a while we were in your crosshairs; you were coming for Central Florida. So we prepared. We boarded up windows, picked up the yard, stocked up on provisions. We were ready. For a few folks I know this was their first hurricane and they were scared. The projections were for you to cause catastrophic damage to the Sunshine State.
You grazed the coast and moved on. Yes there was damage, your fury was felt but it was so much less than expected. You moved on, slowly up the coast through Georgia and into the Carolinas.
Some blame your existence on climate change and global warming. Some call you an Act of God. I am not sure just why you came to be. I do know we live in a broken world with broken and hurting people. You exposed that and caused some more brokenness and grief.
The world is not right. We only need look around and see it. There are all kinds of storms brewing: political, cultural, social, economic, moral storms that can toss us to and fro. The climate has changed as we engage in name-calling, fear-mongering, injustice and more, producing pain and agony.
Matthew, you are just one example of the brokenness in this world. Now you are just a memory. There will be another named storm soon. It may be a hurricane. It may be a terror attack or a recession. It may be self-inflicted by poor decisions. Regardless, we seem to muddle through.
In all the storms of life, the difficulties we encounter, the uphill battles we face, we have one weapon to defeat the storms in this world like you. That weapon is Hope! We believe we can be better and do better. With the help of Almighty God, His grace and comfort we won’t just survive: we can thrive, even in the midst of any kind of hurricane.
So we arm ourselves with hope. We brace ourselves, prepare and believe we will persevere no matter the obstacles. My friend David Baroni (a brilliant singer, songwriter, composer) wrote a song and one verse has these words:
Even when it’s hard to believe, Even when our hope seems all gone
There has never been a night without a dawn
So there Matthew! You might have taken some swings at us, you might have landed a blow or two but you’re gone and we are not; a new day dawned.
Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom wrote, “The measure of a life is not it’s duration but its donation.” As a teenager I was inspired by Corrie Ten Boom’s story as detailed in her book The Hiding Place and subsequent film by the same name. During World War II, her family hid Jews from the Nazi’s in a secret room in their home. They were found out and so Corrie and her father and sister were shipped off to concentration camps. Corrie alone survived the ordeal.
We measure life in many ways. We mark time in birthdays and anniversaries. We look at life as a balance sheet giving a sum-total of assets and liabilities. We hold up accomplishments with diplomas and certificates. This is not wrong; but is it enough? Think of this quote again:
“The measure of a life is not it’s duration but its donation.”
What will you leave behind? What matters when you reach life’s end? Being generous changes the world. It changes you too. Being generous means living a life with others in mind. In Dale Wasserman’s Man of La Mancha he notes, “I come in a world of iron…to make a world of gold.” What a noble way to live.
Generosity is essential to the concept of Home. If home is just about the essentials of food, shelter and clothing, we can build efficient cubicles that will house the world. But home is more. Generosity at its heart is about giving more than is needed, an abundant gift that overwhelms the need and provides a surplus.
I am asking you to be generous to Canterbury, to give to this mission and ministry. Yes, to write a check or swipe a credit card but more so to invest in these 48 acres that make a difference everyday in Central Florida and beyond. The Canterbury campus exists to welcome people into God’s presence. It truly is a sacramental ministry, offering spiritual food to a hungry and sometimes starving world. Let your life and the way you live it be measured by your donation. Be generous and you will be blessed!
We’ve designed these 40 Days around 3 levels of giving. Choose a level that’s right for you:
Join us at $1.00 per day ($40.00)…Canterbury Friend
Join us at $10.00 per day ($400.00)…Canterbury Partner
Join at $100.00 per day ($4000.00)…Canterbury Champion
These contributions go directly to the Annual Fund supporting our daily operation. If you have any questions call me directly. Jon Davis / cell: 321-436-8006. Please pray for the mission and ministry of Canterbury.
There is a lot of brokenness in the world. Many have suffered in a broken economy with limited growth and opportunity. I hear from educators that our education system is in crisis and wrecked with excessive testing that does not necessarily equate to a better education. Some express that our judicial system is out of whack as we have the most incarcerated population per capita in the world.
I don’t go “political” very often but I think this election cycle has shown in a very real and tangible way that the election process is damaged. It all seems a little more like a reality TV show than a call to a better future. No one seems to have ideas but rather are just looking for the best zingers to hurl at their opponent. We could list other things in our society as well: immigration, foreign policy, crime, racism, media and more. Sadly, there is too much brokenness to go around.
One place that has felt the fractures and decay of brokenness is HOME. Historically home was the foundational unit of society. The family was the nucleus of the community and life revolved around home and its various activities. Someone worked, the kids went to school and you came home to eat, sleep and be together. We’ve lost a lot of that.
Divorce, poverty, loose morality, me-first attitudes, all have caused the decline in the entity known as home. I was in youth ministry for many years and I was amazed that 70% of the families represented had some sort of known, public brokenness they were dealing with on one level or another. I imagine the stats are even worse today.
Boy, aren’t you glad you opened this journal entry today! There is good news: what is broken can be fixed. It may take a lot of effort and time but families can mend and go from broken to whole. It takes love to move it forward. Love expressed in forgiveness, both asking for it and granting it. Love expressed in compassion, mercy and kindness. Love expressed in boundaries, a tough love being able to tell another person that what they are doing is wrong.
It also takes the will to want the change, to begin to make better choices. The decisions we make can either perpetuate the brokenness or end it. You can stop drinking. You can cease the violence. You can get out of debt. You can choose. You cannot do it on your own, you will need help — maybe lots of it. There are resources to tap. You can learn and grow and become a family again. You can have a home.
We’ve hinted at it along this journey but if there is true healing and wholeness to be had, it will take an element of faith. As we discussed yesterday we have a need as individuals, as a community, as a nation to cultivate faith. If you need help with this you can call on people you know who have faith. Don’t know any of them? You can call me – The Rev. Jon Davis PhD / 407-365-5571.