Words Matter

Today’s a new day! Our words are powerful. Make no mistake. They can inspire and elevate or they can cut down and destroy. A seemingly simple comment, without consideration, can devastate and once it’s out there you can never get it back. ~OC

When Christians Disagree About Politics

The past few years, we have seen how politics has divided America. All you have to do is tune into a talk show, watch the news or scroll through social media. Politics have sadly brought out the worst in some people. What is even more heartbreaking is how politics have divided some in the Church. A place where we should be united as become divided by today’s politics. So how can the Church work through this political division and be united? Here are a few thoughts.

Republicans and Democrats can be Christians. I have been amazed how some people question your faith based on your political  party. I personally do not belong to any political party. I gave up my party affiliation before the last election. It is okay for Christians to be involved in politics, but their political party cannot be more important than their relationship with God. When Christians become more concerned about who’s in the White House than who their neighbor is, that becomes a dangerous and slippery slope.

Arguing about your political beliefs does not make you a better Christian. That only means they enjoy arguing. We need to look past our political differences and love our neighbors the way God commands us. Even if they have a different political opinion.

Admit when your political party is wrong. Guess what?  Republicans and Democrats are not perfect. I know, your favorite political cable news show wants you to think they are, but their not. So do not be afraid to step up and admit when your favorite candidate  messes up.

Take time to talk. I encourage everyone to reach out to those with different political beliefs and talk. Not argue. Not debate. Just talk. I promise, you will walk away realizing you have more in common than you think.

Living out our faith. My heart has been broken hearing how the current political landscape has ended friendships. How politics have driven some people from the Church. I am not sure how we got to this point in American politics, but it truly saddens me. I have a lot of friends on both sides of the political aisle and I respect their right to vote for their candidate. Even if I disagree with that candidate. I have had some serious conversations with friends at church who vote and believe differently than I do. I do not pass judgement. We have respectful conversations. Because at the end of the day, I am more concerned about serving God and others, than I am about who wins an election.

As Christians, we should make the choice to rise above partisan politics. We can still have our opinions. We can still vote our conscience. But it is time we work together to unite this country. Our words and actions should model the teachings of God and not mock them. ~OC

 

 

400 Years After 1619

In 1619, slavery came to America. In December 1865, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in America. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 2008, America elected the first African-American President with the election of Barack Obama. America has come a long way in the 400 years since 1619. But have we come far enough? Yes, this post is about racism in America. For those of you tired of me writing about racism in America, you can skip over this post if you would like. But I hope you don’t.

When most of us think about racism in America, we think about the days of slavery. We think about the 1960’s and the Civil Rights Movement. A lot of people think racism ended with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. I wish that was the case. Sadly it’s not. In 2019, racism is sadly still alive and well in America. Let’s take a look.

In 2019, hate groups are on the rise in America. The latest report shows there are 1,020 active hate groups in America.

In 2019, some police officers are still stopping African-Americans for simply driving while black.

In 2019, people of color are still followed by some business owners when they enter a store.

In 2019, African-Americans are still held at gunpoint by some white people for simply being black. Even when that African-American is a police officer

In 2019, some white people still call the police on Africa-Americans for simply living life.

So how can we take steps to improve race relations in America? Here are some suggestions.

Do not be afraid to have conversations about racism in America.

Stand Up against racism when you see or hear it. Don’t be Silent.

Make sure your place of worship is have real conversations about race.

Visit and invest in African-American owned businesses.

Know your history. Visit African-American museums and civil rights site.

Pray. Ask God what you can do to help improve race relations in America.

These are just a few suggestions. Feel free to share and implement your own ideas. We have to continue having these conversations. Silence is not an option. At least not for me. ~OC

Life Around The Table

I love sitting around a table and engaging in great conversation. As a child, I remember listening to my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles sitting around the table discussing life. They laughed and sometimes cried. There is just something about sitting around a table and talking.

Think about all the events that happen around a table. From birthday parties, holiday dinners and wedding toast to name just a few. Some of the biggest events and life decisions happen around a table.

As I travel on this crazy beautiful health journey, I can no longer eat anything by mouth. Since I have been on my feeding tube, some people have a hard time eating around me. They feel bad about enjoying a meal around me. Even though I constantly reassure them that it does not bother me, I have noticed less invitations to the table. I miss those moments because sitting around the table has nothing to do with eating for me. It never has. Engaging in great conversations and sharing life has always been more important than the food. I am thankful for those friends who still invite me to the table.

I do not share that experience to make anyone feel bad, I share that experience to show that more than a good meal happens at the table. Life happens around the table.

As I think back on those conversations my family had around the table, food played little into that memory. Most of the time, coffee was the only thing around the table. That and a lot of amazing conversations.

So as we start a new week, who will we invite to the table this week? Maybe it will be a friend, neighbor, coworker or maybe a complete stranger that God wanted us to meet. Remember, life happens around the table and sometimes food is involved. ~OC

Why We Need To Talk About Racism

I can hear it now. OC is talking about racism again. Can I be honest with you? I really do not like talking about racism. I know that is hard for some of you to believe, based on all my post about racism. But truly, I wish I never had to talk about racism again. Really, I do. So OC, why do you keep talking and writing about racism? Good question. I am glad you asked.

As a white man in America, I have a lot of privileges. I did not asked for these privileges. I did nothing to earn these privileges. I just happened to be born white in America. But as a white man in America, I have been bestowed these privileges for simply being born white. Here are some examples of my white privilege in America.

*I can walk down the street and no one is going to clutch their bag a little tighter. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can hail a cab with no problems. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can walk through any store and not be followed by security. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can drive in any neighborhood and not fear being pulled over by the police for simply driving. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

I wonder how many people stopped reading when I mentioned white privilege.? I hope you stayed with me and take some time to really think about the examples above. Those are not made up examples. Those things plus a lot more happen everyday in America. That is why I will continue to talk and write about racism in America. I believe with everything going on in our nation, we can no longer make excuses for not talking about racism. Only by discussing the issue of racism, can we hope to end one of the original sins of America. ~OC

Truly Living

Remember the first cell phones? They were big. Real big! Remember when you waited until after 7pm to call your family and friends? Free minutes! Young folks don’t know the struggle. Oh the memories.

Cell phones have come a long way in 20+ years. They are definitely smaller. No more waiting until after 7 pm to make calls. Cell phones today are little computers. You do not even have to dial a number anymore. Just tell your phone who to call.

But in an age when our cell phones and other devices have given us almost everything within seconds to make our lives easier, have we slowly stopped living? Have you been to a restaurant, amusement park, church or family gathering lately and looked around the room? Just about everyone is on their phone. Checking emails and social media. I am guilty of it more than I care to admit. We are completely ignoring the people around us. Instead of engaging conversations, we have become obsessed with how many likes or comments our latest post received.

We have lost the art of a great conversation. Truly enjoying a beautiful moment with family and friends. We cannot put our phones down for a minute for fear of missing something important. We just have to know what our favorite celebrity had for lunch. Meanwhile, we are missing out on life. Real life. Not what we see on social media. We have lost the art of truly living.

Truly living is about spending time with loved ones. I mean actually looking them in the eye and having real conversations. Truly living is helping others. Truly living is watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset and not worrying about capturing the perfect picture, but instead embracing a beautiful moment. Truly living is visiting a friend dealing with the storms of life. Truly living is laughing with family and friends.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we need to toss our cell phones or laptops in the trash. Technology definitely has its place in our lives. But I am saying it’s okay to put your devices down sometimes and have a real conversation with the person sitting next to you. To truly live. ~OC

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