A Trip to the Market . . .

Chris brought Ali (8) and Abi (3) to spend last week with us. Sandy had knee surgery two weeks earlier and was still at limited capacity and ability. She was required to sit often, but it did not prevent her from doing that grandmother thing . . . holding the girls in her lap and hugging on them.

Since I am really on the mend physically, I stepped up and took on more of the duties. I spend quite a bit of time around the Rockport Community Pool (actually, I serve on the board of Friends of the Pool, Inc.), and pretty much know my way around there, so I scheduled the girls for the best of swimming lessons available . . . small groups in the mornings and private lessons with “Mr. Bill” in the late afternoon. I drove them over and back each day, with daily stops at McDonald’s drive-thru for a take-out lunch, or at Sonic Drive-In for a frozen drink. One day we actually did both . . . drinks from Sonic and lunch from McDonalds. In addition, I cooked breakfast each morning and dinner each evening. I really enjoyed cooking for the girls. I told them their first day that I had set out a bag of fresh Redfish for dinner. Abi looked up at me and declared, “Pappy, I don’t like fish,” to which I replied, “Well, little miss prissy, you have not tried Pappy’s fish yet.” We had dinner and she ate fish like it was going out of style and said, “Best fish ever!” In fact, I took dinner orders each day and each time Abi yelled out “More fish!” She even asked for fish with her scrambled eggs one morning. After three nights in a row, Nana declared no-more-fish. Abi is now a real fish lover!

One afternoon I discovered that I needed to go to the supermarket for provisions. The gals wanted to go with me, so off we went. I enjoyed pushing the basket around with them tagging along and trying to educate me about how to buy groceries. I was not surprised that each one found several things they wanted and really needed. When we arrived at the check-out counter, the clerk handed each of the girls something that looked like dollar bills and off they went to something of a large vending machine 10- or 12-paces away. The girls inserted the things the clerk gave them, and were given small rolled tickets from a return duct. It all looked innocent enough, so I returned to the task of checking out and paying for our bill of goods. One of the items we had purchased (at Abi’s insistence) was a large watermelon that I bet weighed 40lbs. I was just in the process of overcoming a very painful lower back injury, so I requested a carry out. An older man came to assist. As we passed by the girl’s and their vending machine (where they had been joined by a dozen other kids), I announced that we had to go. Abi informed me that she still had “some Buddy Bucks” to spend. I told her to save them for another visit. Good grief . . . you would have thought she was about to get a shot in the doctor’s office! So there I was with a basket of goods, a very large watermelon, a screaming 3-year-old, and a smart aleck old dude pushing our cart and looking down his nose at us. People all around were looking to see the dirty dog abusing the screaming child! Finally, we made it to the car and as I helped her and her Buddy Bucks strap into her car seat, I looked down at her and said, “Abi, I don’t think I am going to be able to take you to the store anymore.” I am pretty sure that as she processed that information and reflected on the fun she had shopping and the goodies she had gotten, that thing we call ‘reasoning’ kicked in for her. She looked up at me with those big brown eyes (of course as I look into them I am always a “goner”) and said, “Pappy, do you remember the time when just you and me went to Walmart and I did really good? I think next time we should leave Ali at home!” Of course, she was referring to last month’s visit that I took her to Walmart while her Dad took Ali fishing on the boat. As I drove us home, it occurred to me that I had just witnessed human nature at work in a 3-year-old . . . that incredible ability to excuse oneself while affixing the blame to someone else! Prisons are filled with “innocent men” who when given the opportunity to speak will quickly declare “Some other dude did it!”

Waylon Jennings wrote and sang a country song in which he speaks of women and says, “they start learning when they are babies.” I think the truth of the matter is that we all learned selfish ways as babies and had to learn to temper them as we developed socially and even more so as we develop spiritually. I am confident that Abi and Ali both have great, tender hearts and will develop beautifully.

 

Right . . . Wrong . . . or Questionable?

I am currently teaching 1 Samuel in Sunday school. A great Old Testament book; fast paced and full of history. Samuel was the last great judge/Prophet in Israel, and his life marks the transition from Israel utilizing a confederation of tribes over to a monarch. It also marks a great shift in the nation’s relationship with God. Historically, following this event, Israel would be governed by a good king, then followed by a bad king, and it’s life as a nation was always schizophrenic The people would sin and stray far from God and an invading army would capture them; the people would repent and cry out to God, and He would deliver them. It was a continuous cycle of pain and suffering.

Up until that event, when a threat arose against the people, God spoke through the prophet and he instructed the tribes to send warriors to serve the nation’s need. The ad-hock army would dissolve when the threat had been eliminated and the soldiers would return back home. Each tribe governed itself and there were no taxes or costs of operating a standing government. The Elders were unhappy about Samuel’s two sons sharing in his responsibilities and their dishonesty. They confronted Samuel and insisted that they wanted a king. Samuel reminded the Elders that God himself served as Israel’s king. They replied that they wanted a king in the flesh just as the other nations. Their demand was troubling for Samuel, so he wept and prayed; God instructed him to caution them about the rights of . . . and the great cost of . . . having a king. If they still insisted, then Samuel was to give them a king. The Lord told Samuel that the people weren’t rejecting Samuel . . . the people were rejecting God, but they had been doing that very thing off and on since they were delivered from Egypt.

So as the story moves forward, Saul is anointed as Israel’s first king. Saul even looked like a king . . . he is described as being handsome and “standing head and shoulders above every other man in Israel.” He proved to be a very good military commander and he began as a humble man . . . and a fair and even-handed leader. But as history demonstrates, power corrupts and Saul changed dramatically. He had a personality flaw that just made it obvious that he would come to a harsh end. He disobeyed direct orders from God, and assumed duties that were forbidden him. God rejected him as the king and instructed Samuel to go to Bethlehem and anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the new king.

Samuel expressed his fear and reluctance about following the Lord’s instructions and expressed concern about how Saul might react and what the people of Bethlehem would say when he showed up there. As a side note, it seems that a prophet showing up in town was not well received as the people associated his presence as an announcement of coming judgment and hardship. As Samuel expressed his concern, God told him to take a cow along and tell folks that he had come to offer a sacrifice. As I studied the material, I was surprised to discover that there has been a considerable controversy over the years about “God telling Samuel to use the cow as a cover.” Personally, I don’t see any controversy . . . God is the only one qualified to declare right and wrong! If He calls a thing right, it is right simply because He calls it right! The truth of the matter is God created and owned every single element found in the story . . . He owned Samuel, He owned Saul, He owned the village of Bethlehem . . . and He owned the cow. He was free to command Samuel to offer a sacrifice . . . anywhere, anytime, and for any reason! God does not need to explain Himself to mankind . . . ever!

The material I read spoke of the moral dilemma of God telling Samuel to “tell a little white lie.” I don’t see that dilemma in the least! My faith screams out to me that when God calls a thing right . . . then it is right, totally and completely. The author of the material I read used a theoretical argument to explain it. He argued that a good family that helped protect Jewish families from the Nazi’s had a similar dilemma when the Nazi’s banged on their door . . . tell the truth and your family dies or lie and the Jewish family lives. Of course, I know which of those options I would personally select in that situation, but none of that even remotely applies to God and His instruction to Samuel.

The thing I find very sad about the issue is that it is so greatly reflects the problem with humanity! Humans rebel against God . . . and in their rebellion find themselves in a mess . . . and then using convoluted and goofy logic tries to blame God!

It Seems to me . . . that I will serve my family well to go on record declaring that God is always righteous, pure, and good! Anything and everything God does is always perfect, even when it is beyond our comprehension. A perfect example of that is His sending Jesus to die for us . . . there is no way the human mind can fully grasp that love, grace, and mercy! What we can do is accept it in faith and allow it to transform us!

It also Seems to me . . . that it is a fool’s errand to try to sit in judgment on anything God has done or said. It is a wise and prudent person who submits . . . and seeks . . . to conform to God’s standards, as opposed to the fool who seeks to question or challenge God in any matter whatsoever!

Willie Mae Timmons . . .

The first time I saw her was about 25 years ago. She and Bill were sitting on the front row of the Chapel of the old building of FBC—Rockport. I had been asked to serve as a guest teacher . . . it was the classes’ way of looking me over to decide if they wanted me to be their teacher. Bill and Willie Mae were both influential leaders of the class and they took a liking to me and became two of my best supporters. I loved and enjoyed them both.

Willie Mae was a really smart lady, and fun to be around. She and I had some really good theological conversations. She had her own opinions, but was never pushy about them . . . and she was always open-minded to the point of being willing to learn from those she respected.

Bill and Willie Mae had two passions: they loved to cook and prepare special dinners for their friends. Sandy and I were often included on the guest list for such dinners. The food was always excellent, the company was terrific, and the conversation was always meaningful. Those were special times and have become wonderful memories.

Bill passed away a few years back. Willie Mae continued to live in their lovely home in the Rockport Country Club, and I am confident that not one day went by that she did not ache for him. She loved her man.

She remained faithful to the Sunday school class, Church, and other groups of which she was a member. During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, FBC was on the move with many changes taking place. We had three Pastoral changes in a few short years; we did an “Intentional Interim Pastor Program” designed to help a Church in transition, and we built a new Church plant and relocated across town . . . and then sold the former building. Willie Mae and I were elected by the Church on several occasions and served together on several major committees (all ad hock). Willie Mae was a very good committee member . . . she never missed a meeting and always arrived prepared. She wanted to discuss things in detail, but was never argumentative, just always thorough. She brought plenty to the table and was always fun to serve with. As I recall, we served together on two separate Search Committees and the New Building Finance Committee (that raised the money and financial structure for financing the new building). Willie Mae added both confidence and integrity to both efforts . . . folks just loved and trusted her.

In recent years, Willie Mae developed some health issues and had to be relocated closer to her daughter, Melinda, and her family. That enabled her to spend time with her grandchildren . . . which previously had been limited due to them all living far apart. Willie Mae recently passed away and I have been asked to do her Memorial Service this Saturday morning at FBC—Rockport . . . a Church she adored and served for years. I am honored to help folks remember that dear lady . . . she was my friend and I loved her.

 

 

A Helping Hand . . .

One afternoon this week I saw a sad post on FaceBook, placed there by a friend . . . a nice lady we have gone to Church with for many years. Her post lamented that part of her house was flooded by a plumbing problem with her toilet. Knowing the dear lady had a back injury, I sent her a private message asking her to call me. She did and we agreed that the next afternoon I would bring some guys and equipment to try to solve her problem. So at the appointed time my guys and I met her and went to work with water extraction equipment to aid in drying the area and repairing the broken toilet. The lady was most appreciative and later commented on it on FB. Several folks replied and offered some sweet comments. I simply replied to their comments: “Love you one another even as I love you” . . . .is our marching orders. Later that evening I saw reports on the evening news of some of the evil that is being done by Muslims around the world.

The contrast in beliefs and behavior between what Christians and Muslims are each taught got me to thinking about people and how many live in a total state of ignorance and confusion. My Sunday school lesson this week comes from I Samuel 12. At that moment in history, the people of Israel had rebelled and demanded a king . . . clearly rejecting God’s plan for them and demonstrating their foolish desire to control their own future (understand they did not have a clue what would happen twelve hours later, but they wanted to be in control of their future!) God gives the people what they want and in the 12th chapter, the Prophet Samuel gathers the people and reminds them of God’s amazing power. In his message to them, he reminds them that it is the harvest season and consequently the driest time of the year. In spite of those constraints of physical laws, Samuel calls on the Lord and asks for a visible demonstration of His great power. Immediately a violent electrical storm appears, accompanied by rain and thunder. The power of the storm and the timing of it frightens the rebellious people and they cry out to Samuel asking that he intervened with God for them . . . interesting that they trusted Samuel’s relationship with the Lord, yet had no confidence in their own. In verse 22, Samuel informs the frightened, rebellious people that God will not abandon His people and offered two reasons (and virtues of God) they would do well to remember. Those reasons being:

1. Because of His great name; and
2. Because He has determined to make you His own people.

I contemplated what Samuel declared to the frightened sinners who suddenly feared falling to the hands of judgment of their powerful and angry God. Samuel did not tell them that everything was okay . . . which, of course, was what they wanted to hear. It occurred to me that God is equally committed to making His name great amongst the nations of the world in this generation. In fact, in Matthew 28, Jesus calls on His followers to go in His full authority to all nations making disciples. Later, Jesus’ friend and Disciple, John, saw and wrote about his vision of Heaven in which he saw a redeemed people of every tribe, language, people, and nation (Rev 5: 9 – 10).

It Seems to me . . . a crucial element required in that objective is for us to reflect God’s love, grace, and mercy into a hurting world. It also seems to me . . . that an important part of doing that is for us to let go of judgments . . . and simply see others as Jesus sees them. We are called to be extensions of His love, grace, and mercy (by allowing Him to live and work through us) . . . and it is essential that we each adopt that mindset. If we are prudent, we can look at the Muslims and see the tragedy of their confused ideology that convinces them that they are to serve as extensions of God’s justice, wrath, and vengeance. As Christians we are to know that God does not want or need to put us to work dispensing His judgement. His call to us, both individually and collectively, is to reflect His love, grace, and mercy into a hurting and confused culture.

Personally, I am glad that God does not want me dispensing His judgment and Justice. Heck, I struggle with being a landlord and the rights and wrongs of lease enforcement. I see a lease violation and as I struggle to deal with the non-compliant resident, I am thankful that I had influences in my life that kept me from being where that person is currently struggling. It occurs to me that, in the greater scheme of things, I would do well to serve as a teacher, as opposed to being the enforcer.

After 65 years of living and learning, I have come to three absolute beliefs! Those beliefs are as follows;

1. There is absolutely . . . without any doubt . . . a Creator . . . The Lord God;

2. One day He will make all things right and He will dispense justice, grace, and mercy, and He will administer them all perfectly; and

3. I am not Him . . . and He certainly does not need the help of the likes of me in areas of judgment, justice, and punishments.

Back in the Game . . .

Over the past three years I have been through some struggles that included the discovery and repair of (1) a spinal stenosis in my neck (fancy way of saying a broken neck), (2) a spinal cord injury, (3) injured and bleeding disc in my lower back, and (4) total knee-replacement on my right knee. These medical issues radically changed my life-style. My son, Chris, came home and looked after me. He pushed me around in a wheel chair, drove me to the places I needed to be, when I needed to be there. Chris kept me out of a nursing home and in the process, he became my hero. In the entire three-year period, he was extremely kind, gentle, encouraging, and considerate . . . he was only cross, or grumpy with me just a couple of times . . . and truth be told, I am satisfied it was my own fault. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I actually became rather self-centered and self-focused through it all and certainly was not considerate of Sandy, Courtney, and Chris. Abraham Maslow explains human behavior as being driven by a “Needs” system, and argues that the foremost “need” a human has is survival. The Apostle Paul argues that while that might well be true for the natural (old) man, it ought not be so for the spiritual man, but unfortunately it was my situation . . . I simply turned inward and focused on me.

Week before last, Sandy and I spent a week on a cruise from Galveston to Jamaica celebrating our 44th anniversary. We returned home on Sunday, and on Tuesday morning I drove Abi and Ali back to a West. As we entered Gran’s office in West, Abi placed her little hands on her hips and made an announcement to the room, “My Pappy drove me home all by himself!” After my hugs, kisses, and good byes with the girls, I drove on North to Waxahachi where I did a seminar at the new Civic Center . . . my first in a long while. As I wrote this blog post, it was early morning of Day 2 of the seminar and I had been reflecting on it all. My preliminary self-evaluation of my performance is:

1. I am not physically the man I once was;
2. I must work harder than I needed to work at it before as it does not come to me as easily and naturally as it did before;
3. I need to continue vigorously working on strengthening physically and developing greater endurance; and
4. In spite of these differences, I am confident that I can still make a contribution to my profession . . . that I still have an important message for the workforce.

Later that evening, a lovely group took me to a group dinner, and amongst the laughter and fellowship, I almost felt like old times again. Later, back at the hotel, I went to the pool to work out. After my work-out ritual, I sat by the pool to dry off so as not to drip water all the way back to my room on the 4th floor. As I sat poolside, a lady from the class came in and asked if she might sit with me and chat. Of course, I agreed. She said that she really enjoyed and appreciated the class, and was inspired by my struggle and recovery. She went on to say that she and her husband were both retired military living in San Antonio, and both were in their 2nd career . . . her managing an apartment complex and him as a Civil Service officer running the Wounded Warrior project at Fort Sam Houston. She told me that she had called her husband after class and related my story and said she admired and appreciated how I spoke of the Lord’s presence and mercy through my ordeal. She then said her husband asked her to ask me to consider serving as a paid speaker for the Wounded Warriors program at Fort Sam. I was honored . . . but told her that I would certainly not accept any fees as a speaker for such an organization. I look forward to meeting with the lady’s husband in the near future to see how this might pan out and if it might be a good mix.

I was feeling pretty good about things that morning . . . and actually feeling like I am pretty much back in the game, in spite of moving around a little differently than before. That was a sweet day . . . I completed the seminar, bid my friends farewell . . . both old and new, then drive back to Waco and take the girls for dinner, and on to over-night at 205 (Sandy’s Burnet house), and get to see sweet Dorothy, my little sister. All of that is terrified . . . the fact that I can walk out to my car and drive it away makes it all the more special . . . and appreciated.

My Dad . . . J. L. Melton

This date, July 7, was his birthday. I believe he was born in the year 1924, and if so he would be turning 92 years of age if he were still alive. I woke up at 5:30 am this morning thinking about him. I decided I ought to post a blog about him so that those who follow behind will know something about him. That is my primary purpose in writing this blog . . . to leave my footprint in the sand . . . a memo of who I am, where I came from . . . and what I believe about people and life itself. I think some word about my Dad fits in well with all of that.

My Dad was a real man’s man . . . because he was 100% man. There was nothing sissy about that dude. He was actually the toughest man I have ever known, and he was fearless. You could tell that by merely watching him walk across the room. As a kid growing up, I had none of the typical fears or apprehensions that kids struggle with because I knew my Dad could and would take care of anything that might arise. The only fear I ever had about the monster under the bed thing was for that monster if he ever came out from under the bed . . . I always knew my Dad would have mopped the floor with him.

Growing up I had a difficult time communicating with him, and even when I became a man it did not improve much. He had his own notions about life, people, and things, and was not very open to discussions. He wanted me to think like he thought and it troubled him that I often saw things differently.

He was a good Dad in that he hung around and provided for his family . . . a wife and eight kids. That could not have been an easy task. He was a hard worker and I can’t remember him ever being without a job except during those times when he was sick or injured. He mainly worked as a pipe-liner, but was willing to do any work to feed his family when the oil patch came to a halt. He was a heavy-equipment operator and he was quite skilled at it. He could pretty much operate any machinery he ever encountered. I recall that one time while we lived in El Paso, a large equipment company in town called asking him to come to their plant. I rode along with him. They had received a delivery truck with a large piece of equipment and no one knew how to start or unload the beast and they wanted to hire him to that and teach their guys. Darned if he didn’t climb up on the big truck and do that very thing. I was quite proud of him.

I don’t think he was really a very good husband to my sweet Mom, but she loved the rascal in spite of his sometimes wicked ways. Growing up, I was quite certain that she stayed with him out of hardship. I always suspected that when all of the kids were grown and gone, she would move out too, but she did not. She remained with him to his dying day and mourned him after his death. The truth is that no one ever really knows the dynamics between a man and a woman . . . it is just what it is . . . even when it makes no sense to those looking on.

He was not an easy man to understand, or even to get along with for that matter. He was one of 13 kids in a really poor family. His dad is said to have come to Burnet County as a traveling Bible salesman, met my grandmother there, and married her and set up housekeeping in Burnet. As I understood it, he never really had a career, just odd-jobbed . . . chopping cedar posts, share cropping, working at the graphite mines, working on the Buchanan Dam project, and other such work. By the time most of his sons reached their teens, they dropped out of school and worked alongside him. That family had to fight and scrap for everything they ever had . . . and it was not much at that. I still remember the old tar-paper shack that served as their home. Most all of them had modest success as adults, but always had jobs, a roof over their family’s head, and food in their mouths. Pretty much all of them managed to own a modest home and a bit of ground.

Over the years as I have tried to understand him, I always tried to adjust and temper my thinking by the circumstances in his early years. Life tends to make folks like they are . . . unless that person is prudent and understands that he or she can be set free and empowered to rise up and live above all of that societal stuff. Sadly, I don’t believe my Dad ever learned to live at such a level.

In spite of his being a bit difficult, hard-headed and even contrary, he was really a very likable fellow. I always knew that folks really liked him and enjoyed his company. He was funny, quick-witted, and had about the most winning smile I have ever seen on a person. I often watched him with others and wished I could enjoy that type of relationship with him. I was really impressed when my siblings and I started our own families. He became an amazing and wonderful grandfather. He was so darn good with all of those kids and they absolutely adored him. I can still see him with five of six of them seated around that scarred-up old table at the “poor farm” sipping coffee with him. As adults I don’t think one of them even drinks coffee today, but as kids they felt really special and important sitting at that old table sipping coffee with their Grandpa . . . they were each made to feel like prized athletes standing in the winner’s circle. Not one of those kids even knew they were poor when they were with him at that table. It was like a king and his court. I suspect that he taught most of them to count using a set of dominoes. He loved to play Moon and 42. There was no greater honor for his kids or grandkids than having him select you to be his partner.

He was much like Yoggi Bera . . . the famous old baseball player and coach (Yankees), and simply had his own language with which he expressed himself. Most of it was quite clever, and is still frequently repeated by his grandsons today . . . especially when two or three of them show up at the same place at the same time. I can occasionally discover a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat as I listen to those good guys mimicking their beloved grandpa. Cody and John Mark did the last part of his funeral service with a dialogue of J.L.isms. It was very touching and pretty much all that I remember of his funeral.

I loved him, but he was always something of a mystery for me. I just always sensed that with him there a place I could carefully approach, but there was a line which I could never cross. That boundary pretty much remained in place all of my years with him.

It did motivated me to strive to never allow any such boundary to exist with my own children.

Independence Day . . .

What is it about? Why is it always celebrated on July 4th? Why are there always fireworks involved?

It was on July 4, 1776, that the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring the thirteen American colonies free from British rule and announcing to the world that they viewed themselves as a new nation, the United States of America.

The following year, on that date, in the community of Bristol, Rhode Island, fired 13 rifle shots in the morning and again that evening as a salute to the new nation. Philadelphia the first anniversary much like we celebrate it today with an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, thirteen-gun salute, speeches, prayers, music, a parade, troop reviews, and fireworks. Red, white, and blue bunting was dropped all over town. Over the years the celebration has grown across the land and today’s activities of celebration are described as patriotism. Many Churches hold patriotic services, families enjoy family reunions, back-yard bar-b-ques, communities have parades and baseball games, community gatherings with speeches and prayers. It is a rare community that does not provide a fireworks show to celebrate the nation’s birthday.

I want those who follow after me to know that I personally love the United States of America and I have always been proud to place my hand over my heart and publicly say the Pledge of Allegiance. I grew up doing that each and every morning along with my classmates at school. Our opening ceremony included the Pledge, a verse of Scripture being read, and a prayer being said over the public address system as every student and teacher stood with hand over heart and facing Old Glory. Somewhere along the way, the USA lost its way and allowed some narrow-minded and grossly overly-educated men in black robes to declare such patriotic acts as unconstitutional. In fact, that same group said they had discovered that the Constitution provided the right to a pregnant woman to murder her own baby even over the objection of the father. The court also discovered that same Constitution permitted a disgruntled citizen the lawful right to publicly burn the American flag in the streets of our towns.

Young adults in today’s current generation are being referred to as “Millennialists” by those who study demographics. I am not sure why such a title has been employed as the name is drawn from the Latin word for thousand, and I simply do not see any connection between the two. In spite of that observation, news reports today say that these young adults are unable to explain the reason for the celebration on this date. I watched a TV news report wherein a roving reporter walked the streets of Corpus and interviewed a number of these young adults asking one question, “What is the celebration about?” I did not see one properly answer the question. The interviews left me quite sad, and I recalled the words of President Ronald Reagan when he declared that the USA “is only one generation from forgetting . . . “ I never dreamed that I would witness it in my life-time.

Today, I celebrate our day of independence, and I thank God for the America in which I grew up . . . a place where a kid with a shoe-shine box could rise from the level of poverty to become President of a firm that owns and operates millions of dollars of real estate and assists hundreds of others to live much better than they could otherwise. I also pray for the nation and my children and grandchildren and their future. Tragically, from where I stand today looking forward, I see cause for concern for this great nation that largely has moved away from the foundational beliefs. From those beliefs that put words like “One nation under God” in our pledge and “In God we trust” on our money. Today, removal of those words is being debated as is the honorable act of publicly singing the National Anthem at public events.

A verse from the Holy Bible comes to mind . . . said verse being: ” . . . professing themselves wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).