RAMBLER(S) OF THE WEEK
Our Rambler of the Week award goes to a team and a great company of long-suffering fans in Chicago, who waited 108 years for this day to arrive — the day when the Chicago Cubs would be crowned World Series Champions. It has happened, and great is the rejoicing!
Lord, now you let your servant depart in peace,
For my eyes have seen your salvation!
• Luke 2:29-30
The deciding game, Game 7, was as dramatic a baseball game as this fan has ever seen. It will go down in history as legendary, with even God getting involved by sending rain and delaying the game so the Cubs could regroup and come back for the win (yes, that’s bad theology; no, I don’t care!). There were so many story lines, so many great moments, so many excruciating twists and reversals, that most of us who were invested in rooting for either the Cubs or the Indians ended up exhausted and drained. It was exactly the kind of baseball game we fans live for.
The MVP of the Series, Ben Zobrist, is a pastor’s kid who maintains a strong faith along with his wife Julianna, a singer-songwriter, author and speaker. To show you what kind of a guy he is, after he arrived home on Thursday, he went outside and signed autographs for his neighbors, who were all waiting in a long line down the block to give him their praise, thanks, and congratulations.
An estimated five million Cubs fans — nearly twice Chicago’s population — crowded the city’s streets and gathered Friday in Grant Park to salute their World Series champions as they rambled through their victory parade.
The Chicago Cubs, and especially their fans — including my own beloved grandfather, in whose lap I sat and watched the Cubs on TV as a child — are our Ramblers of the Week.
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TIME TO VOTE! (An IM editorial)
After another excruciating experience — a seemingly never-ending campaign season — the time for the big vote has arrived. Tuesday is Election Day, which means one form of agony is ending, and another may be beginning. If Donald Trump wins, well, I can’t imagine what the future holds. If Hillary Clinton wins, at the very least we are in for four years of conflict between the President and Congress that will make the gridlock of the last eight years look like the Cubs hugging each other after winning the World Series.
I voted yesterday. In down-ticket races, I chose some Republicans and some Democrats, and I wrote in the name of someone I deem qualified and competent for POTUS.
I know some will argue that I “wasted” my vote, but I don’t think for a moment that following my conscience and exercising my civil responsibility to vote for a worthy candidate is a waste at all. If more of us exercised personal responsibility and refused to let the big money, the media, the politicians, and the two-party system define us and make it seem like the only practical thing is to fill in their little boxes, then perhaps we might actually move toward a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Another fact: less than 50% of the eligible population will probably vote. That means, in my view, that neither of the presidential candidates will have a true mandate by winning, no matter how big the margin. But that’s not their fault. It’s squarely on our shoulders.
You heard me. Get out there and fulfill your responsibility.
It’s your country, after all. It doesn’t belong to the politicians.
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CAL. CATHOLIC CHURCH: VOTE DEMOCRAT = GO TO HELL
Then this past Sunday, the message was reinforced and stated even more strongly: Satan is working through former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Oct. 16 bulletin from the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church was stuffed with a flyer written in both English and Spanish that cited five legislative policies — support for abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, human cloning, and embryonic stem cell research — that will doom a politician and their supporters to eternal damnation.
The flyer went on to warn: “It is a mortal sin to vote Democrat … immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell.”
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JOHN PIPER: CHRISTIANS ARE FREE NOT TO VOTE
Of course, we can’t mention any public event without hearing what John Piper has to say about it. (Does the guy ever not have a public opinion?) Piper thinks Christians are under no moral obligation to vote.
“[God’s] children are free! Free from human institutions. As citizens of heaven, we are not bound in every situation to participate in the processes of human government. We are not bound! This is not our homeland! We vote — if we vote — because the Lord of our homeland commissions us to vote, and he does not absolutize this act above all other considerations of Christian witness!”
Here is just another example of someone proving the old charge against Christians — we’re so heavenly-minded that we’re no earthly good.
Just listen to the Platonic crap this guy is laying out here.
First of all, Dr. Piper, the world is our homeland. We are looking for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells — that’s the goal, not heaven. “Thy will be done on earth as in heaven” is the way our Lord taught us to pray. I may in some sense be a citizen of heaven, but heaven is not my ultimate home. This world is my home, I’m not just a-passin’ through to somewhere beyond the blue. God’s design for human beings is to be his image here in this world, now and forever, to represent him by living lives of love, faithfulness, and wise stewardship. That includes participating in our communities and in our world through such acts as voting.
Secondly, I don’t vote and I don’t believe Christians should vote only because “the Lord of our homeland commissions us to vote.” Where in the world does that come from? God gave us new life in Christ so that we might begin to fulfill the vocation with which he blessed us at creation: fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion (Gen. 1:28). The task of the Christian is not to withdraw from this world, even when knowing how to participate is murky or when it is clearly distasteful. And not everything we do is a matter of getting specific instructions from our Commander. He expects us to grow up and to act wisely as mature adults. As I said above, the two-party system need not constrain me on Election Day. I will vote as a follower of Jesus Christ who takes the mission of tikkun olam seriously, and I will vote for a worthy candidate. I will live with the results and carry on.
Thirdly, none of us are “free from human institutions.” This is just more separatist jingoism that serves only to inflate the pride of Christians and make them think they are too good to walk the same ground as their fellow human beings. Please. That’s utterly ridiculous.
In this case, I think “the Lord of our homeland” is giving us a clear directive: pay no attention to the man behind the pulpit.
Be a good neighbor. Plant a seed of righteousness. Vote.
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QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
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PICTURES OF THE WEEK: PITTSBURGH’S SILENT SANCTUARIES
I encourage you to take a look at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s poignant pictorial of former houses of worship in the city that are not in active use at present.
In addition to viewing the strikingly sad yet beautiful pictures, you can learn about each building’s history and current uses. Here are a few sample pictures from the piece.
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LOCAL NEWSPAPER INTERVIEWS CHAPLAIN MIKE
It was my privilege to be interviewed recently by our local county newspaper about my work and my book. The article came out this past week, and I thought the author did a good job putting it together.
I hope you’ll enjoy it and pass it on if you think it might be of encouragement and help to someone.
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TODAY IN MUSIC: FOR ALL THE SAINTS
Though All Saints Day is officially Nov. 1, many churches will celebrate it this Sunday.
As we remember the “great cloud of witnesses” that has gone before us, having completed their journey of faith and now in God’s care awaiting faith’s consummation on the day of resurrection, let us be inspired by one of the greatest hymns in the English language, William W. How’s 1864 composition, “For All the Saints,” set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
It is sung here by the choir and congregation of First Plymouth Congregational Church, Lincoln, Nebraska.