Monday, May 14, 2018

MONDAY MORNING REFLECTIONS:MOTHER'S DAY




My mother, Marilyn and Dad


BY STEVE DUNN

 Yesterday much of America observed Mother’s Day.  It is one of the most celebrated holidays in our nation.  People have mixed emotions about this day—depending on whether or not your mother is deceased or you are a woman who suffers from infertility that prevents you from giving birth or a youngster whose Mom is stationed overseas in defense of our country or whether you are a mother whose children no longer call or visit or whether you have a cherished mother that you can connect with.  (I know that was a very long sentence.) For some it is a source of joy and some a source of cynicism (“the holiday created by Hallmark,” someone once told me.)  For others it is a source of pain because of the emptiness of the womb or the loss of a mother who was a treasured friend.

Perhaps you are not familiar with the origins of Mother’s Day.  It was 1876 and the nation still mourned the Civil War dead. While teaching a Memorial Day lesson, Mrs. Anna Reeves Jarvis thought of mothers who had lost their sons. She prayed that one day there could be a "Memorial Day" for mothers. The prayer made a deep impression on one of Mrs. Jarvis eleven children. Young Anna had seen her mother’s efforts to hold the war-split community and church together. As she grew into adulthood, the younger woman kept Mrs. Jarvis dream in her heart. On the day of her mother’s death, Anna was determined to establish Mother’s Day in her honor.[i]

Through local observances that were imitated and repeated, word-of-mouth, some organized campaigns-Anna and her compatriots finally saw the movement spread to 45 states.  In 1914, President officially designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

I, for one, celebrate Mother’s Day.  But as a pastor sensitive to the hearts of many women in my community, I remind people that we are blessed with biological mothers and spiritual mothers.  The former brought us into the world and provided the love and security that began to shape us as persons. The latter have been women who led Sunday School, who served as an extra grandmother, worked with youth groups, mentored and modeled the values of Christ that have helped make us people of Christian character and commitment.

Both mothers are to be honored—and when we have both—we are blessed.  These are the women whose “children” rise up and call them blessed. (Proverbs 31:28)

© 2018  by Stephen L. Dunn.  You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at sdunnpastor@gmail.com 

Dianne, mother of my four children and grandmother to their seven


[i] Source Sermon Central.Com downloaded May 13, 2018

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

MORE FACEBOOK PROPHETS

They're back to disturb our peace and poke holes in our rationalizations - Steve




Saturday, April 28, 2018

DOING NOTHING



BY STEVE DUNN



      Have you ever felt like Calvin?  Our lives have grown so complicated filling with so many things that we “must” be doing; that when we try doing something unnecessary, it is easily spoiled by a sense of guilt.  Or worse, by the recriminations of those who consider our choices frivolous and self-indulgent. Some of us have lives so filled with responsibilities that we feel compelled to take our work with us on vacation. I know that at times I definitely resemble that last comment.

     Solomon once wrote, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” He follows that with a wonderful list of examples.  I often wish he had included “a time to work and a time to goof off.”

      Actually, God Himself did say it.  In the Creation account found in Genesis 1-2, we read: Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” – Genesis 2:1-2 NIV

     Christians and Jews call that seventh day “Sabbath.”  Before we became so compulsive about work (even working at our play), the seventh day was intended for rest.  Mark Buchanan says that the test of activity on Sabbath is “Is it necessary?”  If it is necessary, do it in the first six days.  If it’s not necessary, then enjoy it … and don’t feel guilty about it.

      Tim Hansel in his excellent book When I Relax I Feel Guilty suggests that we need to find a pace on those other six where we can even take “minute vacations” (short breaks) where the purpose is to do the “nothing” that refreshes us.

      The nothing you want to do has a place in your life.  If it does not then maybe you need to start simplifying your life.  I know I’m working on it.

© 2018  by Stephen L. Dunn.  You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at sdunnpastor@gmail.com 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

THE RETURN OF FACEBOOK PROPHETS

Bringing back a feature that people had lots of fun with and often reblogged and sometimes groaned out in honest confession after reading - Steve



 

Monday, April 23, 2018

MONDAY MORNING REFLECTIONS - HONORING BARBARA BUSH


BY STEVE DUNN

Saturday morning in St. Martin's Episcopal Cathedral in Houston, America celebrated the life of Barbara Bush. I was amused by a news reporter's comment that her faith and friends were very important to her, but most important to her was her family.  Mrs. Bush's quote on the subject earlier in her life was in a different order saying the most important things were faith, family and friends.  In a 2013 interview for a C-Span series on First Ladies, she made that clear: "I'm a huge believer in a loving God," she said. "And I don't have a fear of death for my precious George or for myself because I know that there is a great God."  A lady of great Christian dignity, Cleve R. Wootson, Jr. of the Washington Post added. "Even in the 2013 interview she took pains not to sound too sanctimonious. 'That sounds so arrogant," she said, turning away from the interviewer. I'm a big shot. I have a faith in God. I do have a faith in God. And I don't question it. I have no fear of death. And I think that's very comforting."  SOURCE: The Oklahoman -News OK website-April 18th, 2018.Cleve R. Wootson Jr. The Washington Post

Her values informed her ideas and thoughts and words.  Here are some of those definitely worth remembering.

To the Wellesley College graduating class: "At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a children, or a parent."

"Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people -- your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way."

"When you come to a roadblock, take a detour."

"I hate the fact that people think 'compromise' is a dirty word."

 "Don't cry over things that were or things that aren't. Enjoy what you have now to the fullest."

“Bias has to be taught. If you hear your parents downgrading women or people of different backgrounds, why, you are going to do that.”

 "You have to love your children unselfishly. That is hard. But it is the only way.”

"You have two choices in life; you can either like what you do or dislike what you do. I have chosen to like what I do."

"Libraries have always seemed like the richest places in the world to me, and I've done some of my best learning and thinking thanks to them."

"Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others."

"I'm a liberal when it comes to human rights, the poor; so's George Bush. . . . But Liberal and Conservative don't mean much to me anymore. Does that mean we care about people and are interested and want to help? And if that makes you a Liberal, so be it."

" If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather that dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities."



Monday, April 2, 2018

MONDAY MORNING REFLECTIONS - TURNING OVER THE TABLES







BY STEVE DUNN

We live in a time of cultural warfare.  The radical left often seems bent on eradicating Christian witness from the public square and detaching the nation from biblical values.  The “church” is perceived as the enemy of politically correct definition of tolerance.  Many in the church, especially the fundamentalist right, are vehemently attacking those efforts-and at times demonizing those who choose to even be moderates or to voice the idea that there is some element of truth outside the Christian faith.  Both extremes tragically are not serving our nation, simply throwing gasoline on a fire that further damages the well-being of the American people.

I cannot speak for the radical left—nor would even consider doing so.  The contempt for even basic Judaeo-Christian values and the worship of every man’s right to do what their heart desires without accountability for its impact are antithetical to my faith and values.

But I can speak to my fellow Christians.  The political rhetoric, the judgmental intransigence over every issue facing us as a free people defy the words of the Lord through Isaiah—words not spoken to society in general but to the people of God:

Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. "Come now, let us settle the matter," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. – Isaiah 1.16-18

We need to take the plank out of our own eyes.  We need to remember the words and example of Jesus.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor  and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:44-48

We have become very adept at turning over the tables.  But I wonder greatly if tactics that so much resemble the world’s way of doing things don’t deaden us to the vital truth that the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ must guide our opinions and actions towards others—especially those who we perceive or who declare themselves to be enemies.

The New Testament records only ONE incident of Jesus overturning the tables—and countless examples of the love and graciousness and forgiveness of Jesus.

Please think about this---prayerfully, honestly and apolitically.

© 2018  by Stephen L. Dunn.  You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at sdunnpastor@gmail.com