Staying On The King’s Highway

Ever since the first century church, there has been times when church practices and doctrine don’t match what Jesus taught. Even people who start out on the King’s Highway (a reference to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress) start going down the wrong road. 

The Salvation Army Levittown PA Community Center is an example of getting off track.  

After having fallen financially and spiritually early 2014, I entered the Salvation Army Community Center to get food from the food pantry. I was puzzled at the brusque manner in which the woman who ran the pantry treated the customers.  Her demeanor didn’t seem to reflect the image I had of Salvation Army people.   

Despite this experience, shortly thereafter I started worshipping at this center.  The church seemed to be theologically sound, putting the emphasis on scripture. I was going through a rough time. Broken, the church helped me put the pieces back together.   

But in time, I found the behavior of some of the folks there were not Christian, and the one in charge, whom I nicknamed Caspar Milquetoast, didn’t resolve problems when I was victimized when I volunteered in the food pantry.  The employee who ran the food pantry, whom one of my fellow volunteers called Queen Latifah, bullied me and other volunteers. On one occasion, when a young camp counselor spoke briefly on his way to get with the camp kids, the queen got in the kid’s face, saying something like “where you supposed to be; you best get their now!”, making street-like motions. She treated us three volunteers as if we were mannequins. But when it came to a counselor of her race, the youth helper had free run of the pantry; she didn’t inform us that the camp counselor had permission to go into a restricted area. 

Interesting, at a recent meal for the homeless and needy (not the homeless and greedy), one of the guests at my table said the food pantry head, who also hosts the meals, is “racist.” Many of the guests who attend the meals won’t go to the Salvation Army meals. Some poor, desperate souls have to go to the Salvation Army meal, and occasionally have to put up with abuse, condescension.  

On one occasion the queen told me that I wouldn’t listen to her because she is black. I responded “People have a problem with you because you talk down to people!” 

Another Salvation Army official, who is in charge of community relations and development, whom I’ve nicknamed The Countess of Carlisle, used her position to block an offer from someone I met at the center from regional to write for the Salvation Army.  During a conversation I had with another volunteer, where I said that I had a problem with the way the local library constructively aims to keep the homeless out of the library just because they are homeless, the Countess said the library should keep the homeless out of the library, simply because there are people who don’t like them there.  

This is not the historic Salvation Army that went to bat for the down and out and were attacked by those who didn’t agree with them helping drunks but they stood their ground for what is right. In contrast, today’s Salvation Army tends to kowtow to the politically correct! 

Recently, there was another church that hosted the shared meals that I found a big, conspicuous problem with. As my girlfriend and I were waiting to be let into the shared meal, she noticed different flags flying, but not the American flag. I noticed a “Black Lives Matter” sign, and then the homo promo rainbow flag. All lives matter! And scripture is clearly against homosexuality. We are all sinners but the church needs to set people on the right road, and preach what is right! As the preacher said at my father’s memorial service, God comes to us sinners and makes us saints! Evidently, this church is not Biblical. The hosts, however, were very gracious. 

Churches, like the people who visit them, need to act like Jesus, and should listen to their brothers and sisters when they (it is hoped), point out gently their error. I’ve been reading about this in the Recovery Devotional, which not only applies to addicts but to the rest of us, including me! 

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 

We need to remember this, and hold one another accountable to this standard!

To learn more about the homeless, focusing on Bucks County, PA, read: https://www.amazon.com/There-Are-Homeless-Buck-County/dp/172865209X/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=there%20are%20homeless%20in%20bucks%20county&qid=1555953133&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull&fbclid=IwAR2qT8c-IdV5tS_lDCYj3RGXcKvtvKBLfS2dJbPw857-W2fURTjVivU5UW8

Movin On Up?

“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,” -Romans 10:12 Today there are Christians and churches that don’t realize that the civil rights battle has been won! Both conservatives and liberals joined forces with Martin Luther King Jr. in his campaign for equal rights.  

What Dr. King wanted to see is to people to be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. He didn’t want a welfare state, as the liberals did, but to have America live up to the equal protection clause of the constitution. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail was a response to the white clergy down south to explain why he was doing what he was doing.  

Dr. King delineated two other civil rights movements (I’ll paraphrase): 

    • The go along with the status quo. There were blacks down south who were satisfied, as they had some economic success and were, like George Jefferson, moving on up. He wrote that people who subscribe to this movement in the black community are “complacent.” 
  • Black Nationalism. This movement fostered hatred and bitterness. It was part of the hate America crowd. They repudiated Christianity and preached that the white man is an incurable devil.  

https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/Letter_Birmingham_Jail.pdf 

 Dr. King practiced non-violent protest to call attention to the injustice flung on the black community. He just wanted America to live up to our standards.  

When I was in the Navy, stationed in Charleston, S.C. in the early 70s, I witnessed the effects of Dr. King’s campaign. In town I befriended some black guys who were in the Navy a decade or two before I was. They shared anecdotes of racial prejudice, although none terribly severe. One of them asked me “what would your shipmates think if they knew you were hanging around with soul?” I replied, “They wouldn’t care. White and black guys go on liberty together all the time; it’s no big deal.”   “You have a good ship,” the guy responded.  

Of course we didn’t get rid of every spec of prejudice. There was an isolated incident on my ship. When I took my turn at mess cooking – slaving for the cooks – I had a minor disagreement with a black cook in the serving area. Just inside the eating area, some white southerners evidently overheard us. When I passed by them, one of them said “don’t take any s*** off that n*****.”  I snapped “That’s between me and Scotty.” And that was the end of it. 

The problem before was that blacks were considered bad just because they were black. But today, there’s an unwritten code that if you accuse a black person of wrongdoing, even if he’s guilty, you are judging all blacks. Take the shooting of thug Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.  There was an outcry of racism and that the cop shot Big Bad Michael Brown just because he was black. Not true. I can hear Tina Turner singing “What’s truth got to do with it got to do with it.” The Department of Justice concluded that the officer shot Brown in self-defense.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown 

Some churches are Afro-centric. We are all humans, Christians, period. Not Afro-Christians, not Russian Christians, not Korean Christians, not Hispanic Christians, not White Christians. 

Some black Christians not only give former President Barry Obama, aka the Skinny Socialist a pass but champion him. True, Obama’s election showed that our nation is not prejudice, but, as a Christian conservative friend said, “I would have rather seen Alan Keys” elected. 

In his concurrent opinion in Adarand Constructors v. Pena, where a company that submitted the lowest bid on a highway contract was not considered a certified business because it did not meet race-based subcontractor demands, challenged it in the Supreme court and won, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote “In my mind, government-sponsored racial discrimination based on benign prejudice is just as noxious as discrimination inspired by malicious prejudice. [*] In each instance, it is racial discrimination, plain and simple.” https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/515/200#writing-ZS 

Justice Antonin Scalia’s concurrent opinion in Adarand: in my view, government can never have a “compelling interest” in discriminating on the basis of race in order to “make up” for past racial discrimination in the opposite direction. 

Two wrongs don’t make a right. I remember hearing Justice Thomas referring to liberals as “camouflage rednecks.” After the Witch Hunt that attempted to cheat Clarence Thomas out of his U. S. Supreme Court nomination, he said the culprits of this hunt conducted “a high-tech lynching.” 

“What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.” -Romans 3:9