The Sunday Message

Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is. – Mahatma Gandhi

Gallup polling released a report this past week that told us that President Donald Trump’s approval rating — early in his presidency — is significantly higher among highly religious Americans than among those who are not religious.

Trump had a 51% approval rating from those who considered themselves “highly religious” and 44% approval rating from those who are “moderately” religious. His approval rating from those “not religious” was 32%.

Republicans usually have a higher rating from those who consider themselves religious than those who are not religious, so this report was not that shocking.

Trump’s overall approval rating on Friday from a three-day rolling average was 41%.

You can read the whole report and see how Trump compares to other presidents HERE.

Religion does play a big part in our politics – and in my opinion, that is good and bad.

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion. – Abraham Lincoln

 

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The Sunday Message

Look, winter is past, the rains have come and gone. The flowers are blooming in the fields. It’s time to sing! Listen, the doves have returned.Song of Solomon 2:11-12 (ERV)

My calendar lists Monday, March 20, as this thing called “Spring Equinox.”

Why do we have to be so “technical?” It’s the first day of spring! Whoop, whoop!

I searched Google for “Spring Equinox” and found that “Spring Equinox 2017 in Northern Hemisphere will be at 4:28 AM on Monday, March 20, 2017.” I also found that there are two equinoxes every year – in March and September – when the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of night and day are nearly equal.

Now I feel really bad about not listening to my science teachers.

All I know is that it’s getting warmer outside and I like it.

As a child, I loved in spring when it was warm enough to leave my jacket at home when I rode the bus to school. I loved getting ready for baseball season and to see the trees and grass turn green. I enjoyed looking for mushrooms in the Midwest in late spring and being out in the woods with my dogs. I loved a good spring rain. Spring smelled new. It was like starting over!

Since I am older, spring does not mean those things anymore. There are adult things to think of and worry about.

I hope and pray that you can take some time this spring to stop and enjoy God’s wonderful work. Maybe we can be a child again just for a few minutes!

Oh, Spring! I want to go out and feel you and get inspiration. My old things seem dead. I want fresh contacts, more vital searching. – Emily Carr

 

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The Sunday Message

Find new ways to spread the word of God to every corner of the world. – Pope Francis

I’m not a Catholic, but I really like Pope Francis. I also like that he uses Twitter to communicate! I think religious leaders should use social media to “spread the good news.”

The Pope has about 10.5 million followers on Twitter and when he tweets something there is an almost immediate reaction; like with this tweet:

How often in the Bible the Lord asks us to welcome migrants and foreigners, reminding us that we too are foreigners!

Pope Francis made some news this week and it was not because of what he posted on Twitter. The Pope did an interview with a German newspaper during which as the New York Times reported, “Pope Francis Signals Openness to Ordaining Married Men in Some Cases.”

There’s a shortage of Priests in the church and the Pope believes that the church can “combat a deepening shortage of priests by ordaining married men who are already committed to the church.”

The New York Times reports that the shortage is getting worse:

In the United States, there are now about 2,500 Catholics per priest, compared with 851 per priest in 1972, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which is affiliated with Georgetown University.

They also report that it is worse in places like Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In Brazil, there are roughly 8,000 Catholics per priest.

Since religion is a pretty competitive business, look for other major religions to move into these places to “spread the good news.”

I think that churches need to change with the times – if they can reach more people by ordaining married men who are already committed to the church that is great.

Although this idea does not mean that Pope Francis will soon be announcing that women can become priests, who knows what will happen down the road.

The road from love to hate is easy. The one from hate to love is more difficult, but brings peace. – Pope Francis via Twitter

 

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The Sunday Message

People who are kind will be rewarded for their kindness, but cruel people will be rewarded with trouble.Proverbs 11:17 (ERV)

I happened to catch the story this week about Twitter, the online news and social networking service, locking accounts of users who swear at famous people.

Twitter kind of puts those who break the rule in a “timeout” for 12 hours and only your followers can see your tweets.

In other words, the people who run Twitter are saying to those of us who use it, “Be nice.”

I don’t think I have ever posted something nasty about “famous people” although I do follow several. I like to post stuff that is funny or newsworthy.

So I like Twitter’s idea – we should be nice to each other.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. – Dalai Lama

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The Sunday Message

Every day is a gift from God, no matter how old we are. – Billy Graham

When I was younger it seemed that the hours, days, weeks and months were very long especially when I was looking forward to something (recess, birthday, Christmas, summer vacation, etc.).

Now that I am older, it seems that those same days, weeks, and months fly by. Here we are at the end of another February. This month always seemed to go by quickly (fewer days), but even more quickly since I am older.

A few years ago an “older” friend told me that when his feet hit the floor each morning he thanks God for giving him another day. I try to do that each morning because like Billy Graham said, “Every day is a gift from God…”

The good news (maybe it is good news) is that we are living longer – Reuters recently reported that the average life expectancy will rise in many countries by 2030, breaking through 90 years in some places.

So for those of us who are 45 and older, we have reached the time when we probably have fewer days left than we have lived. It’s like we have a countdown clock ticking toward to the end of life.

How will you use your remaining days? Tick, tick, tick…

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The Sunday Message

All religions must be tolerated… for every man must get to heaven in his own way. – Epictetus

That quote probably bothers a lot of people. I’ve heard people talk for hours about why their religion is the only true one, and to get to heaven, we must follow the one that they follow or face going to hell when we die.

I’m not one of those people who think that my religion is the correct one and that another person’s religion is wrong. Although there are some beliefs in different religions that I find hard to believe, you won’t hear me putting them down. I am curious about what people believe and what goes on in different churches. I like to ask questions.

Recently a Pew Research Center survey found:

On the heels of a contentious election year in which partisan politics increasingly divided Americans, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that when it comes to religion, Americans generally express more positive feelings toward various religious groups today than they did just a few years ago. Asked to rate a variety of groups on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100, U.S. adults give nearly all groups warmer ratings than they did in a June 2014 Pew Research Center survey.

Some of the results included Jews coming in at 67, Catholics at 66, Mainline Protestants 65, Evangelicals 61, Mormons 54, and Muslims at 48.

There’s a lot more information in the survey that you can read HERE.

Since the scale they were rated on was 0-100, it looks like all religions have some work to do.

One’s own religion is after all a matter between oneself and one’s Maker and no one else’s. – Mahatma Gandhi

 

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The Sunday Message

Stand up for what you know is right, and judge all people fairly. Protect the rights of the poor and those who need help.Proverbs 31:9 (ERV)

I like a good peaceful protest. That’s one of the great things about living in the United States – we have the right to protest things in which we don’t agree.

On Saturday I did a quick check of Google News to see what I could find about protests.

  • There were protests for and against Planned Parenthood.
  • There were protests in several locations about immigration enforcement raids.
  • There were anti-Trump protests in several places
  • There were protests at U.S. Senator Steve Daines’ (R-Mont.) offices last week.

I have been on both ends of protests – from attending rallies against or for an issue to working in a local senate field office where protesters showed up. Just as you would imagine there were people at both events who wanted to scream, swear, threaten, and show their anger. That’s not the way to go about it, in my opinion. There were also people who peacefully protested and gave their opinion about the issue.

If you are passionate about an issue – attend a protest and let your elected officials know about it – just be peaceful.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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