Saturday, April 16, 2016

Smoky Mountain Reflections #169

            We all know the story of the boy who cried wolf. Signaling emergency when there is not an emergency teaches people to ignore or simply be annoyed by an alarm. There is no such thing as a good time for an emergency, even if an alarm is really for an emergency most alarms are still annoying. By their very nature they are designed to get your attention, make you stop what you are doing, and get you to react appropriately to the emergency.

            Proper use of drills to keep people on task is vital and likewise improper use can be very costly. Regular drills had become common place in the US Navy in the 1930’s so when the alarms went off on December 7th 1941 many thought they were just drills that did not concern them, and it was Sunday morning, sleep-in time. Because of the poor response many lives that could have been saved, had people responded properly, were lost. Since then, all Navy drills have a phrase tacked on the end of the announcement; either “This is a drill” or “This is not a drill” This may seem to be a simple precaution but it keeps people from risking their lives for a ‘drill’ and lets them treat it like the training it is. Proper announcements also get people to react properly when there is a real emergency.

            You may be familiar with the warning sign of a canary in a mine. If the breathable air gets too low the canary falls over and that is the sign to get out of the shaft quickly before the workers fall over due to the lack of breathable air.  Why all this talk of warnings and alarms? Well I find myself puzzled when I look at our world that overtly rejects the simple warnings, alarms, of God’s truth while labeling those who speak this truth in love and kindness in concern for others as homophobic, bigoted, hate mongers.

            There used to be a ‘live and let live’ motto in our society, ‘you have your opinions and convictions and I have mine’, but in the past decade the tone has shifted. What used to be labeled as politically correct (PC) correctly directed what was acceptable to be said in the public square. PC has now taken on an aggressive nature. The PC police are not only regulating acceptable speech they are dictating thought. Freedom of speech and religion has become freedom from offensive speech and freedom of worship (not religion). We might like to retreat into our own little world and escape all this madness but we as Christians are called to be in but not of the world. So brothers and sisters in Christ press on!

            If you saw a building on fire the loving thing to do would be to pull the fire alarm. Now there may be people in that building who will be upset and angry with you for interrupting their sleep. Maybe the smoke turns out to be from a BBQ pit, leading to a false alarm. Or it could be that someone in the building is in the middle of robbing or harming their neighbor and they don’t want to be found out. Even as you tell some of the people to get out for their safety they may growl at you saying; “that fire alarm is really irritating, make it stop and go away”. Still the loving thing to do is to continue to sound the alarm, even if they do not like what you have to say.

            Free speech and freedom of religion are under attack as never before in our society. Freedom of worship is a new phrase used to keep you and your faith out of the public square. They say “Feel free to worship as you wish but do not try to live out your faith in public”. If the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandates that your company help abort unborn children…..shut up and do as you are told or we will fine you out of business and if that does not work we will imprison you for violating the civil rights of others who are offended by your convictions. Does that sound like some fictitious communist novel (?)…. Well, though we are currently free to be faithful, we need to be ready to take it on the chin for our faith if things continue the way they are going.

            Do not despair! There is nothing new under the sun (!). Even as our college campuses post warnings against trigger words (words that are off limits because they cause fear in others); even as the halls of higher education shift from teaching critical thinking to PC indoctrination clubs, God is still in charge. He can and will work for your good according to His purpose….I know because His word says so. Have a blessed spring, boldly living out your faith in your daily life despite the naysayers.

In Christ

Pastor Portier