All the craze

I have been utterly amazed at this wild thing called “the Wii craze”.  My sister and I got one for our parents for Christmas.  A number of our friends got one for Christmas and a number of my students got them.  And since then, Connie and I have been looking for one.  Every store we go into there is no Wii to be found.  A sales person at Best Buy said that there are people that come in everyday asking about them.  And since we live no where near a place that would stock a Wii, we are at a disadvantage. Before Christmas I never gave too much thought in getting a Wii.  I knew they were out there, but I haven’t had a gaming system since the Atari 2600 (now that dates me) so I never got captured by this craze.  But after we got my parents one and started playing it…well…I got hooked.  And then we heard about the Wii Fit…that right there convinced my wife.

So we have been looking online and the story has been the same…”Out of stock”…until last night.  Connie’s brother put us onto Gamestop.com and sure enough…a Wii…so I ordered one.  I should have one by next week.  I guess I gave in to “the craze”.

Today is January 20 and our 44th president is being sworn into office.  Today…January 20…we (officially) begin a new era.  It’s an era that worries me because of what I have heard from people in the media and in my own little world here in SW MN.  I have heard comments that suggest people are putting their hope and faith in Obama.  People are putting this president up on a pedestal.  It is almost as if they view him as a savior.  I guess one could say we are in the midst of an “Obama craze”.  But this is one craze I am not going to get caught up in.

I am not here to express my political beliefs.  As a pastor and as a Christian I am going to pray for Preisdent Obama and for the congress and for all elected leaders.  They all have a tough road ahead of them.  But I am not going to put my hope and faith in any person of this world…no matter how popular they are.  Our hope and faith needs to be in one person and one person alone…JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!

I hope and pray that God uses Obama to work for peace.  I hope and pray that God uses Obama to stabilize this country.  And I hope and pray that Obama is faithful and listens to God.  I hope and pray that Obama puts his agenda aside and asks for wisdom from God our Father.  I hope and pray that the people of this county recognize the fact that Obama is a sinful human being (like we all are) and not our savior.  I hope and pray that the people of this country (and the world) recognize Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Only one person can save us.  Only one person can restore peace in this world.  Only one person can lead us in ways of truth and justice.  And it is not our president or any world leader…it’s JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!

When I was a kid, the Atari 2600 was all the craze…but that faded away.  In the 80’s Rubik’s Cube was all the craze…but that faded away as well.  Today, Wii is all the craze…but that too will fade away.  As with anything of this world…all things will eventually fade away (Yes…even the “Obama craze” will fade away), but one person has not and will not fade away…and that is…JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.

-edh-

Question: School referendum

I am seeking your help and advise on something.  I have always struggled with a pastor’s place when it comes to supporting referendums.  Living in a parsonage, I am not directly effected by tax increases since pastor’s do not pay property taxes if they live in a parsonage.  So here’s my question (with an explanation first):

Coming up in November the school district I live in (Jackson County Central — JCC) will be asking the community for an increase in school funding.  The referendum would increase the current per pupil funding from $50 to $1000.  Jackson County Central school district is currently the lowest funded school district around (if not in the state).  Last year the referendum failed.  A number of teachers were cut along with a couple programs (of course sports were barely touched at all, but don’t get me going on that).  Classes sizes are increasing and if this referendum fails again, JCC is in a lot of trouble.  I fear for the future.

Schools are extremely important for any community and I definitely support our schools, but (and here’s my question) how do pastor’s speak about something like this when we don’t have to pay for it.  On Sunday I was given a button that says, "Vote Yes for Education" and asked if they could count on my vote.  I said "Yes" because schools are important but part of me feels…<and I am not sure how to word this…maybe you know>.  Should I wear a button like that and visually support this?  It sounds like a strange question but it is something I struggle internally with.

Then again, maybe this does effect me.  If our school receives less funding then that will mean more teachers will be cut.  Classes sizes will then increase.  Maybe with all of that that will cause people to leave the community for a better school district and that right there would effect the church.  Does that make sense?

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?  I am curious what your experiences have been with things like this.  This is definitely a fine line that needs to be walked.  Thanks for "listening".

-edh-

My morning rant

I am not one who usually gets too excited about political issues and other things the President and the government does, but this story caught my attention.  I read this story in the Star Tribune this morning.  Here is the link to the complete story:  http://www.startribune.com/587/story/603460.html

Basically President Bush wants to make it harder to prosecute people for certain war crimes that violate the Geneva Convention.  Here is a quick excerpt:

"The draft U.S. amendments to the War Crimes Act would narrow the scope of potential criminal prosecutions to 10 specific categories of illegal acts against detainees during a war, including torture, murder, rape and hostage-taking.

Left off the list would be what the Geneva Conventions refer to as "outrages upon [the] personal dignity" of a prisoner and deliberately humiliating acts — such as the forced nakedness, use of dog leashes and wearing of women’s underwear seen at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq — that fall short of torture."

How is forced nakedness, use of dog leashes on people, and forcing someone to wear women’s underwear not torture.  These offenses may not physically hurt the person.  No medical treatment may be necessary after being forced to endure these acts, but what about the emotional and mental abuse and torture.  These acts do not fall short of torture…they ARE torture.  Is the Bush administration really that blind?  Do they not value the dignity of human beings?  Here’s what I think:  The Bush administration is so embarrassed about the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq that they are willing to go to these lengths to justify their actions.  I think it is clear that the orders came from higher up than what we know.  Plain and simple.  Dealing with prosecuting US military personal is something that really hurt The US efforts in Iraq. 

But this proposed new law will not help anything.  It will only give the administration more leverage with prisoners and that is scary.  The International Committee of the Red Cross is even concerned(This is the group that is responsible for making sure the Geneva Convention is enforced).  And we should be concerned as well.  If this law passes, what is to prevent them from eliminating other abuses from the torture list.  This is a slippery slope.

Anyway, that is my thought on the matter (at least for right now).  What do you think about this proposed new law?  Am I over-reacting?  Am I missing something?  I would love to hear (read) your comments.

Thanks for putting up with my rant this morning.  I needed this outlet since I am alone in the church building today.  God bless you in all that you do.  Jesus loves you.  -EDH-