There is so much talk today about being racist. Many are quick to call others by that name while as many as quick to insist they are not racist and that they are tired of people using the “race card.”
While I have never been called a racist (at least as far as I know) and I would say I was not a racist, I still took a look at what the dictionary said a racist is.
According to Webster’s dictionary a racist is someone who holds “a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”
A more complete definition lists: “Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to physical appearance and can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another. It may also mean prejudice…
Today many still get excited when a rocket is sent into orbit, but I feel the enormous interest and excitement is nothing like it was in the beginning of space exploration. I remember when Alan Shepherd was launched into space in May 1961. His flight only lasted 15 minutes and 22 seconds, but it was the talk at every supper table. Then in February 1962 John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. In my junior high school, classes were cancelled and teachers brought in TV sets so we could watch these historical events.
On July 20, 1969 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon. This Apollo 11 mission was followed by six more successful manned missions to the moon (Apollo 12 to Apollo 17). One Appollo mission, Apollo 13, was scheduled to land on the moon but ended as a lunar fly-by.
President Kennedy had pledged in 1961 that we would place a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Six months before the decade ended, Apollo 11 fulfilled that pledge.
Neil Armstrong’s famous statement as he stepped onto the moon’s surface “one small step for man one giant leap for mankind,” was heard in 33 countries, with an estimated 25 million viewers in the U.S. and millions more listening to radio broadcasts.
Looking back today at the success of the Apollo missions, we fail to properly appreciate the risks these men took. There was a possibility that something could go wrong as they walked on the moon. What if they could not get back to their spaceship? They would be stranded there to either starve to death or commit suicide on the moon.
Recognizing this danger, the White House and NASA officials prepared a speech for President Nixon to give if such a tragedy happened. Nixon called it the “widows-to-be” speech.
If this catastrophe happened, Nixon was to give this speech to the nation. NASA would terminate radio communications with the moon and leave the astronauts alone to die. A clergyman would commend their souls to “the deepest of the deep” as was done in sea burials. This would be followed by the Lord’s Prayer.
William Safire was the writer of the speech and later wrote in his book, “Before the Fall: An Inside View of the Pre-Watergate White House”,
“On June 13, Frank Borman – an astronaut the president liked and whom NASA had assigned to be our liaison – called me to say, ‘You want to be thinking of some alternative posture for the President in the event of mishaps on Apollo XI.’ When I didn’t react promptly, Borman moved off the formal language – ‘like what to do for the widows.'”
Thankfully the mission was a success, and this speech was never given.
Here is a copy of the speech prepared in event of moon disaster.
Unfortunately, when disaster struck in 1986 with the explosion of the Challenger spacecraft, President Reagan had no prepared speech. His speechwriter, Peggy Nooman, quickly wrote a speech and concluded with the words by James Gillespie Magee, an WWII Canadian Air Force fighter pilot. The courageous crew, she said, “slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”
What was considered unimaginable when I was a teenager is now taken for granted. What changes happen in a lifetime.
We have a love affair with super heroes. We dress up like them. Our children carry backpacks with their images. We buy comic books, watch movies and TV shows where their daring adventures thrill and entertain us.
There are probably as many reasons to love super heroes as they are people who love them. But I think some of the reasons might be:
They give us a feeling of safety. In this world with all its dangers it’s nice to imagine there are heroes who can protect and save our world.
We see all about us the struggle of good against evil and we love the idea that good will always overcome evil.
“It is hard to read the headlines each day without a growing sense of alarm. We hear about terrorism, ethnic and religious tensions, wars and conflicts, corrupt governments, massive natural disasters, climate change, nuclear intimidation, and even child trafficking and slavery. Our post 9/11 world seems both frightening and threatening, and the majority of us struggle to understand it, let alone do something about it. The world’s problems just seem too big and too hard for most of us; it’s so much easier to retreat from them…
Today we celebrate the birth of the church. It was on Pentecost that the Lord sent the Holy Spirit on his followers, and they went from uneducated, scared men and women to those who boldly proclaimed the good news.
Passover is followed by Shavuot. This is the Feast of Weeks when the Israelites would bring an offering from the first of the wheat harvest. This Feast of Weeks was seven weeks, or 49 days. The Sabbath following – or the 50th day after Passover – was Shavuot. When the New Testament was written in Greek, the Greek word for fiftieth was used – Pentecost.
In Acts 2 we are told that the followers of Jesus were gathered together spending time in prayer and waiting for the promised Holy Spirit Jesus said He would send.
What a difference the Holy Spirit made.
Earlier Peter had denied Jesus and fled from the courtroom where Jesus was facing his accusers. After the crucifixion of Jesus, we find Peter with the other disciples hiding behind locked doors fearful that they also would be killed.
Then the Holy Spirit came.
Peter now became a bold witness of Jesus and when faced with positive harm, declared “we must obey God rather than man.”
As we celebrated Pentecost today, one statement the minister said really spoke to me.
“Do I really expect the power of the Holy Spirit to work in my life?
As I ponder this question, another one that arises is:
How would my life be different if I really expected – and allowed – the Holy Spirit to work in my life?
Something I will be seriously reflecting on this week.
For many years I was a pastor’s wife.In many ways, itwas a blessing for which I am thankful. What a privilege to be allowed into the lives of families at those veryjoyous times: weddings, baby dedications, graduations, anniversaries. I have enjoyed providing the music for many a bride to walk down the aisle.
It was also an honor to share with families at those sad times: deaths, divorce, sickness. While “enjoy” is probably not the right word to use, I have felt blessed to provide music for the funeral of many a dear saint.
What a joy to share God’s Word in a class with the children or young adults and to see that moment when their eyes light up with understanding, to watch them grow in their walk with the Lord!
But if I am honest, I must admit that there are also times when being a…
We often look at the Beatitudes as a moral code. We see it as an ideal that no one can really live up to. Perhaps it is a goal that we strive to achieve so that God will grant us entrance to heaven some day.
As we head into another presidential campaign, we see politicians come out of the woodwork to announce their run for office in 2024. A big question is asked: “What is your platform? What issues are important to you? What will you do for the American people?”
Jesus came not running for a political office. In fact, He said His kingdom was not of this world. Yet, He had a platform. He had a plan for how His government would function. Sadly, the majority of his listeners did not sign up for his program.
Sadly, even today, we refuse to really take his ideas seriously.
“The work of the kingdom is in fact summed up pretty well in the beatitudes. Blessed are the poor, the mourners, the meek, those hungering for justice, the merciful, the pure-hearted, peacemakers, and the persecuted. These people are not only blessed, but more than that, even in their vulnerability and weakness, they are the ones precisely through whom Jesus intends blessings to flow to others. These sayings are about the type of people through whom Jesus intends to transform the world. When God wants to change the world, he doesn’t launch missiles. Instead, he sends in the meek, the mourners, and the merciful. When God wants to put things to right, he doesn’t scramble combat jets, he calls people to love and do justice. Through those kinds of people, the blessings of God’s reign began to appear in the world.” N.T. Wright
Oh that God would grant us a man/woman who would not mouth religious statements, but really live by God’s platform. Oh, that we would be a nation that would support such a candidate.
It’s almost Mother’s Day – and my memories of Mom keep coming back so strong. She was such a feisty lady. In her 60’s she drove a bright yellow car and slowed down only slightly for stop signs. She loved to show my daughters how to do the Charleston. (Does the younger generation today have any idea what that is?)
She gave me a lot of good advice (some I followed, some I did not). But in honor of her great sense of humor, I thought I would share some things my mother NEVER said to me. (And I’m sure there are things other mothers have NEVER said to their children.)
How on earth can you see the TV sitting so far back?
Just leave all the lights on…it makes the house look more cheery.
Let me smell that blouse…yeah, it’s good for another week.
If Susan’s mother says it’s OK, that’s good enough for me.
If everybody else jumps off the bridge, be sure and join them.
Your curfew is just a general time to shoot for. It’s not like I’m running a prison around here.
Don’t worry about sharing your candy with your sister. After all, it is yours.
You are too tired to do your homework tonight. OK. Just be sure and turn off the TV by bedtime.
Don’t worry about wearing a coat. Spring is only two months away.
I don’t have a Kleenex with me. Just use your sleeve.