So the elections are over and a few of my friends are beginning to stockpile things like food and water, supplies of seeds and the makings of a small arsenal. They believe there's a coming financial/social/political collapse, which will radically change the way we'll be living in America. You've probably seen that TV show about folks who are doing the same kind of "prepping" for everything from earth-changing solar flares, to super volcanoes to a deadly flu pandemic to hyperinflation. All kinds of mostly-rational people are squirreling away mountains of supplies, which they hope will be enough to see them through whatever the coming apocalypse holds in store. I don't know. Maybe they're right. Maybe it's the prudent thing to do---to prepare for the worst. But I just can't do it. Call me lazy or naive but I simply refuse to embrace the need to learn how to make freeze-dried possum or operate a chemical toilet. If it all goes south, I'll just tag along for the ride. Mostly, thinking about terrible things that might someday happen makes me even more thankful that my hope is not in the things of this world. Christians are called to be people of hope. And by that I don't mean we walk around with cartoon bluebirds singing above our heads like dull-witted Pollyannas. Christian hope has nothing to do with being optimistic. Optimism is a temperament. Christian hope is a theological virtue given to us in our baptism and strengthened through confirmation, confession and the Holy Eucharist. It is a gift from God to His children. Hope is the certainty that God loves us. We can be certain of His love because He's told us He loves us and, most profoundly, by the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Don't get me wrong. The Catholic Church in America is facing profound attacks on the practice of our faith by the current (and now, future) administration. Simply put, we are suing the government to leave us along. Some of our cardinals or bishops or priests may end up in jail rather than comply with what amounts to us as an unconstitutional healthcare mandate. So if anybody should have a kind of bunker mentality right, it should be Catholics.
But we can't give in to it. Since the time of the Apostles, the Church has faced persecution, repression, and all manner of martyrdoms. We can face any kind of disaster, disappointment or suffering if we hold fast to hope in Christ. Read about some of the great martyrs of the Church and their perseverance and JOY while enduring physical torture of the most extreme kinds, imprisonment or starvation. They prayed, they sang, they danced. They praised God. The saints kept their hearts fixed on Christ and they never lost hope. That's what saw them through the world's pains to the glory of heaven. And that's what will see us through whatever economic (or other) disasters we might be facing. We were made for the joy of the Lord and our true happiness is only found in Him. People and man made institutions will always disappoint us. God never disappoints.
The challenge facing Catholics now is to remain engaged with a culture that has, in many ways, won the battle. Issues like abortion, same-sex "marriage", and religious freedom, the core of many social conservative agendas, are claimed as "won" by our political administration. With the President ability to appoint federal judges and Supreme Court justices, we could be in for a long siege. And that's how we need to think about it, too. The barbarians at the gate.... are us! The city's already fallen and it's up to us to re-take it. Barbarians like us are in it for the long haul. We're in it for eternity. And we're in it to win it because our hope is in the Lord. But to claim our victory we have to cling to the Cross of Christ and remain faithful to the Church He founded (Matthew 16:18). We have to pray and to fast (Matthew 17:21) if we are committed to this great work of faith. We can't just withdraw into a bunker and wait it out. We have to engage with the people in our community, our family and our parish and be encouraged by Christ to know and defend our faith and our beliefs. We can't give in to despair or paranoia. We have to fight the good fight of the faith (I Timothy 6:12) and as Churchill said, "Never, never, never give up!" The world hungers for the witness of Christ and for us to be the spiritual leaven of that world (Matthew 13:33). We have to boldly proclaim Christ crucified (I Corinthians 1:23-24) and do so with joy! Our lives must be a witness to the transformational love of Jesus. Like Joshua at Jericho, we must be led by God's holy presence if we trust to reclaim our city, our culture. Joshua's siege was led by the Ark of the Covenant. We are led by the presence of God in the Holy Eucharist and Adoration. He is our only Hope.
"Lord, send out Your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth!" ---Psalm 104:30
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Charlotte McGuffey, Salem Baptist Church
Sunday was a big day at Salem. We had a lot of visitors and hope they will come back and be with us soon. As it was Veterans’ Day, our veterans were recognized and a ribbon pinned on their lapel as their branch’s song was played. It was a very touching ceremony. I appreciate all of our veterans and the freedom we have because of their service. They do not receive enough recognition for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our country. Also, Kimberly and Ryan Dotson sang a special song that went along with the veteran’s emphasis.
Sunday was also the day we set aside to remember and give thanks for the gift of our fellowship hall by George and Geneva Watts in memory of their son, Ronald Watts. Marshall Taylor made a few remarks about the Watts family and their gift to Salem. We had our Thanksgiving lunch after the morning service. The veterans and their wives were further honored by being first through the food line. There was good food and fellowship.
In the monthly business meeting, the church voted for Mike Teague as pastor after serving as interim. This is the home church for Mike and Joyce and they have a lot of family members in the church and community.
Continue to remember our cancer patients and others who are sick. Many are suffering with cold and sinus problems. Reba Scoggins Payne was to have major surgery on Tuesday. We are praying for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.
Happy birthday to Jewel Liner on November 14 and happy 1st birthday to Vivvi Taylor on November 18. Happy anniversary to Frank and Carolyn Lunsford on the 20th.
We were sorry to hear of the passing of Willis Dietz last week following a fall. He is survived by his wife Martha, three daughters Jan, Jill and Joy, and several grandchildren. His funeral was held on Friday of last week. I really enjoyed the article “Pillar of the Com-munity” written by Johnny Pierce in the Georgia Baptist newspaper. It not only gave tribute to Willis and his contribution to the Boynton community, but was a walk down memory lane for those who have lived in the area mentioning the 2 brick churches, the school, the old gym which was replaced by a voting precinct, the locally owned grocery store, the church camp with the first “cement pond” many in the area swam in, the boy scout hut which has been replaced by a volunteer fire station. There is a large group of young people who were in the youth group at Boynton Baptist in the 70’s who still have reunions to celebrate good friends and good memories. Good job, Johnny, and thanks for the memories.
Jack and Barbara Ensley and Mel and Charlotte McGuffey attended the concert/fundraiser by the New Liberty Boys and the Lighthouse Singers at New Liberty Baptist Church. An offering was taken to assist in the mission trip to Nicaragua for John Gass. He will be working with teachers and students there.
If you haven’t yet taken the time to go out and enjoy the Festival of Flags in Ringgold, you have through next weekend to enjoy them. There are 1,019 flags this time each representing a deceased veteran from Catoosa County. It is a very impressive display. I saw lots of folks out Sunday afternoon enjoying the flags and taking pictures. The sight of the flags on both sides of Robin Road flying in the breeze was absolutely breath-taking from the parking lot at Aunt Effie’s and was visible from other vantage points as well. Thanks to all those men, women and students who helped display the flags and we hope they will all go out Monday to take them down and store them for Memorial Day.
Closing thought: Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.
Margie Stringer, North Whitfield Baptist
Bro. Stringer had his 77th birthday on November 7th. They had a dinner for him Sunday and we had a good crowd. Pray for him, he is preaching better than ever but he is really slowing down.
We are approaching the Thanksgiving holiday we should be thankful everyday. I have been so grateful for the beautiful weather.
We need to remember to pray for those up north who have had and are still having some terrible weather but God is in control. We still have a lot to pray for and so much sickness.
We were glad to have Bro. Stingers brother-in-law, Earl, with us in the Sunday service and he stayed for lunch. He is really lost without Jan she passed away in June.
Happy birthday wishes to Billy Clayton on November 22nd.
We are going to have our thanksgiving dinner on Fri-day after thanksgiving so hopefully my grandson Harley can bring his boys and we hope all our kids and grand-kids can come and we can have a good time together. We have lost a lot of holidays with Blake and Harley since they’ve been in the army.
Our drama practice is every Thursday night at 7 p.m. They say they’ve been having real good practices. It is the old original drama, just different people doing the parts. They put a lot of time and prayers into this.
Pray for Norma and Thurman Headrick, Tim Key, Edith Middleton, Hubert Hawkins, James and K.B. Bry-son, Charles and Kathryn Defore, Jake and Laverne Roberson, Ken Hollifield, Nancy Westmoreland, Linda Brinkley.
Emma Jo Davis, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
Thank the Lord for all our Veterans. It was a very special day with all the flags flying through out Ring-gold and our churchyard. John Bryson has been faithful in getting the flags out at church for these special times. We appreciate him for all he does around the church.
Bro. David preached from Deuteronomy 20 about the battles we face as Christians each day. We need to keep our eyes on the Lord and know that He is in control.
We were so very glad to have Buddy and Tina Bates and children, Brittney and Kyle in the services today. Kyle wanted to come to Pleasant Valley, as it was Vet-eran's Day and his grandfather, W.C.Young came here and always took part in the Veterans celebration as long as he lived. We still miss W.C. and Jeanette.
On the second Sunday in December we will have our Christmas Dinner after the morning service and will not have an Evening service that Sunday, which will be December 9th. This is always a busy time of year for most people.
I enjoyed "Down Home Christmas" at the First Bap-tist Church on Friday night and the meal was delicious. Thanks to all that took a part in the music program it was all very good.
We sent condolences to the family of Willis Dietz who passed away last week. Also to the family of Benny Wilson who has been on our prayer list for some time now. He passed away after a battle with cancer. Con-tinue to pray for his wife, Doris.
Others on our prayer list are: Ellie Pitts, Lula Petty, Louise Clark, Thurman and Norma Headrick, Charles Black, Elsie Disheroon, Terry Disheroon, Brooklyn King, Emma Lou Brown, Edna Allen, Jimmy and Joyce Blassingame, Katherine Plemons, Bernice Orr, Johnny Chapman, Kim Owens, Bill Pitts, Doris Pitts, Jan Elliott, Cody Silvey, our missionaries, our military and our country.
Happy Birthday wishes to Bro. David Flood and his brother-in-law, Tim Holcomb on November 17.
Thought for today- the best vitamin for a Christian is B1.