This guest post by Ray Hawk addresses some concerns I have as well. JD

In 1563 a book was published called Acts and Monuments. It’s popular title became known as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. This was finally shortened to Book of Martyrs. It is a description of the Catholic Church’s persecution, in that period, of Protestant believers, due to the belief that they were heretics.

Throughout my church experience I often heard prayers which included these words, “Lord, we thank thee that we may assemble free of molestation.” Few, if any ever thought the day would arrive when modern day Christians would forfeit their lives rather than deny Jesus as their Savior. Yet, recently, twenty-one Coptic Christians were lined up and murdered for that very reason. What kind of reaction has there been to these murders?

Some are like believers in Germany in 1938. They knew Jews were being rounded up and shipped out to concentration camps. Their attitude was, “They’re Jews, not Christians.” An almost equal view was held by some in the United States. “It’s in Germany, not here. No business of ours.”

Some see the term, “Coptic Christians” and shrug off the atrocities because “they aren’t members of our church.” Some are sympathetic, but that’s so far away and what can I do? So prayers are offered that strangely seem to be detached. Some even dismiss the apostle’s statement, “because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:9) due to the view of who is a real believer. Others look at it as middle Easterners fighting among themselves.

What can we do? The atheistic Russian government seems to be more interested in protecting those Christians than ours does. Our government, if it isn’t apologizing for the conduct of Islam and attempting to portray it as peaceful and loving, is apologizing for our actions believing they caused these deserved problems. The politics of the day seems to be one of appeasement. “Give the terrorist jobs and they will be happy,” is one liberal’s solution. “Sit down and talk with them and apologize for opposing their terrorism and they will quit,” is another pseudo wise answer. These resolutions seem to be an excellent example of Satan’s deception on those who want to leave a foolish legacy!

Neville Chamberlain returned to England on September 30, 1938 waving an agreement signed by Adolph Hitler. He shouted to the crowd, “Peace in our time.” Their applause only proved how blind they were. We have politicians on both sides of the aisle, as well as believers in Christ, who are wearing Chamberlain’s attitude as eyewear.

Economists, generals, conservative think tanks, and others are warning us of a total collapse which will make the Great Depression pale in comparison. Rather than listen, we continue our mad rush to eat, drink, and be merry. Like Judah and Jerusalem, in the book of Isaiah, we don’t think it will happen. No nation can rush blindly into hell without getting burned! I hope such a course can be averted. If not, then we need to stand up as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:14-18). We need to pray for those who are being murdered as well as their families. We need to pray for our leaders that they will open their eyes and return this nation to honoring Yahweh (1 Timothy 2:1-3; 1 Peter 2:17).

Pray? What good will prayer do? Absolutely nothing if we possess that attitude. The kind needed is, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). Do we believe? If so, pray!

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).

77777Ray Hawk is a retired minister living in Jackson, TN. 

Goodbye, Spock


I find myself sad at the passing of Leonard Nimoy, and I don’t really know why. There are a dozen reasons why this should just be a blip on the Facebook timeline as it rolls by. I never met the man. I don’t know anything about his personal life other than he was married. I can’t say that I kept up with him through paparazzi shots or ever read a book about his life. Was he Christian? Jewish? Atheist? Democrat? Republican? I honestly don’t know.

That is not logical, Captain. ~Spock

True, it’s not logical that I would have any sadness at all about the passing of a Hollywood star. But it’s true. There’s something about certain characters that we are drawn to as individuals. I grew up in a Star Trek home … a committed one. Which means no ‘Next Generation’ viewing here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a complete episode of Next Generation. But I’ve seen the original tv shows and movies multiple times. This past year for Christmas I bought my mother a blu-ray DVD set of all the Star Trek movies. Now, I’m not a fanatic … I never dressed up as any of the characters nor memorized large sections of dialog. I wouldn’t be able to win a Star Trek trivia game. It was just a show I grew up with and never let go.

Change is the essential process of all existence. ~ Spock

Just a few reasons why I especially liked Mr. Spock:

He was unflappable. Nothing … no crisis … no immediate threat … no incoming phaser beam … could make him sweat.

He was indisputable. When he pronounced something as a fact, it sounded like that was the end of the discussion.

He was observant. He was not a robot, he observed, learned, drew conclusions from the humans surrounding him.

He was amused. Whenever Bones would go off on one of his tirades or Kirk would present an impassioned choppy speech, he remained aloof.

He was morally driven. Though he was emotionless, he was able to make moral decisions and be guided by them. All fans remember…

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

But Leonard Nimoy was not actually Spock. He was a man and someone who was loved by people who knew him best. We will all go on in our continuing mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before…. or just go about our daily tasks. But, today there is a bit of sadness at this loss.

Leonard Nimoy’s last tweet: A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP

Yes. Live long and prosper.

Thanks for reading, JD.


Children and Communion

2014-04-01 07.36.33 HDR

One characteristic of Churches of Christ that sometimes surprises people is that we partake of Communion weekly. It is one of the qualities of our heritage that I consider a great blessing.

It is easy, though, to create rules about how to go about things that are a regular part of our religious practices. There are a lot of rules of human origin that become so much a part of our thinking that we can mistake them for Divine. For example in some churches only those wearing a coat and tie can serve communion to the assembly. In many churches of Christ only males are allowed to serve communion. In some churches unbaptized youngsters are allowed to participate in serving the elements, as a means of training. In some churches this is not allowed. So we have a lot of rules such as these that have no origin in Scripture and yet seem to be entrenched in practice. In fact, as far as I know, we have no Biblical instructions on how to go about serving communion when we gather in the assembly. It is the oddest thing to me that passing trays is regarded by some as an activity that suggests leadership and authority.

One of the rules I grew up hearing has to do with children partaking of communion. If you’ve ever watched a mom or dad trying to keep the tray just out of reach of their youngster who has both arms outstretched, it’s quite comical. It is intended that the child learn that this activity is for baptized believers (in Churches of Christ we are adult immersionists and do not practice infant baptism).  Children taking communion is frowned upon because, as I have heard it said, “it won’t do them any good.” I don’t know where we learned that.  Perhaps we are afraid of eating and drinking damnation unto ourselves.

1 Corinthians 11:29 (KJV) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
As I do not think most of us have sunk to the lower levels of the Corinthian church, I feel assured that if we are focused on the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, we can avoid the aforementioned warning.
A friend of mine, Kyle Parker, relates this:

During communion, I believe in the participatory aspect of children. I usually take a bit of the cracker and give a small piece to each of my boys. I try to explain to them why we do this. I talk to them about remembering Jesus. I talk about others around the world who are doing the same thing. Yesterday, the three-year-old took his bit o’ cracker, looked up to the sky and whispered, “I love you Jesus.” Heart. Melted.

I’m not going to dictate to any parent how they are to deal with children at communion time. It seems to me, though, that participation and explanation are far more in keeping with the spirit of the moment than slapping hands and telling them ‘No’ when the body and blood of Christ are being observed. I think my friend Kyle has it right.

Since we do not have a word from the Lord on the matter, follow your conscience and maintain the spirit of the Supper.

Thanks for reading. JD