Lessons from the Mask

I hope that the era of the mask debate has ended in the United States. I appreciate people who choose to wear a mask out of concern for the potential spread of disease. I find it helpful when others use the mask as a physical symbol they are ill, and it may be good to continue these practices voluntarily.

However, it is not the government’s role constitutionally to require medical intervention or preventative acts. I hope the government mandates we experienced in 2020-2022 become a short-term learning experience of what not to do. The government can encourage, promote, urge, and provide medical masks. Our tax dollars pay for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the research and recommendations they offer, but it is not in their authority to create requirements.

Should you wear a medical mask in the future? Maybe, but it should be up to you.

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Picture description: A passenger prepares to board a flight departing Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on March 15.
John Moore/Getty Images North America

Good news for America

For those who dare accept it, I have positive news. I recognize that media outlets and religious leaders are stoking fear, distrust, and hidden conspiracies. While that is one lens to see the world, there is another perspective I want to suggest. Good things are happening during our lifetime!

  • Diseases are being cured.
  • Life expectancy is increasing.
  • Roe vs. Wade is on the verge of being overturned.
  • Unemployment is at a record low.
  • Religious liberty has been widely upheld in the courts. 
  • The federal government supported churches and religious institutions with the PPP of 2020 and 2021. 
  • Home values are increasing.
  • Mass gatherings are occurring without required masks. 
  • So far, America is not being drawn into foreign wars. 

Now, there are many things I am concerned about – medical ethics, inflation, the value of the dollar, a porous southern border, affordable housing, health care access, the misuse of executive orders, and federal overreach – to name a few. There is much concern, but there are also reasons to give thanks.

The world is falling apart. The world is advancing. 

You can choose either tune to be the soundtrack of your life. Scripture teaches us that sin and evil are present in this world and increasing in many. Yet, Scripture teaches God’s victory over sin, and He is redeeming the world for His purposes through the church.  

Try positivity – you may like it! 

Gas prices are a big deal

Globalization can be our friend. Globalization can be our enemy.

The current record-high gas prices result from an economy of interdependent nations. There are many benefits to globalization; until a crazy dictator commands an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation. The energy supply from Russia, much of which traveled through Ukraine, is threatened by war and sanctions. Consequently, gas prices in the United States soared.

I have always believed that gas prices significantly impact a consumer economy. Gas prices should climb higher in the coming days, especially with President Biden’s announcement to embargo Russian oil. So, we will see how Americans respond to $5 / gallon gas, another component of inflation. Will our habits change, or will those who can adjust their personal budgets to the increase? Will higher gas prices reduce spending? If it does, how long will an economy based on spending function highly with limited revenue?

The next time you fill up on gas, say a prayer for our nation. The development of record-high gas prices may end up a significant story in our lives.

Tears for Ukraine, Joy on the journey

I pray God gives us the heart to care for the injustice in Ukraine but the joy to live fully in our realm. Being human means, you live with the dual capacity to mourn and rejoice. You may start the hour distraught by the world’s condition but end the same hour with a belly laugh at a joke. Both are needed. Both are good. Lent reminds us we live in tears and laughter, and the Lord is in both.

Deanne DeWitt for State Representative

We are proud to stand with our dear friend Deanne DeWitt as she announces her candidacy for the Tennessee House of Representatives (District 35).

Deanne is the real deal! She loves the Lord and has been an impactful leader at CIL Chuch. Upon her election, Deanne will represent Tennesseans with integrity, hard work, empathy, and Christian values at the state capital. We are so excited for her and our state!

Roe vs Wade ends, the Abortion challenge continues

For those who are anti-abortion, a positive trend in preserving life has developed since 2021. Many states are functionally overriding the Roe vs. Wade decision by legislating drastic abortion obstructions. These state laws make it impossible to get an abortion in such a state. Recent United States Supreme Court decisions have protected these drastic state measures.

As the Supreme Court upholds these laws, Roe vs. Wade becomes ineffective as a federal precedent. The future is this: one could still get an abortion in states like California and New York but could not in states with restrictive laws, like Texas and Louisiana.

So, you probably know something about what I have just written. As I warned on this blog a couple of years ago, the overturn of Roe vs. Wade would not stop abortion in America, and it would only limit it regionally.

So, Christians cannot hide behind Roe vs. Wade as a distant cultural argument. Now, our stand for life is more consequential state by state, community by community, vote by vote, and conversation by conversation.

The US needs fiscal leadership

Congress has been irresponsible with the national debt, and the continual argument about the debt ceiling proves this lunacy. We have to raise the debt ceiling, but we should not be in this situation. There are consequences for reckless spending.

The global economy relies on a robust American economy, but spending beyond our means produces instability that ripples around the globe. Beyond the rest of the world, we have significant financial issues hurting the middle class and those who desire upward mobility through hard work. Can you believe how expensive a college education and a starter house are today?

Sound financial decisions are the basis for long-term sustainability, but there seems no appetite for restraint. Our country must spend less, stabilize the Social Security program, and freeze the expansion of social programs until we can balance the budget.

We need fiscal leadership.

My Perspective on the COVID-19 Vaccine

Many voices have been calling on religious leaders to speak out for the COVID-19 vaccine, so it is time to offer my perspective. I received the Pfizer vaccine early in the year, and I am glad I did. All of my immediate family members have received the COVID-19 vaccination, as well.

You have likely heard statistics about unvaccinated people hospitalized in Tennessee. Stats show that over 90% of hospitalized patients with COVID did not receive the vaccine; approximately 97% of patients on a ventilator did not receive the vaccine. These statistics are staggering in their implications! The data overwhelmingly establishes the widely used vaccines as effective.

Several healthcare workers have told me that these patients are primarily born-again Christians. Oh, how I wish more Christians would accept this opportunity. We are people of life. I see the COVID vaccines as gifts from God to reduce suffering, extend life, and allow more quality time to discover Jesus. Please prayerfully consider receiving the coronavirus vaccine.

During Turbulent Times, this is Still My Father’s World

Holding my breath thinking of soldiers, Americans, and innocent people in Afghanistan. Praying for a resolution to this catastrophe.

Watching the hurricane develop in the Gulf and thinking of homes, dreams, and lives in its path.

“This is my Father’s world
let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.”
– Maltbie Davenport Babcock

Avoid being one of the crazies

We are living during a time when seemingly ordinary people are acting crazy. The pressure of the lingering pandemic makes us feel out of control, so we find simplistic issues and attribute extreme significance to their outcome. This phenomenon happened to me at least once in 2020. I overreacted to a situation, so a friend talked me off the emotional ledge before I went too far.

So let’s all move slow, do not panic, and give grace to each other if we crack.