Category Archives: Current Events

My Two Pesos Worth

The weather this Christmas Eve morning here in North Texas was about 40 degrees with drizzle and sleet. I’m training for another marathon in February so I was out running my long training run this morning as I always do on Saturday or Sunday each week. Even though it’s cold and rainy, I have to get some milage in or it sets me back too far in my training.

As I was out running in the cold drizzle this morning I ran through a new neighborhood under construction. Passing by two homes under construction, I saw they both were full of workers. As is usual here in Texas, the workers were all Latino.

I know there is racism of all kinds all over the world, but as you would expect, here in Texas we get more than our fair share of bigotry toward “Meskins”. It comes in all varieties, but goes something along the lines of “a bunch of lazy illegal immigrants that do nothing more than mooch off the government”.

As I ran through the neighborhood looking at those men working in the cold drizzle on a day that most people have off, I couldn’t help but get a little angry over the current attitude in our country towards immigration. This example I saw this morning of those men working hard on a day they would have rather been off is only one example.

When you go through these construction areas these immigrant workers are there working early and typically work till dark. They work in the cold, the extreme heat, they work in dangerous jobs, and they work for relatively low pay.

I had read an article in the Seattle Times recently about the fruit orchards in Eastern Washington. Because of the crackdown this past year along the border, there aren’t as many migrant workers coming north to pick fruit. The fruit was literally rotting on the trees.

The growers were offering jobs to local American workers for $10.50 per hour. Because of the recent economic problems in the US, they were getting quite a few Americans showing up to work. However, almost NONE of them would work more than a day. The article stated the biggest thing that made them quit was having to climb ladders with heavy sacks full of fruit on their backs. The growers were having to make due with the few immigrants that made it north and the Americans that were working for a day at a time.

I don’t know how I feel about illegal immigration. After all, it is the official law of our land and I believe we should obey the law. However, there is absolutely no way any honest thinking person can deny we aren’t all benefiting from a workforce willing to work as hard as the Latin American immigrants for the pay they work for.

Here in North Texas we benefit from relatively low cost housing. Food in this country is cheap compared to the rest of the world. Local restaurants can’t keep consistent help, but by turning to immigrant labor to fill these positions we have a good labor force of long-term adult workers instead of attitude-wielding teenagers with very little work ethic. These and more benefits can be contributed directly to low-cost immigrant labor.

Again, illegal immigration is just that, illegal. I agree we can’t allow a free flow across our borders. Any nation that allows that forfeits a certain level of it’s sovereignty.

However, we need to all think about this: the next time some of us might be tempted to complain about those “lazy wetbacks”, consider the hard labor of those construction workers out in the cold rain, or the kitchen workers over the hot grills in our restaurants, or the the farm labor picking our fruit and milking our cows. All for long hours and low wages. These workers by and large are thankful for the work and thankful for the ability to support their families.

I’m not as opinionated as I used to be. As I get older things aren’t as black and white. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and have a lot of regrets. Over time God has allowed me the grace to view people more as individuals with the same basic hopes and dreams I have.

Whatever your opinion may be on illegal immigration, before forming your opinion put yourself in their shoes. How far would you go to have a better life for your family? Would you, as a man, be willing to work hard labor to feed and clothe them? Would you consider leaving where you now live and moving to a strange place to give our kids a chance at good schools and a better opportunity?

I would bet if you honestly examine yourself, you would probably be willing to do some extraordinary things to care for the ones you love. Maybe we should show others the grace they may need for doing what they feel they have to do.

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Filed under Current Events, Immigration, Politics

Rose Colored Glasses

As I was in McDonald’s this morning for our weekly “Daddy-Daughter” breakfast, I noticed on the TV overhead that New York had become the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Since New York is the largest state so far to allow for same sex-marriages, the new law’s supporters were confident this is now a sign that same-sex marriage laws would begin to sweep the nation.

While there are other states that have adopted same-sex marriage laws, their acceptance in those states has been anything other than easy, California’s law, for instance, has been tied up in court since 2008 after a huge backlash from voters. While same-sex marriage supporters may have newly energized hope that these laws will sweep the nation, it remains to be seen whether this will be the case. While I doubt that it will be a tide that sweeps the nation, I do feel America will gradually come to accept same-sex marriage much like much of Europe has.

For quite some time now I’ve disagreed with the myth that America was founded as a Christian nation. I’ve also disagreed that we’re currently a Christian nation, in spite of what the polls may say. America is largely a pagan nation with pagan beliefs.The myth that we are a christian nation grew largely out of the de-segregation of the South and gained notoriety during the years before Ronald Reagan was elected president. This “Take back America for God” myth was popularized by Jerry Falwell and the Moral majority.

Yes, the name “God” was used throughout the original writings of our founding fathers of this country and there is no doubt that most of them believed in a “higher power”. But even a precursory reading of history books make it clear that the founding of this nation had absolutely nothing to do with freedom of religion but had everything to do with freedom to be able to physically prosper as we pleased. This “Christian Nation” myth didn’t come along till later with the fear of godless communism sweeping the world.

I’ve posted this before, but I’ll post it again. For everyone, especially Christians, who still insist on believing that America is or ever was a Christian nation, I strongly, highly, and insistently recommend the book UnChristian America: Living with Faith in a Nation That Was Never Under God by a man named Michael Babcock. Dr. Babcock does an unbelievable job of defending the belief that America was never a Christian nation to begin with by laying the groundwork of the history of this nation’s founding and the beliefs of the leading thinkers influencing the beliefs of the movers and shakers of that time. He follows up by giving a detailed history of the “Religious Right” and how they came to wield political power in the Republican party.

It is my belief this book is a must read for every single American Christian today. If you allow it to, this book will change they way you think about what are the important issues within Christianity in America. Most of all, however, it will give you a newfound understanding that it is only the Gospel that can save and not our political system. Jesus never intended us to fight our battles through politics. We were only to preach the Gospel faithfully and expect persecution along the way.

See, I’ve read the end of the Book of Revelation. This world doesn’t ever get “won for Jesus”. It will get steadily worse and persecution of a small faithful band of believers will increase. Only the Second return of Jesus Christ will ever set this world right. Not our political power, but the right hand of Jesus.

It’s time Christians in America started acting like we believe what the bible has to say about this and got off our political “moral majority” high horses and started simply preaching God’s word simply.

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Filed under Christianity, Current Events, Life, Politics

Honor or Worship?

A couple of weeks ago my family and I went to San Antonio to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. There’s so many things about that city I love. It’s almost like visiting another Latin American country without having to leave the U.S.

For those who have never been to San Antonio, the  San Antonio River runs through the center of San Antonio. Along the river is a walkway. I’m not sure how long it is, but probably several miles long. The Riverwalk is lined with shops, restaurants, and hotels. They all have kind of an old Spanish charm to them with a lot of Spanish, Mexican, and Texas history thrown in. Additionally, San Antonio is home to at least two military bases. There might be more, but I don’t know.

One day while we were walking along the Riverwalk, there rose up a loud uproar with cheering, clapping and hollering. As we look down the Riverwalk, there was a steady stream of uniformed military personnel walking along the Riverwalk. I would guess more than a hundred people. Everybody stopped and stepped aside to let them pass. You could see on their faces they were a little embarrassed with all the fanfare because it was so loud and showy.

I’m guessing all they wanted to do was shop a little and eat at some of the restaurants and enjoy the day, but the clapping, whistling, screaming, and cheering was going on and on preventing them from staying in one place very long.

This got me to thinking a little.

The vast majority of people serving in the Military don’t serve in direct combat roles. There are base guards, doctors, lawyers, MP’s, maintenance personnel, toilet cleaners, cooks, warehouse personnel, etc. All serving in one branch or another of the U.S. military. Without a doubt, however, the people in combat roles wouldn’t be able to do their jobs without these people serving in non-combat roles. It takes everyone in the military working together to make it all work. No job is ultimately less important and all jobs are required to be done properly or someone loses their life.

I’m well aware it takes a certain kind of toughness and guts to put your life on the line for others. Something I probably don’t have. I’m glad others have it so I can enjoy much of the life that I live.

But what if we extend that to all of our society? What about the aerospace engineer working long hours while his family life crumbles so our military personnel can have the best? What about the woman working two jobs to raise her kids after the father left so one of these two kids can grow up and become one of these honored military personnel mentioned above? What about the unseen people who cook our food, wash our cars, maintain our power lines? What about the IT people who work all night long creating internet communication sites, Twitter, Facebook, and cell phone networks so the families of those same military personnel can hear from their loved ones? What about morticians or sewer workers? Aren’t you glad someone does those jobs?

Every role in life we find ourselves in, no matter what our individual job may be, is important. While I’ll acknowledge that getting shot at is a whole lot less appealing than working in the aerospace industry or as a server in a restaurant, they’re all important roles nonetheless.

Though our military personnel deserve our honor and respect, I feel the fanfare displayed that day on the Riverwalk was a little over the top. Though we have no way of knowing, it would suffice to say that some of those same people standing that day clapping and cheering had only moments before treated their waiter or waitress like crap. Maybe only moments before had stepped off a water taxi and failed to tip the driver or had complained to their hotel staff that something wasn’t perfect.

Everyone who works for us and does our “bidding” performing tasks we can’t or won’t do deserves to be treated with respect. Deserves to be thanked. Deserves to be acknowledged. Not in an overly flamboyant way, but a simple thanks, or a larger than normal tip, or even a handshake while looking them in the eye.

Everyone. Not just our military personnel.

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Filed under Current Events, Family, Life