What’s in Your Backpack?

Here is a preview of Sunday’s Sermon (Aug 1, 2010), Luke 12:13-21.

I’ve taken part in a lot of funerals this year.  It gives you a perspective on priorities in life.

When my daughter and I both graduated (long story), we celebrated by going backpacking on the Appalachian Trail.  I learned a lot about life from that trip.  The first lesson was, “No Turning Back.”

Mr. Jewell Church was the proprietor who agreed to take us from our destination to the drop-off point about thirty miles south of where we left our car.  We put our backpacks in the back of his pickup truck and took a scenic and winding ride through the hills of North Carolina.  After a half-hour or so or enjoying his company, he dropped us off at the bottom of a steep and long hill.  As we were strapping on our backpacks, we watched him quickly drive away.  We looked back at his disappearing tailgate and up at the steep climb ahead and realized–this is for real.  There is no turning back now.

Later I reflected on what we carried in our backpacks.  First the necessary items for survival: a three day’s supply of food, our tents and sleeping bags, a few basic survival utensils, a water purifier and bags to carry water in after we found it and filtered it.  You don’t want to drink in some nasty parasite a three days’ journey from civilization.

Next were the necessary tools for the mission, to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish on the journey.  Both of us brought cameras and journals.  What we wanted to accomplish was the experience, but we also wanted to preserve the memory.  I crafted a walking stick along the way, using my Swiss army knife, and still have it as a souvenir.

The third category was small: whatever luxuries we wanted–as long as we were willing to carry them on our backs.   Not knowing any better, we packed one of my wife’s prize quilts.  We brought it back unharmed, but realized it was heavier and bulkier than we needed.  But my daughter enjoyed it.  We also brought some canned chicken breast fillets.  Again, it was more weight than was necessary, but a pleasant relief from trail mix, granola, and beef jerky.

I have remembered that ever since.  Some possessions are necessary, and some luxuries make life more enjoyable–but we do carry them on our backs.  Life’s journey is easier when we keep it simple.

There is another fact about possessions and wealth, according to Jesus’ parable.  We will have to give account for them.

God will hold us accountable for how we acquired our wealth and possessions, what we sacrificed to get them, who we hurt, helped, or neglected along the way, and what our attachment to them shows about our priorities.

We are more than material creatures.  While we can’t avoid living in this life and dealing with material things, we need to keep an eternal perspective.

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Iwig Still Going

Iwig dairy did meet the deadline and sold enough shares to remain open.

Ari and Elijah will continue to enjoy the delicious chocolate milk when they visit us.

Still Time to Save Iwig

Iwig dairy still need to sell 20 shares today, of an original 300.

More here and here.

More Illogical Nastiness

I still want to remind everyone to visit the Iwig web site and do what they can to save the farm.  In the meantime, I’m still discouraged by the meanness I am seeing in primary race for senate in my state.

One candidate is now accusing the other of wanting to grant lower in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants.

That sounds reasonable until you apply a little logic.

Who are these “illegal immigrants” who want to take advantage of our educational opportunities?

They are graduates of our state’s high schools who were brought here as children by their parents who came here without permission, seeking jobs they were told “Americans won’t do.”

What law did the children break?

They were brought here by their parents.  Did they have a moral obligation to turn back and cross the border alone in the other direction.  The parents broke the law and were aware of the risks and the possible consequences.

The children went to school, did their homework, obeyed the rules they understood, and now want to go to college.  The only home they now know is the state where they graduated from school.  How is it to anyone’s advantage to deny them an education?

Ronald Reagan wouldn’t have a chance if he were running in the current political climate.  After all, he granted amnesty in 1986 to undocumented workers and their families.

The Nasty Campaign

I live in a one-party state; at least when it comes to the race for the senate, and the primary campaign has really gotten nasty.  One of the candidates accused his adversary of wanting to give constitutional rights to terrorists.

The first casualty of politics is logic.

I see two problems with the underlying premise that terrorists should not be given constitutional rights.

1.  Who decides who is a terrorist?

Unless there is some sort of due process or oversight, there are only two options–the civilian branch of government or the military: either the president or the commanders on the ground.  I can’t believe that conservatives, given the fears they have of the president, would want to give him the power to declare someone a president and make him disappear without any kind of public notice.  And it has been proven that in the heat of battle, and lacking a knowledge of the language, the military has made mistakes.

2.  Who gives us our rights?

It is un-American to believe that congress gives us our rights.  According to the Declaration of Independence, we are granted inalienable rights by our creator.  Those who live under a monarch may believe their rights are granted by the king; those who live under organized atheism may believe they are granted by the state; but our heritage tells us human rights are granted by the creator and the role of government is to protect these rights.

But now some politicians want us to believe that there is a class of people who are entitled to no rights at all, neither the rules of war nor the laws of our land.  Once defined by the undefined authority as terrorists, they have no right to a trial or protection from torture.

Whatever happened to the idea that if we let terrorists make us abandon our own ideals, they win?

Your Chance to Save the Farm

Any entrepreneurs out there who like fresh, wholesome, local food?

Iwig family dairy is selling stock to raise money so they can avoid for closure.  They need to sell about 60 shares (at $500.00) per share by July 23rd.  If they do, the bank has agreed to work with them.

We just entertained are grandchildren, and they love the chocolate milk (and the regular too.)  It is as rich as a good chocolate shake.

We enjoy walking a few blocks with Elijah and Ariana to the Alma creamery, where they sell Iwig milk and other dairy products, such as butter and ice cream that makes Ben and Jerry’s taste like some cheap generic brand.

The mega corporate dairies are making huge profits while small operations are struggling because the wholesale prices have fallen through the floor, while the retail prices are still high.

Investing in Iwig would be a risk–more like a charitable contribution with a chance of getting your investment back.  They say you should definitely not buy stock if you can’t afford the risk.

I hope those who can, will take the risk.

Checkout Iwig’s website for more details.

Gamblers Challenge:  Anyone who was planning to go to the casinos this weekend, why not bet on the dairy instead?