More Than Pepper and Salt

723buffaloI couldn’t resist the urge, so I took a peak.  Even though I may never float it again, I still wanted to check the river levels on the Buffalo National River and reminisce.

Every time I paddled this river, I marveled at her beauty:  The pristine water is framed by towering limestone bluffs that rise above the river below.

The first night out on the river was often the best because supper would be venison.  As soon as I arrived at the campsite, I would put the venison strips in a plastic bag to marinate.    By the time I had set up the tent, collected firewood, and started brewing the coffee, several hours had passed and the meat was thoroughly seasoned.

In the solitude of this magnificent wilderness, I found it easy to see the beauty of God’s creation.  I also found it easy to reflect of His Word.

One evening after I had finished off the venison, I was reading Ephesians 1:7:  “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.”

It occurred to me that being lavished with God’s grace is somewhat like marinating venison.  When you encounter the grace of God and you are covered-up by its life-changing power, you are transformed:

  • You are holy because He is holy—I Peter 1:16
  • You can forgive because you have been forgiven—Colossians 3:13
  • You can be merciful because you have experienced the mercy of God—Luke 6:36
  • You can live a life of love because you’ve been blessed by God’s—Ephesians 5:2

The riches of God’s grace is more than a sprinkle of pepper and a dash of salt.  When God lavishes you with His presence, you are redeemed, renewed, and refreshed, and you are a new creation in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Razorback Rage

The news headline I read Tuesday morning caught me offguard.  I was surprised that it was happening in the the Bible-belt of Arkansas.   The situation I speak of involves the Arkansas Department of Human Services and their decision regarding the activities at state-funded preschools.

The activities of a preschool has become the focus of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.  This organization believes a preschool is  violating the First Amendment. 

How is this being done?  The preschool has religious pictures and Scripture hanging on the walls and even has the nerve to sing religious songs, read the Bible, and pray.  I seriously doubt this activity is detrimental to the health and well-being of these children. 

The action of the Arkansas DHS  is a corruption of the intent of the First Amendment.  If the State of Arkansas issued a mandate that required parents to send their children to a preschool that espoused religion, then the intent of the First Amendment would be violated. 

According to the Pew Foundation, Most legal scholars agree that the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the U.S.Constitution limits at least some government funding of religion, but they disagree sharply on exactly what is permissible.  Participants in the debate fall roughly into two camps: On the one side are “separationists,”who broadly interpret the Establishment Clause – which prohibits all laws “respecting an establishment of religion” – to require that government refrain from aiding or promoting religion or religious institutions. Strict separationists therefore claim that most, or even all, government funding of religion is unconstitutional. On the other side are those who interpret the Establishment Clause much more narrowly, contending that government funding of religion is constitutional as long as the funding is neutral, meaning it does not favor religion over non-religion or favor a particular faith over other faiths.

No one is forcing parents to send their children to this preschool and the state funding is not favoring religion over nonreligion.  So what is the problem?  What is the real motivation and agenda of the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State?

The philosophical bent of this group and the intent of President Adams are an interesting contrast.  It was Adams who said:  Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

I think it is time to say, enough is enough, and I hope this is enough to keep you thinking.