From POW to Ambassador

11755266_873460132744096_7210495943791147530_nFor several years now, veterans have gathered at El Dorado Lake to renew friendships and to reminisce.  The event began 30 years ago as the Kansas Vietnam Veterans and Family Reunion, but the name was changed to the Kansas Veterans and Family Reunion in 2007.

As I thought about this annual event, I remembered a man I’ve never met.  His name is Pete Peterson.

During Viet Nam, Captain Peterson’s plane was shot down during a bombing raid and he spent the next 6 years in the Hanoi Hilton as a POW. He returned to Hanoi on May 9, 1997 on a different mission; he returned as the first post war Ambassador to Viet Nam.

Peterson believed God had saved him for a purpose.  He resolved to use the remainder of his life to be an agent of healing and the power of his office to accomplish his mission.

Among the many citizens of the USA, very few will ever be appointed as an Ambassador; however, there is a higher calling and an office open to all; and, that is to be an Ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20):

We are now Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were appealing direct to you through us. As his personal representatives we say, “Make your peace with God.” ~Phillips

Peterson’s mission was to bring peace and healing to the people of Viet Nam.  Our mission is a message to the world and it is one of hope and reconciliation between man and God.

The Year of the Naked Christmas

xmasI’m growing weary of the societal onslaught designed to strip Christmas of its dignity and clothe it in the seams of secularization.   One of the latest examples is the action of the “Executive Leadership Team” at the Salem VA Medical Center.  These mindless minions have banned Christmas trees, Christmas celebrations, and Christian speech, including the traditional Season’s Greeting of “Merry Christmas.”

Should the traditional Season’s Greeting be restricted to the “Ho, Ho, Ho,” of Santa Claus or should two letters be added to “Ho” and the greeting be: “Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty” as we celebrate the gift of God’s Son?

Is Christmas to be the inflated plastic toys that line the shelves of stores like Home Depot who want your money, but deny the message of Christmas?  Is it to be a way for stores to profit while they reject The Prophet who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life (John 14:6)?

I realize that Thanksgiving is this week and Christmas is still a month away, but I’ve come to loathe the commercialization of Christmas.  When we forget the rich Christian history of this holy day, it becomes a remnant of empty boxes and crumpled wrapping paper.

The hope-filled Spirit of Christmas has transformed lives throughout the history of mankind.  One such incident is the World War I story involving Charles Brewer, a 19-year-old British lieutenant.

On Christmas Eve of 1914, Brewer and other soldiers of the Bedfordshire Regiment of the 2nd Battalion were shivering in a trench when they faintly heard the sound of singing coming from the trenches of the German soldiers.  After a moment, Brewer recognized the song was the familiar Christmas carol, “Silent Night.”  When the Germans were finished singing “Stille Nacht,” Brewer and other soldiers began to cheer, and they sang the English version of the song.

According to history.com, “When dawn broke on Christmas morning, something even more remarkable happened. In sporadic pockets along the 500-mile Western Front, unarmed German and Allied soldiers tentatively emerged from the trenches and cautiously crossed no-man’s-land—the killing fields between the trenches littered with frozen corpses, eviscerated trees and deep craters—to wish each other a Merry Christmas. Political leaders had ignored the call of Pope Benedict XV to cease fighting around Christmas, but soldiers in the trenches decided to stage their own unofficial, spontaneous armistices anyway.”

I think it’s time for the government to end this sterilization program and let our Veterans have their Christmas trees and its time merchants  begin  focusing less on the jingle bells of their cash registers and more on the message of Silent Night.

Not The Beer: The Other One

Samuel-Adams-Poster-Worthy-of-AidWe live in the age of chefs who are masters of culinary delights and connoisseurs of fine ales and home brewed drinks. I find it strange that these epicurean tendencies have tapped the keg of notoriety and made a brand more famous than the man.

Samuel Adams Boston Lager is larger and more famous than its namesake, Samuel Adams, who served in several different capacities that benefited the American revolution and the birthing of our nation:

  • He was a member of the Continental Congress (1774-81)
  • He was a signer of  the Declaration of Independence (1776)
  • He helped draft the Articles of Confederation (1777)
  • He was a delegate to the Massachusetts constitutional convention (1779-80)
  • He served in the Massachusetts senate as president (1781)
  • He was the Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts (1789-94), and served as Governor of Massachusetts (1794- 97).

In the pages of history, you’ll see references to Samuel Adams as the “Firebrand of the Revolution” and “The Father of the American Revolution.” To successfully achieve the revolution, Adams knew that men of character would be an essential.  In November of 1775, He wrote:  “Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters.”

When I think of Adams’ call for men of “unexceptionable characters,” I can’t help but wonder about all the questionable characters we see in government today.

It would seem that Adams had connected the dots, and he believed there was a link between character and the Creator.  He said that, “Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness . . . In the supposed state of nature, all men are equally bound by the laws of nature, or to speak more properly, the laws of the Creator.”

Even though Adams had tried and failed in his efforts to brew beer as a business, I think he would rather be remembered less for his lagers in life, and more for his larger than life role in the early years of our nation.