A Gift of Music

Being a Christian isn’t a very popular thing to admit to these days. In fact, in various parts of the world, it’s downright dangerous. And even here in the United States Christians are being persecuted in numerous ways. How ironic that the people who should be known for their love–not just of one another, but of their enemies–are being treated as if we’re the most vicious and hateful people in the world.

I’m not someone who goes around hitting people over the head with my Bible, and I’m able to share my faith verbally only when I feel led to do so. That doesn’t happen very often. It’s not because I’m afraid to share, but because I tend to get really tongue-tied unless the circumstances are right.

Nonetheless, we’re supposed to be salt and light to the world.

As you already know if you’ve been following this blog, I like to walk at the mall. I’ve developed a special relationship with most of my fellow walkers, the custodians, the security folks, and some of the other employees. While I can’t say that we’re friends in the true meaning of the word, we are not just associates or casual acquaintances, either.

I care about them, and I pray for them while I’m walking. But seldom am I walking with anyone, and only twice that I can recall has the subject of church, which is not the same as Christianity, come up. So, even while praying for them, I’m praying for a way to share my faith–in a way that is helpful, honest, but non-pushy.

Some months ago a thought came to mind that I couldn’t shake. An inspiration I believe came from God.

Over the past fifty years, I’ve written over two hundred Christian songs. (Only one secular song, and that’s a love song.) Although I’ve recorded most of them at home on an increasingly better variety of multi-track recorders, sometime within the last year I bought a new recorder and began making better recordings of the songs I consider my best ones.

The inspiration was to make CDs to give to these folks I might never have just the right opportunity to verbally share my faith with. At that stage I’d recorded twenty-five songs on the new recorder. I soon realized people might listen to a dozen songs, but only those who were really interested would listen to twenty-five.

So I asked my wife, Kathleen, to pick out her favorites, and I started making copies–one at a time. I created an insert that explained my background as a lifelong amateur musician and song writer and cut out dozens of copies. You can see a copy of it here. ) Kathleen helped with handwriting basic information on the CDs themselves and I stuffed them, the liners, and business cards (I didn’t want to take a chance people might not realize the CD was of–as well as from–me) into paper CD sleeves.

I never expected to have as much fun as I did giving those out. I started out with “Merry Christmas!” and a brief explanation that these were some of the songs I’d written over the years. People were really surprised–and oh! so grateful and appreciative. Even the Muslim couple I gave one to. (If you’d like to hear these songs, go here and scroll down to the first drop down box.)

I had no idea how God might use my music. I still don’t. Several people have expressed appreciation after listening to their CD, though. I’ll probably never know who’s listened and who hasn’t. Or who has found inspiration in my songs and who has tossed them in the trash or given them to someone else.

But that’s okay. I didn’t do this for praise. I did it because I felt led to do it, and I pray daily that my efforts will have the effect God wants them to have.

What do you think? How would you have reacted to a gift like this if you’d received it from someone you saw frequently at the mall but didn’t really know? Please leave a comment.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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Politically Incorrect: Do You Stand With Me?

My wife said it so perfectly I decided to share it here. “The world is upside down.”

I don’t recall when I first heard the term “political correctness,” but I’m sure I laughed. It struck me as one of the most perfect oxymorons I’d ever heard. The very idea of linking something that is often as improper and incorrect as politics with “correctness” in the same sentence seemed like a perfect contradiction.

Although I still feel that way, I’m not laughing anymore. Not when I can’t quote what the Bible says about marriage and homosexuality without being accused of being homophobic. And when I can’t say that Allah is not the same as the God of Judaism and Christianity and that Muslims will not be in Heaven. Not without being called Islamophobic.

Rather ironic in both cases since “phobic” means “suffering from an irrational fear of something” and I’m not afraid of specific gays or Muslims. I’m only afraid of the ones who’re intolerant of me, and that’s realism, not an irrational fear.

Furthermore, I’ve reread the United States Constitution fairly recently–in its entirety–and you know what? Nowhere does it give American citizens the freedom from being offended. You hear that, Mikey Weinstein?

History has provided some wonderfully apropos quotes. Sir Winston Churchill said, “Some people’s idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.”

George Orwell, whose futuristic novel 1984 spoke of many things that seem to be coming true now, said, “Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” And that freedom is what Americans are all too quickly losing.

I’m not advocating that we say mean things to or about specific people, but when has it become illegal to express our opinions openly about what we consider right and wrong? How ironic that Christians are condemned for that kind of “hateful speech” and yet those who accuse us of being hateful and intolerant are usually the ones being hateful and intolerant.

The Bible teaches us to love our enemies. Christians are to be recognized by their love. I take that seriously.

Hmm. When’s the last time I said or did anything hateful to a Muslim or a gay person? I would dare anyone to scroll back through my years of life and find a single time. My wife and I have made friends with several Muslims and have even had them in our home. Although we shared our faith with them, we were careful not to say anything offensive about Islam.

Fear of being called hateful? Not at all. Demonstrating Christian love. And being good hosts.

We attended a Gay Expo in NYC several years ago to visit a gay friend we might not have gotten to see otherwise.  A very nice fellow who was the roommate of one of my stepdaughters for a number of years. She brought another gay guy friend to my daughter’s wedding. We treated him just as we would any other guest.

Do we approve of the homosexual lifestyle? Of course not. But would we show animosity towards homosexuals?  I should hope not.

Disagreeing with people doesn’t mean hating them. Especially for us as Christian. Jesus had a reason for saying, “Love your enemies.” Not just because of the way Christians would be persecuted in His day, but perhaps looking forward to our own day and age.

Regrettably, some people who call themselves Christians are not recognizable as such. Perhaps their unloving attitude is the hatefulness and intolerance that others find so offensive. But they’re in the minority. And even though we disapprove of them, we don’t hate them, either.

Yet there seems to be no end to the hatred that’s targeted at us. And at anyone who opposes militant liberals. As Mat Staver, the head of the Liberty Council and a well respected Constitutional lawyer points out, “The day has come in America when we are facing overt hostility to Christianity, free speech, and freedom of religion through coordinated assaults by the Obama administration, extremist groups, and corporate bullies.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of political correctness. In a land where freedom of speech is one of our most precious constitutional rights, why should ordinary citizens like us have to walk on eggshells regarding numerous aspects of contemporary life?

What about you? Do you hate people just because they disagree with you? I doubt it. Do you fear the loss of our freedoms because political correctness has run amuck? Do you have the courage to stand up for what’s right–or what you believe is right–without fear of reprisal and without animosity towards those who oppose you? How about leaving a comment?

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger