Monthly Archives: December 2013

DON’T BLOW IT, BENTLEY

The best deal in history is being offered to Alabama to expand our Medicaid program. It is best for the needy, helping some 300,000 of Alabama’s lowest income people who have no healthcare coverage. It will prevent some from suffering and even death. It will help the unemployed by creating 30,000 jobs. It will help some Alabama hospitals that may be forced to close their doors due to too much uncompensated care. It will help Alabama’s economy generating over a $28 billion dollar increase in business activity from 2014 to 2020.

We may be asking, “Where’s the catch?” As far as I can determine, there isn’t one. The federal government will pay the total cost of the expansion for the first three years, and 90 percent of the costs thereafter. This is such a good deal that 29 states and Washington, D.C. have chosen to do it, or are in the process. Many of Alabama’s most respected leaders, even many in Bentley’s Republican party, have recommended that we take the deal.

Bentley, the present Republican governor, has been the hang-up. He is refusing to take the money. We may ask why. He has said the numbers in the studies are bogus, and his goal is not to expand Medicaid, but to have fewer people on it, and have more people working.

Those kind of statements play well to the wealthy, and people who are still healthy, working, and making a decent living. However, they do not reflect the real world. Alabama has thousands of people (elderly, poor, handicapped, mothers and children, and unemployed) who, through no fault of their own, need help. This is a golden opportunity, and we need to take it!

One part of a doctor’s oath is a vow to “do no harm.” If Bentley doesn’t accept this proposal, he will do a great deal of harm to the neediest people in Alabama, the unemployed, the business community, and the state in general. Please Bentley, don’t blow it!

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net, http://www.peopleforthechristianway.com

 

Advertisements

WHAT IS ADVENT?

 

            A woman who evidently had a lot to learn was riding on a Milwaukee bus when she noticed the slogan, “Put Christ Back In Christmas” on a sign. “Gee,” she said to a friend, “even the churches are sticking their noses into Christmas now.”

           With all the commercialism of the season of Christmas, and the media’s emphasis on red-nosed reindeer, dancing snowmen, grenches, and Santas, it is easy for the real reason for the season to become lost. That may be why more Christian churches and families are beginning to celebrate Advent.

           Advent comes from the Latin word meaning “to come.” It is a time to prepare for God’s greatest gift, the birth of Jesus Christ. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas Day and is usually observed by using the Advent wreath. The wreath’s circle represents God’s love; the evergreens symbolize the hope of eternal life; the four purple or blue candles represent the four weeks of Advent; the white Christ candle in the center of the wreath is lighted on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. A short period of worship (scripture reading, hymn, and prayer) accompanies the candle lighting each week.

           There are at least three major areas within which Christians can meditate during Advent. First, we can ponder the initial coming of Jesus Christ to earth, the historical event and its revelations. Second, we can think long and hard about Christ’s personal coming to us, forgiving our sins, and giving us new birth. This can be a time of spiritual renewal. Third, we need to meditate on Christ’s coming in power and glory, the consummation of God’s kingdom, and the end of the world.

                    As we observe Advent, let us celebrate God’s gift of Jesus Christ and give thanks!

 

Robert Wilkerson, DMin is the founder of People for the Christian Way, and author of Characters of the Crucifixion, Lost America, and numerous devotionals and articles. He welcomes comments and questions through his email, drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net

FOOTBALL RELIGION

Football has become the religion of the South. It has thousands of followers who eat, sleep, and breathe it. They make pilgrimages to their shrines (Bryant-Denny, Jordan-Hare, Tiger Stadiums). They love their high priests (Sabin, Malzahan, Miles). Once their services (the games) start, they yell, scream, shout, wave their hands, and some even dance. Their emotions range from sadness and depression to the highest expression of joy and delight. Recently, the gods have approved of their zeal by giving them miracles.

Why do Southerners take football so seriously? Since I am not a mass psychoanalyst (if there is such a thing), I can’t say with certainty, but I can take a few guesses. It may be that football has become a part of Southern culture—it is what we do down here. For some, it can serve as a safety valve, a substitute for violence. For many, it is an escape from reality. The Roman games involving gladiators, slaves, and wild animals were funded and promoted by the government to entertain the masses,keep them from serious thought, and from rebelling against their corrupt officials. Even though our government doesn’t promote football, the games have the same effect on many people.

The zealous devotion to football often goes too far. It has produced fringe group radicals who hate each other, get involved in shouting matches, and occasional fights. It has produced an individual who poisoned the trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, and people who have threatened to kill a young field goal kicker at Alabama.

We need to wake up! Football is just a game—no one wins all the time. There have been thousands of games before the ones we are watching, and there will be thousands of games after. Most people quit playing games when they become adults.

There is nothing wrong with football if we keep it in the proper perspective. However, it is a terrible substitute for true religion or good stewardship of life.

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net, http://www.peopleforthechristianway.com