Taking God Out of Schools- from 2013

I have seen so many posts again lately about the school shootings we have had over the past several years…since they took “God” out of the schools. I personally think that this particular line of thinking is pretty sad. Do we have a God, Jesus Christ in the case of Christians, who has gotten so mad and vindictive that the Courts of the United States ruled against having State sponsored prayer in school, that he is letting more little children get shot to death in schools to “get back at us?” What a pitiful point of view this is. I would want NO part of a God who would purposefully use the deaths of children to punish people. I really wish folks would think about what they are saying before they use this line. God IS in schools every day. In the hearts and minds of everyone who believes who take him there…no group of court can stop that. Prayer groups are still allowed in schools. American has become so diverse in nature, and in beliefs that we have to be neutral about what the Government can and cannot condone in schools. Live and let live.

If I Were a Stone

If I were a stone of some type, I guess I would be a gravel. The kind they use in road paving, and to fill in mud holes. Utilitarian.

I could never be a gold nugget.

They are scarce and valuable. They are malleable and shapeable. They are extremely useful in so many things. Crowns of gold. Rings of gold that are used to bind promises of love.

Not a piece of silver.

A silver coin can lay in the ground for hundreds of years and then with a little polishing, can be as shiny as the day it was made. Silver is valuable. Circulateable.

Certainly never a diamond.

Shiny, hard and bright. A rare treasure. A stone to be cut and set in the most precious of objects. Jeweled scepters, and engagement rings for the stars.

No… Just gravel, with a coating of dust. Doing the job and getting it done. Filling the holes, paving the roads. Year after year.

I wouldn’t….I couldn’t, have it any other way.

What Happened to Integrity

Once, I was a kid, a boy, a teenager, a young man.

Once was,… quite some time back. Sixty years ago, then fifty-five years, then fifty. Half a century ago, I was 17.

I was surrounded by people who grew up during the Great Depression, many of whom then went off to World War II to fight against some of the worst evil ever perpetrated against humanity….up until that time. People who then came home and became our parents, our aunts and uncles, our mentors, our neighbors, our preachers and teachers, our coaches, our city councilmen, our mayors, and many, many other roles in our lives. I knew hundreds of these people, perhaps thousands. They were good people, no…many of them were more than good, many of them were great people. While I am sure there were a few who were “bad” I can certainly, personally vouch for the fact that most of those people were good. All of them had one quality which I remember them carrying visibly in their hearts at almost all times for other people to see.

That quality was integrity.

These were people who did things they did not have to do, just because those things were right. Because they knew they were right. Because they knew right from wrong. Because they didn’t blur the lines between right and wrong. Because they did not fool themselves into thinking that they could do wrong and call it right. Because they did not try to bend the facts.They knew nothing about “spin”. To them, right and left meant in which hand you held your pencil.

Because they had seen starvation as children, and unjustified death as young adults, and they had fought against those things, and because they had overcome those things.

These were people who would give you back a quarter in change if you made a mistake and gave it back to them accidentally. These were the people who would give you the extra food they grew in their garden. They were the people who would change your flat tire in order to get you off the road. These were the people who would literally give you the “shirt off of their back”

They were people who would arrive fifteen minutes early for an appointment, or to a meeting, or to church, or to take their kids to school. These were the people who tried to instill all of these values into their children.

Did they fail?

Integrity.

Somewhere, somehow over the last sixty years integrity has, for the most part, been misplaced. It’s been relocated. It’s in the closet. Up on the top shelf, where the old hats are kept. It’s hard to reach. Some people get their flashlights out and find it still. But it’s not easy to come by. It’s not convenient to use. It’s difficult to have integrity. More difficult still to maintain. I know some people who have it. I have some family and friends who have it. I’ve tried my best to have it, perhaps I’ve failed or simply have too high expectations for that old quality.

I saw integrity in action this morning over a dollar that didn’t have to be given to someone, but was because a man had integrity.

It’s a small thing, but a big thing. I knew at that point, I had not failed totally. When I stop and think about it, I feel perhaps I have not failed. Integrity lives on perhaps. I see other examples of it in other places in which I live my life on a daily basis. I am very grateful that I see it. It is something which needs to continue to be passed on.

The people in the generations who were alive when I was a kid, a little boy, a young man….they knew integrity. They held themselves accountable for doing the right thing. They didn’t have to have anyone else, or any other thing besides their conscious to guide them. They were not perfect, but their spines were straighter than many in this day and age, including our leaders in many areas. Perhaps especially those.

I’d like to simply just thank them for what they all meant to me. I’ve fallen short of their example, but I swear I’ve tried….and I will continue to do so until my last breath.