Category Archives: Uncategorized

the Authorities

The Authorities
As teenagers we were told “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.” We saw the “Authorities” feed the military industrial complex with a million draftees. Robert McNamara wrote a memoir after the Vietnam War in which he basically said, “Opps, my bad.” One thing our generation learned in history class is: Just because the “Authorities” tell you to get into the box car and then into the shower doesn’t mean you should. The “Authorities” don’t always tell the truth (ask Nixon). Now we know that the “Authorities” are responsible for the economic meltdown, the mess in the Middle East and Windows 8. Seems the “Authorities” don’t know what the heck they are doing. The “Authorities” in Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, and in the United States are wondering what in the world is going on. From Wiki-Leaks to the NSA leaker (whistle blower/traitor), to Hezbollah and Fidel Castro the “Authorities” have been exposed as incompetent and inept and often evil. The “Authorities” make us take our shoes off at the airport, and take away our bottled water if we want to fly on an overbooked cattle car with wings. The Democratic Party wants to legalize marijuana, gay marriage, and register dead people to vote and the Republican Party came within a hairsbreadth of giving the United States a Mormon President. This is proof that the “Authorities” don’t have a clue. Germans found out what the “Authorities” were doing when the concentration camps were opened. The British are just learning what the “Authorities” did to indigenous people through-out the days of the British Empire involving shameful practices. We were shocked to see what the Authorities allowed to go on in Abu-Ghraib. Demonstrations have erupted across the globe from Egypt to Rio de Janeiro and like something out of a Victor Hugo novel, young people have taken to the barricades. The “Authorities” once said black folk had to sit in the back of the bus and lest they might change that seating arrangement Jim Crow laws made sure they could not vote. Now the “Authorities” sitting on the Supreme Court are tinkering with the moral laws of the universe. Some Conservatives are calling their constituents and for Christians to man the barricades to save humanity. Chicken Little is sure the sky is falling. Take a breath. First of all, a Christian has one Authority: Christ. He is the First and Final Word in our life. Jesus is Lord. When He stood before Pilate, who boasted of “having authority,” Jesus reminded him that Pilate had no power or authority that was not given from above. In other words Rome, Assyria, Egypt were small bit players and side shows in the greater scheme of things. If every State in the Union endorses and approves gay marriage it should not matter to a man or woman of faith. If abortion is legalized in every city and State a woman of faith would not be changed in her convictions one iota. If the law of the land becomes such that every male child is to be smothered to death at birth, God knows how to deliver Jocabed, baby Moses, or an entire nation of slaves. Speak the truth in love and then do right until the stars fall. Paul said, “None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry I received of the Lord Jesus to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.” –Ingimar DeRidder

Forever Stamp

First Class Stamp

Philately (fhi-la-tely-) is the collection of stamps.  The word means “without Tax” or “without payment” since stamps were for pre-paid delivery of mail.  Stamps used to be finely engraved and etched works of art representing heads of state and seats of government.  Sometime in the 1990’s the fine etchings were replaced with such figures as Elvis Presley and Tweetie-bird.  The appearance of the famous yellow cartoon canary should have warned us that the air was bad in the spiritual gold mines of American character.   Now the US Post office is talking of shuttering half its stations and says it can no longer offer next day delivery with First Class postage. The Middle Class is almost gone and First Class is not what it used to be.  America itself may be a stamp which has already been cancelled.

The housing market has collapsed. People’s retirement accounts and investments have withered.  America no longer has a Space Shuttle (we can purchase a seat on a Russian Rocket until we run out of money). Our economy is in shambles.  CBS news ran a story about the thousands of homeless families living in motel rooms on the public dime or living in their cars or trucks.  Millions of people are without work and more and more each day are finding themselves without options.  Our political machinery, like a clock in Martin Scorsese’s movie “Hugo” is being wound by orphans.  It seems like, as in the movie, a whiskey-addicted Uncle (ie. Sam) had one binge too many and thought too little of the nieces and nephews that would inherit the clockworks of broken promises and pyramid schemes.

Before the words “In God we Trust” were etched on our currency they were etched on the consciences and hearts of ordinary citizens who believed that there was a God in Heaven who cared about nations as well as people and who entered into covenants with those who believed and trusted in His Grace and Goodness.

There is talk of a coming “class warfare.”  A class is a collection, group, or configuration containing members seen as having certain attributes or traits in common.  What we used to have in common was respect for each other’s life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.  What most people don’t realize is that reverence is the fountain and basis of respect.  One cannot survive without the other.  Without reverence for God, respect ( as in for property: thou shalt not steal; or for marriage: thou shalt not commit adultery, etc) collapses under the weight of selfishness and self-interest.  The Alchimedean point that gave the American Dream leverage and power to become great was never in itself.  She believed she received her unalienable rights from the transcendent God of the Bible. 

When God goes, anything goes; and when anything goes, everything goes.  When the Bible (as an absolute) is removed there is no fulcrum, there is no footing.  No one can stand on the shifting and ever-moving ice flow of time or upon the gaseous vapors of popular opinion. The Forever Stamp may one day be worthless. The middle class my disappear along with first class service.  We need something more certain.  Alchimedes said “Give me a place to stand, and with a lever I will move the world.”  God’s Word is eternal,  it is truth.  Stand on it and with the lever of faith move your  world.

Memorial Day 2010

    They fell in battle fighting for our right to enjoy freedom of speech or the right to remain silent. They gave their lives so we might be free to worship or free to not worship, to sing in the choir or sleep late on Sunday. They died defending our right to read words printed in a free press or to laugh at cartoons in the funny pages. They died in order that we might live and continue to live in a place called America.
    Mostly they were young. They had sweethearts waiting for them at home. They had dads who were proud of the brave men their sons had become and mothers who still baked them cookies. They had dreams, American dreams. They dreamed of having kids and houses with white picket fences. They dreamed about starting a business or going to college. They were all heroes on their last day and they deserve the gratitude of a grateful nation. They felt the wrath of war for us and gave us peace.
    They died so we could vote for the candidate of our choice in November, or have a backyard barbecue in July. They died so we could root, root, root for the home team, or  just lay on our backs at the beach and watch the clouds sail by. They paid the highest price possible in order for our children to grow up in a country with a Golden torch and door on one end and a Golden Gate on the other. They made it possible for the bulls to run on Wall Street and for women to run for President. They stood against tyranny and tyrants. They stood up for America’s children in the playground and against the bullies of the world as only big brothers and sisters could do. We salute them.
    We salute them with parades and with color guards and with marching bands. But we also salute them with sack races and picnics, and row boats, and cold watermelon, and things as patriotic and American as a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a piece of Grandma’s famous American apple pie.   Ingimar DeRidder

Sin Slick

The problem is deep beneath the surface. A constant stream of black goop is pouring out and fouling everything it touches threatening to ruin untold numbers of lives. The problem is too deep for human hands to fix. It is so deep that there is no natural light and the problem is shrouded in darkness.  And it is cold. The best minds are working on various fixes as those responsible are pointing fingers at each other and trying to shift blame and make excuses.  Even if they can turn off the flow, it could take a generation or a lifetime to clean up the mess. I am not talking about the little problem in the gulf, but the problem of sin deep in the human heart.

The oil slick caused by the human error and audacity of sin has and is polluting the entire world. The first great leak occurred in the garden near three beautiful and pristine rivers. The promise of greatness, riches and power was too great for Adam and Eve and once they open that fountain no cut-off valve has been able to stop the flow.  The problem of sin is too deep, it’s too dark, it’s too cold.  You can try to put a dome over sin but it doesn’t work. You can set out booms and skimmers- laws and levies, but they do not work very well either.  Like BP and TransOcean pointing fingers at each other at a congressional hearing,  Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed her counselor (accountant, attorney, contractor, whatever, fill in the blank). 

The problem of sin is compounded because this problem is deep in the depths of every human heart, so deep no ordinary man to reach it.

For this reason God sent His Son, down, down from the highest place in heaven, he went deep,  deeper to a place called Calvary and gave his life and paid the high costs of sin.  But Calvary is not so much a place outside of Jerusalem (since the problem is not as much physical as spiritual one) the place is in the depths of millions of hearts that must give way to God allowing Him to do the work man cannot do.

We all have a sin problem that only God can fix.  Once the gushing wound is stopped there is still a bit of a mess to deal with.  There is the cleanup, and some costs involved in restitution when your oil has washed up on and hurt some neighbor’s beach.
                                                                                        Ingimar DeRidder