Making a difference
Editor’s note: Because of a miscommunication, Louise Schrader’s Juniper Hill memory was not published with the submitted memories that ran July 25. It is printed here as a letter to the editor.
Years ago, I had taken my grandchildren to the Juniper Hill pool. There was a group of children who were having a disagreement among themselves. Out of nowhere came this young man, Oakley Watkins. I did not know who he was and asked Larry Montgomery, who was working there, about him.
Oakley talked to the group and persuaded them that a fight was not necessary. I could tell from the whole-hearted attention they gave him that he had their respect.
Throughout my visit to the pool that day, Oakley had the attention of all the young patrons. He was asked many questions by them and took time to answer.
I know Oakley’s father, Mark, his sister and his grandmother.
Oakley is now in his second year of law school.
Oakley did not work at the pool. He was working at the time at the Thorn Hill Education Center.
I wanted to write this letter to let everyone know, as I do, that there is always that one special person who makes a difference in this world.
I wish Oakley Watkins the best in his future and also want to let him know that my grandchildren have never forgotten his act of kindness.
A hellish church experience
How was your childhood church experience? Let me tell you about mine.
I was raised in a hell fire and brimstone Christian religious extremist church called the Church of Christ. The church believed that the use of musical instruments in church worship was a sin worthy of the fires of hell. They believed most everything was a sin for that matter. They claimed to pattern the rules of the church from what they referred to as the New Testament “Early Church.”
Women were to keep quiet in church, other than singing they were not to be heard from. They didn’t believe in eternal security of salvation after accepting Christ as most Baptists do. Staying saved after your baptism depended on your sinless behavior.
Going to church was a very solemn and depressing experience. There was a feeling of heaviness; a sense of foreboding filled the air. Everything was undertaken in an almost robotic, obedient manner.
Communion was taken in complete silence. Serious faced men served unsalted crackers and unsweetened grape juice from tiny glasses.
The faces of the congregation were sad and serious. The message was given by an old preacher with a serious attitude.
I was always so relieved when service was brought to a close with a depressing “song of invitation” to “obey the gospel” in which unsaved sinners were invited to take the long walk down the aisle to meet the old preacher and give their unworthy lives to christ.
By the way, should some suggest that I try a different church as a adult I should tell you that I have. It is my reading of the bible cover to cover through the lens of reason that brought me to my current state of freethinking.
I would suggest cover to cover reason powered bible reading for all christians. And after reading the bible as an adult thru the lens of reason I believe my childhood church got the biblical god right. What they got wrong was in believing that he existed.
We are also part of the problem
The videos show angry faced fellow citizens shouting at buses filled with child migrants, “Not our children, not our problem”, and “We have our own problems and not enough money to take care of our own... Let them fix their own countries”.
Unfortunately, after messing around with the governments of Central and South America for over a 100 years, we share in the blame for the inefficient and often corrupt governments that have made life in those countries so bad that their citizens see emigration as their only hope.
Reform governments did arise to help the people of those countries. When they challenged American corporations that were reaping profits from fruit, coffee, and other natural or mineral resources, the corporations used their influence with our government to overthrow the reformers and put into place politicians that held U.S. corporate interests more highly than the interests of the people of their country. We are also part of the problem because we are the number one market and, therefore, number one financier of the drug gangs that terrorize these people.
We do have a lot of problems here, but we also have enough resources to solve them. This country has been blessed with an incredible amount of wealth. We have already spent $2 trillion on a military adventure in Iraq that left us worse off than when we started it. I did not hear a big outcry about not having enough money for that.
Lastly, because I am perhaps naive, I take Matthew 25:31-46 literally (“...I was a stranger and you invited me in...”), and I really do believe what you do for the least of your brothers and sisters, you do for Him. The real question before this country is: Are we the goats or the sheep mentioned in the verse?