Now I am no world traveler! In fact, I didn't travel outside of Franklin Parish until I was a teenager, so to speak. My view of the culture around me was quite limited.
It was about a 5-mile radius around our house, including the small school, a store, a couple of churches and a lot of cotton fields. That was the scope of my world. But for farm kids like me, that was enough.
I had enough knowledge about what I was supposed to do: work and go to school. But my world broadened as I aged.
When I 'made the basketball team' in junior high, we began to travel to distant schools (some were 30 miles away), I could sense my world was enlarging at a fast pace.
Soon I surveyed Monroe, then Vicksburg, and even Winnsboro. I was on my way to expanding horizons.
I thought everyone was basically like all of us farm kids. But I remember being at a high school basketball tournament when a team came to play - and they were different.
All the players and coaches were dressed alike: red blazers, black pants and white shirts - the Ouachita Parish High School Team! Wow, that was impressive. Now they may have worn overalls, old jeans and blue denim shirts to school (just like us), but when they traveled. they dressed up. I 'grew in perspective' that night.
My world-view continues to expand as I travel, read and view the news. I meet people from all over the world and learn of their culture, religious beliefs, ideas and attitudes about life.
Suddenly, the big world spinning round and round has become a smaller ball and our own communities are now melting pots of world culture.
Often times in the melting pots of the world, some aspects of cultures , much like some cooking ingredients - just don't mix well!.
This seems to be happening today in many spots in the world. It seems instead of folks coming here to 'chase the American dream', they really come to change us to be like them!
In Houston, no longer can a family invoke the blessings or the comforting thoughts of "God bless you" when burying a fallen military hero.
Many around the nation are working diligently to have "in God we trust" rubbed off or banished from our coins and the age-old inscriptions on our courthouses have irritated the ACLU folks for years.
No longer do school children gladly recite the Pledge to the United States flag, nor dare mention the Bible in any way.
The push to champion gay-rights, abortion on demand, assisted suicide and other such issues contrary to Biblical teachings - have suddenly pushed new cultural challenges right into our faces, without compromise or apology.
We see it on every front: in the Middle East (radical dictators, violation of human rights, holy wars declared, etc); in Europe (cultural wars, fundamentalists control, abandonment of the Church); in Latin America (war lords- drug control, mixing Christian and vodoo-type beliefs); and in the USA: - we see the tightening circles of cultural influences.
Even many of our national leaders mock or disregard our Christian heritage. Hollywood continues to champion the cause of "evil over good", it seems. Need we mention the recent trial in FL concerning the infant girl?
Where are we headed? What is the root causes and how can we halt or stop this crunch? It may seem hopeless, but as Believers, we cannot give up the cause!
We must face these challenges with renewed hope and power found in our faith. We must stand firm and lift up the cause for truth, justice and righteousness.
That's why it is so important for all of us to know the enemies lurking behind the issues at hand. We need to understand the battle for the mind is real and all important.
Dr. Tony Maalouf, Dr. Steve Lemke and Dr. Dorman Laird are all "converging here for a 4-day meeting" to help 'peel the onion" and give some insights and challenges to help us better understand the closing circles of our culture.
We cannot afford to sit back and do nothing and let the noose of such anti-Christian philosophy/religion choke us to death.
Hear these men of God at First Baptist Church, August 7-10, at the annual Senior Adult Revival & Mini-Chautuaqua.