Sunday, September 1, 2019

Before Romans Chapter 1

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Growing up in the 1950’s, there were many temptations around the neighborhood. We learned who it was OK to play with, and who it was not a good idea to play with, and where we could ride our bikes, and how far we could go. Sometimes those limitations were based in common sense, and sometimes they were established “Because I said so,” to quote our parents. 

Behind the houses across the street from me was a small wooded glen with a shallow creek that ran through it. The glen ran up to a steep embankment, so in the heat of the summer, the glen was a cool place to play, or to fish, or just to catch crayfish from the water. And in the winter, the embankment made a great hill to ride our sleds down to the frozen creek. Of course, every ride down we’d be dodging trees, rocks, and maneuvering at the bottom to avoid the creek. 

The glen, and the corner lot where there was always a baseball game going on in the summer were places where all the neighborhood kids played together. But there was an underlying bigotry when it came to being real friends with anyone. Catholics had Catholic friends, Protestants had Protestant friends. It became really pointed when a Jewish family moved into the neighborhood. They had just one daughter. She dutifully rode the school bus with everyone else, but never had a playmate, and never invited anyone to her house. Socially, there was a separation that was never breeched. I didn’t understand it, but then, there was a lot I didn’t understand in the 1950’s. We had been taught in school that the USA was a “melting pot” where all could find a home and cultures would be blended. 

But 30 years later, in the 1980’s, I began to understand some of the limitations. God does not want His children to live in a melting pot where everything was mingled with everything else. He calls for us to be uniquely His among all mankind. It is a provision from God to protect our faith in Him, and guard us from false gods and the doctrines of men. 

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what
fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what
communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

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