Friday, August 20, 2010

David Carson letter

Dear Christi,

Monday evening, the day of your dad’s memorial service, my brother, Bill phoned with this story. I am re-telling it to the best of my ability as I thought you and some others in your family would be interested. I have added some Bible verses and commentary.

The Story:

In 1958 my brother Bill was a senior at New Kensington High School [aka Ken Hi]. He had his life figured out pretty well… He planned to go to Westminster College and become an engineer. Our family was in the United Presbyterian Church and Bill knew kids from his youth group who were going there.

Earlier that year, On College and Career Day, Bill went straight to the classroom marked for Westminster College. Unfortunately, the room was full – all the cool kids from school were squeezed in there! He couldn’t get in the door! There would be opportunity for another session that evening, but what to do in the meantime? As he turned reluctantly from the doorway, he saw the sign for Geneva College and decided to kill some time there until a space opened up in the Westminster Room. Bill hesitated at the door, noting that there was not one student in the room, but the young man [David Carson] representing Geneva College, welcomed him into the room before he had a chance to think about moving on.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. Romans 8:28

It is the momentous events of life that most often cause thoughts of the Providence of God to come to mind. Births, deaths, disasters that occur or are averted, give us pause, but it is important to remember that ordinary, everyday happenings are just as important to God’s eternal plan.

How different things might have been in our family and in David’s if one of the events of this story were changed!

Another person in David’s shoes, seeing that only one boy was coming to his presentation, might have felt that he was wasting his time. David, however, believed that God puts circumstances and people in front of him for a reason. Therefore, he sat down with Bill and talked to him about his beloved Geneva College. He was charming and gracious as well as knowledgeable. Bill changed his mind that evening and decided to go to Geneva College.

At Geneva, Bill was in Bob Tweed’s Bible class. Prof Tweed suggested that Bill check out a Reformed Presbyterian mission work that had begun near his home.

When Bill came home for a weekend visit, he found that our family was not attending church for an unusual reason. In 1958 the road in front of our house was torn out to be replaced by a bigger, better road. It was a true dirt road and so dusty to travel [Back then, we did not have air conditioning in the car, so the windows had to be down on a warm day.] that when we went anywhere, we arrived covered with yellow dirt. We had actually gone to church once, but arriving in that dusty condition was very embarrassing!

Bill suggested trying the new, local Reformed Presbyterian Church which was much closer. I was the only one interested in going with him and I loved it! I loved the friendliness of the people and that everyone was participating in the singing, though I did think the “hymns” were strange. I recognized some tunes, but the words were all different. A seminary student taught my Sabbath School class – it was wonderful! I wanted to go back. No one else, however, was very interested in the family, even though we could get there without getting very dusty.

My dad’s car broke down and we could not go anywhere. I heard my mother say, “ We should have been going to church.” I said that the little church near us had a bus. The next week we all went to church in that bus and we never went back to the United Presbyterian Church. My dad invited his brother Bob and his sister, Mary Jane.

Aunt Mary Jane was faithful in bringing her 3 kids and her second husband’s 5 kids for as long as they lived at home. They joined the church, but as they married they either lost interest or moved away.

Carol, Aunt Mary Jane’s daughter, moved back home with her two young children, Bill and Renee, Bill and Renee grew up in the Reformed Presbyterian Church and both went to Geneva College. Somewhere along the way, Bill and Christy Carson, daughter of David Carson, fell in love and married and presented him with three beautiful, talented grandchildren.

Now, let’s just go back to College and Career Day in 1958 at Ken Hi…

David Carson was only acting as the godly man he was. It probably did not seem like a big deal to him to do his job well. He was a conscientious, responsible Christian man. I never knew him not to be kind, generous, gracious and charming. He had no idea what he was setting in motion that day. He had no idea how many lives would be changed and blessed including his own!

The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Ps. 37:23

As Bill told me this story I was particularly struck by the way God used little, ordinary things to nudge the story along. Everyday we “cast our bread on the water,” when we chose to please the Lord and refrain from evil. Everyday we are blessed, but we don’t often see such far reaching effects in our personal lives, and we often do not, or cannot, look back and see so many connections. This story is not just about your dad, it is really about God using your dad – and the boy who arrived too late to get into the presentation he wanted, and the torn up road, and the broken car, and the new mission work, and etc. to work out His plan to bring His people into the fold and to bless your folks and you and me and many others. Of course, it is about your extraordinary dad, too. Your parents taught me so much, just by being themselves.

Much love,

Jane Imm

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Who is Promoting What?

Who is Promoting What?

It is the morning after the historic National Tea Party that brought thousands of patriotic Americans together in their home cities to protest the excesses of federal government. This movement is just getting organized. It is a grass roots effort in its beginning phase to let government officials know that Americans value freedom and demand that their representatives protect that freedom.

It was very revealing to see how the Tea Party was described and reported on by the media. Most ignored it altogether. Some talked about it in an extremely degrading way. CNN was particularly rude and dismissive, perhaps following Ms Pelosi’s lead.

Fox News was accused of promoting the movement, no doubt because it was the only network to attempt fair coverage or who even saw it as a newsworthy story. Fox did not “promote” the tea party or pay for its expenses. It only covered the story. I suppose, though, that “covering” does provide some publicity. I wondered what sort of ideas the other media might be “promoting” in the same manner?

I just looked up the headlines for our local liberal Pittsburgh Post Gazette newspaper. The first headline to catch my attention was, “Fifth-graders bring Scientific Method to Madness.” By its existance [using liberal media logic as applied to Fox News] this article is promoting insanity in science. Isn't that what Al Gore has done with his global warming? No news here.

New York Times headline: “Suicide Attack Kills at Least 16 in Iraq.” Hmm… I guess this means that the NYT is “promoting” suicide attacks?

USA Today headline: “5400 LA Teaching Jobs Face Ax.” Who would have thought that USA Today would be promoting the axing of teaching jobs?

A blond CNN reporter asked a Tea Party attendee why he was there and when he began to give what seemed to me a very thoughtful answer, she cut him off mid sentence. CNN must be “promoting” incomplete sentences!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Stimulus Tyranny

This week the liberals in both houses of congress passed unprecedented legislation that will enslave the citizens of this country for generations to come. Conservatives are outraged and so should all Americans be, whatever their political affiliation.
There are many reasons for anger contained in this so called, "stimulus package."
There will be so much money confiscated from citizens for generations to come, that it will undoubtedly adversely affect the prosperity of this country. Since we are already in a financial crunch it is hard to imagine any good reason to take more money from the people, especially since the only thing that is likely to be stimulated is the greed and power lust of liberal politicians. It seems that large amounts of cash in the bill are not designated for anything specific, while other large amounts are designated to questionable organizations, such as ACORN.
Last week, after church, I spoke to a British subject who now lives in the USA. I remarked that with the passing of the "stimulus" bill our country was slipping away from us. The next thing would be a health care takeover. It was not until after the vote that Fox News began commenting on the hidden, but dramatic health care changes contained in the bill. I was stunned!
In the post below, which I entered a few days ago, is an email which gives a brief, but disturbing insight into the British health care system. This is where we are headed with our national health care. When liberals tell us that it will provide health care for everyone, it is a lie. Look at the British system. Government provided health care means that no one will get adequate care. Imagine being told that the waiting time for angina is 2 weeks! Another way that care will be rationed is that it will simply be denied. According to the bill, all our medical records will be in a data base, which our PCP will have to consult and then submit to get government permission to treat us. If you are elderly, forget it. You are expected, according to Daschle, to bear your infirmities or die. Only the abortion of the unborn matches this nefarious disregard for human life. Soylent green, anyone?
Adding to the outrage is the fact that no one was permitted to read the final, lengthy bill ahead of time! It was not given to the legislators in time to read. One "explanation" that was given was that "legislators don't read the bills anyway." Is that supposed to be comforting? What it means is that we do not have anyone in congress representing the people. What we have is warm bodies sitting there collecting salaries and perks and power for themselves.
"No taxation without representation," was the slogan of the American Revolution. We need to make it our slogan again today!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Look What is Coming!

The following is not an "essay," but an email from a British subject now living in the USA.
I will be commenting on it in a later post.

Hi Jane,

Here is some information about the UK National Health Service (NHS) which we were discussing at the church lunch.

I've attached results from a search I made in 2006 on the NHS website itself. Just as an example, I chose: Day Patient, Urology, a Postcode (Zip) from a typical small, industrial town in the North of England and a 25 mile radius. First attachment has the completed search form. Second attachment has the delay results in days, these are scary!

This is only half of the story. Delays in getting access to a specialist who will decide on the treatment are almost as long.

The information doesn't seem to be available any longer so I couldn't update the search. However, below is a statement taken from the current version of their website:


"The waiting time for an outpatient appointment is the time from when you are referred by your GP, until the consultant's next free appointment. Your GP will advise you about your appointment date.
The current waiting time for an initial outpatient's appointment should be no longer than 13 weeks. Once at the outpatient clinic, you should be seen within 30 minutes of your appointment time.

The waiting time to actually receive hospital treatment can vary depending on your local PCT. However, by the end of 2008, no patient should have to wait longer than 18 weeks for hospital treatment, after referral by their GP.

If your doctor, or dentist, refers you urgently with suspected cancer, you should be seen by a specialist within two weeks. If you are suffering from chest pains, and angina is suspected, you should be admitted to specialist chest pain clinic within two weeks."

The following was contained in an attachment:

Day outpatient waiting time for urology given in days.

Airsdale - shortest 143 - longest 147

East Lancashire - shortest 64 - longest 65

Bradford Teaching - shortest 68 - longest 111

Lancashire Teaching -shortest 176 -longest 183

Calderdale and Hutterfeld - shortest 42 -longest 133

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Black and White Pride

Recently, I received an email regarding the state of racism in America. The email decried the right of races other than white [especially the black race] who proclaim pride in their race to the point of having special holidays to celebrate it, but consider [denounce] whites as racist if they do exactly the same thing. It pointed out that if blacks can call whites denigrating names, then they should not be offended when whites do likewise. The email exhorted everyone who agreed with these ideas and who was "proud to be white" to forward the letter. The following was my response:

It is an interesting argument which does point out the disparity, but I don't quite agree with it completely. Why should anyone be holding public celebrations for racial pride? No one earned the color of his skin. No one created the color of his skin. Skin color is just a characteristic that God has blessed us each with.

The underlying, but unexpressed position of the email is that to be proud of your own skin color to the degree that you have special days set aside to honor it, implies that your skin color is better than someone else's. This is a form of self exaltation which results in a despising of those who do not share your characteristic color. The email suggests that the way to fight this insulting posture is to compete for bragging rights by out- celebrating self and out- offending others.

I don't think we should, as Christians, fuel the silliness. I am sure that God gave us our skin color for a reason. He made us different in other ways too. It might be useful to ask why God did things the way He did, but answering that sort of question must be done very carefully and lovingly. There are many questions that we cannot give complete answers to. Why do some people get cancer and others do not? Why do some live to be over 100 years old and others die in infancy? Why is grass green? A careful study may give us some hints, but in the end we have to acknowledge that God is Sovereign. He made plans for the world before its foundations were laid. There is a reason for everything, but we will not fully grasp it in this world. We do know that God's reasons are good. He has told us that "all things work together for good for those whom God has called." That is a comforting viewpoint for a believer. Perhaps in Heaven we will know more, but in the meantime we need to concentrate on developing our relationship with the Lord and our service to Him.

"Love one another as I have loved you." is perhaps the admonition we should be concerned with. God looks on the heart. We tend to look at appearances and make foolish judgments. We must examine our hearts and the actions that flow from our hearts. Do we love one another? Jesus died to save us. What are we willing to do for each other?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Politicians gone bad...

Question: Do we have a right to expect our elected public leaders to be morally upright?

Answer: YES!

If there was ever any doubt as to the wide reaching influence that a bad acting politician in high places could have on our culture, especially among the youth, it should have been dispelled during the Clinton scandals. I am not blaming our society’s moral decay entirely on the Clintons – just acknowledging their generous contribution.

Isn’t it hypocritical to point the finger at these guys? Aren’t we all sinners?

As a Calvinist, I believe that we humans are born with a proclivity to embrace wickedness unless we receive grace from God to refuse it.

No believer lives a perfect life. We all sin daily in thought, word and deed and must continually seek forgiveness and work on improving our calling in Christ. Most unbelievers are not totally degenerate. They are usually able to do at least some things that are seemingly in accord with God’s law. They may marry and love their respective spouses and their children. They may be honest in their business practices. They may have good work ethics and generous spirits. These are examples of common grace extending to all in the society, restraining evil, while special grace is extended to believers who embrace Christ as Lord and Savior. The Bible reminds us that “The rain falls on the just and on the unjust.”

Bad societal influences are everywhere, in the media and in our neighborhoods and schools. Sports heroes, Hollywood personalities and movies, give the impression that bad behavior is cool and some wear their jail and failed rehab experiences as a badge of honor. We need to find ways to combat all these bad influences, otherwise we end up being complicit in sustaining them.

What is particularly alarming about elected “politicians gone bad” is that they have high visibility in insuring the general welfare of everyone in their jurisdiction. It is not just that they set a bad example. They have power over their constituents and can directly do them great harm.

Yesterday, there was news of a governor involved in a nasty sex scandal. The news kept reporting that he was about to resign [as he should, but I wonder if he will]. The more that comes out about this man the worse it gets. It is not just another sex scandal. There are stories and allegations of fraud and extortion of all sorts. This man was elected as one who would be a “shining knight” of morality. Now we know that people lived in fear of him destroying their businesses and personal lives.

There may be confusion in some quarters as to just what we mean by “morally upright.” Some think that, “morally upright” means, “sexually uptight.” It means nothing of the sort. “Morally upright,” in the best sense means keeping the law of God which is summarized in the Ten Commandments. No one can do this perfectly. We must demand that our leaders have a good character: that they are trustworthy, honest, and respectful of others. They should have a sense of justice and an understanding of the foundations of our government and how it ought to work. They should never use their power to extort, intimidate or harm the people they are sworn to protect.

When politicians break faith, what should happen?

The politician who commits crimes while in office should resign immediately, and then he should be prosecuted. If this does not happen it sends a message that committing crimes is not a bad thing and may undermine the sense of security felt by the people in his jurisdiction. How can they be sure that they will not be the next victims? If this guy doesn’t hurt them then it may be the next guy who holds this office that will. It also may encourage other elected officials who are tempted by bad behavior to forge ahead. After all, they will probably get away with it as well.

We must all look at the character of those who run for public office as well as their abilities. It is vital that we uphold elected officials in prayer. God has given us a rich, powerful and beautiful country. What God gives, He can also take away. We may well be attacked by an external enemy again, but the threat of internal combustion is just as great.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Trusting God - A learning process

What does it mean to TRUST GOD?

Trusting God is a basic element that must be present in order to be a believer. We trust God for our salvation. As we grow in faith so does our trust in God grow. We see God at work in our lives. We see God keeping His promises to us. We are enabled to trust more and more as we remember His past faithfulness to us.

It seems though that there are always areas or situations when we fail to trust. This seems to be true even for the most mature believers. I am reminded of the woman who said to Jesus, “ Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief.” We could as easily say, “ Lord, I trust you. Help me to trust you fully.”

Learning to believe - to trust our Savior in everything is a life long process.

Each of us has particular vulnerable areas that seem to unsettle us. A person might, for example, trust God to provide for financial needs, but be blown away by the prospect of having to travel alone across the country. Or it could be the other way round. OR it could be [and probably is] something totally different that troubles you.

Have you ever said to God, “Lord, I want this and I am trusting that you are going to give it to me. I would be devastated if you didn’t give it to me. I don’t think I could let you be my God if you didn’t give it. Yes, I would have to fire you, Lord. I don’t want to do that, but there it is.” My guess is that you probably never said anything as audacious as that, but has it ever been an intimation of your attitude? Have you ever said, “ Lord, I can’t go on if you don’t heal my child?” or “Lord, I can’t face the world if I lose my job?”or “ Now Lord, let me just tell You what I want you to do, or “Lord, how can I believe that you love me if you don’t ________[ fill in the blank].

God is good. That is what scripture teaches. He is good, no matter what the circumstances. He is using those very circumstances, which may seem quite harsh or disagreeable to us to bring about good. That is where our trust in Him is put to the test. As believers we know that God has the ability to do whatever he chooses to do. He is all-powerful. Sometimes it is hard for us to believe that God is good and he is working out His good will through all the circumstances of life. We can not in our minds reconcile that a good God, who loves us so much that he died on the cross to give us eternal life would also be willing to let us suffer whatever slings and arrows and disappointments we are currently enduring. Yes, we pray for what we think would be good. We pray for our desires, but in the end, we must pray, “Thy will be done.” Thy will be done, because we trust that God is good and whatever happens will be ultimately good even if it is contrary to our deepest, most heartfelt desires.

As we face our present trouble, what ever it is, we must keep in mind that God is working out plans He made before the foundations of the world were laid. How does that give us any help or comfort?

When my precious cousin, Annabelle passed away a few years ago, I felt along with many others that her passing was particularly hard to bear. My mother had gone to her glory only 18 months before after a long illness. In the final month when she was bedridden, it was Annabelle who volunteered to help with her care. She was not able to follow through with that offer, because she was diagnosed with cancer. It was only about a year before her diagnosis that Annabelle experienced a spiritual renewal. Although her life was cut short, she made a tremendous spiritual impact on those around her and many were brought to Christ. Why didn’t the Lord heal her and let her go on doing His work?

That was my question as I drove home from church one Lord’s Day. I was remembering the good times my mother and I had had with her when they were both well. Annabelle was an artist. One day, when my mother and I were visiting she showed us a painting she had started. It was a painting of a lovely Parisian garden that she had visited on trips to France. It was not finished. I wonder if she was able to finish it? That memory got me to thinking.

I have often heard the metaphor: Life is like a painting. Each brush stroke is a tiny part of that life and when all the brush strokes are made the painting is complete.

The only problem with that metaphor is that it did not seem to fit. Something had gone terribly wrong with the painting. I rewrote [in my head] the story of the artist painting the picture so that it would express my feelings at the time.

Once upon a time a landlord rented a studio to an artist. The artist set up his easel and went to work each morning while the light was right, but he always stopped working at precisely the same time each afternoon. The landlord was fascinated by the artist’s work and enjoyed stopping by just after the artist left to view the progress for the day. After a few days it became apparent that the artist was painting a garden. It was going to be a magnificent painting. Such care to detail! As the days went by the landlord was more and more impressed by the beautiful green garden and could not help wondering, was it a real place - or did it exist only in the mind of the artist? Would the artist sell him the painting? Could he afford the price?

Looking at the garden gave the landlord such a feeling of peace and joy that he would be willing to give nearly anything to be able to continue looking at it.

The painting was nearly finished. Then one terrible day the landlord stopped by the studio expecting to see an exquisite finished masterpiece. What he saw was a ruined mess. The artist had obviously and deliberately taken his brush in hand and swiped a garish red in the middle of the canvas! He had vandalized his own creation! He had in those few strokes destroyed utterly the peace and joy that were the heart and soul of that once magnificent painting!

The landlord left the studio and did not return.

The artist continued to paint and his work brought him fame and fortune.

One day a package arrived for the landlord from the artist with a note. “I thought you would like to have this,” it said. “It is the first painting I did in your studio.

Opening the package the landlord was stunned to see a painting of his own precious daughter! He held the painting for a long time taking in the likeness of his child in all the radiant beauty and charm of her youth! “It is my daughter!" he said. “My own daughter!” So overwhelmed was he at receiving this wonderful treasure that it was not until much later that he noticed that the background of the picture was the peaceful green garden he had once thought ruined, but never did he remember the garish red brush strokes that now formed the lips of his lovely child.

Trust God! He is good... and He knows what He is doing!