I love talk radio. It has been an addiction of mine for several years. Lately, however, I have become aggravated. Left wing, right wing, no wing, there are talk radio stations for every stripe. The aggravation is in this: there is a lot of talking and very little listening.

And on the bizarre news side, a tale of a very polite bank robber. In Winona, MN, and man offers a note to the bank teller saying he is going to rob the bank. He begins the note by stating his name! It is the ultimate “Minnesota Nice” robbery!

The heat of rhetoric only increases when it comes to politics and religion. Cal Thomas often offers a very reasoned voice on the views. He once served with Jerry Falwell in the Moral Majority and is now a columnist. He has shied away from politics and power and for good reason. A commentary I saw in the Washington Times gives some great thoughts on political might and the religious right.

What have we come to in the United States?

Unreal real estate!

When it comes to my own personal search for views on the world situation today, I find only conflict. Quite honestly, I have grown up conservative and Republican, but the more I view the world and talk to different people, even with “evangelical Christianity”, I have hesitations about how some things are being done.

A book review in the Washington Times recently interested me. The problem is when a “conservative” sounds off with doubts, they are castigated pretty quickly. The “good news”, if there can be any in that scenario, is the same thing happens when a liberal sounds off, too!

A professor at Luther Seminary once said, “I want to be known for my center, not my boundaries.” What defines us? Are we known for Christ being our center, or for what divides us politically or theologically? If we are truly Christ centered, there will be issues that will alternately tick off “liberals” and “conservatives”.

The more I want to be an apprentice to Jesus, the more I find issues that do not seem to have clear cut answers.

I miss my Dad’s generation.

When it comes to work around the church, I miss my Dad’s generation.

His generation has a fierce loyalty to place. When a church work day was called, you would show up and actually work. There were always those who came to drink the coffee, eat the donuts, and talk to the ones working, but with my Dad, he came to work.

Not so these days. Call for a work day at church and you get the crickets chirping. No one shows up. They are “unavoidably detained” or some other such thing. Some may show up, but only to pick up something they left at the church last Sunday, then sit and talk to you while you work.

A few years ago my Dad went through triple by-pass heart surgery. At the time their church was in a building project and the men of the church were finishing out the interior. About six to eight weeks after the surgery, my Dad was up on scaffolding holding 16 foot pieces of sheet rock in place. While I do not advise this as a recovery process from heart surgery, I wish I had more men with my Dad’s true “heart” for serving!

What does it mean to be for “the other”?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was tremendously challenged with understanding the Body of Christ and how Christ dwells in the midst of his people. We must be there FOR each other. There is a leaning on each other that must happen. When we will be there for the other, we will find Christ there as well.

Our problem is we live for ourselves. When we get together with others, what do we want to talk about? Our OWN problems! We need to be much WITH Christ then find we are fully there for others.

Church hopping and “internet chats” won’t cut it, either. We must learn to dwell in community with flesh and blood believers! We need each other!

I have grown up in the Pentecostal church. It is a church and movement I dearly love. The missions effort among our denomination is strong and one of the biggest in the world. Pentecostal theology is powerful.

Yet, in our culture today, there is a drawing of political power that is mesmerizing conservative Christians, and even Pentecostals. We see a decline of morals in our culture, but more and more it seems our answer has become to elect “right” people who appoint “right” judges.

The arm of flesh will fail us.

Was it right for John Kerry to go into pulpits of churches in the last presidential campaign? As conservatives, we cried foul. Yet, we allowed Bill Frist to come into conservative pulpits to urge Christian conservative voters to get on the phone to their senators to make sure the conservative judges that were blocked by Democrats would get an up or down vote on the Senate floor. Was that any more “right”?

We complain when liberals “flip flop”. However, when Tom Delay faced indictments in his home state, the Republican House Caucus quickly moved to update their rules. Why? Because the old rule stated when a House Republican member came under indictment, they would need to step down in any leadership role they may have. Can anyone say, “FLIP FLOP”?

It has become more of a political agenda in conservative Christian circles year by year. It is not comfortable for me. There will be a shaking of Christ’s Church in this nation one day. There will be a time when all around us will be shaken and we may face the challenge of NOT being “in the majority” or even liked…or even legal. What then?

What matters is CHRIST. Is he the full treasure of my life? Am I crucified with Christ? Is he living fully in me?

I want to be known by my CENTER, not my peripheral issues. Is Christ my center?