Critical mind or Christ-like mind?

Pope Benedict XVI has come under a hail of criticism for the remarks he made in a speech regarding Muslims.  Some have even called for his assassination. Now there is an irony. Rome has begun trying to recover from the negative PR.

The Oklahoma Sooners played against the Oregon Ducks last Saturday. At the end of the game a call was made to award Oregon the ball on an on sides kick. Replay showed it to be wrong but it was not changed. It cost Oklahoma the game. The replay official has been criticized and threatened.

Have you ever had to deal with criticism? We all have. Unless you live under a rock you will have others that oppose you and sometimes become harsh in their comments of disagreement. Even preachers get criticized! Can you believe it! How in the world do we handle criticism when it comes? Here are some thoughts:

1. Truth is sometimes a dividing line. If you are going to stand, realize that truth has a price. Doing the right thing is worth the price. 

2. Let Jesus be your defender. HE is able to take care of you. Trust Him.

3. If you are wrong – apologize. Sometimes criticism is warranted and we need to back up.

4. Make sure you do not develop a critical spirit. We all know people that are against anything and everything. Don’t become one of those.

5. Pray for those who are critical of you.

Even Jesus faced criticism and disapproval. And we know HE was never wrong. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant…”  Being like Jesus is the critical issue.

Pastor Ted Traylor

Funeral parties?

I was intrigued by an article this summer in the New York Times entitled, “It’s My Funeral and I’ll Hire a Marching Band If I Want To.” The bottom line is the funeral business is changing. While the planning for most of the 2 million funerals a year in America still falls to the nation’s 22,000 funeral homes, some people are thinking outside of the traditional setting. The article states Baby Boomers are all about being in control. They want funeral services to be less somber. Cremation is on the rise because having a body present is a “downer.” Funerals are moving away from a church setting with traditional music. And funeral directors are being asked to be more like party planners.

As I read the article, I chuckled and filed it away. However, the recent death of Liz’s stepfather and all the planning we had to do brought the article back to my mind. As I reflected on what we have just been through, I was grateful for a faith family that prayed, brought food, washed dishes and took care of mundane tasks. I was grateful for a caring funeral director that was sensitive to my mother-in-law’s needs and feelings. I was grateful for a family that was united and did not fight over details.

Here are some suggestions to ponder…

1. You will die one day, so have a plan. Write down important items for your family.

2. Have a will in place.

3. When death comes to your friends, reach out to the family.

4. Don’t forget to check on survivors a few weeks after the funeral.

I don’t know what I want on my tombstone. One man wanted this inscription, “I told you I was sick.” I hope I can live so that someone might write FAITHFUL on my marker.

Pastor Ted Traylor

TrueBeliever, not TaliBaptist

On September 9, columnist Leonard Pitts wrote an article printed in the Pensacola News Journal railing against US senatorial candidate, Katherine Harris. He is liberal to the core and he makes a living writing such columns. In his conclusion, however, he portrays the followers of Harris as “Talibaptists.” His comparison is between Christian fundamentalists (talibaptists like me) and the Taliban terrorist group. He accuses us of being similar to Iran displaying crosses rather than crescents.
I’m offended by Leonard Pitts’ writing. If I were like the Taliban, I would consider a suicide bomb attempt on his office. However, Baptists do not blow up buildings; rather we help clean them up after terrorists strike.

Second, we do not preach hatred. Our message is the Gospel of the One who gave His life on a cross.

Third, we do not censor writers. We believe and defend the freedom Leonard Pitts’ enjoys. Baptists fought for that liberty early in the revolutionary days of America.

Finally, just as Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptists called for the separation of church and state, we believe in keeping the state out of the church’s business. God help us return to Jefferson’s call.
You see, I am not a terrorist but a Christian fundamentalist and Bible-believing Baptist. Any confrontational action on my part toward the ignorance demonstrated in Pitts’ writings would never embrace violent behavior, aggression or the bloodshed of innocent people. That is not the Jesus way, nor is it the Baptist way.