From Jim O'Brien
June 01, 2018

Hi Friend,

What We Love

Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw) Island is a stunning Victorian island located between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas. You could say I love Mackinac Island. Walking down the gangplank off the ferry onto the island is almost like stepping back a century in time to a place that has banned motorized vehicles-where transportation is in a carriage pulled by horses or riding a bicycle or walking. Eating underneath the blue sky at the Jockey Club, a restaurant located next to the 9th green outside the Grand Hotel, Donna and I scanned Lake Huron for sail boats in the distance.

Browsing through a gift store Donna found a deck of cards called Polite Pigs, designed to encourage good manners in children, thus a suitable gift for the grandkids. The young sales clerk frowned disapprovingly and, maybe caught up in the religion of "green wash," suggested what she thought was a better gift. It was a deck of cards that taught children to respect the environment. Donna replied, "If children can be taught to respect other people respect for the environment will take care of itself."

It sounds so good to be concerned for the environment that some make it a substitute for God.

Man has a habit of turning things around. When the Pharisees corrupted the fourth commandment, Jesus told them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath:" (Mark 2:27). Then, as now, religious leaders had it backward. They forgot that God created the Sabbath for man's benefit. So was the earth. It's good for us to remember that God made it for us, not the other way around.

The environment ought to be respected-even loved. God gave man power over the earth and it is our responsibility to care for it. But therein is the rub.

C.S. Lewis said that man doesn't make idols out of bad things. He reasoned that people don't adore bank robbers and drug pushers. Man makes idols out of good things. He may value his country, national leaders, or even children to such a degree that it becomes worship.

The German people have long been known for their patriotic love of country. Prior to World War II Adolph Hitler used this trait to expand his power. He convinced otherwise upright people to go to war against peaceful neighbors. Worse he convinced these good people to commit genocide against the Jews. He found the chink in their armor.

They loved something more than God. Their country became an idol and a madman used this weakness to bring chaos to the world.

Churches have done many good things. C.S. Lewis would agree with that. But organized religion has done some terrible things. After Pope Pius XII signed a concordat with Hitler to maintain peace between the Catholic Church and the Nazis he was quoted as saying "I would make a pact with the devil to protect the Church."

Even a church is an idol for some. Sincere people can begin with a message of love for mankind and end with a message of condemnation for any person not associated with their church. Jesus said, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." (Matt 23:15)

However good the organized church may be, or the nation or the family-there is only one God. Our goal is to bring men to Him, not us.

It's the first commandment and there is none other before it.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien