Aaron Copeland music quote

I am not a musician and I have no formal musical training but I do enjoy and value a variety of music. Martin Luther and I agree, “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.”

A few years ago USA Today included Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in a list of “10 great places to be enthralled by heavenly music.” The people that filled the church sanctuary last Sunday night would agree with that claim. The 75 voice Chancel Choir accompanied by a 35 piece orchestra and 27 members of the Georgia Boy Choir offered the 25th Anniversary presentation of The Many Moods of Christmas, a spectacular program of Christmas music.

Tonight my wife and I plan to join friends to “celebrate the season through song” at a Coffee House Concert. I am looking forward to enjoying the coffee and desserts along with friends and members of the community where I live.

Then tomorrow night my wife and I will attend “Jesus and Aretha: The King and Queen of Soul” at Inman Park United Methodist Church. Publicity for this event cautions that we should not “expect the usual Christmas pageant. It’s more meaningful that Hallmark-y, more rock-and-roll than church-y, and lots of fun!” I can hardly wait.

Then on Saturday night we plan to attend the Georgia Boy Choir concert featuring all five levels of boys, a full orchestra, and lots of audience participation including Atlanta’s largest “Twelve Days of Christmas Sing-along.” And next Monday we hope to be present at the Red Clay Theater for Joe Gransden’s Big Band Holiday Show with special guest, Francine Reed.

These events complement what I hear everywhere during this season of the year and affirms Edgar Winter’s assertion that “music is very spiritual, it has the power to bring people together.” Music gives wings to the soul and teaches it to fly. And especially Christmas music.

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The sacred songs of the season are especially meaningful but who doesn’t love to hear and sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman. The peppy tunes of Here Comes Santa Claus and Jingle Bells bring a smile to your face and you can’t keep from patting your feet. And you cannot help but become a bit nostalgic when you hear the smooth sounds of White Christmas.

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Friedrich Nietzsche said “without music, life would be a mistake.” I agree but I must admit that when I hear “Rocking around the Christmas tree, have a happy holiday” on the radio or in a shopping mall for what seems like the 10,000th time, I cringe and wonder if life is really any better because of that song.

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The legendary musician, Ray Charles, said **Music is like breathing. I don’t get tired of breathing and I don’t get tired of music.” Neither do I, Ray. And especially Christmas music.

Jamie Jenkins

Last Sunday I saw a friend that I had not seen for a long time. He was an energetic young adult with a pleasant and positive personality Then he had an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. The accident changed his body but it has not changed his upbeat attitude. He is a loving husband and father who has a deep faith in God.

This amazing young man told me that he had recently been on a couple of work missions. One of them was to the Gulf Coast to help people whose homes had been flooded. One house had to have the lower four feet of drywall removed due to water damage. He was excited that he had been able to replace the sheetrock because he could work at that level from his wheelchair.

Another project in his own community afforded him the opportunity to build a wheelchair ramp for an older resident. He smiled as he told me he had never built a ramp before so he gave it a test run to be sure it could accommodate the older woman who would use it.

CARING PEOPLE CHANGE THE WORLD

I recently met a man who has established an ongoing mission in one of the poor communities in Nicaragua. While building much needed medical clinics in this rural area, he realized that many of the local young people were intelligent and industrious but could not afford to go to school. So he has created a fund to provide for the education of promising young people of that region with the expectation that their lives will be changed and they will in turn give themselves to improve the lives of others.

John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” He believed it was our responsibility to help change the world.

I am currently involved with Imagine No Malaria, an effort to end death and suffering from malaria. If you are thinking that malaria was eliminated in this country over 60 years ago, you are right. But this year over 650,000 people in Africa will die from malaria, more than Ebola and AIDs combined. Two-thirds of these deaths are children under the age of five and pregnant women. Although malaria is fully preventable and fully treatable, a child dies every 60 seconds from this killer disease.

The good news is we know how to stop death and suffering from malaria. In fact the death rate has been cut almost in half in the past 7 years. Imagine No Malaria provides insecticide treated bed nets, educates people on symptoms of the disease, the proper use of bed nets, and other preventive measures. In addition, early diagnostic kits as well as affordable and accessible medication and treatment in over 300 hospitals and clinics have made a very positive difference. And all of that can be provided for only $10. Only $10 to save a life!

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You can help save lives by texting MALARIA NGC to 27722 (be sure to leave a space before NGC) and $10 will be donated to Imagine No Malaria. Or you can send a check for any amount to Imagine No Malaria, North Georgia Conference, 4511 Jones Bridge Circle, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. Learn more about Imagine No Malaria at http://www.imaginenomalaria.org.

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There are many ways for caring people to change the world. Imagine No Malaria is one effort that I have chosen to support. I invite you to join me in the fight against malaria. If this doesn’t strike a chord with you, I encourage you to find ways that you have passion for and give yourself to it.

Together we can do more than imagine no malaria. And we can do more than imagine a better world. Together we can make it a reality.

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed that’s all who ever have.”

Jamie Jenkins

 

Change 4

I don’t like change.

I am comfortable starting my day pretty much the same way all the time, or at least most of the time. An occasional break from routine is good but before long I want things to get back to normal.

I know that change is sometimes necessary but most of the time I resist it. Once you find a way to do something, why change it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Why mess with something that works? That is the way I am wired, but I realize that my way of doing things is not always the best or only way.

John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” I understand that. It’s just that I am comfortable with most things the way they are. At the same time I understand that progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

 

Change

Although I don’t like change, I am willing, with some reluctance, to alter my routine and try something new. After a while I can even embrace change but it is not easy.

I mentioned in one of my previous writings that I recently acquired an electric vehicle (EV). It is quite different from an internal combustion engine (ICE) automobile in many ways. I was a bit skeptical at first but after almost three months and 2400 miles (with no gasoline) I have been converted. I have come to really enjoy the quiet and comfortable ride. And contrary to what many people think, it is a real car with plenty “get-up-and-go.” I have also contributed to better air quality because it has no emissions.

For several years I have paid my bills electronically through the bank’s online bill pay service. No stamps or envelopes to buy. No checkbook. Beginning in 2015 my church pledge will be charged to my credit card.

In 1925 Mayor Walter A. Sims leased an abandoned auto racetrack and committed the city of Atlanta to develop it into an airfield. The 287 acres of land was renamed Candler Field after its former owner’s family, including Coca-Cola magnate Asa Candler. That was the first step that led to Atlanta becoming a major transportation hub. Today it is home to the world’s busiest airport.

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I am grateful for the ability to hop on an airplane in Atlanta and go just about anywhere in the world. How else could I visit my grandchildren, and their parents, on the other side of the globe.

My son reminds me that I once said we would never have a cell phone. Why did we need to be able to talk on the phone from anywhere at anytime. Later I succumbed to the advanced technology and purchased my first “bag phone” that was about the size of a small briefcase. And today I won’t leave home without my “smart phone” in my pocket.

Although most of my retail purchases are transacted in a brick and mortar business, I have done my share of shopping online. In fact, with the last four cars purchased I went to the automobile dealer’s showroom only to sign paperwork and pick up the vehicle. Research and negotiation was all done online or by phone.

Email, text messaging and webcams which are a regular part of my routine could hardly have been imagined when I bought my first computer, a Commodore 64. The first video game was Pong, a far cry for the realistic graphics in today’s video arcade.

Just last night I had a conversation with my thirty-two year old son about Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, and Crackle. If I understood it , I would explain it to you. The digital age has transformed the way we work, play, and relate to each other. It offers far more than I can comprehend.

With all the advances in technology and the changes they bring to our everyday life, I am grateful for the words of the Statement of Faith of the United Church of Canada: “We are not alone, we live in God’s world. We believe in God who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit. We trust in God.”

We are not alone. We live in God’s world. We trust in God the Creator and Sustainer of all that is good.

Change. Scary. Hopeful.

Jamie Jenkins

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. This national holiday is typically a day of feasting with family and friends and more football games than you can shake a turkey leg at. There are three NFL and two NCAA college games today. If that is not enough to satisfy you, there are 66 other college games and 12 more NFL games this weekend.

And, of course, tomorrow is Black Friday. It seems that this day for shopping just about overshadows the gathering of family and friends and surpasses the glut of football games.

All of this and more clouds my thinking as I prepare to reflect on thanksgiving. I thought about recapping the history of this national holiday. Then my mind went to memories from past family gatherings on the fourth Thursday of November. I considered describing my favorite foods of the season. Or I could tell you about different traditions associated with this special day.

Instead I want to consider some of the attitudes and actions of thankful people. Not what thankful people do but what thankful people don’t do.

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Thankful people don’t complain. If a person’s heart is truly filled with gratitude, they are generous in their praise of others and expressions of gratitude for their blessings. When one truly appreciates life and all that it offers, there is no time or desire to register complaints. Thankful people focus on what they have rather than complain about what they do not have. Grateful people see things in proper perspective and recognize that things could always be worse so they celebrate regardless of the circumstances.

People who are truly thankful don’t complain, they find reasons to be grateful. Matthew Henry, who wrote a commentary on every book of the Bible, was once robbed. The thieves took everything of value that he had. Later that evening he wrote in his diary these words, “I am thankful that during these years I have never been robbed before. Also, even though they took my money, they did not take my life. Although they took all I had, it was not much. Finally, I am grateful that it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.” He had every reason to complain but instead he was thankful.

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Thankful people don’t hoard. Truly grateful people are generous with whatever they have and find pleasure in sharing with others. Their security is not related to things so there is no need to guard their possessions. Stockpiling material things or refusing to share privilege or power is a symptom of selfishness, insecurity, and ingratitude.

It is obvious to me that the more we hold onto things the less thankful we are. The more we give away the more reason we have to give thanks. Thankful people really believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Thankful people don’t forget. They recognize that everything one has or achieves is not necessarily the result of their own ability, intelligence, or ingenuity. Many factors contribute to the benefits and blessings a person may possess. Thankful people remember the kindness and generosity of others.Genuine gratitude recognizes the contributions of individuals and realizes that opportunities and resources have been available to them that others might have been denied.

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While there are at least these three “don’ts” to thanksgiving, there are some things to do. Do give thanks, rejoice don’t complain. Do give thanks, be generous not tight. Do give thanks, don’t forget what others have done for you and most of all, remember God, who gave us His son for our salvation and has provided for us life eternal and life abundant.

Jamie Jenkins

As we approach the National Day of Thanksgiving it is appropriate to examine our attitude. Is it one of thankfulness or do we suffer from the common sin of ingratitude?

A young boy was given an orange by a man. The boy’s mother asked, “What do you say to the nice man?” The little boy thought and handed the orange back and said, “Peel it.” Is that the way we think and act?

Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” is a good thing. Research has shown that gratitude is associated with lower levels of depression, envy, delinquency and higher levels of academic performance, life satisfaction, self-esteem, hope and happiness.

A recent study also shows that feeling grateful makes people less likely to turn aggressive when provoked. “Gratitude is more than just feeling good,” says Nathan DeWall, who conducted a study in Kentucky. “It helps people become less aggressive by enhancing their empathy. It is an equal-opportunity emotion. Anyone can experience it and benefit from it.”

It is so easy to take the blessings of life for granted. My wife and I both grew up in Mobile, Alabama. In a recent visit we drove around the area and marveled at the beauty of the giant oak trees, the fertile farm lands, and the expansive skies. I don’t remember recognizing that beauty when I lived there. I suspect that I fail to recognize and appreciate much of God’s marvelous creation in Atlanta and the north Georgia region where I now live because I have become so accustomed to it.

In the online website http://www.anepiceducation.com the writer remembers how “it took a surprise (40th) birthday party… to … help me realize just how fortunate my dumb little life on this planet had been so far. Until then, I had only looked at what I thought I lacked or was losing (money, excitement, youth), and not at what I already had and was gaining (good friends, health, wisdom). It was a real turning point for me, and one that I wasn’t expecting. Suddenly, birthdays were celebrations again — no fanfare or grand parties, but truly happy days. They no longer represented the march to banality and death, but became a moment to reflect on how much I had to be grateful for.”

That reflection is of special interest to me because the author is my son. His insights demonstrate the kind of thankfulness that I am suggesting is beneficial for us and others around us.

The Bible admonishes us to “Give thanks in every situation because this (thankful spirit) is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thess. 5:18). Everything that happens to us is not God’s will but an attitude of gratitude is what God desires and expects from us in all circumstances.

Jamie Jenkins

If you want to know how many left-handed, blue-eyed, young adults live in a particular zip code, there is a poll that can tell you. Are you interested in the flavor of ice cream preferred by bald-headed men over the age of 65 (Butter Pecan for me)? There is a survey that can give you that information. Looking for the shampoo that gives you healthy full bodied hair (I am)? Marketing analysts will be glad to guide you.

We have come to rely on surveys, polls, and prognosticators to tell us what is popular or pricey. And usually the two go together. The cars we buy, the television shows we watch, the places we go on vacation depend a lot on this kind of data.

Before the election last week, virtually all polls told us that certain political races were “too close to call.” The numbers suggested that it would probably take a while to determine the outcome of some pivotal positions and some would be determined by a run-off.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the polls showed “the two top races in Georgia were so excruciatingly close that both might have to be decided by runoffs.” But the outcomes were very different.

According to one news story, some prognosticators “didn’t take into account caveats, like margins of error and undecided voters, that swung the numbers.” And “some earlier surveys were simply imprecise. They relied on automated calling and Internet surveys, cheaper methods scorned by more established pollsters.”

In other words, the polls were wrong!

Just a few days ago news media reported that former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young had been scheduled to be aboard a plane that crashed in the Bahamas but he backed out at the last moment because of concerns about weather conditions. This information was attributed to a family friend or a spokesman “who didn’t want to be named.”

However, the day after the deadly crash Young said he was not scheduled to be on that flight. “Any reports to the contrary are incorrect,” he said. His wife, Carolyn, said people knew that her husband was in the Bahamas for a conference and were not able to reach him. So they “put two and two together and got nine.”

Sometimes people just come to wrong conclusions but when they express them, others accept them as factual and true. Rumors get started and before you know it they take on a life of their own. Many people believe what they hear without any reliable third party verification or critical assessment.

I watch and listen to news reports on radio, television, and the internet. I am one of a dying breed of people who still read the daily newspaper. I learn a lot and I think I am reasonably well informed. But I realize that everything I hear and read is not always totally true.

However, there is one source that I have found to be completely reliable. I do not always understand all that it provides and sometimes I question what I read. It does not tell me everything I want or need to know and there are certainly different opinions about what some of it means. Nevertheless it has never misled me and I have never found it to be untrue. It offers an unlimited source of knowledge and guidance.

I am talking about the Bible and I commend it to you.

Jamie Jenkins

NIssan Leaf

Almost two months ago I embarked on a new venture. I began driving an electric vehicle (EV). The Nissan Leaf that I leased was not intended to replace my gasoline powered internal combustion engine (ICE) automobile. The plan was that it would be my “commuter car” and I would keep my old vehicle for long trips.

The decision to acquire an EV was reached after several weeks of research and conversations with numerous people who had already made the plunge. I considered the environmental value of a car with zero emissions and the financial implications of not having to purchase gasoline. Key to my final decision was the tax incentives that both the state and federal governments offered to encourage the use of zero and low emission vehicles.

I also considered the age and condition of the vehicle I was currently driving. My 2005 Kia Amanti has served me well but it has 156,000 miles on it. My goal is to get 200,000 miles out of it but normal wear and tear will certainly require expenses for maintenance and repair. Reducing the miles driven would most likely reduce those costs. And there are the fuel costs.

Currently there are almost 20 models of plug in cars on the market today. Several of them are hybrids that run on both gasoline and electricity. About a dozen of them are all electric. All of them offer the sweet speedy-but-silent driving experience only available from battery-to-motor power. A couple of Tesla models will get about 230-260 miles on a charge and cost approximately $80,000. The Leaf that I am driving is among the other cars from various manufacturers that get roughly 80-85 miles per charge and are priced $40-50,000 less than the Teslas.

Forbes reports that last year 55 percent of electric vehicle buyers were between 36 and 55 years old. Nearly 21 percent have an average household income of $175,000 or more. About 44 percent of EV buyers have at least one child living at home.

I do not fit the demographic described above whether you consider age, income, or family. I am not often on the cutting edge of things. I am not a serious environmentalist and live a “green” lifestyle. Nevertheless acquiring a Nissan Leaf seemed to be a good decision on all fronts.

After hearing and reading a lot of the good and the bad about EVs I concluded that the technology has progressed significantly. Considering these advances, the government tax incentives, and the cost of gasoline that I would not have to buy, a lease on an EV costs little or nothing. I know that it sounds to good to be true but it is.

I have put 1500 miles on my EV since mid-September and enjoy the quiet, comfortable, smooth ride. The Leaf is roomy and has enough power to navigate the surface streets as well as the expressways. It is very well equipped and the only reason I have to stop at the gas station is to purchase a hot dog or get a drink. I simply plug it in when I get home every day and it is ready the next morning.

Someone said, “The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.” Every time I start my new car I am reminded that things once thought impossible are being accomplished every day all around us. That might be the best thing about my EV automobile.

A wise man of long ago said, “Whatever has happened—that’s what will happen again; whatever has occurred—that’s what will occur again. There’s nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, CEB). That is true but often it takes a different shape and form.

Jamie Jenkins

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust a few miles south of Hartwell, Georgia there is an historical marker and stone monument that declare that this spot is the “Center of the World.” When you see the marker and note the rural surroundings you wonder how that designation came to be.

If you stop and read the marker you learn that this is the spot that the Cherokee Indians called “Ah-Yeh-Li A-Lo-Hee … the center of the world to the Cherokee Indians. To this assembly ground, from which trails radiate in many directions, they came to hold their councils, to dance and worship which were to them related functions and to barter their hides, furs, and blankets for the trade goods of the white men from Augusta and other settlements. .. This site was also a noted roost in the days when the now extinct passenger pigeons migrated here in the autumn in such numbers that their weight broke the tree limbs.”

The Cherokees inhabited the mountainous region of the South long before the arrival of Europeans. Historical and archeological evidence shows that the Cherokees settled in this area many generations before the Spanish arrived in the sixteenth century. Gold was discovered in the territory in 1829 and the next year Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. On the basis of that congressional action President Andrew Jackson was authorized to negotiate treaties with Native American tribes.

The leaders of the Cherokee Nation were divided on what response they should give to the efforts to separate them from their land. Some believed either warfare or negotiation with the U.S. government was the answer but others favored removal in exchange for financial compensation. The latter group signed the Treaty of New Echota  although some say it was not legal. This “illegal” treaty was then signed by President Andrew Jackson and it passed by one vote in the U.S. Senate.

The opposing faction opposed implementation of the treaty and were forcibly removed by the military. Thousands of Cherokees died on the westward migration during the winter of 1838-1839 on what is commonly known as the Trail of Tears. The descendants of those who were removed became known as the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. A smaller number of Cherokees avoided forced removal and remained in the mountains of North Carolina. They became the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Thus the historical marker in northeast Georgia is the sole reminder of dramatic changes that occurred 175 years ago. The “center of the world” for the Cherokees shifted in ways they could have never imagined.

This is a reminder that nothing is permanent. One thing that you can count on is change.

It is so easy to feel like whatever we are doing is the most important activity on the planet and wherever we are is the center of the world, if not the center of the universe. And much of the time that feeling is probably alright. At the same time I am reminded of what the Cherub Choir sang last Sunday morning, “He’s got the whole world in His hands… He’s got you and me brother/sister in His hands.”

God cares equally for all of us. While at any given moment we might think that all the world centers on us, we must not deceive ourselves to think that we are the most important and that our privileged position must be maintained. We must also be careful not to destroy others’ “center of the world” for our own gain.

The hymn writer had it right: This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.

Jamie Jenkins

Corinth is a city located in southern Greece about 50 miles from Athens. About two miles from the city a narrow isthmus forms a land bridge between the main landmass of Greece and the Peloponnesus. The isthmus is less than four miles wide and separates the Peloponnesian peninsular from the Greek mainland.

Ancient Corinth controlled the two major harbors and thus command of the trade routes between Asia and Rome. In those days small ships were often dragged across the isthmus on a paved road. Larger ships unloaded their cargo, which was then carried across the isthmus and then reloaded onto other ships.

Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Caligula all considered making a canal through the isthmus. In 67 A.D. Nero came to Corinth for a groundbreaking ceremony for a canal to be dug by Jewish prisoners, but the project was abandoned. It was not until 1881 that work was begun on the Corinth Canal and French engineers completed the project in 1893.

Today the Corinth Canal, 4 miles in length, cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. Earth cliffs flanking either side of the canal are over 200 feet high.

Before the canal was built, ships sailing between the Aegean and Adriatic had to circumnavigate the Peloponnese adding about 185 nautical miles to their journey. It saved sea-going vessels immense amounts of time as it provided a much shorter nautical route to the west from Athens.

An idea that lingered almost two centuries brought welcomed relief to sea going vessels.

Upon completion of the canal ships no longer had to off load their cargo and have it transported over land to the other port. That was wonderful news in the 19th century. However, the fact that the canal is only 70 feet wide at its base, makes it unusable to most modern ships. Only modest sized cruise ships and other smaller vessels use the canal nowadays.

The story of the Corinth Canal illustrates at least two things. It reminds us that great things sometime need time before they can be realized. It is easy to give up on an idea when obstacles prevent implementation. To get discouraged and decide it is either impossible or not worth the effort. Secondly, this story is also a reminder that life is a continuum and what works at one time might not be practical at another. Sometimes ideas become obsolete or need revision.

In either case we should not be discouraged from dreaming, planning, and doing. God is constantly creating and allowing us to share in the creative activity.

Jamie Jenkins

I heard an outstanding sermon last Sunday at the Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta. Dr. Bill Britt is an excellent preacher and this was one of his best. His topic was “A Church With Open Doors” and he emphasized the need to show hospitality and welcome strangers.

Dr. Britt repeated a story that he heard from Dr. Fred Craddock about an experience in the early days of his ministry in rural East Tennessee. The atomic energy facility, later called the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was being built in Oak Ridge. People working on the project were moving into the area and the landscape was changing.

Dr. Craddock was the pastor of a small church in Oak Ridge at that time. He suggested that the church needed to reach out to the new folks, many of whom were living in temporary housing on the hillsides of the community. The response to that suggestion was that those people were there only temporarily and they  “wouldn’t fit in” with the members of that congregation.

That sad story brought to mind a personal experience from my childhood. When I was eight years old my family moved from a rural community in south Alabama to the city. We lived just a few blocks from the heart of downtown Mobile. My parents were uneducated working class people. It is certainly accurate to say we were not affluent.

The St. Frances Methodist Church sat on the corner of St. Frances and Joachim streets. It was a church of prominence and influence in the city. As I grew into my teens I walked past that church frequently on my way to and from my home just north of that intersection. On some evenings I would see boys running around and having a good time.

I decided to join in the fun. So one of my friends and I went to the church one night when we saw the boys playing outside. We discovered that they were members of a Boy Scout Troop that met at the church and we went with them to their meeting. As we were leaving the Scout Master stopped us and said, “Boys, I think it is best that you don’t come back. You just don’t fit in here.”

That was my first and only time to attend a Boy Scout meeting until I was an adult. I learned that the Boy Scouts was an exceptional organization and that scouting was one of the outstanding programs making a positive impact in the lives of boys and young men.

I have often wondered what difference it would have made if that scout master had welcomed me and Steven instead of rejecting us.

The irony of my story is that I have been an ordained minister for over 42 years in the same denomination as the church that sponsored that scout troop. Throughout most of my adult life I have been a strong supporter of the Boy Scouts. St. Frances Methodist Church no longer exists.

And the church in Oak Ridge is now a barbeque restaurant.

Jesus’ disciples said, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or naked or thirsty or lonely or sick or in prison (or wanting to join a scout troop) and did not help you?” He replied, “Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these (those who didn’t fit in), you did not do for me.”

“Whoever has ears to listen should pay attention!” (Mark 4:23, CEB)

Jamie Jenkins

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