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Today is the fourth Thursday in November. That means it is Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared in one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For the next two centuries days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states.

In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that a national Thanksgiving Day be held on the final Thursday in November. Thanksgiving Day was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. There was much opposition to Roosevelt’s plan, known as Franksgiving, and in 1941 the president signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

This past week I visited several people who are homebound or hospitalized. A common thread in all our conversations was thanksgiving. Repeatedly I heard expressions of gratitude and an acknowledgement that we are blessed beyond our imagination.

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Like many others I will gather with family and friends for an abundant feast today. We will eat a lot and watch seemingly endless football games. All of this is important because it nurtures our relationships, but thanksgiving requires more than a passive attitude.

I am thankful for my family who love me and has always supported me. Therefore I do everything possible to provide whatever they need.

I am thankful for God who loves me unconditionally. Therefore I devote my time, energy, and talents to serve God’s people in the Church and throughout the world.

I am thankful for good health. Therefore I attempt to take advantage of opportunities to learn and explore.

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I am thankful for the freedoms that I enjoy in this country. Therefore I will strive to protect and preserve them for everyone.

I am grateful for all my resources. Therefore I seek to use them not only for myself but for the benefit of humankind.

It would be impossible to list all the things for which I am thankful. There are so many and so many which I simply take for granted. If you are interested, you can take a look at a few of them in the postscript.

Last Sunday Rev. Bill Britt, Senior Minister at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, said “We don’t give God thanks for our circumstances. We give God thanks in our circumstances.” I think that is what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God for you.” All things that happen to us are not God’s will but God does desire us to always have an attitude of gratitude.

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Author and publisher Fred De Witt Amburgh said, “None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” Thanksgiving is not self centered or passive. People with grateful hearts give. According to philanthropist W. Clement Stone, “If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.”

Thanksgiving is, after all, a word of action. In other words, it is “thanks-living.”

Jamie Jenkins

Thanksgiving 1

P.S. Other things for which I am thankful:

A good cup of coffee in the morning

Grandchildren (and their parents)

Ice cream (especially on weekends)

A wife who love sports (and me)

A safe neighborhood

The internet (when it works)


A comfortable pair of shoes

Opportunities to travel and see the beauty of God’s earth and its people

An electric car that is fun to drive

Any automobile that gets me where I need to go

All the folks who volunteer in the church and other helping organizations

The Atlanta Braves (wait until next year)

People who give generously of their time, talent, and money for the benefit of others

The United Methodist Church that has nurtured me and my family

My wife’s love for flowers and the beauty of her garden

Music- everything from classical to blues

Story tellers

My children and grandchildren who roll their eyes at my corny jokes but love me any way

The comics and their creators- especially Get Fuzzy (Darby Conley), Overboard (Chip Dunham), Pearls Before Swine (Stephan Pastis)

People who are positive about life no matter the circumstances

A warm house and a comfortable bed at night

Good (clean) jokes

Gifted preachers who work at their craft and deliver meaningful and challenging sermons

Church choirs who work hard to learn their music and offer it in worship

The people of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church for embracing me and my wife

Rainy days and Mondays- and every day whatever the weather

My children’s spouses who love them and enrich our family





In light of the horror of this past week in Paris, there are many calls to fight fire with fire. An eye for an eye. It is easy to understand this attitude in its context. Certainly someone needs to be held accountable and there must be consequences for this senseless slaughter. A reasoned but firm response is necessary but knee jerk reactions often result in undesirable unintended consequences rather than  a solution to the problem.

The growing threat of ISIS must be confronted. We cannot ignore it but we must be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” in our response.

In a recent Republican Presidential Candidate debate Sen. Marco Rubio was accused of being a “closet moderate.” This designation was not delivered as a compliment but a criticism. Perhaps the criticism was not about Rubio’s position but the fact that he has disguised or hidden his real feelings. If he has not been open and transparent, I suppose that is valid criticism.

We live in a time where militant, fanatical individuals and groups seem to get all the spotlight. Radicalism and extremism are on the rise and are dangerous. The voice of reason often gives in to those who would “bomb the ____ out of them.”

“The strength of democratic societies

relies on their capacity to know how

to stand firm against extremism while

respecting justice in the means used to fight terrorism.”

(Tariq Ramadan)

Religious and political radicals represent only a fringe element but they cause much harm. I am not speaking only of Islamic radicals although there is reason to be alarmed about them. Extremists pose real danger whether they are white supremacists or fundamentalist Muslims. Devotees to any religion or political faction who advocate for destruction of those who are different from them are cause for alarm.

When I refer to “radicals” and extremists” I am not suggesting that strong commitment to a cause or belief system is a bad thing. However, when that commitment marginalizes, endangers, or destroys anyone, it is wrong.

Dwight Eisenhower

“Extremes to the right and to the left of any political dispute are always wrong.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

People who represent extreme perspectives can be helpful. The presence of strongly divergent opinions can cause us to begin to see and understand things that would otherwise be beyond our comprehension. Mutual respect and civil discourse among people who disagree can lead to heighted awareness and constructive change. But hateful and derogatory language and actions cause pain and foster further division.

 “If we destroy human rights and rule of law

in the response to terrorism, they have won.”

-Joichi Ito

A “moderate” is one who stands between two extremes. Is that a bad thing? Dictionaries define “moderate” with the following terms: reasonable, sensible, restrained, fair, temperate, judicious. These seem to be attributes that would be viewed favorably by most decent people.

Clint Eastwood

“Extremism is so easy. You’ve got your position and that’s it.

It doesn’t take much thought.

And when you go far enough to the right

you meet the idiots coming around from the left.”

-Clint Eastwood

Things often appear to be “right or wrong” but many times the truth is somewhere between the two extremes. The person who is a centrist (moderate) sees the value of seemingly opposite opinions and attempts to effect a synthesis of perspectives that is more balanced. Perhaps everything is not “either/or.” Maybe a better position often is “both/and.”

Let us pray and work for peace as we strive to protect the freedoms that we enjoy and believe is the right of every human being.

Jamie Jenkins


It is what it is 3

Someone described me as a realistic optimist. I am not exactly sure what that is or if it is an accurate assessment. Nevertheless I do believe that denying reality is not helpful but one does not have to be beaten down by it.

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Honestly facing realities that are unpleasant is the first step in amending circumstances, attitudes, or actions when things are not what you want them to be or how they should be.

Once you acknowledge that something is bad or wrong, you can begin to change some things for the better. On other occasions you must come to terms with the fact that you cannot always have what you want and you make proper preparations for future outcomes.

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But you say, I believe in miracles. I do too but I recognize that they don’t always occur when and where I want them to occur.

Recently I heard Phil and Dave Alvin sing “I believe this old world is in a bad condition.” I thought to myself, “Boy, they are right!” Accepting that reality does not lead me to be fatalistic or negative. Instead it helps me realize that there is work to be done. I believe that things don’t have to stay the way they are and I must do all I can to effect positive change. I must also be prepared to accept the limitations of being human. While there are some things I can change, there are many more that are beyond my ability.

Health issues, economic disasters, broken relationships, bigotry, war, famine, prejudice and a million other things may cause concern, but I cannot fix all the problems of my own life and I am definitely unable to change the whole world.

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You say, “But God can do anything.” I believe that, but I recognize that God does not correct all our mistakes or change all of our painful experiences. I have faith in God but God is not a genie that awaits my beck and call. I do not understand why some things are the way they are- both “good” and “bad” things. But I accept things as they are and trust God to work in mysterious and miraculous ways to make things right.  Or to give me the strength to make it through.

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When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace they said to King Neduchadnezzar, “Our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not…” (Daniel 3:17-18)

John Sammis understood that everyone is subject to suffering and sorrow when he wrote:

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

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Inherent in the words of that hymn and in the words of the Hebrew Children is the understanding that things will not always be pleasant. The presence of adversity and difficulty is not an indication that God has abandoned us or that we lack faith. In fact, we can depend on God to be with us in all of the trials of life. Not always to extricate us from the problems but to be with us in them.

I am called to trust and obey. To do all that I can and leave the rest up to God. Often I simply have to accept that it is what it is and not lose faith regardless of the outcome.

Jamie Jenkins

It was another reminder that no matter how much money you throw at something you are not guaranteed success.

Fox Sports paid $500M to televise  Major League Basebal games including the World Series.In spite of this big outlay of money and the latest technology, Fox faced “a stark and embarrassing broadcast bungle” during the first game of the World Series last week.  Daniel Roberts wrote in Fortune Magazine: “At 9:18 p.m. Eastern Time, with a 1-1 score in the fourth inning, the telecast picture vanished: no visuals, no audio.”

Money 5

$500M and still they were greatly embarrassed. The network quickly posted a sign on screen that they were experiencing “Technical Difficulty.” Both Fox’s primary and backup generators were hit with a “rare electronics failure,” causing the loss of power and the 4 minute blackout that followed.

Money 1

Jordi Alemany, Director General at Solar Rocket in Valencia, Spain, reminds us that, “Money has been with us for more than ten thousand years. It has become a vital element in our lives, to the point where without money, you can literally die.”

In other words, we have come to the place that we think money is the answer to everything- career, marriage, family, winning sports team, and almost anything else. If you have enough money, you can have what you want. Or so it seems.

Money 2

The World Series reminds us that money cannot even guarantee a championship baseball team. It is interesting to note that this year’s combined salaries of the two teams in the World Series- the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals- is less than half of the combined salaries of the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers, neither of which made it to the World Series ($492M vs. $214M).

The first hit record for the Motown record label was a song written by Berry Gordon and Janie Bradford. Barrett Strong sang “Money (That’s what I Want)” in 1959. The song was later recorded by many artists including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Doors. In 1960 the song was listed as #288 on Rolling Stone’s “Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

The lyrics of that hit song recognizes that “money don’t get everything it’s true” but it goes on to claim that “what it don’t get, I can’t use.” Several years later John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote a song that the Beatles recorded which asserted “I don’t care too much for money. Money can’t buy me love.”


There are many things that money can provide but the really important things in life do not have price tags. Health, love, happiness, integrity, peace of mind, intelligence, spiritual enlightenment, self-worth, security, an honest opinion, time, trust- just to mention a few.

Someone has suggested that it is good to have money and the things that money can buy but it is good to check up once in a while to be sure you have not lost the things that money can’t buy.

Jamie Jenkins

What is your list of things that money can’t buy?

I received an email with the subject: “First and Final Notice.” It seemed both ominous and inconsiderate. Why would you notify me of something only one time? If I needed to take some action, should I not be allowed more than one chance? At least you would think I could have the opportunity to discuss the matter if I disagreed with the sending party.

Last chance 1

I thought, “Hey, cut me some slack.” If I need to do something, I will do it but don’t slam the door on me if additional communication would be helpful.

“First and Final Notice” is woefully lacking in “grace” as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “a controlled, polite, and pleasant way of behaving.” Kindness. Common courtesy.

Philosophically and theologically speaking, grace is getting what you don’t deserve. It is unlike justice (getting what you deserve) which we often expect for others or mercy (not getting what you deserve) which seems to be the “right” thing for us. Maybe I should not have expected leniency (grace) but the ultimatum seemed like harsh justice.

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Maybe I am just like the child whose parent is constantly saying, “I am not going to tell you again.” After hearing that false promise so many times, I begin to expect to be given another chance. No second chance seems so unreasonable. Unfair.

Last chance 2

I understand that sometimes an ultimatum is necessary. However, an ultimatum is generally the final demand in a series of requests. Quite the opposite of “first and final notice.”

I wonder how often I communicate “first and final” by my attitude. Unbending. Absolute. No other options. Not open to discussion. I hope my demeanor is very much in contrast to that closed-minded and harsh approach.

I am not suggesting that anything goes. I do not believe that everything is negotiable. There are principles upon which my life is based. There are some absolutes. There are some things that are “right” and “wrong” but I have learned that things are not “black or white” as often as I once thought they were.

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Although there are instances when we need to stand our ground, the world would be a better place if “grace” were offered more often. I think that is how God relates to us. We are accountable for our attitudes and actions but God offers forgiveness and reconciliation generously. We would do well to do likewise.

Jamie Jenkins

I don’t always pay attention to commercials on the radio and television but one caught my attention recently. It was not because of any bargains that were offered or any catchy slogan or tune. Neither was it due to a new product that was being offered. Actually nothing was mentioned about any merchandise for sale.

The announcement was that this giant retailer had donated $4 million to more than 80 Habitat for Humanity affiliates. This donation will build 40 houses and increase support for more than 60 affiliates. A fully stocked pantry would also be provided to each house that will be built by employees of the company providing these funds.

This generous contribution came from Publix Super Markets Charities, a not-for-profit organization that has $400 million worth of assets under management. The organization was founded as the George W. Jenkins Foundation in 1966 to improve the communities served by the supermarket chain. After Jenkins’ death, the foundation’s name became Publix Super Markets Charities.

George W. Jenkins

George Washington Jenkins Jr. was born Sept. 29, 1907, in Warm Springs, Ga. He was one of eight children of a general store owner. He was 12 when he started working in his father’s store. When he was 16, the boll weevil destroyed the area’s cotton crops and caused economic disaster for the general store.

Jenkins moved to Atlanta with his family and began working at a series of odd jobs including a job working for the Piggly Wiggly grocery chain. After his move to Florida the store where he was employed did not do well and eventually was sold. When that happened  he said, “I turned in my apron, took the money I had saved to buy a new car — about $1,300 — and in 1930 opened my own store next to the one I’d left.”

Publix 4

That same year Jenkins formed a corporation, Publix Food Stores Inc., and today the private corporation which is wholly owned by present and past employees is ranked No. 81 on Fortune magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For 2015 and was ranked No. 8 on Forbes 2014 list of America’s Largest Private Companies. The company’s 2014 sales totaled $30.6 billion, with profits of $1.74 billion. Based on 2014 revenue, Publix is the thirteenth largest U.S. retailer and thirty-fifth in the world.

Publix 2

The phenomenal success of the supermarket chain is very impressive and their commitment to customer service is a basic tenet of the company. But what caught my attention in the radio commercial was the closing comment attributed to its founder George W. Jenkins.

Jenkins was once asked, “If you hadn’t given away so much, how much do you think you would be worth today?” Without hesitation, he replied, “Probably nothing.”

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I don’t know if that would have been the case but I do believe that all we really have is what we give away.

Jamie  Jenkins

Ted French shared my love for ice cream and he introduced me to a new flavor, Sugar Free Chocolate Caramel Pecan. On a Tuesday night. I try to discipline myself to eat sweets only on weekends but he said since it was sugar free it would be alright. I accepted his rationale and indulged. Yummy!

I was eating lunch with friends the last time I saw Ted. He rolled up beside me in his motorized chair and handed me a bowl of that delicious ice cream. This particular brand was not sold in retail outlets so the only place I knew to get it was at the restaurant where I first ate it with Ted.

I often longed for that frozen treat. Then I learned that it was made at a creamery I passed regularly. One day the desire to have some Sugar Free Chocolate Caramel Pecan ice cream was too much. So I stopped by the nondescript building that houses the creamery. I inquired if they sold to the public and was told that they did.

“I would like some of the Sugar Free Chocolate Caramel Pecan flavor,” I said. When I was told it came in only one size I said, “That’s fine. I’ll take it.” In a couple of minutes a man arrived from the freezer with a 3-gallon container of ice cream. I thought to myself, “Wow!,” as I took the giant container from him and headed to my car.

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There was no one at home (thankfully) when I arrived so I began to rearrange everything in our freezer to make room for this huge carton of ice cream. Needless to say, making room for it was not easy. When my wife came home and opened the freezer she was surprised at what she saw (duh!). But it was OK (?) since she understood how much I like ice cream.

Three gallons of ice cream is a lot! Especially when you eat it only on weekends. Under an ultimatum that it had to be gone before Thanksgiving, we finished it last weekend. And I was glad to see it go. I still like ice cream and I will want some more Sugar Free Chocolate Caramel Pecan flavor in the future but I will enjoy other flavors for a while.

I suspect that you have heard the expression “too much of a good thing.” Well, my ice cream experience described above was certainly that. It was a reminder to me that just about anything in excess is not good. There are so many options available that it is difficult to choose and since we cannot decide, often we try it all. Food, entertainment, leisure, you name it and there is more than can reasonably be accommodated.

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A menu at a restaurant can be overwhelming. Appetizers, salad and soups, entrees, desserts- and they all sound wonderful. Purchasing an automobile is a daunting experience because there so many makes, models, trim types, colors, accessories. Want a night of entertainment? There seems to be almost unlimited possibilities: movies, performance theaters, action games, sports… the list goes on.  Decide to stay at home and watch television and you can choose from hundreds of channels after you decide between cable, satellite, or one of the many online streaming offerings. How can one not over indulge?

We are captives to the enormous amount of possibilities so we tend to do, eat, watch, and engage more than what is necessary, usual, or specified. I accept the reality that I am inclined to over indulge and I constantly seek to practice moderation- restraint, avoidance of extremes or excesses.excess 9

Philosophy and all major religions emphasize moderation as a key to wholesome living. To avoid excess in actions, desires and even thoughts leads to a healthier lifestyle.

The Book of Sirach is a book of ethical teachings from approximately 200-175 BC. It appears in the Old testament of the Catholic Bible but except for some Episcopal and Lutheran Bibles it and the other 12-15 books of the Apocrypha do not appear in Protestant Bibles. Some Protestant churches include it in their lectionaries and as a book proper for reading, devotion, and prayer. Its influence in early Christianity is evident. Concerning moderation Sirach says, “My child, test yourself while you live; see what is bad for you and do not give into it” (Sirach 37:27).

Words of another very wise man of long ago also recommends restraint in the advice: “Moderation is better than muscle, self-control better than political power” (Proverbs 16:32, The Message).

I know it in my head but it needs to move into my heart and hands. I want to enjoy the good that God provides but I know that too much of a good thing can be bad.

Jamie Jenkins

Atlanta Braves 1

It is finally over. A long and disappointing year for Atlanta Braves fans and  players ended last Sunday. It has been twenty-four years since they experienced a losing season- and this was a LOSING season.

At least it ended on an upbeat note. The Braves won four of the last five series with a 10-5 record after losing eight of the previous nine. Although they lost 95 games (out of 162) this year, it felt good to end the season winning all three games against St. Louis even if the Cardinals lineup was mostly backup players since they had clinched their division several days earlier.

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

In the next to the last game of the season pitcher Shelby Miller finally won a game after 24 consecutive starts without a win. His record setting winless streak is not a reflection of his ability. The Braves have just not scored any runs to support him.

If you follow Major League Baseball, you know that this has been a “rebuilding” year for the Braves. The front office systematically dismantled last year’s team. At the end of the 2015 season last Sunday there were only 5 players on the team that were on last year’s 25-man roster: two pitchers, two infielders, and one catcher who spent much of this season in the minor league.

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Jason Heyward, who was traded to St. Louis after last season, returned to Atlanta for the first time last week. He was glad to return to his home territory (he grew up in suburban McDonough) and the team he played with for his first five years in the major leagues, but it was not what you would normally think. He said it didn’t feel “homecomingish” since he didn’t know most of the Braves players. The local fans have felt that way all year long.

Braves fans mourn the sad state of the team and miss players who grew up around Atlanta like Heyward and Alex Wood (who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers), the best closing pitcher in baseball, Craig Kimbrel, and a long list of others from the 2014 team. But things worked out pretty well for about a dozen of them as they are now playing for teams that have advanced into the post-season play-offs while the Braves go home and wait until spring training next year.

I know that in the grand scheme of things winning or losing baseball games doesn’t rank very high. However, this season for Braves fans and players illustrate a very important life principle. All things will not be as you wished they were. You win some and you lose some. There are victories and defeats. Mountain tops and valleys. But life is not about “winning” or “losing.”  It is our response to these disparate experiences that determines success or failure.

Lynn Anderson

Country singer Lynn Anderson reminded us that “along with the sunshine there’s got to be a little rain sometime.” Another popular song written by Benjamin Weisman, Fred Karger, and Sid Wayne offers the following advice and encouragement:

When you walk through a storm hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm there’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone

Losing is not the end of the world. Whether it is a baseball game, a relationship, a job, a dream, our health, or anything else. We can “walk on with hope in our heart” because we do not walk alone. God has promised to be with us always to love, support, and guide us.

Jamie Jenkins

Andrew Young 3

Andrew Young, Jr. apologized to the crowd for sitting while he spoke. He said sitting would help his 83 year old knees as he talked to the folks gathered at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.

Andy (as he likes to be called) Young was one of the closest friends and co-workers of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and gave leadership to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

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Someone said, “At some point civil rights activists have to come in off the streets and get involved in politics.” And that is what he did when he was elected to the U.S. House of representatives in 1972 becoming the first African American to represent Georgia in Congress since Reconstruction. Later President Jimmy Carter named him as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and after leaving that post he was elected Mayor of Atlanta in 1981.

Before his political career Young was a pastor. After graduating from Hartford Theological Seminary he was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ in 1955. That calling was very apparent when he used the words of the biblical prophet Micah as he spoke to the folks in church last Sunday. “What does God require of you but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.”

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The crowd gathered in the Peachtree Road United Methodist sanctuary heard stories from Young’s childhood in New Orleans and how his father taught him about honesty and respect. Reflecting on his time as ambassador he told a story about a meal of cornbread, field peas, corn on the cob, and fried chicken prepared by his mother-in-law from Alabama in the kitchen of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York  for the Chinese delegation to the U.N. . This was an example of his belief that “breaking bread together” helps to transcend our differences.

As a youngster, Andrew Young, Jr. was an athlete. Once on a trip with his parents to North Carolina he ran to the top of Kings Mountain. As he stood at the top of that mountain and viewed the surrounding beauty, he said he became aware of God’s presence in a very special way. When he came down from the mountain he had a definite sense that God had a purpose for his life. He did not understand what it was but from that day onward he tried to be faithful every day to God.

I don’t believe that everyone who follows God’s will and purpose for their life will have such extraordinary experiences as Andrew Young. But I am convinced that if we are doing what we are supposed to be doing today, we will be where God wants us to be whenever God has something else for us. And that is the exciting way of faith!

Lord, help us to faithfully follow You in all our ways every day!

Jamie Jenkins

Occasionally it is good to be in situations where you are a minority. In my career I grew accustomed to being with groups where the majority of folks were not of my gender. As I grew older I often found that senior adults were a minority. There were times when my profession was not equally represented in the demographic of a particular activity.

The county I live in is majority non-white and my small neighborhood is very diverse. But most of my life has been spent in situations where the majority of people were of my ethnicity. I realize this is not the case with many. Recently I have been reminded of that and experienced a bit of what it feels like to be in the minority.

My wife and I attended an 80th birthday party for a friend and we were two of five people in a crowd of 50 who were not African American. Although we were treated with respect and dignity, there was a sense that most of the people present had experienced life very differently from us simply because of their skin color.

Being a minority is not limited only to racial distinctions. A few weeks ago I attended a 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Everyone there was caucasian/white/Anglo (it is often hard to know the politically correct term) but my wife and I have a different religious background. Although everyone present spoke English, our language was different. The structure of our separate religious organizational structures provided fodder for conversation and accented our differences. I found myself interpreting and explaining things that I said because they were so foreign to the others present.

Last weekend I was in California for my daughter’s birthday and we attended a baseball game at AT&T Park in San Francisco. As we waited for the ferry to carry us across the San Francisco Bay to the ballpark I could not miss the fact that just about everyone but my wife and me were wearing Giants apparel. Everybody but the two of us. And my Atlanta Braves cap made it more obvious that I was an outsider. It might have been because of the current sad state of the Braves team that everyone was courteous to me. Whatever the reason I was grateful.

I certainly do not pretend to know how it feels to be a racial minority. As a Christian in the United States I am sure I cannot fully understand what it is like to live where you are a part of a religious minority. There are other things that cause people to feel like they are mistreated or disrespected because they are a minority in that setting.

There are many instances in the Bible that makes it clear that God treats everyone the same and expects us to follow that example. I wish it was easy but it is not. I would like to say that I always treat people equally but I do not.

My recent experiences have reminded me that no one is an outsider. No one is less than any other one. We are all God’s special creation and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. God help me to see all people as Your children and treat them as my brothers and sisters.

Jamie Jenkins


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