by Jamie Buckingham
Pasted on the mirror in the bathroom of our little vacation cabin in the mountains of western North Carolina is a Latin phrase: Omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in Wis. "All things are changing, and we are changing with them."
My dad, who built the cabin many years ago, had taught Latin and English before going into business. Words, he felt, were designed by God to reveal truth. This was one of the truths he wanted his children to grasp. The last time I was there the leaves had fallen from the trees. The mountains were bleak. Life had gone into hibernation.
I opened the house, swept the brown leaves off the front porch, and put out the rocking chairs. It was for habit's sake, for winter was in the air and it was too cold to sit and rock. I walked into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. "All things are changing ... indeed."
A London psychiatrist once asked: "Do you know why people get drunk on New Year's Eve?" The answer—which sounds quite British: "Because clocks are round." It's the bored who get drunk—and take drugs. The fact the hour hand has returned to midnight and the year is starling over is more than some can take.
It's sameness—not change—which drives people to drink. But self-imposed change, the kind which leads to growth, not decay .... ah, that calls for a different strength.
I think of my dad, who, on his 80th birthday, decided to grow a mustache. "All my life," he told me, "I've wondered how I would look in a mustache. When I was a young man teaching Latin and English only the 'riff-raff' wore facial hair. Later, as a businessman in a small southern town, it was considered improper to have a mustache, beard or even sideburns. Besides, your mother said she could never kiss a man with a mustache. Now today I am 80. I'm going to grow a mustache."
I felt like shouting. He wore it almost five years and shaved it off. "It just isn't me," he said. Not all are as flexible. A few years ago, my wife, Jackie, and I visited the large denominational church I once pastored. It had been 10 years since we'd left town and that summer we arranged our vacation travel to be there on a Sunday morning.
It's the political season in what many are saying is the most important presidential election of our lifetime, so I turned to my good friend, Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., to be the guest editor of the January-February issue of Ministry Today, now available.
Bishop Jackson has not only motivated Christians to get involved in the political process to bring change, but he's highly respected. He has appeared on the CBS Evening News, Fox News' Special Report, The O'Reilly Factor and The Tavis Smiley Show. Bishop Jackson's articles have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.
You can read Bishop Jackson's timely "Preparing for the Next Great Awakening" cover story in the magazine's latest issue by clicking here. He explains why pastors need to twin prayer for spiritual revival with practical involvement in cultural reformation.
In the issue, which goes beyond political activism. Bishop Jackson invited other outstanding authors such as Chuck Colson, David Barton and Tony Perkins to write. The end result is something much more powerful—an issue on social transformation, which involves being involved politically. Read it and be transformed, so you can in turn transform society.
Now is the ideal time to subscribe to Ministry Today. We're currently offering a special promotion that includes a free ESV (English Standard Version) Thinline Bible with a paid subscription. Click here to subscribe to Ministry Today.
As part of the January-February issue on social transformation of Ministry Today, Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, wrote an informative and encouraging column on the need for pastors to practice true biblical preaching—which includes preaching that has clear implications for the political arena.
You can read his Pastor's Heart column titled "Preach It!" by clicking here. You will find out how hundreds of pastors have stood in their pulpits and defied the massive governmental intrusion into the pulpit (the Johnson Amendment) as part of the PulpitFreedom.com movement.
More than ever, congregations are hungry for preaching that has implications for the political spectrum. Do you preach about politics from your pulpit? Please give us your feedback.
I was one of the first to endorse Mike Huckabee for president. He was a former governor of Arkansas who I felt had great leadership—and he not only shares but embodies our Christian values. But this year I took a wait and see attitude until just a few days before the Florida primary, which was held Jan. 31.
I was recently interviewed on PBS for a show that aired before the primary. Kim Lawton, the respected correspondent who has interviewed me before and always reported fairly on the evangelical community, wanted to know whom I'm endorsing. I told her I'm endorsing Sen. Rick Santorum. If you want to see what I said, click here.
I've admired Rick Santorum from afar for years. I met him briefly when he spoke for Christians United for Israel. I know of all the candidates he's the strongest supporter of Israel and probably understands the danger of what he calls "Islamo-fascism" better than any one else in the race.
But the biggest factor is that compared to the other candidates, he's squeaky clean. It's like my good friend Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood) said to me: "he's like a boy scout."
by Jamie Buckingham
My mother had moved into the Florida Baptist Retirement Center, across the road from the house where she had lived with my father until he died. Geographically, the move covered about 200 yards. Emotionally, though. it spanned a lifetime. It's one thine to move a few pieces of furniture.
Moving a lifetime of memories is another matter, however. Watching her fuss over the little things as she moved, I became aware of the deep trauma going on in her life. It was my friend Bill Lord, the director of the center, which is built, incidentally, on property donated by my father a number of years ago, who helped me sort through some of my own confusion.
In old age, he said, everything is accented to the extreme. The road narrows and those things younger folks see as pebbles become huge boulders in the path. To an old woman, living alone without transportation, the fear of running out of toilet paper, can become an obsession.
A lost rubber band, a misplaced vitamin pill, a picture which hangs crooked—all demand immediate attention, regardless of what else is going on in the world. Just how big these obstacles are depends on the width of your road.
A few days after Mother settled in at the center she called long distance. It was 6:14 a.m. "I've been up all night looking for the big, white hat with the string you tie under your chin." Jackie, who was still in bed, propped up on an elbow and whispered: "She told me to give it away." "Mother, why do you need it?" "They're having a big party here at the center and everyone has to wear a funny hat." "When is the party?" She hesitated. "Sometime this summer ... I think." She sounded confused and lonely.