Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Why February 28 is Bigger Than November 8 in Belvidere
Not long after arriving in Belvidere nearly a dozen years ago on the corner of Lincoln and Main as undershepherd of our family of faith occasionally known as First Presbyterian Church, I had lunch with Mayor Fred Brereton at the Huddle.
Parenthetically, we both had chicken Caesar salads that were off the charts; and if you’re like us, you miss that symbol of Belvidere’s best traditions and communal stability.
Anyway, though I had spent a lot of time in Belvidere before landing as a referee of the franchise because the church was being torn apart by so many members and staff who were trying to take the church away from Jesus in almost every department of its life and ministry and the local denominational folks who had been trying to help had made things so much worse which seems to be its SOP these days by commission or omission, I figured nobody knew the town and county more than the man who history has proven to be its most popular, stabilizing, faithful, honest, and trustworthy mayor.
So I asked, “Tell me, Fred, does Belvidere identify more with Rockford or Chicago?”
Immediately without blinking with a calming smile, he answered, “Belvidere.”
While no one is pure and perfect in every way which is why everyone needs Jesus as Lord and Savior, I’ve become a part of Belvidere and Boone County’s fiercely loyal and protective culture; and now that my boys have matriculated from District 100, I root for blue, red, purple, and gold with almost equal passion.
With that inherited mess cleaned up on the corner of Lincoln and Main, we’re making our own messes these days; but I thank God for the privilege of being with faithful women and men of faith who really love Jesus and really want to worship, work, and witness together for His glory, laud, and honor by the book.
Unlike interlopers who’ve crashed the political, educational, and ecclesiastical scenes who want to change Belvidere and Boone County into someone/someplace else, I’ve learned from patriotic citizens like Fred, Jim Turner, Ginny Worrell, Don Norek, and so many others that there’s no place like home for me in Belvidere and Boone County; or as I’ve said, I will be here until I’m assassinated by an Islamofascistnutball savage or die of my Grandpa Jacob’s cancer genes.
I’m even starting to like the pizza.
I guess that’s why I like Ric for February 28.
Don’t get me wrong!
I like Mike. I think he’s been a good mayor. He’s my friend. I have really liked working with him; and if he gets another term, I will work with him with enthusiasm and without reservation; even though he may be mad at me for writing this.
The reason I’m supporting Ric with such enthusiasm and without equivocation is because he reminds me so much of my favorite mayor of all time aka Mike’s predecessor.
While I could talk about those qualities and mention Ric must be doing something right in his party as Boone County Republican Club President and city chairman for the Boone County Republican Central Committee, I’d like to mention two things that I haven’t heard mentioned about either the incumbent or challenger.
First, well into my second decade of life and ministry in this neck of the woods, Ric has always responded to my inquiries and requests in less than 24 hours with precision and performance as well as promise.
Second, he’s a Gideon like his dad. The courage to be a Gideon in our culture where media, entertainment, classrooms, courtrooms, commerce, and even some churches have distanced and often divorced themselves from Jesus by the book is compelling for election. Not afraid to pass out Bibles and look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for Jesus as the only One who can bridge the color, class, and cultural distinctions and separations in America means Ric will have the courage to go against partisan politics and popular opinion to retain the best of Belvidere and Boone County as promised by God in Holy Scripture: “Return to Me and I will restore you!”
I also like his youth.
As a Bible student, I know our Lord has a habit of passing the mantle from one generation to the next if they are consistent with the best of the previous generations.
Churches often get into trouble when geezers like me resist and refuse to encourage future generations to step up to the plate and go to bat for Jesus.
Communities and counties are the same.
I am convinced Ric will build upon the best of the fine mayoral traditions and performances of Fred and Mike with a youthful yet convincing maturity.
Many years ago when President Reagan was doing his thing in Central and South America, I was asked what I thought about it by a nice church lady; and I said, “Nobody called me.”
Well, going back to my first conversation with my favorite mayor of all time, I had my hands filled with my local church and really had to focus on where God had planted me.
I like Mike and I’m supporting Ric’s candidacy because it’s in his DNA to be my next favorite mayor of all time.
Blessings and Love!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!