Wednesday, February 15, 2017
If You Don't Think Your Vote Counts
Two days before the last successful campaign of my favorite mayor of all time, Belvidere legend, patriot, eschatologist, and pastor Don Norek called and said, "This is a strange year in American politics. Fred is in trouble. We've got to get out the vote. Start talking. Start calling. It's going to be close."
Conscious citizens will recall it was close; and 4-term Mayor Fred Brereton who proved to be Belvidere's most popular, stabilizing, faithful, honest, and trustworthy public servant won by 12 or 13 votes.
12 or 13 votes!
Back then, things were so crazy in America that my favorite and many other's favorite mayor of all time almost lost.
Anyone familiar with that election knows that a loss by Fred back then would have been catastrophic for Belvidere and Boone County.
I praise God for many things about Don Norek. He continues to inspire me not to be like other pastors who choke on the name of Jesus and forget they're part of His salvation army and not some glorified social worker. Hey, social workers are great! But women and men who claim to be Christian pastors should talk about Jesus by name and not become suspiciously ignorant, deceived, defiant, apathetic, or darkly co-conspiratorial about what they don't really believe or never believed or unfaithfully abandoned. And I praise God that Don reminded me back then that every vote counts.
Anyway, I've attached something that I want you to read that includes two important things about Ric that have not been mentioned anywhere else. It's especially important for geezers like me to acquaint ourselves with these things.
While I won't be talking about this from the pulpit, I am a citizen just like you and did not forfeit my American rights and responsibilities on May 8, 1977 when I was ordained. I don't agree with the last person that I've talked to like a bad sentence ending in a preposition or pastors who forget their civic responsibilities because they care more about pension credits and being liked than loving for Christ's sake by the book. And anyone who thinks God's people have not looked up, stood up, spoken up, and acted up for Jesus in public is Biblically ignorant, deceived, defiant, apathetic, or darkly co-conspiratorial. Don would say, "They're pathetically weak and irrelevant to challenges before us."
The election is now just two weeks away.
Your vote could determine Belvidere's future.
Blessings and Love!
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!
Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!