Pastor Cal's
Weekly Epistle

Every week Pastor Cal
writes a weekly column
for the Spirit Page of
the Norwich Bulletin.

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calstigers@gmail.com if
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Central Baptist Church of Westerly
16 Elm Street, Westerly, RI   02891
Phone: (401) 596-4929   

Check out our blog at Central Baptist Life
Make Your Vote Count                                         January 30, 2013

Dear friends,

The nominations are in and on February 24 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts
and Sciences will hand out their Oscar Awards.  They have been doing this for 85
years, dating back to 1929 when Wings was named the Best Picture and Emil
Jannings won for Best Actor.  In recent years I have made it a point to watch some
of the movies that have been nominated for Best Picture and come up with my own
winners.

In 2011 I correctly chose The King's Speech.  I thought The Hurt Locker was a
lousy movie and chose Avatar as my Best Picture in 2010.  What did I know?  The
Academy voters thought differently.  I got it right in 2009 when I picked Slum Dog
Millionaire.  I loved that movie and so did the Academy voters.  It made me laugh.
It made me cry.  It did everything a good movie is supposed to do.

Well I have my ballot for 2012.  It's not an official ballot.  Nobody is going to see it.
It is not going to count. I filled it out anyway.  You will probably do it too.  You see
the Academy Awards has become a part of our culture.  Whether we watch the
telecast or not, the announcement of the winners has become fodder for
conversations around water coolers, in coffee shops, at dance studios and at PTO
meetings.

We are a nation of people who like to pick winners and losers.  We all have an
opinion.  Whether it is in politics, sports or movies, we debate and argue as to who
or what is the best.  I'd like to be part of the crowd who chooses the Best Actor or
Actress at the Oscars, or the Entertainer of the Year for the Country Music
Association, or the next member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  We can dream but
in all reality most of us will never be asked to send in an official ballot.  Someone
else will do the choosing.  We will get to sit around and talk about it.  

It's funny but a lot of people think about their faith in the same way.  Faith is
something to debate and talk about.  We have very little to say about how it is
expressed in real life because our religious leaders have already decided what we
should do and how we should live.  We go to church or synagogue and listen to what
is said and then go home and talk about it with our friends.  That's what happened
in Jesus' day too.  There was a lot of talk going on.

Jesus challenged us to do more than talk.  He called us to live out our faith.  He
challenged us to feed the hungry, to seek justice for the oppressed, to care for the
sick.  He told us that we needed to choose how we would live our lives.  He called
on us to turn away from our bad habits (sins) and to live lives that reflected his love
and mercy.  Parable after parable were shared as examples of what pleases God.
He called us to follow him.

The truth is that we get to vote on something that really matters.  We do that by
accepting the call and living lives that reflect God's glory.  A lot of people are
watching us. They are waiting to see if loving God makes a difference.  When we
vote to follow him with all our heart, our soul, our mind and our strength, we give
people something to talk about that really matters.

So forget the Oscars!  Vote with your heart, your hands and your feet to serve God.
I pray that your expression of God's love will give people something to talk about
and turn many hearts to Him.

God bless.  See you in church. Cal