First Lessons in Love, October 2020 thru June 30 2021

Please use the link below for the date you wish to watch.  And please tell your friends about our site and know we need and highly value your support.  You may send donations of support to First Christian Church, 231 Burleson, Rockdale TX 76567

June 6, 2021, I Love Native Americans, One People Indivisible

May 30, 2021, Swimming, When A Mighty Wind Blows Our Way (Children's Moments, first 5 minutes)

May 23, 2021, I love Baseball, Am I a Winner or Am I a Loser?

May 16, 2021, I Love Make Believe, Faith Power 1, Spreading Joy

May 9, 2021, My Mother's World, I Love Tweety (inclusive)

May 2, 2021, "I Love Swimming," "More Than Words" (inclusive)

April 25, 2021, "Without Fear,"  Dr. Andy's Message on Psalm 23

April 25, 2021, "I Love Graduations," Children's Moments

April 18, 2021, "When Disturbed," Dr. Andy's Message

April 18, 2021. "I Love Track and Field," Children's Moments

April 11, 2021, "Life Together,"  Dr. Pate's message

April 11, 2021, "I Love Games," Children's Moments

April 4, 2021,  To Suppose or Not To Suppose," Pastor's Easter message

April 4, 2021, "I Love Easter," by Andy Pate, Children's moments

March 28, 2021, I love Zoos and Carnivals, Children's Moments

March 28, 2021, Beyond Awesone, Pastor's message

March 21, 2021,  Children's Moments,"I Love Charlie Brown," Pastor's message, "Heart to Heart"

March 14, 2021, "I Love Boys and Girls at Play," Children's Moments

March 14, 2021, "When the Dawn Comes,' Dr. Pate's Message

March 7, 2021, 'Once Upon a Time, Jesus Got Angry," opens with Children's Moments

February 28, 2021, "Winning by Losing," Dr. Pate's message

February 28, 2021, "Meet Charlie Woods," Children's Moments

February 21 2021, "The Good Conscience," Dr. Pate

Februay 21, 2921, "I Love the Young and the Brave,"  Children's Message

February 14, 2021, "When We Were Children,"  Dr. Pate's Valentine's Message

February 14, 2021, "I love stories of friendship," Children's Moments

February 7, 2021, "Then It Happened (David & Bathsheba),"  Dr. Pate

February 7, 2021. "I Love the Story of David and Goliath,"  Children's Momenta

January 31, 2021, "Just This Once," Dr. Pate. Samson's Prayer

I encourage parents to watch "Samson," with their children

January 31, 2021, "I Love the Story of Samson" (sound corrected)

January 24, 2021, "Neighbor Avoidance" Pate message

January 24, 2021, "I Love Good Signs & Symbols,"  Children's Moments

January 17, 2021, "The Only Way," includes "I Love Comics" for boys and girls

January 10, 2021, "A Personal Testimony"

January 10, 2021, "I Love Cuddly Animals," children's moments

January 3, 2021 "Radiant Goodness," open's with children's moments

December 25-27, "I Love Christmas," Children's

December 25-27, "Gift Unopened,"  Pastor Andy

Sunday, December 20, 2020, "It Takes a Miracle," Pastor Andy

Sunday, December 20, 2020, "I Love Acts of Kindness," Children's Moments

Sunday, December 13, 2020, "I Love Manger Scenes,"  Children's Moments

Sunday, December 13, 2020, "Living the Reason for the Season"  Pastor's Homily

Sunday, December 6, 2020 - "I Love to Christmas Shop," (Two)  "The Sound of Christmas"

Sunday, November 29, 2020 - "I Love People,"  "Where there is no moonlight"" (inclusive)

Sunday, November 22, 2020- "I Love Old Photos,"  "I Was Sick. . ." (with Children's Moments)

Sunday, November 15, 2020  "I Love Good Books,"  "Well Done!" (all inclusive)

Sunday, November 8, 2020 -"I Love Westerns"  (Children's Moments)

Sunday, November 8, 2020 - "The Right Tune in the Right Place at the Right Time" (Message)

Sunday, November 1, 2020 - "I Love Cartoons" (Children's Moments",

Sunday, November 1, 2020 - "The Prophetic Vision" (Pastor Andy's Message)

Sunday, October 25, 2020 - "I Love Games",  "The Greatest, Always"

Sunday, October 18, 2010 - "Do Dogs and Cats Go to Heaven?", "Chosen in Love and Steadfastness

Sunday, October 11, 2020 - "Love Your Father and Your Mother"

Slavery’s Most Neglected Victims, Can They Be Healed?

By Andrew L. Pate, Jr.

Note:  My main point here is that Whites are the victims of their own prejudices, a devastating social illness.  Until we rid ourselves of this sickness, we will not be a healthy nation.

The White middle and lower classes, often cited as the chief proponents of American racism, are themselves primary victims of the prejudices they have so long espoused..  Before, during and since the Civil Way non-elitist Whites have suffered educational and vocational setbacks which are quite possibly as socially destructive as those experienced by Blacks

Following the North's victory in 1865,  White prejudice did not wane, it solidified and has continued to thrive and intensify ever since, all the while creating  multiple forms of ill-will and social disadvantage among  people of all colors, including Whites

Consequently, where prejudiced Whites have controlled state and federal government, suppression of others has been written into law and enforced by the very legal entities created to secure justice and liberty for all.  Unfortunately, these laws have often proven to be of disservice to all Americans.

Prejudice is a social illness of the worst order, even more dangerous for those who hold it than for those against whom the prejudice is aimed.  It is, we believe,  "a sickness unto death."

Prejudice teaches and promulgates a false racial superiority.  And no classes suffer more today from the devastating consequences  than do the lower and middle class Whites, those who often have to compete with Blacks and immigrants for precious jobs.  For you see, they have been victims of a seriously weakened educational system that has placed them in the back of the class, where they had to live with the reality that even in a predominantly White world, they are inferior.

White elites have had the advantage always.  For over 250 years  many have attended the best public and private schools, then gone on to enhance their status with superior educations at our best colleges and universities.

Meanwhile the lower classes, Blacks and Whites,  have stumbled, Blacks more so due to enforced segregation until 1954.  But also, in key respects, after 1954.  For with the Civil Rights movement, non-elitist Whites were compelled to compete with advantaged Blacks So, now we have another cause for enmity among the races, as certain Whites are claiming reverse discrimination.  It's a non-ending spiral going nowhere.

Answers to our multiple forms of continuing enslavement are not easy to come by.   Clearly lower class Whites need a sounder educational foundation than they been getting, hopefully one that enables them to feel better among themselves in relationship to all people.

Perhaps a kind of "elitist" junior college experience designed to bring together the less well prepared and hopefully, bring them up to a competitive level, or teach them a trade or vocational skills that will improve their self-image, this might work.

Whatever, we can and must do better.

 

 

 

Healing Moments That May Pass Us By

 

By Dr. Andy

When our lives are sailing along smoothly, or nearly so, we may think we have no compelling reason to work on our relationships, however weak or strong they may be.   So, we push them aside, quite possibly overlooking any opportunity there may be to improve those relationships.

So, please join me in taking a hard look at three very real life situations where opportunity may exist for personal growth but which opportunity may go unrecognized.

In the death of a loved one.  Short of one's own awareness of his or her impending death, possibly the most emotionally draining experience a human being can have is to experience the loss of someone near and dear. While it is necessary for the mourner to grieve deeply over the loss,  he or she is in need of support and the supporters themselves need to find meaning and purpose in the shared experience.  Others can intentionally be present for the mourner.  And the mourner can intentionally reach back to the supporter.  When that happens, I believe the lives affected are moving along a curative path too seldom traveled.  They are moving toward further growth, greater maturity and toward becoming much wiser.

The memorial service itself  can often brings persons closer, cementing their relationships while making the "ties that bind" stronger than ever.   This is especially a possibility when the minister has a sound theology and is able to develop and lead a service that is a unifying experience, as is the purpose of every Christian worship time.

Grief is painful, we know. But the pain felt for the dying and those affected is often a great teacher, which collectively endured becomes collectively more binding over the long haul.

Something similar is possible in divorce, which bring to those involved similar emotions of pain and negativity.  This negativity can, of course, stay on indefinitely, further weakening the lives of everyone touched,  unless those same persons reach out to one another for the purpose of having more meaningful relationships, leaving behind the past that needs to be left behind, while seizing  the future that needs to come.

In a typical divorce, it is not just two people; but a minimum of two families and two groups of friends involved, which, in turn could lead to the losing of a job, our third area of therapeutic possibility.

Frequently overlooked  is the fact that many, perhaps most people who have worked for any length of time have lost at least one job they thought they needed.   If this loss is recent or unexpected, insolvency can also result as well as other unfortunate outcomes that test the fiber of everyone affected.

But, as many job losers can attest, and have attested to:  being fired. or laid off, can be and often is a blessing.   Finally, there has come a clearer view of reality, and the fired ones are better able to admit their weaknesses  and make themselves to be more productive in a work place more natural to their instincts and abilities.

In others words, life's unfortunates can be teachable, healing moments.  They can make us healthier and, yes, better human beings.  Know that.

Pathway to Sanity

By Andrew L. Pate, Jr.

In my darkest moments, I tremble for the American children of 2021.  They have so much dirt to sift through for them to grow into living out their adulthood as responsible, informed citizens.  The odds of their being able to do so are heavily against them.

But it can happen.  Let me suggest three ways;

First — Parents can remain calm when with their children about political, religious and racial issues, showing an open and tolerant respect for varying opinions.

Secondly — Parents and teachers can create a desire for learning in the children that is strong and passionate in its quest for Truth and for the discovery of insight into the wondrous nature of the world and human relationships

Thirdly — Children can teach others how to get along and embrace life.  For “of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Can we adults take the sensible steps?  That is the question of today.

Can We Heal Our Nation’s Ills?

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Andrew L. Pate, Jr.

Before an illness can be cured, its symptoms must be correctly diagnosed.  This holds for social as well as individual ailments.

Here, we wish to identify six dysfunctional arenas in the United States and examine them briefly under three headings:  Racism and Elitism; Criminality and Violence; Suicide and Social Isolation.  There are, of course, other ways to discuss our major societal problems, but these headings cover a broad spectrum of the issues involved.

I.  Criminality and Violence

Many Americans believe that violent crimes have increased dramatically in recent years.  They are correct. While the total number of crimes committed annually in the U.S. has fallen, the number of murders has increased dramatically.  As Fox News reported early this year, based on a study of 34 cities, there were 1200 additional U.S. killings in 2020 over 2019.   In Chicago alone, murders increased by 56%, reporting 481 in 2019 and 748 in 2020.  This increase does not appear to have been directly related to the Covid-19 pandemic during which people were not socializing as much.; but whatever the major causes, the increase in murders is alarming.  Too many Americans have been mentally ill enough to kill.

II - Racism and Elitism

One needs only to read the daily headlines to note that blatant racism in America has risen its ugly head anew, elevating its divisive nature to a more visible and dangerous height.  The numerous rallies for Black Lives Matter, conflicting debates on whether statues of revered Americans who were slave owners should be removed, widespread disagreement over Roe vs. Wade and abortion, these and other issues have significantly deepened and widened the chasm between people of color and others, mostly White Anglos.  And this division has carried over and been pointedly aimed at the huge influx of immigrants on our southern border.

Politics thus far in the 21st century have featured the growing division among our varied of races, nationalities and differing religious  The resulting conflicts are so sharp they signal an indefinite future.

Elitism, the superiority of wealth and education flaunted by many of our wealthiest has alienated countless numbers of our middle and lower class citizens.  The well-educated themselves have come to resent other Americans, who, they believe, have not done their homework, even at a basic and simple level. And many of the wealthiest among us  single out "the free loaders" for their ridicule and condemnation. Thus, widespread resentments across the various classes exist,  further magnifying the dangers inherent in our divisions.

III Suicides and Social Isolation

Despite America's growing population and coveted high standard of living, suicides and isolation for many have also risen sharply.   Underpaid workers and individuals without a college education feel left out, with no one speaking up on their behalf.

The Center for Disease Control has recently  published research  showing  a dramatic 25% increase in suicide rates since 1999. Half of all U.S. states experienced an increase of more than 30%.

The research also makes clear that in more than half of these  suicides, the individuals were not diagnosed with a mental health condition. It’s a hidden problem for many people.

_____________

The evidence of serious illnesses in our society  should disturb every American. The facts alone tell us that he USA may already be in grievous decline.

If, indeed, our  democracy is at stake, as some experts claim, curative steps must be taken, and soon.

No one has all the answers.  But every concerned citizen can support the solutiohey believe  may be the most effective.   Better salaries for underpaid workers; Reparations of the blacks and other victims of slavery.  A tightening of our gun-control laws.  Better social services for the isolated and left-behind.  Strong and effective leadership by our politicians, scientists and spiritual leaders.  These are but a few of the proposals being thrown around as possible cures for what ails us.

One curative response we think within our reach is simple and clear:  our societal ills call for a unified response by the American people.

Let us never say, "No, we can't."  Let us be a Great America.

20 May 2021

 

 

 

 

 

A Pastor’s View of 21st Century American Politics

Video Version of this article, click here

By Andrew Pate, Jr.

From where I sit, politics in the U.S. since 2015 have been much stormier than usual, due in largest measure to one person – Donald J. Trump.   Mostly, I have kept my views quiet within the confines of the church I have been serving.  For I am well aware that many congregants do not see the world and certain issues as I do.

But I think it a serious mistake to let my voice remain silent.  The Christian Church expects its ordained ministers to be knowledgeable about current happenings in the world and to be able to apply Biblical insight to them.

So it is, for those interested, I wish to state my Biblically based views on recent political events.

#1 – For good and valid reasons, I am no follower of Donald Trump.  Indeed, he epitomizes for me the very opposite of the core Christian values I look for in our nation’s leaders.  He plays loosely with truth.  He defines what he says because he has said it as the only correct view, and often without evidence or Christian values to support whatever he is thinking, which varies from moment to moment.  Trump’s disrespect for education and basic democratic principles alarms me greatly.

#2 – I am a member of no political party, and never have been.  I vote for the candidate who, to me, best meets the standards I have cited above.  And I take a position on particular issues in the same way.

#3 – To be as knowledgeable as I can be, I read widely a variety of major newspapers.  For my daily news, I follow most closely AP and UPI news, while reading regularly a variety of opinions by our most respected reporters, including several who are conservative and traditional Republicans.  I pay almost no attention to extremists, on the right or on the left, whether on Fox News or CNN.

#4 – Also on a regular basis I discuss politics with close friends, my wife and other clergy.  For the most part, as you’d expect, I think, we tend to agree.  We share the same study and reading habits.

#5 – THE major issue with which I have had to deal throughout my 61 years in ordained ministry stands above all others:  racism, especially with respect to the Southern heritage, in which I was born and in which I have worked most of my adult life.

Racism in the U.S. is deep-seated, and often unacknowledged.  Early in ministry, I discovered how entrenched it is.  With the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s I thought (I hoped) things would get better.  But they still are major racist problems in the U.S. and nowhere more evident than in Trumpism.

Pro-Trumpites do not want to be challenged, especially by a minister, even more do they not want it when the minister is their minister.  I deeply regret what I consider to be their closed minds on the subject, closed to the Truth as we understand Truth in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

To Sum Up:  As a minister of Jesus Christ and staunch upholder of Christ’s values, I am categorically opposed to any form of racism that degrades another human being because of their color or because they are not like Anglos.

And I wish this to be known by everyone who has a real interest in my opinions as a Christian minister.

13 May 2021

 

Waked? Awoke? Got Up?…Still Sleeping?

By Atticus Andrew

Does it matter today how you say you stopped sleeping, arose from your bed and started doing something of real importance for yourself and other human beings?

Yes and no.  Blacks have both inspired and angered  America and the  world with their "WOKEness."  There's little doubt.  Most are determined to correct historic wrongs.

But not all non-Blacks agree.  In fact, many Americans likely disagree and harbor great resentments that "people of color" may be granted unusual privileges as remedies for the evils in slavery's ugly history.

So, the War goes on.  Not the one in Afghanistan, the Civil War in America, the endless battles between the races, mostly between Whites and a few "Uncle Toms" against all non-White people.

To say that the present realty of this Civil War is disappointing and depressing is a gross understatement,  For such suggests strongly that the negatives against "wokeness" are beyond our abilities to describe, much less correct. Day after day, hour after hour, injustices are committed in our land against those with lesser power, and the coveted balance of our justice scales forever tips in favor of those who are still asleep, deaf and dumb to the ultimately lethal nature of blatant racism.

America!  America!  Wake up!  If you do not,  you will surely continue your disappearing act.  because, in reality, you are no longer the role model for the humankind; rather, you have so declined that you have become the symbol of a much-despised nation.

Rightly so!  Self-righteousness in the extreme has become our global reputation and thus, the main cause of our "inevitable decline" around the globe.

"Justice for some" denies the constitutional foundation of the United States, having replaced the pronounced goal of our founding fathers and mothers.

If we fail to wake up very soon, I'm afraid we will fail.  And as a mature and thankful citizen of the United Sates of America, I wish to avoid that at all costs.

April 28, 2021

 

A True Story Headed for a Tragic Ending

By Atticus Andrew

Among human beings cancer has no friends.  The dreaded disease, when inflicted,  hangs around to affect all whom its lethal nature touches.   When terminal, loss and sorrow consume friends and family; the greater the love therein, the more profound the loss and the sorrow.

I have a friend whose cancer is terminal.  He will likely expire within a few months, if not weeks.  He is, however, extremely fortunate in admirable respects.  He has many friends who are present for him and for his wondrous wife, with him he shares a grand romance.  For these intimate consolers, his death will no doubt bring a sharp, painful appreciation for the sanctity of life itself.

But they are not alone.  There are others for whom my friend's passing will be equally tragic, if not more so.  I refer, of course, to friends and relatives who will, of necessity, only be able to mourn from a distance.

And I refer in particular to the mother upon whom the loss of her first born will literally implode,  forcing upon her the greatest depth of grief a human being can know.

My dying friend's mother is an exceptionally lovely woman, without even a hint of ugliness in her manner or in her looks.  Yet, she has been denied a presence with her son who is dying.  She knew well the pain of his birth, a source of the greatest possible personal joy, but kept entirely away from him  in his dying.  How and why?

For many reasons, with the impact of his parents' divorce, defining for my friend and his siblings, an inevitable separation from both, but specifically from his mother, who in his upbringing, was the one who kept the family orderly and the children assured a sound way to a sound adulthood.

But my dying friend is ungrateful.   His mother knows him too well, so he has deceived himself into justifying her required absence from his life  For he does not want her presence to remind him of his weaknesses and his past lies, or better said, his exaggerations.  Most of all, my dying friend does not want his beloved wife to know of his past errors as a young man, which his mild-mannered mother would never reveal or openly address, but concerning which, he mistakenly feels and thinks she would,   Sad, so very sad.

Thus it is that  in the end, a single death from a horrible disease will break many hearts, with none more broken or shattered than that of the woman who gave him birth and who  guided him into the possibility of knowing great love during his lifetime..

 

Real Immigration Issues Cry Out for Answers

By Doctor Andy

Our real immigration crisis haunts us on this side of our southern border.  Until we understand and cope with this in-house dilemma, we will very likely remain unable to deal successfully with the thousands of citizen-seekers who clamor to cross into the U.S. from the other side.

Evey citizen  within the U.S. is being called upon to accept responsibility for coping with the crisis.   Neither one group nor a single radical nationalist can be held fully accountable.  We all should be.  Why?

For one, because racism runs rampant throughout our society.

For two, the rigidity in our differing opinions that has so separated us confirms that our proud heritage of knowing how "to get things done" has been gravely weakened.

So it is, we blame others:  the Republican party, the extremist liberals, the intellectually elite, the faithless, the misguided evangelicals and, most of all, we fault the wannabe immigrants themselves, who after all, we reason illogically, are foreign invaders bent on anarchy and the corruption of our children and youth.

How misguided!   Were we truly a value-centered democracy, we would be confronting our border issues with solutions that work.   Instead, the cancer of racism is killing us.

So, everyone of us who seriously desires the preservation of the USA and its historically positive ability to contribute to the welfare of the humankind—one and all, we are now  "called"  to propose and implement the necessary corrections.  Let us suggest a few:

First,  White Evangelicals must surrender their one-issue obsession and expand their pro-life position to be "all inclusive" of pregnant teens, raped women and the convicted on death row, while at the same time attending fully to granting woman equal advancement and participation in their ministries.

Secondly, the Republican party must return to its roots and abandon its "Southern strategy" and "trickle down economics." then replace these immensely divisive polices with updated positions true to their history..

Thirdly, our best educated, e.g. the Ivy Leaguers et al, must attend to showing respect for all levels of education and training, and apply that respect to the underlying problems.

Fourthly, the  U.S. educational system must itself get back on the right track, which means attending well to educating all its children, youth and adults who need it.

Most importantly, we who are divided must agree that we will work together, denying ourselves the pleasure of thinking that " our side" is the only right side.

Once we have accomplished the above, then, and only then will we be ready to open up to the thousands currently stranded on our borders.

 

 

Beyond Partisan Politics

By Andrew L. Pate, Jr.

We can if we want to.  But most of the time we don't "want to."  Instead, we prefer to have our side win and the other side lose—decisively.  The battle is unending, meaning that stalemate and paralysis are the order of every day.

So, to get things done, we have to begin anew and agree that WE really do want to find lasting solutions to our political and social issues, without compromising our basic principles.

Which means to me that we must agree on our basic principles, of which life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the basic goals.

In other words, every proposed solution must address these goals.   If the proposal limits any one of the three goals it is, by definition, not worth pursuing.

From there, workable applications are rather obvious:  Take, three currently "hot" issues:  immigration, voting rights and health care.

Do our Immigration proposals address the lives of all concerned.?  How do new voting rights laws assure liberty for all voters.  And in what way does a health care enactment enhance the lives of most residents of America?

Of course, there are related other questions.  But the point is made.   Moving beyond paralysis requires actions that are consistent with America's essential goals.

Politicians who refuse to be so guided by those goals must be voted from office.

Wealthy individuals who put their personal goals of adding to their stockpiles, their self-centered ideas must be blocked from the minds of our chief decision makers.

It will not be easy.  But it can be done, if. . .if we have the proper will we can find the proper way.

College Station, Texas

April 7, 2021