Come writers and critics who prophesy with your pen
And keep your eyes wide the chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon for the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who that it's namin'
For the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a' changin'!
— Bob Dylan
This year I worked for an hour at Project Warmth. This is a local project wherein we, as a community, try to raise money to help those who might not otherwise be able to afford it to pay their heating bills. I shoveled chili for a while, being taught the fine art of this by the one, the only Ron Marrone.
This is an activity that has quite a few moving parts and couldn’t work without volunteers. As I looked around I saw Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Lutherans, Nazarenes, and people from church’s whose name I did not know and I am sorry for having to leave out. While most of us there are affiliated with a service club, our motivation for service proceeds from somewhere deeper. It would have to, right, or we wouldn’t have joined service clubs to begin with.
In any case, we were drawn there in many cases by the words of someone long ago who said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” And we pretty much think he would’ve said something about keeping poor people from being cold if he hadn’t been in a desert at the time.
Different people from different places having different ways drawn together for a common purpose because of something someone said such a long, long time ago.
We are in an upsetting season: Election time. It is usually a time of uncertainty. It is usually a time of a pair of candidates each of whom is trying to convince us that the world will come crashing down around us if the other is elected. That is just par for the course. The troubling thing is that this time each has been able to make an incredibly compelling case.
At this time I don’t know who I am going to vote for. I only know who I am not going to vote for. My main political strategy is, as it has been for a number of years, to mark my ballot and go home to pray that Jesus return.
Yet within the darkness there is light. Bob Dylan has been tapped for a Nobel Prize in Literature. While there are some who bemoan this and will say that it shows the depths to which this prize has sunk, I don’t care. The man speaks to me. I’ve been listening to his songs and looking up his lyrics. It strikes me that we are now in a time very much like the Sixties with rapid change. It is difficult to know what’s coming next or where we will be next year.
But I will be so bold as to say I know. Next year, we in Pittsburg, and thousands of other places like us around this country, will be coming together to help those who are in need. We will remain inspired by the One who taught us so long ago but whose words remain fresh. We will do it here in Pittsburg at the Salvation Army, Wesley House, and the soon to come Lord’s Diner. (The last five words of that sentence can be read a couple of different ways and it kind of scares me.) The power of the Word transcends the power of the candidates. It will remain forever, and ever.
— Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to “like” the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook.