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A Disastrous Election But I'm Still Upbeat

Dear friends,                                                                                                     November 2012

            The morning after the election Claire and I were in front of Planned Parenthood, praying and sidewalk counseling.  And though it is always frustrating and sad to engage in this ministry, it did seem appropriate on several levels.  First of all, it’s what we’ve done for almost 30 years – taking the truths and mercies of God right to the doors of the death chambers.  No matter who was in the White House or the mayor’s office, we’ve done our best to give voice to God’s unequivocal declaration of the sanctity of human life – in print, in conferences, on the radio, in starting the CPC, in cyberspace, in nursing homes, in audiences large and small all over the world and, yes, at the abortion mills.

            It’s never been easy – even when the government powers recognized our rights of free speech.  But, as some of you remember, that hasn’t always been the case.  We had to endure hassles from police and prosecutors (as well as several arrests and court cases) before a successful lawsuit finally brought a recognition of our rights to peacefully, prayerfully gather on a sidewalk.

            Will a second Obama term undo these religious liberties?  There’s no doubt the President will try his hardest to make that happen.  But that’s what made our presence at the Planned Parenthood the day after the election particularly appropriate.  It signaled our dedication to our high calling no matter how low the culture goes.  The Lord doesn’t tell us to serve Him only when it’s easy and popular.  We serve Him because it is right to do so…because He is worthy of our best and bravest service…and because He rewards His faithful servants in ways that are more bountiful than we can ever imagine.

            Our presence at the abortion mill that morning was appropriate in other ways too.  For instance, it demonstrated to the thugs at Planned Parenthood, to the people driving by, and, for that matter, to the spiritual forces congregating in the heavens above that even the national tragedy enacted the day before was not going to deter us from doing what’s right.  And doing it in the right spirit too.  We were winsome, waving as we do to those driving by, and confidently bearing our warm-hearted baby signs and banners.  Also appropriate is that we were part of a team that morning including three friends that have stood alongside us for many years.  On the Saturday mornings that we’re at the abortion mill, there are other pro-life champions able to make it as well.  And that’s appropriate because it’s emblematic of all we do for, even in those elements of Vital Signs Ministries where it seems that only Claire and I are involved, there is a team of intercessors and financial supporters that are always helping make it happen.  Not a large team…but a wonderful and much appreciated one!  Thank you each and every one. 

            If it sounds like I’m upbeat despite the election results, it’s because I am.  I’m not a “cockeyed optimist” nor do I deny that the election represents a terribly sad and alarming moment for America.  Indeed, if you read “Entering the Bleak Winter,” the essay that I wrote about the election and America’s future, which I’m enclosing with this letter, you’ll probably find it a frighteningly somber evaluation of where we’re at. 

            But I’m upbeat nevertheless because, for crying out loud, I’m a Christian!  Because I’ve trusted in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, my sins are forgiven.  I will live forever, enjoying a glorified body, the fellowship of the saints, and a paradise beyond my wildest dreams.  And even though I must now walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil because God is my Shepherd, my Source of power, my Friend.  Why wouldn’t I be upbeat?

            Now, before I close this letter and let you get on with reading the accompanying essay, let me fill you in on a few other Vital Signs happenings.  With the election over, both the schedule and the focus of Vital Signs Blog will change a bit for much of the blog activity of the last few years has been designed to educate and mobilize efforts against the zealously anti-life agenda of Barack Obama and his pals.  But though I will still provide updates, alarms and action targets from the political arena, the blog will spend more time on other areas of the culture wars, the reformation of the church, and practical theology.  In addition, I will be doing more research and writing relevant to the blog, the VSM website, other publications, and speaking engagements.

            We’re also making some changes with “When Swing Was King” as we go beyond what we once considered was our limit of 11 presentations a month.  By initiating a few evening shows in addition to our afternoon schedule, we have decided to push our limit to 13, possibly even 14 different facilities a month.  Tough schedule, you say?  Yes, but it’s well worth it for the residents, their families, the facility staff…and us!  And the friendships we form naturally means other contacts as well – like individual visits, cookies made to share, and even things like being asked to conduct the funeral recently for one of our “When Swing Was King” fans.  As our friend’s daughter said, “As far as clergymen go, Denny, you were the closest to him in those years before he died.  And he really liked you.  He would be so pleased to know you would do the service.”  I was honored and blessed to do so, especially since I was able to share great stories that the deceased (a distinguished physician and community leader) had shared with Claire and me.  And I was able to share the gospel too – the greatest story of all.

            May the Lord richly bless you all in your preparations for Thanksgiving and may He continue to shine His light in you and through you.  In this post-Christian America, our culture needs it more desperately than ever.