Ronald Ray Cox, a friend from the time of my birth, passed from life on Earth to life in eternity at about 8:32 a.m. (EST), October 19, 2013. Knowing that, it’s likely for you to think that I’m writing this to honor my friend and to tell you wonderful stories from a relationship that stretched out over nearly 70 years. Though I do want to honor my old friend, since there was a gap in our relationship from the time we finished college until about five months prior to Ron’s passing, when he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, I don’t have those nearly 70 years’ worth of stories to share. Thankfully, I do have the story to share of how I was blessed in reconnecting with Ron at the end of his life and getting to witness how he and his Wife, Kim, embraced God and each other through their final season together.
Category Archives: church
Father Jonathan Morris is an American Catholic Priest, currently serving in the Archdiocese of New York. He is probably best known as a contributor and analyst for the Fox News Channel. Last weekend, in the interview captured in the video below, he was asked to comment on recent news-making statements from Pope Francis, urging more understanding for homosexuality. Father Jonathan’s commentary included him reading a touching letter from his sister, who, he explained, “was legally married, in the eyes of the law in Washington D.C.,to another woman earlier this year.” What I heard through Father Jonathan moved me deeply and in a fully unexpected way.
Since I’m an Evangelical Christian and not Catholic, I don’t look to Pope Francis, as my spiritual leader. So, when Father Jonathan said, “He (Pope Francis) is inviting us, he is inviting me, he is inviting Christians to give a new emphasis on mercy, oncompassionate kind expression of the Gospel of Jesus and that means changing the way we’re doing things.”, I was skeptical. I wondered if the change he was encouraging was doctrinally sound. However, listening to what Father Jonathan shared about his correspondence with his sister, regarding the Pope ‘s statements, convicted me. Here’s a summary of what Father Jonathan had to say on this:
In the past week or so it seems that I’ve encountered countless promotions for the current movie, “FIREPROOF”. Just from the movies logo, the word “FIREPROOF” with the “OO” represented by interlocking wedding rings, you quickly get a sense of what the movie is about. On the movie’s Website, you get a synopsis of the movie that starts out by saying,
“At work, inside burning buildings, Capt. Caleb Holt lives by the old firefighter’s adage: Never leave your partner behind. At home, in the cooling embers of his marriage, he lives by his own rules.
Growing up, Catherine Holt always dreamed of marrying a loving, brave firefighter…just like her daddy. Now, after seven years of marriage, Catherine wonders when she stopped being “good enough” for her husband.”
Obviously, what needs to be made “FIREPROOF” is this couples marriage.
Since my Wife, Ruth and I head up our church’s Married Couples Fellowship, we welcome seeing a movie that encourages married couples to tend to their marriage. And, naturally, we hear from others on the topic. Just yesterday, we had several couples come to us, raving about the movie and urging us to encourage others to see it. Also, we received an email from the leaders of the Married Couples Fellowship at our old church, in Southern California, letting us know that they had gone to see the movie, as a group and encouraging us to do likewise.
Of course, we’re thankful to see this level of interest by married couples in protecting their relationship. Marriages certainly need _ _ _ _ PROOFing from countless things today. Just fill in the blanks with whatever threatens to draw your priority to something else and away from your marriage … WORK, GOLD, BEER, BALL and on and on.
Coincidentally, Ruth and I are presently participating in a 12-week Marriage Class being conducted by the Pastors and Elders of our church. After the first class , I was approached by the Husband of a couple who were unable to attend the first session, though they are signed up for the course. He, simply, asked if I thought the class was worthwhile. I think my answer also helped sum up the importance of a movie like “FIREPROOF” and why we’re so grateful for the attention its getting. I said,
“When you set aside time with your best friend to focus on guarding and nurturing your relationship, remembering Who put you together and Who is the foundation of your marriage; how can it not be one of the most worthwhile things you do with your life?!”
Figgins has been confused about some recent incidents in the current Presidential campaign where some candidates have been accused of trying to “play the race card”. Thankfully, Figgins was born and raised in a time when race is much less divisive than it was when I was growing up. So, I’ve been drawing on my experience from that former era to help him understand.
Senator Hillary Clinton’s recent remark, indicating that President Lyndon Baines Johnson was more deserving of credit for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been central in this. Although I’m not able to look upon Mrs. Clinton’s heart, I told Figgins that I doubted if she had any malicious intent towards Dr. King, in making her comment. However, I went on to say that I do think her intent was self-serving political leverage and it led to a blunder that was harmful to everyone involved, including herself.
I don’t often think of Mrs. Clinton and her Husband, former President Bill Clinton, having much in common with me but, in this regard, it struck me that there are four things that we do have in common. (1) We were born in the 1940s, all within the same 14 month period. (2) We were all born and raised in the Midwest/Mid-South. (3) We are all White. (4) We all should remember how differently those who weren’t White were treated by the culture we grew up in and how very wrong that was.
If you don’t recall what our culture was like in the time prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or you haven’t studied it, I recommend that you find a book called Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored, written by Clifton L. Taulbert. Clif was born in the mid 1940s too but he was born in the South, he isn’t White and his book does a good job of capturing what that time was like.
I can’t imagine anyone living in that time not noticing Dr. King and what was going on with the Civil Rights Movement. I certainly noticed. But, frankly, Dr. King wasn’t a hero to me then. However, one day I heard him say, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Those words were like seeds planted in me to bring about a much needed change in my heart. No doubt, those words impacted others differently but Dr. King and those striving with him deserve the credit for the plantings that brought about a much needed change in this nation’s heart and I suspect that included the heart of this nation’s President at the time, Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Its a shame that Senator Clinton would make such a self-serving and harmful comment. However, maybe its good that it happened, if for no other reason than to refresh our memory of how far our country has come since 1964 and how thankful we should be for those, like Dr. King, who were willing to live and in fact, to die to accomplish this. Its, also, a fond reminder to me of a time when my Wife and I got to worship with the flock at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, in Atlanta, where both Dr. King and his Father once served as Senior Pastor. The Bible Study that day was from Romans 8. Probably, the best known part of that Chapter is verse 28 … “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [His] purpose.”