Bob Tamasy: The World I Used to Know – Where Did It Go?

Thursday, March 8, 2018 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Have you ever had the thought, “Where am I? And what have you done with the world I used to know?” I must admit it’s crossed my mind more than once.

When I was growing up, the biggest problems in our schools were chewing gum, running in the hallways, and the only shooting that took place involved “spitballs” through straws. To talk disrespectfully to a teacher, much less confront one violently in anger, was unthinkable. The idea of someone coming into a school with guns and other weapons, seeking death and devastation, wasn’t on anyone’s fear monitor.

It used to be that comedians could comment on everyday situations we all could relate to, without resorting to heavy doses of profanity and vulgarity. They genuinely tried to entertain, not to demean or ridicule others, or to endorse a certain worldview. Funny people were, well, funny. And they left all of us feeling a little more lighthearted and better equipped for facing the realities of everyday life.

There was some degree of bullying in the world I used to know, and it was unacceptable even then. But these days, technology has driven malicious thinking, words and actions to depths we couldn’t have envisioned in decades past. How tragic that seemingly neutral tools, things such as computers, smartphones and social media, have become twisted into devices for hate and depravity.

The world I used to know was far from perfect, I’m fully aware of that. Society has made some important and positive strides forward. But today, “tolerance” has come to mean being favorable toward anyone who takes a “do whatever you want” posture, while being utterly intolerant of anyone who holds a view that some things just can’t be tolerated, accepted…or heartily applauded and endorsed.

It once was unfathomable that someone on a daytime talk show would denigrate anyone who follows Jesus Christ – and believes He can personally speak to them in a variety of ways – as having a “mental illness.” This, however, is exactly what one “celebrity” whom I won’t dignify by naming stated recently.

A Bible discussion I participated in helped to bring things into perspective. Several passages in the Bible refer to God’s people as “aliens and strangers” in this world. For example, 1 Peter 2:10-11 states, Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” (Another translation uses the phrase, “aliens and strangers.”)

King David wrote, Hear my prayer, LORD, listen to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping. I dwell with you as a foreigner, a stranger, as all my ancestors were” (Psalm 39:12). And in the book of Hebrews’ “hall of faith,” in speaking about those who through the centuries exhibited great faith, it says, All these people died in faith, without having received the things they were promised. However, they saw them and welcomed them from afar. And they acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth (Hebrews 11:13).

This reminds me of lines from an old hymn you might remember hearing: “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue…. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

If we believe the Scriptures, we’re told this world is not the destination, just an interim stop – similar to a stopover in some city’s airport where we change planes so we can get to where we want to go. The only time I’ve been to Salt Lake City, Utah was like that. I didn’t even change planes; we just landed, some passengers disembarked, others boarded, and we were off again. (Looking through the jet’s windows, the nearby mountains did look beautiful.)

Carrying the “aliens and strangers” metaphor further, Ephesians 2:19 points out that once we become members of God’s eternal family, we change citizenship: Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household.”

So as the political debate over “illegal aliens” continues to rage, we should recognize that from God’s point of view, we too are “aliens” in this world, neither legal nor illegal. We’re just a-passin’ through. What are we to do in the interim? In 1 Peter 2:12, we find our instructions: “Live such good lives among the pagans (non-believers) that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12).

So if we feel alienated at times, it’s because we are aliens, even though no passports, visas or green cards are involved. We can take heart by remembering, “our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

----

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.



First-Centenary Among Area Methodist Churches Getting New Pastors

The Holston Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church met earlier this week in Lake Junaluska, N.C., and announced new pastoral appointments.   Among those churches getting new pastors in the newly redrawn Scenic South District that covers Chattanooga is First-Centenary UMC downtown. The Rev. C. Mark Gooden, a graduate of Hixson High, has been named as the new ... (click for more)

Men In Ministry Event At Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist On June 24

The public is invited to Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church, 1115 North Moore Road in Chattanooga on June 24 at 10:45 a.m. as they celebrate "Men In Ministry."  The guest speaker will be Dr. Bryan Johnson, Hamilton County School Superintendent. (click for more)

Red Bank Finalizes 20-Cent Property Tax Increase

The Red Bank commissioners voted Tuesday night to adopt the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget that includes a property tax increase. Mayor John Roberts said that along with the increase in both commercial and residential development, comes increased traffic. Infrastructure has not kept up with the growth, including the secondary roads. The cost of paving these roads is $1 million. Money ... (click for more)

Attorney Poston Says Man In Viral Video Seen Fighting Officer Was Trying To Break Up Fight

Attorney McCracken Poston said William Alexander Floyd, the young man seen in the recently published “viral” video who is seemingly engaged in a boxing match with a Chattanooga police officer, started out trying to break up a fight.   The attorney said, "Things are not always as they appear. There is a much more interesting story in the seconds leading up to the events ... (click for more)

The Boss, Claude Ramsey

I try not to overuse the word great, but we lost a great man today, Claude Ramsey. I had the pleasure of serving under him as director of Commercial and Industrial Properties for 14 years while he was the Hamilton County Assessor of Property. He was probably the smartest person I have ever known. He was tough but patient, kind, caring and compassionate. He knew how to get ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Please ‘Connect The Dots’

Get your crayons out and let’s play “connect the dots.” Next Thursday (June 28 th ) the Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition, in partnership with Chattanooga’s publicly-flawed non-profit educational foundation, UnifiEd, will hold its regional meeting at Chattanooga’s Bessie Smith Hall. The coalition was formed to advocate for “students of color” in Tennessee, and among those on ... (click for more)