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Many of you know that since March 1 I have been in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area serving as the new pulpit minister for the Broken Arrow Church of Christ and that my family has remained in Carrollton, Texas, allowing the children to complete the school year. Thankfully, our days apart are drawing to a close. Hannah will graduate from Newman Smith High School on June 7, and the following day all of us will hit the road for Oklahoma. We are scheduled to close on a house in Tulsa next Friday, May 29. Please pray with us that everything proceeds smoothly with the purchase of the home. God has so generously taken care of our every need thus far, and it will be such a huge relief and blessing to have our family back together in one house (and state) again.

Over the last three months I have been able to make several trips back to Texas, often leaving after Wednesday night services for the four-hour drive to Carrollton, and then returning to Broken Arrow prior to Sunday. On a few of those late Wednesday night drives I have listened to Deutsche Welle Radio (Germany’s international broadcaster) which is aired (in English, thankfully!) at 9:00 p.m. on Tulsa’s Public Radio station KWGS 89.5. I find it interesting (often enlightening; sometimes amusing) to listen to different perspectives on world news and current events.

Last Wednesday evening, Deutsche Welle aired a story about Gerd Honsik who is currently on trial in Austria and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. His crime? Denial of the Holocaust. In Austria, it is illegal to propagate the idea that Nazi Germany did not wantonly exterminate millions of Jews. Now, I honestly don’t understand how someone could maintain that the Holocaust never happened, but I also can’t understand how a country (and a European one at that!) could punish someone for their ideas and their speech, regardless of how wrong and irrational they may be. Disagree with Mr. Honsik? Absolutely! Demonstrate the error of his thinking? Certainly! But, jail him? Apparently, some subjects have become so sensitive that opposing viewpoints cannot even be allowed to be heard. A bit scary, if you ask me!

What about us? Are we willing to listen to those with whom we may disagree, and then test the spirits to see whether or not they are from God (I John 4:1) and examine the Scriptures to see if those things are true (Acts 17:11)? Or, do we merely surround ourselves with those who say exactly what we want to hear (II Timothy 4:3)? Truth has nothing to fear in the open discussion of ideas! “Come now, and let us reason together,” (Isaiah 1:18)!

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May 2009