Spirit Daily


What's In A Name? From Priest To Bounty Hunter, All Have Role To Play For Christ

It's a sign of the time that Opie is fighting Opus.

We're speaking of "Opie," of course, as in Ron Howard -- who once starred as the paragon of wholesomeness in The Andy Griffith Show and now, sadly, has directed The DaVinci Code, which besmirches the Catholic group Opus Dei and all of Christianity.

What a loss of innocence. What a measure of the times we are in.

The innocence is being lost everywhere. That's the bad news. Now the good:

A while back a strip club opened in our county. This was a trauma because up to then there had not been any such operation, nor any pornographic shops, in any of the towns around here.

It's a heavily Christian seaside community and the folks decided they weren't going to take it -- weren't going to take exotic dancers traipsing through, nor the kind of crime that strip clubs attract -- and so they began to fight it tooth and nail, despite indications (due to Supreme Court decisions which favor such clubs under "free speech") that it at best would be an uphill battle.

The strip club immediately turned a legal team loose on local officials and vowed to stay right where it was, even though the town had an ordinance that outlawed it.

It seemed like an impossible fight, but every night, citizens picketed in front of the club or attended meetings. They even leased a lot next door and took photos of all who entered the club -- placing them on the internet. This went on for weeks. But the most significant development may have been the involvement of our pastor:

Father Mark Waters, the priest in charge of the largest area church, which is in the neighboring city, decided to enter the fray, announced his intentions from the pulpit, and asked for help. Soon, hundreds of Catholics were traveling to the shore to give the smaller municipality where the club had settled a hand.

They held placards. They waved to cars. Most importantly, they prayed. Blessed salt was tossed. A meeting was held at St. Elizabeth Church. But the important point is that a priest had marshaled his forces against evil.

After months of struggle and vows to fight the town all the way through the courts, suddenly last week one of the owners announced that he'd had enough and closed the club.

Catholics and neighbors on the march had won -- and had presented a lesson for us all.

It was exactly what a priest should do. It was exactly what Catholic laity should do. If we all stood up against wickedness, it would scurry back into the dark.

We are all called to minister. We are all called to fight evil.

On TV, there is now this guy, "Dog, the bounty hunter."  Real name: Duane Chapman.

"Dog" is a big burly ex-con who has turned into a bail bondsman. He doesn't look like the Christian he is (he apparently converted during prison), and he still uses coarse language (most of it gratefully bleeped out from his reality show). He has his demons but this fellow with long blond hair and armbands and sleeveless muscle shirts is actually a pretty gentle soul who now tries to talk sense into the convicts he apprehends, preaching the Gospel message.

When he hunts down a criminal, he always has a lecture on conduct for whoever he's bringing to the cops -- as well as a message of love. Here's a guy who once did time for murder!

He's on the A&E Network, and as unlikely as it seems (his heavily tattooed crew looks like escapees from the pen, and his wife also did some time), they are Christians who take a moment before every bust -- before every "hunt" (into the ghettos and high-crime zones of Hawaii) -- to pray for the help of Christ.

"Dog" tends to wear shirts that mention the Lord. His lesson:

We can minister in whatever role we have in life. We don't have to be an evangelist. We don't have to be a priest. In fact, we're supposed to use whatever role we have to glorify God and set the world straight. We all have been given a gift, and God wants to use the small greatness in us all.

The important thing is to get out there and do it -- whether bounty hunter or cleric or accountant.

Prayer is fantastic. Prayer is the most important thing. Prayer sustains and guides and protects. But Scripture tells us that faith should be accompanied by works and we are all called at this crucial time to make a difference.

You see the pagans marching? You see the sexual deviants marching? You see the New Agers in parades? We are greater in number and can overwhelm them.

A case in point: recent cancellation of the "Charlotte Pride" parade -- a springtime gathering in North Carolina that in past years has featured transvestite dancers, homosexual comedians, and vendor booths pushing sadomasochism. The cancellation occurred after churches in the area took on homosexual activists. "As the Church comes out of the closet, we are finding out that many of the enemies of God are moving back into the closet," said one of the leaders.

Let this spread everywhere -- and urgently! Write a letter to your supermarket about the junky magazines. Write a letter to the editor.

It is now time for Christians to march, for if they do, they can move mountains; they can change things around; they can save entire communities -- not just from strip clubs but from judgment.

If we stand together or simply stand at all, we can back down the evil that is in such a minority but is dominating us. It does so through boldness. We must be as bold -- humble, but firm; humble, but strong -- like Jesus.

When you see something wrong, write your local leaders. Write the legislatures. Letters count.

When necessary, design a placard. In this way, Christ rises in us.

If Catholics stood up, there would be no DaVinci Code. There would be no profane art. There would be no blaspheming Christ. There would be no attack on Christmas. There would be no attempts to rewrite the Bible. There would be no debate over "Judas." There would have been no removal of the Ten Commandments.

We won't defeat evil with evil. We will defeat it by standing up to it with the shield of Jesus.

He wants to use all of us. He wants to use us no matter what it is we do. He is present in ways that are not always obvious. He wants to move in everyone -- against evil. He even wants to use an ex-con who is a bounty hunter.

What's in a name?

When we reverse "Dog" what we get is "God."


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