Episode 44:
First Things First
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Editorial Notes

This short episode was inspired while I was channel surfing a few weeks ago. As the stations blinked by, I happened across a Christian station where a preacher was describing how last year was a losing year but this year was going to be a great year. In some way, he and his congregation had failed somehow last year, but this year was going to be different. I wondered how he knew this, and how he could speak for his entire congregation.

I changed the channel rather quickly, but I couldnít get that preacher out of my mind. He reminded me of a certain kind of preacher that I have chanced to hear at various times in my life. This is the kind of preacher who derives his authority over others through "inside knowledge". He has been given special access to Godís strategic plan for fighting the spiritual war in his particular city or country. His congregation must depend on him in order to be in step with what God is going to do this year or next year. This preacher gets his "battle plan" directly from God and then marshals his congregation into an army to fight the spiritual war for our children, our schools, etc.

I donít know exactly what to think of this kind of preaching. I would like to think that there really are those with the gift of prophecy, and that God does make and reveal plans for certain cities and countries. On the other hand, I wonder if this is just another method preachers use to gain and keep control over their congregations. One effective way to gain control over a group of believers is to convince them that you have a "secret hotline" to God that they donít. Perhaps both the false and the genuine are all mixed up together out there, and only time will tell who was for real.

Is there a "spiritual war" going on in my country? Well, my country is the USA, and I am sure there is at least one "spiritual war" going on in this country, and Iím guessing there are about 270 million others. The one Iím sure of is the one raging for my soul. Each day the battle lines are drawn, and each day either the Kingdom of God gains ground or Satan does. Each day I have choices as to what I do, what I view, who I speak to, and what I speak about. Each day starts as an opportunity and ends as another page in the book of my life. In the end, the book will have been written, and I will know who won the war for my soul, and whose side I was really on.

With that thought, Iíll end this editorial and begin the cartoon.