City must mend fences
I am writing out of concern for our community. This wet/dry referendum has caused a change in the behavior of our residents that I consider appalling. It has been said that a pressure situation doesn't build character it reveals it. If that is the case, we as a community need to look inside ourselves and evaluate what we have become. I have witnessed people at church completely defame another citizen based on their opinion. I have heard stories of citizens pulling "vote no" signs off private property simply because they did not agree with that view.
I moved to Hartselle about 10 years ago and really enjoy living here. I boast to friends and family about our "friendly" town. I know all communities have issues and disagreements, but what I have liked about Hartselle is how accepting the people have different ideas. I have had several discussions with people about public policy or personal opinions and have never encountered the anger I sense now. I will never agree with anyone about all societal issues. Everyone's background and attitudes are different. But, no one should be treated with the disrespect I have seen from people on both sides of this issue.
My letter will not be published until after the election. So, regardless of the outcome, I am asking for a return to the values I enjoy about our city. I believe wholeheartedly in open, honest and friendly debate. I also believe in majority rule. So, I can live with either outcome, but I find it difficult to imagine a complete change in community attitude. Anger and prejudice are sins just as well as the mortal actions involved in this debate. So, on this day, the eve of the referendum, I pray for "Harmony despite our circumstances".
Lots of candy, no good will
I'm an average American guy, with an average American family. I've been married for 13 years. I have a 5-year-old daughter, and a 13 year old son who both attend Hartselle city schools. I enjoy many of the same traditions as most other American families, such as taking the family to the park once a week, going to my son's jr. varsity football games, and giving out candy at Halloween.
When the wet/dry issue presented itself to the voters, I was forced to make an informed decision, just as thousands of other voters. After carefully considering the ins and outs; the pros and cons, I decided to vote yes. More tax and revenue is progress any way you look at it. So, I placed a "vote yes" sign in my yard to voice my opinion. What's the worst that could happen?
Halloween night I stood anxiously at the door, armed with a kings ransom of chocolates and treats awaiting the little ghouls and goblins. I was amazed as dozens of them, accompanied by adults trudged slowly past our house on to the next. I made sure to turn the porch light on, and light a jack-o-lantern, and place it out front, which was a sign that says "we welcome trick-or-treaters".
Unfortunately, there was another sign that read "vote yes", which to them meant "danger" these people are not to be trusted. They may harm you or give you poison candy. At the very least they'll come to the door drunk.
Not one child came to our door that night. Now I'm stuck with an everlasting bad impression and 20 pounds of candy.
What does that tell you about people?
Caring Day was good for all
I would like to thank you for your generous donations to this year's Caring Day.
The city of Hartselle collected 2,060 canned items. In 2001, we collected 1,430 canned items, and in 2000, we collected 1,264 canned items.
Our goal for this year was only 1,500 canned items.
Our merchants also provided 18 turkeys and one ham. Because of the community's efforts, 60 needy families in the Hartselle area will have a meal for the holidays.
All of this could not have happened without your help.
Thank you for caring.
Department of Development
City of Hartselle
Caring Day was good for all
I have debated for weeks over whether to write this letter or just remain silent. I have lain awake many nights because I was both sad and angry at the legalism and judgmentalism that has been exhibited in the last couple of months.
First all all, to the man who wrote a couple of weeks ago that if a person voted "yes" he wasn't saved: exactly when did God step down and appoint you to take His place?
If what you say is true, then Jesus died in vain. Whether voting yes or no was a sin or not is an issue that could be debated until we all die and probably still won't be settled. But even if it is, that is exactly why Christ died – to cover all sins.
I have wondered lately if Jesus had shown up in a Citizens for a Safe Hartselle meeting, what might He stoop down and scribble in the sand? Be careful how you judge others because with the same measure you judge them, God will judge you. Matthew 7:1.
I am not trying to sound mean-spirited or judgmental towards any group of people. However, there are people that I know and love who have either never accepted Christ or are out of fellowship with Him.
The most important thing in the world to me is to see those people in a relationship with Him.
So, it angers me when things like this hinder what I have been trying to accomplish. I know for a fact that some of the billboards, signs and letters that have been written have unintentionally pushed some of them further away.
They need to know the love of God first. Once that have accepted that, God can deal with their sins. You can't expect a lost person to live by Christian standards. You have to get them to Christ first.
I would like to know what difference would have been made in our area if all the money that was spent on this campaign would have been used to feed the hungry or clothe the naked; or what if all that time had been spent ministering to and praying for the sick and imprisoned. Jesus said that whatever we've done to the least of these, we've done unto Him (Matthew 25:34-40).
I just want those who are away from the Lord to know that Jesus did not come to judge or condemn you. He came to earth and hung out with sinners, and He fed and healed them. Then He died for them so that they (an we) might have life more abundantly (John 10:10). All that is required is asking Him into your heart (Romans 10:9-10). Then He, as your loving father, will deal with the areas of you life that need work. It is not God's will that any should perish. I believe He weeps for every person out there who is wandering around trying to fill that God-shaped hole in their heart with everything but Him. Why should He send His Son to die for us just to make us miserable? He didn't He sent Him so that we could be free of Him and live victorious lives. If we could all concentrate on loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves, everything else would take care of itself (Galatians 5:14). It isn't nearly as hard as we make it seems sometimes.
Just remember, none of us, Christian or not, are perfect. Even people with the best of intentions can mess up sometimes. So please, don't let the mistakes of imperfect people distort your view of the perfect God.
I'll end this with a wonderful description of God's love for all of us. It is from the song "Love of God" by Frederick Lehman.
"Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skier or parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.
Oh love of God, how rich and pure.
How measureless and strong.
It shall forevermore endure
The saints and angels song.