By Dr. Jim Ferguson

When your children invite you to dinner or to travel with them, you show up. I’m not a beach person. I prefer a mountain stream “far from the madding crowd.” But, since it’s more about the journey than the destination, Becky and I will spend The Fourth at the beach with family.

I’ve been a teacher since medical school, and I’ve previously noted the word doctor comes from docere, the Latin verb meaning to teach. I teach patients, colleagues, medical students, nurses, my readers, those who will listen and now my grandchildren.

One of my observations is you cannot teach curiosity; it’s either something you have or you don’t. However, curiosity might exist as a spectrum, and you may be able to encourage nascent curiosity. Stimulating curiosity is certainly an aspect of this column.

We Methodists do not have a pope or archbishops, but we do have bishops, bureaucracy and bureaucrats. The Bishop of our Holston Conference has just “deemed” it safe for the hoi pilloi to show up and resume church worship services as long as we practice social distancing, hygiene and wear face masks. In other words, exercise common sense. I’ll hold my tongue regarding this pendant who has no medical training and seems more attuned to politics than my safety. Historically, free men have had choice and were expected to accept the consequences of those choices. Apparently, the “little children” must be protected from their choices.

I believe you don’t really appreciate something until it has been lost. I have missed corporate worship in God’s house. I miss not being able to greet someone with a smile because my face is covered with a d*** mask. I feel isolated behind a “mask of fear.” We’re also unable to greet others with a southern hug or touch. I am especially resentful of social isolation when protesters and looters are not held to the same standard. But then, Washington’s elite are not held to the same standard of law as John Q. Public.

When I showed up for church on June 28, I reflected on how effective our minister is when delivering a live sermon in comparison to one online. Similarly, our music minister’s formidable skills are best experienced in a live worship service. I assure you, First Methodist Church at 3316 Kingston Pike is where the “difference is worth the distance.”

I’m curious to know what air travel will be like during the pandemic. This is my first excursion since the shut-down. By the time you read this I will have hopefully flown “the friendly skies” and returned from South Florida. We will comply with mandatory masks, use hand sanitizers and common-sense hygiene. We will be as safe as we can, but every endeavor has risk. “I prefer to die with my boots on rather than parked under the bed” (a Fergism).

We find ourselves in a civil war, “Testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived or so dedicated can long endure.” Perhaps I should seek permission from anarchists like Antifa and Marxist BLM (Black Lives Matter) to quote Abraham Lincoln from the Gettysburg Address. (After all, Abraham Lincoln is also under assault by the anarchists.) I’d hate to trigger some “pajama boy” or miseducated millennial woman. Actually, I’m showing up to call them out!

I like to read multiple books at the same time because my mood changes. One of the most interesting books of late is “Cold Case Christianity” by J. Warner Wallace. He’s a former detective whose expertise was investigating cold case murders. This book has a wealth of information and should be required reading for anyone serving on a jury.

As an atheist, Wallace challenged himself to apply his investigative skills to Christianity and he became a follower of The Way.

Wallace challenged me with a new definition of tolerance. Classical tolerance is agreeing to disagree with someone who sees the world differently than you do. “New tolerance” is actually intolerance of those who have different opinions. If you disagree with collegiate “snowflakes” you may be considered racist, sexist or be guilty of hate speech, as defined by the politically correct elite, progressives and leftists.

Recently, I read a poll by the respected Pew Research Group. Surprisingly, Pew found that only 16% of recent protesters were black and only a tiny fraction Hispanic and Asian. The majority were young whites, and 80% of these identified themselves as Democrats or “leaning” Democrat. Especially revealing was the video of a disgusting millennial white woman screaming obscenities into the face of black police officers.

I read widely and believe the education process should never cease. Education should teach the skills for a lifetime of learning. In fact, you may be lost if you are no longer capable of learning due to intolerance. Arguably, indoctrination has become the focus in much of modern education.

I’ve been out of formal education for forty-five years. Recently, I learned another new concept which has become fundamental in education. “Critical race theory identifies individuals as oppressed or oppressors based on their skin color.” This is totally alien to me, but is the chant of BLM. I begin to understand why so many college graduates now see Marxist class struggle and racism in everything. How disturbing that this verbiage has now found its way into the general lexicon. And even challenging the theory is deemed racist and intolerant.

Like never before, we need patriots to show up. It’s time for the “silent majority” to speak up. The Greatest Generation confronted Nazis. It’s time for us to take risks and push back against the anarchists. It takes courage to confront evil and those who masquerade as tolerant. You can imagine the things I’ve been called, but feelings are inconsequential when considering the battle for the soul of America.

Stand up for your country! Defeat the mob, murder and mayhem crowd. Tell the anarchists and leftists no more banning and burning! Demand that Congress apply the rule of law. Call your Congressman and tell them you’re listening and watching. And remind them the election is just four months away.