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The amazing thing about contemporary American culture is its predisposition to organize itself into neat little categories. This "pigeonhole syndrome," referred to by some as PHS, (not to be confused with PMS), is responsible for much of the stress in our society today.

We even categorize this stress, enabling us to compare our stress with people we meet. Some fear they will one day meet someone with the same kind of stress as they have and will not know how to label him or her. Imagine the stress this would create. Or, visualize a situation where someone meets someone who has no stress at all.

PHS finds its way into every area of our culture, even the religious. Nobody in these days of labeling madness can just be a Christian. Are you Protestant or Catholic?

If you are Protestant what kind? Baptist? Methodist? Presbyterian? My question is simply, why can't we just be Christians?

I was behind an elderly lady at the post office recently and could not help overhearing the conversation. The lady wanted stamps.

The Postmaster asked her, "What denomination of stamps would you like?"

The lady paused for a moment and then replied, "Presbyterian."

I guess a Presbyterian doesn't need as much water as, say, a Baptist.

Cataloging people into convenient groupings is not bad. In fact, it can be helpful in many ways. I attended a conference last year where 97 percent of the people were of the non-male persuasion and believe me when I say classification is important.

Following one session I followed the crowd; not paying too much attention to where we were going - and ended up in the ladies restroom. To say they labeled me is putting it mildly.

Women, regardless of what you may have heard to the contrary, are quite cruel to any man (meaning of course, Yours Truly) found in the ladies restroom.

During the last days of this election, politicians and pundits alike are making much of the undecided voter. I like to refer to these elusive people as the UDVs of our country.

Who are these people and where do they live? Moreover, how long did it take them to decide where they were going to live?

If UDVs exist at this point in the game, I would not want them voting for me. Personally, I do not believe in UDVs. In my mind, it is something the news media invented so they would have something to talk about, especially these 24-hour cable news programs.

Having something fresh and interesting to say 24 hours a day, seven days a week is a lot of airtime to fill. Not to mention that most (if not all) on-air personnel are full of hot air.

UDVs are only a figment of their tired and stressed imagination, searching for something new to say about something everyone already knows. In fact, I think UDVs, the WMDs and Elvis are all hiding out in Syria.

Putting labels on other people to see where people fit is not bad, except some people want to include God in this PHS equation and He does not fit.

Perhaps because we are in an election year, many people ask the question, "Is God a Democrat or a Republican?" I have never heard anyone ask if God was an Independent or member of the Green Party. Maybe they know something about these parties I don't.

During an election year, politicians will use anything or anyone to help their cause. Most politicians need more help in their cause than even God could give them.

However, some think it important to try to draw God into their party platform. The further behind they are in the polls the more they invoke the Almighty on their behalf.

Knowing God as I do, and understanding as much of politics as I do, no politician in his right mind (and try to find one in his right or left mind) would even want God on their side. God deals in absolutes. A thing is absolutely right or it is absolutely wrong.

Politicians shy away from absolutes.

A politician deals with all things relative and self-serving. If it does not advance his or her cause, the politician has no interest in it.

Every political party has its "spin-room." That's a place where they take what was said and spin it around for self-serving purposes. It all depends, so they all say, on what your definition of is, is.

I remember the day my mother got her first spin dryer. Up to that time, she hung all the washing outside to dry in God's good sunshine. Then came the spin dryer and it did not matter what the weather was like outside, my mother could always dry the wash.

It was great. If some of the clothes were not folded right away and were wrinkled, she just tossed them into the dryer and, presto, the wrinkles were gone.

The political "spin-zone" does the very same thing. If a political candidate says something, immediately it goes into the spin to get rid of those wrinkles.

God, however, does not work that way. In the Old Testament we read, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV.)

It is never a question of whether God is on my side, but whether I am on His side. The only way to get on "God's side" is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

About the Author

Rev. James L. Snyder is an award winning author and popular columnist living in Ocala, FL with his wife Martha.


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