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Texas History: Human nature

As a pastor for over 50 years, I have convened worship services, committee meetings, Bible studies, fundraising events, camps, retreats, revivals, focus groups, building commissions, disciplinary/conflict resolution sessions, membership/training seminars, etc. Working with people has been a blessing and a challenge. People are amazing, mysterious, surprising, and, in some ways, predictable.

The similarities of people surfaced in a book that I read recently titled, “Excerpts from the San Antonio Daily Light: 1890.” The Daily Light is a newspaper that dates back to 1881 in the Alamo City. In “Excerpts,” editors abstracted notices of community happenings in 1890 that provide the reader with a glimpse into the daily activities of citizens of San Antonio.

Here’s some of those brief notices:

· Mrs. Alex Joske had a baby boy yesterday morning

· Mr. F. Daniels is under arrest for immoderate riding on the avenues

· Revival services begin tonight on the corner of Austin and Seventh Streets

· Otto Reich wagers that he can eat 20 pounds of turkey at one meal. Charlie Bull wagers that he cannot

· Policeman Frank Brown has lost his badge

· Haus Herbst was the musical director for a fine whistling quartette last night

· Pancho Aguierres dropped dead of heart disease while eating a banana on the sidewalk

· Louis Epp has been arrested for violating the milk ordinance

· Mrs. Solcher did not attend the wedding of her son Henry because she opposed the wedding

· Mr. John Davis was baptized yesterday

· There is a rumor that Mr. Robert Jenner has gone to Hempstead to bring back a bride

· Ellen Howard was run over by a burro being ridden by Ada Waelder’s son

· John Chapman was sentenced to six months in jail for stealing E.L. Bowsky’s pants

· Paul Kaiser pleaded guilty to using abusive language and was fined $5

· Hal Howard and Chas. Ochse had a fistic argument in the laundry

· James Martin has brought suit against Sheriff T.P. McCall, but what for is not known

Sounds like some of the people living in 2021! Dates have changed but not the people. Here are some of the commonalities I have discovered about people: People are prone to take risks, tell fibs, laugh, steal, kiss, dream, have fun, divide stuff into categories, make rules, party, keep secrets, and gossip. And everyone sins (Romans 3:23).

The Bible tells us that every human has the same heart problem: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). Did you know that “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord” (Proverbs 19: ESV)? This explains much of the rebellion that we see today.

But there is some Good News: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We can change if we choose Christ!


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