Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas from South Georgia

Merry Christmas from South Georgia
There is so much to be thankful for this Christmas season.  A lot has changed in our family this year and we are grateful for God’s provision for our lives.  I have not posted much this year here at the blog and I’d like to say it has been mostly because constraints on my time.  While that is true, it is probably more accurate to say I have prioritized other activities above blogging.  Still, I have not abandoned the blog and will try to be more consistent in my posting here. With that said, here’s a year end update on my precious family.
Melisa continues her work towards earning the Ph.D. in Industrial & Organizational Psychology from Grand Canyon University.  The topic of her dissertation has been approved and she is working towards completing her prospectus.  From that point, it is a matter of doing the research, analyzing her data, and writing…a lot of writing!  Her employer continues to allow her to work remotely from our home in South Georgia which is a tremendous blessing.  Not surprisingly, she is also very active in our church serving in various ministries including singing with our amazing choir.  She is truly a Proverbs 31 wife!
Joshua has concluded his high school marching band career.  As a senior, he had the opportunity to serve the band as a section leader where he learned valuable lessons about leadership while investing in some of the next Georgia Bridgemen.  He also recently had his last class on the high school campus.  Though he doesn’t graduate until May, he is dual-enrolled at Valdosta State University and will have all of his Spring semester classes on the university campus.
Hannah made the high school gymnastics team this year and really grew as a gymnast.  It has been fun to watch her skills develop and see her compete.  She has been working on a new floor routine that we are excited about seeing in the early months of 2019.  She also became a Georgia driver and got her first car a few months ago.  We are still figuring out being a four-car family and I do worry about her being out on the road but I am continually amazed at the young woman she is becoming.
As for me, I’ve had quite the year in 2018!  I have transitioned into a new role in my ministry moving from Education & Evangelism into Administration back in the spring and spent much of this year adjusting to the very different rhythms of that ministry.  It has been a positive transition and has allowed me to make contributions to our church in ways I didn’t anticipate when the change occurred.  Even though I have not posted much here in 2018 I have been doing some writing. I was blessed to have a book review published back in the spring and I submitted another book review for publication.  I also have an article out for peer review and, Lord willing, will finish another article and send it out to begin the peer review process sometime in the first quarter of next year. 
We’re looking forward to 2019 and what God has for us next year!  Melisa hopes to be finishing up her Ph.D., Joshua is looking forward to beginning college, and Hannah becomes an upperclassman in high school.  Me?  I hope to continue to grow in my role serving our church, writing, and begin serving a five-year term as a trustee for one of our Georgia Baptist entities.  I am also seeking the opportunity to do some online teaching for a Christian college or university.  Our family is certain of this: 2019 won’t be dull for us here in South Georgia!
We are grateful for God’s providential care for our family and are all eager for what He has planned for us next year.  My prayer continues to be that He will use each of us for His purposes while He continues to conform us into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.  From the Sanchez family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

SCOTUS 2018 Decisions

It’s been a while since I posted a new blog. Most of my energies have been spent in recent months focused on my family and my church. Even on social media platforms where I am rather active, I haven’t had a lot to say about recent Supreme Court decisions but overall am pleased with them. To say things would be different had Hilary Clinton won the 2016 presidential election is a monumental understatement. Here are a few thoughts:

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission & Arlene’s Flowers Inc. v. Washington: Make no mistake, the Court punted on these decisions. In the Masterpiece Cakeshop, the court took exception to the blatant bias against Jack Phillips shown by Colorado Civil Rights Commission and not the actual unconstitutional decision that commission reached. In the Arlene’s Flowers case, the court simply said see what we said about Masterpiece Cakeshop. There is nothing preventing either situation to happen again in their respective jurisdictions or elsewhere across the nation.

In Carpenter v. United States, the Court said the government must have a warrant to obtain location data from mobile phone users and in the Collins v. Virginia case the Court ruled – both 4th Amendment cases – the Court ruled that an exception allowing a warrantless search was not valid (yes… I’ve heard the howls from law enforcement concerning these two decisions and have yet to hear a persuasive argument against either). My takeaway from these four cases: process matters…for the time being at least.

National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra: in this case, the state of California attempted to force pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to advertise abortions to the very people they are trying to serve. The fact that SCOTUS found that the California law violated the 1st Amendment is not surprising nor is the fact that the liberal state government there tried to do so in the first place. My takeaway from this case: free speech and free exercise of religion still matters…even in California.

In Trump v. Hawaii, the Court finally put to rest the question about the power of the President to regulate who may and may not enter the United States based on national security concerns. Facts are friends is something I like to regularly point out and this ruling did exactly that. Some tried to characterize the travel ban as a Muslim ban yet the countries in the ban represent only 8% of the Muslim population worldwide. My takeaway: acknowledging that someone has the authority to do take an action is not the same thing as agreeing with the action taken.

There are other cases but this is enough to make one last point: President Obama was absolutely right when he said, “elections have consequences.” The impact of Justice Neil Gorsuch in the coming years will be extraordinary.