11-09-2017 Letters and Commentary

Combat training for life

Where do we get the notion that religion is supposed to be all sweetness and harmless, passive and private? Jesus taught love, but when asked by soldiers of his day what they should do to prepare for God’s kingdom, John the Baptist (Jesus’ cousin and forerunner) didn’t tell them to quit the Marines (oh, my bad. Marines had to wait until November 10, 1775 to get their first orders), or to leave the army. He didn’t pick flowers so they could put them on the ends of their spears or lace them into their helmets. He just told them not to abuse their power and to be content. (see Luke 3:14)

So what about the love part? Aren’t we supposed to love our enemies and do good to those who mistreat us? OK. We’re also supposed to defend the defenseless, and protect those who are unjustly threatened – including our families and communities. There’s a place for each response.

I think Marines make good real (vs. pretend) Christians. They understand some realities of life. Through grueling training and the shared Warrior Culture they understand that life is not all sweetness and harmless to evil. We are supposed to be a danger to evil – in word, lifestyle, and action. Most people don’t like conflict or difficulty. Marines accept both, do more with less, and prevail. The Bible calls that “Enduring hardship” – see 2 Timothy 2:4.

Another birthday celebration happened this week. On November 6, Billy Graham turned 99. Another warrior in his own right, he kept consistent to his mission as well, boldly sharing the gospel of personal peace through Jesus Christ for many years.

That message of life, forgiveness, and freedom from our own entanglements and wrongs is still available to all, and thanks to God’s blessing on the U.S. Marines, we still have the freedom to declare it!

5 ways Social Security protects you and your family

Next payday, when you see a portion of your wages go toward FICA taxes, rest easier knowing that your investment in Social Security brings a lifetime of protections for you and your family.

From your first job and throughout your career, we track your earnings and give you credits. As you prepare for a financially secure future, you should know about these five benefits that you, your spouse, and your children may become eligible for through Social Security:

Retirement benefits provide you with a continuous source of income later in life. If you’ve earned enough credits, you can start receiving your full retirement benefits at age 66 or 67 — depending on when you were born. You may choose to claim these benefits as early as age 62 at a permanently reduced rate, but waiting until after your full retirement age increases your benefit amount by up to 8 percent per year to age 70. Plan for your retirement at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire.

Disability benefits offer a financial lifeline if you’re struck by a serious medical condition that makes it impossible for you to work and provide for yourself and your family and is expected to last at least one year or to result in death. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.

Child benefits support your minor children while you’re receiving Social Security retirement benefits or disability benefits. This financial support also is available to adult children who become disabled before age 22. Grandchildren and stepchild