Isn't Murder
Off the Wall, January 28,

Think back over 2015 when press releases were published concerning the various top-rated speakers that were to appear in the Latrobe’s City Hall’s council chambers to speak to Latrobe Neighborhood Watch members and guests. There were a chief of police from St. Vincent College, a survival-training expert and a Pennsylvania state constable all of whom gave more than excellent presentations.

All of the articles written up in the various newspapers proved their worth in reading in as much as each person speaking had credentials of past accomplishments that placed them in the position that they hold today.

Yet, when all was said and done, only a very small percentage of area residents showed up to listen to these citizens tell one how he could protect his property and self.

Looking back, I recall one of Latrobe City Council’s members unlocking the front door of the Latrobe City Administration building followed by Vice President Jim Miller toting a box of water that was purchased to be given out free to anyone listening to each speaker. Few stood waiting for the city leader turn the key to let people in the front door.

After entering the council chambers, several others trickled in and took their usual seats. It was like attending church where everyone lay claim to one particular seating arrangement whereby no one else was allowed to sit there. That was theirs and theirs alone.

President Susan Leonard would then get up and welcome all and introduce the person everyone would come to hear. The speaker would thank her and he laid out the facts.

And so it went with all LNW meetings…

Recently while reading Scripture, particularly the fifth book of Luke, the “Pharisees and teaches of law, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there and the power of the Lord was there for healing.”

These people heard of the presence of Jesus through word of mouth. They didn’t need any press releases such as the LNW sent to the various newspapers. They were excited to learn what was this Man was teaching that drew so many people wherever He walked.

“And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him in His presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles in the middle in front of Jesus.’
First of all, let it be clear right now. I am not comparing the LNW speakers to that of Jesus in any form or fashion. I am using this analogy of sorts to bring to one’s attention the following He had in His time where people wanted to be near his side to hear His teachings on love, faith and forgiveness.

Just think of the many churches today, both Catholic and Protestant, and the past meetings of the LNW. All have and had one thing in mind, to help one mentally and physically care for oneself, and treat others, as well. Yet, what was then is certainly not that of today.

Just for a moment, let’s jump back to the LNW meetings. Were people sitting along Jefferson St., waiting for the council member to unlock and door, and after he did, push their way into and up the steps on route to the council chambers?

Likewise, are crowds of people sitting on steps of buildings leading to the doors waiting for the pastor to open the doors of the various churches? What happened to the packed crowds?

Or is this a world where people don’t want others to tell them what to do or even introduce better ways of living that just may make life a little easier?

It’s almost a given, isn’t it? I don’t have to answer any of those questions, do I?

That same invitation that Jesus offered to the people then is still very present now, but other influences are taking place, and ideas are shifting.

It’s obvious that peer pressure is not only a “youth force.” It’s climbed the ladder to infiltrate minds of adults who feel they have to conform to their neighbors’ ways. Talk, dress, and hairstyles all reflect, “it’s the in thing.”

If one let’s the world do the driving and puts God in the back seat, it just may be that one’s destination will be someplace other than that surmised.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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