Wednesday, 08 February 2023

Opinion

Thank you, Tom Owen, with your help with this article!

On Nov. 11, 1918, the war to end all wars ended. That’s what we have prayed for “peace” since the end of that ugly war.

Unfortunately, war continues and there is no end in sight.

Thank you to all veterans this day and always for your sacrifice.

The wounds didn’t end on the battlefield, they were carried home in caskets and emotional distress and every day we deal with the reality of PTSD, homeless vets, and in some cases the only way out in the minds of some … suicide. The ruins of war seem like they will never end. God help us find peace!

Many times, when you talk about war in our country you could easily get an argument started. Some people think we should be in the Middle East. Some people think we shouldn’t. Some people think all war is bad. Some people think war is sometimes the only way of securing peace.

For some people the war is an opportunity to bash the president, no matter who that person may be. For some people the war is close to home because a loved one is right in the thick of it.

Honestly, I get so sick of the war being used as an item of contention. Many people have forgotten about right and wrong, and here we are today, 100 years since the end of the war to end all wars! And we still fight. It makes no sense!

You know what I think? I think we need to get used to the fact that as long as we’re on this side of eternity, there’s going to be war! There always has been and there always will be.

As a matter of fact, there’s a war going on that’s far more serious than the war on terrorism. A war that’s been going on for thousands of years. A war whose effects are eternal. I’m talking about the war for our souls. The spiritual battle that will determine where our eternal soul will reside forever.

It’s a battle that no one can escape. It’s a battle that has winners and losers. And it’s a battle whose end is certain.

The earthly consequences of war are tough to deal with, but nothing compared to the eternal consequences. The pain from the spanking will wear off. The jail time will end. The embarrassment and shame will eventually dissolve.

But eternity, well, it has no end.

Sounds like a tough war that we’re in. Sounds like a losing effort. After all, who can be perfect enough, good enough, righteous enough to always do right and impress God so much that we will go to heaven? None of us can do that. Some people think they can, but they’re sadly mistaken. Eternity is a gift of grace from God and there is nothing we can do to earn it.

Jesus knew this too. Jesus knew that in our sinful, fallen state, we have no chance to redeem ourselves. That is why He alone had to carry the burden as the wars rage.

I pray that we will stop for a minute this Veterans Day and focus on the cross of Christ as we rebuild our community and maybe even reach out to the hand of Christ waiting for each of us to assure our life everlasting.

Come this Sunday as we celebrate the sacrifices made by many for the cause of freedom and peace in our country.

Join us for worship at 11 a.m. and join us for a time of fellowship and a great lunch following service.

All are welcome, so come as you are!

Chris DelCol is pastor of First Lutheran Church in Lucerne, Calif. The church is located at 3863 Country Club Drive, telephone 707-274-5572. Email Pastor Chris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Last week we celebrated the Reformation and today we do the same for All Saint’s Day.

In order for us to understand the significance of All Saint’s Day, we must first understand how it relates to Halloween and Christianity.

Halloween, you say? Oh yes, Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (sa-win).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on Nov. 1. This day marked the end of summer and the Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.

On the night of Oct. 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, the Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future.

For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the 400 years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated Nov. 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday.

The celebration was also called All Hallows or All Hallowmas and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All Hallows’ Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

Luther made it even more interesting in 1517 by nailing his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg on Halloween and the reformation of the church began.

Are we all confused yet?

All Saints is the day of victory for the simple and quiet folk who are the regular Christians of the church. It is not just the famous saints in the Bible and others like St. Francis or even Mother Teresa who were called to glory; all Christians share equally in God’s glory.

We celebrate All Saints’ Day knowing that each and every Christian person at the moment of his or her death crosses over into glory as a gift to them from the love of God shown to us by the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Our loved ones who have gone before us are at this very moment gloriously alive and feasting at the heavenly table with God, just as we feast at that Communion table with Jesus this Sunday.

We are also celebrating that God calls us also to be saints through our faith that we too will someday live in the full glory of God.

Please join us this Sunday for worship at 11 a.m. to hear more about All Hallows’ Eve and following the service we partake of our yearly Oktoberfest celebration. Brats, sauerkraut, German potato salad, beer bread, music and the like. It’s all free so please join us.

All are welcome so come as you are.

Chris DelCol is pastor of First Lutheran Church in Lucerne, Calif. The church is located at 3863 Country Club Drive, telephone 707-274-5572. Email Pastor Chris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Such is the case in our courts today, and such was the case in the days of Luther as he demanded that the church tell the truth to those who needed to hear it, those who were literally being ripped off of the little they had in hopes that what they gave would assure they would go to Heaven when they died.

What a tragedy and in the case of Luther and other reformists, what bravery to stand up against the church and say you are not going to get away with this, for what you are doing is immoral, illegal, and against everything in Scripture.

The lesson for Sunday is about truth, absolute truth (John 8:31-36) and there are many similarities between the culture in which our Lord spoke and our own.

Today we, as Christians, want desperately to speak the truth of God to our generation. Sadly, we are in a minority in our relativistic age. In our day, political correctness is more valued than truth.

We gather this Sunday to remember and celebrate who we are, by God's grace. We are Christians.

It might surprise people to find that Luther himself hated the term Lutheran. In 1522, Luther wrote in his own colorful way, “I ask that men make no reference to my name and call themselves not Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? St. Paul would not allow Christians to call themselves Pauline or Petrine. How then should I, a poor evil-smelling maggot-sack have men give to the children of Christ my worthless name?”

And yet, despite his conviction, this was one teaching his followers would not keep, because, as time went on, Luther's name became so associated with the truth of the Scriptures that to reject one gave the appearance of rejecting the other.

The reformation became official on Oct. 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany.

He knew that most people in the surrounding area would see it because this was the Eve of All Hallows’ Day, which was the day to celebrate the Christians who had passed away in the previous year.

Almost the entire community would attend church that evening and it was the perfect time to “Tell the Truth” and the truth is, we are saved by God’s grace alone, not by works!

The basis of the reformation was indulgences; simply put, pay your way into Heaven.

In Luther’s home town of Wittenberg, a man named Johann Tetzel, an indulgence seller, wandered the streets offering forgiveness of sins to the people for money.

Historians of the day recorded his sales pitch, “Once the coin into the coffer clings, a soul from purgatory heavenward springs!”

Luther was outraged! You can’t buy your way into heaven and Luther knew that based on Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Luther was certain that if the pope knew of this practice, he would stop it immediately. The pope was not only aware of the practice – the whole matter of indulgence selling was the pope's idea in the first place to pay for the construction of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome!

In the end, it finally resolved down to this issue: Who has the final say in doctrinal matters – the church? An individual like the pope? Or the word of God?

Join us on Sunday to find the answer. We celebrate the reformation this Sunday and invite all to our service which begins at 11 a.m. followed by lunch.

All are welcome so please come as you are!

Chris DelCol is pastor of First Lutheran Church in Lucerne, Calif. The church is located at 3863 Country Club Drive, telephone 707-274-5572. Email Pastor Chris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

As Veterans Day approaches, your Better Business Bureau, or BBB, urges service members to keep an eye out for scams.

It has long been recognized that military families and veterans are at increased risk of being targeted by scammers. The steady paychecks and relative youth of active-duty military personnel may make them particularly vulnerable.

Unfortunately, aspects of a service member’s job often make them more vulnerable to scams. Perhaps most importantly, they have a guaranteed and steady income that scammers would love to have access to. They are also frequently deployed and move around often, which makes staying on top of red flags in bills and credit reports more difficult.

Additionally, new service members are often young and financially inexperienced, and these qualities may attract scammers. Despite the stereotype of the elderly scam victim, millennials are actually the most likely to lose money to scams.

Individuals who self-identified as being active-duty military personnel, veterans or military spouses represented 8.6% of reports to BBB Scam Tracker in 2017.

These individuals may be more susceptible when exposed to a scam, with 17.5 percent reporting losses, compared to 15.6 percent of non-military individuals. More striking is the median loss of $280, nearly 27 percent higher than the non-military median loss of $220.

The BBB Risk Index measures risk by exposure (how likely you are to be targeted), susceptibility (your odds of losing money when exposed), and monetary loss (if you do lose money, how big the losses will be).

According to the BBB Risk Index, these are the top three riskiest scams for military families and veterans.

Employment. Victims of employment scams are led to believe they are applying or have just been hired for a promising new career while they have, in fact, given personal information or money to scammers for “training” or “equipment.” In another variation, the victim may be “overpaid” with a fake check and asked to wire back the difference. Remember, a reputable employer will give you the equipment you need; they won’t give you a check to deposit and subsequently wire elsewhere in order to purchase your needed supplies. Don’t be embarrassed; this can happen to anyone, and it does. For more tips on avoiding employment scams, click here.

2) Home Improvement. In this con, door-to-door solicitors offer quick, low-cost repairs and then either take payments without returning, do shoddy work or “find” issues that dramatically raise the price. Things to beware of are high upfront payments, cash-only deals, high-pressure sales tactics, “handshake” deals without a contract, and on-site inspections. For more on home improvement scams, check out www.bbb.org/homeimprovementscams.

3) Online Purchases. These cons often involve purchases and sales, often on eBay, Craigslist, Kijiji or other direct seller-to buyer sites. Scammers may pretend to purchase an item only to send a bogus check and ask for a refund of the “accidental” overpayment. In other cases, the scammer will simply never deliver the goods. An unreasonably low price should be a warning sign. Proceed with caution, even if there’s a realistic sounding story behind the price point. Pay for purchases through a secure payment method like a credit card. If a seller asks you to wire money and you’ve never met the person or seen the product, you should decline. Scammers copy links, images, and text from legitimate companies. When in doubt, go to the purchasing site separately, log into your account, and make sure the purchase information is accurate. In 2017, online purchase scams took over the top spot as the most risky scam reported.

BBB Institute of Marketplace Trust runs the BBB Military Line program to help military families and veterans avoid scams and fraud. BBB Military Line is tailored to military consumers and their families and provides consumer education resources both online and through local outreach. To learn more, visit www.bbb.org/military.

If you or someone that you know has been affected by a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker to warn others. You never know, your report could help save someone a lot of money and prevent a big headache.

Evan Arnold-Gordon is public relations specialist for the BBB serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern Coastal California.

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Lake County Board of Supervisors approved a new memorandum of understanding with the Lake County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.

The DSA had been out of contract and attempting to negotiate better compensation since January of 2018 until this agreement. While the agreement provided two days of personal leave for each DSA member, the new contract did not provide an increase in wages or health care benefits.

Recently the Lake County Sheriff’s Office implemented a new online reporting system in an effort to maintain the ability to provide essential services to the citizens of Lake County, as the sheriff’s office is facing a critical staffing crisis.

The DSA fully supports Sheriff Martin and his efforts to maintain adequate service to the public, while attempting to balance officer safety. Members of the DSA feel that the magnitude of this staffing crisis is not fully understood by the public and is being underprioritized by the Board of Supervisors, despite the fact that Sheriff Martin and Undersheriff Macedo have frequently voiced the problem.

The sheriff’s office is currently operating at around a 30-percent vacancy rate. To put that in other terms, we are fielding a baseball team with no outfielders. Patrol staffing levels have fallen to three deputies or less on most shifts. That is half of the deputies that a shift has traditionally carried despite calls for service nearly doubling within the past ten years. The sheriff’s office is operating at similar staffing levels as did in the 1970s.

Some of the staffing issues in the patrol division of the sheriff’s office, which is staffed with DSA members, is caused by the fact that the sheriff’s office is mandated by law to perform certain functions. Those functions include staffing a correctional facility, a civil division, court security, and search and rescue to name a few.

Having a patrol division and handling calls for service is not one of the mandated functions of the sheriff’s office, but one that is imperative to provide protection to the public. As the ability to recruit and retain deputies, correctional staff and dispatchers is at an extreme low, the patrol division’s ability to respond to calls for service suffers, because of the lack of personnel.

To put it bluntly, citizens of this county will have extended response times, or in some cases no response at all, when they request a deputy for assistance.

The main reason the sheriff’s office is unable to recruit or retain employees is compensation, specifically, health care benefits. While the cost of health care has increased dramatically over the past 15 years, the county contribution towards health care has not increased at all.

The out-of-pocket cost of insurance for a DSA member, their spouse and a child is $1,417. With local law enforcement agencies offering a similar salary and much better health care contributions, allowing their officers to bring home almost $1,000 more a month in their paycheck, it makes it difficult for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office to recruit and retain good employees.

The DSA has recently learned that the county of Lake is proposing a modest increase to their contribution towards health care costs, however that modest increase is inadequate to remedy the staffing crisis that we are facing.

The time is long past due for the county of Lake to address its ability to recruit and retain law enforcement professionals. The county of Lake’s Board of Supervisors need to make the staffing issues at the sheriff’s office a priority, as it is imperative to providing public safety services.

John Drewrey is president of the Lake County Deputy Sheriff’s Association serving Lake County, Calif.

A Texas judge’s recent decision to strike down the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, sets a dangerous precedent that unravels federal policy carefully designed to correct centuries of tragic injustices committed against Indian people.

It not only threatens the wellbeing of Native children and their families, but also tribal sovereignty. Further, the ruling could undo many of the collaborative relationships our tribes have forged with local governments and states that already acknowledge the benefits of preserving Native families.

Part of this country’s tragic past was forced assimilation that prevailed until the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Sadly, the federal government had a stated goal to destroy the culture, languages, and traditions of American Indians through official programs where Indian children were forcibly removed from their families and sent to the now infamous government-run boarding schools or outright adopted to non-native families. These policies wreaked havoc on the emotional well-being of generations of Indian children, contributing to high levels of suicide and substance abuse.

This practice of our country’s past is not unlike the more current narrative around the inhumane separation of immigrant children from their parents at the U.S. border. The social outcry that has ensued from these recent border events leaves me, as a parent and Tribal leader, crying for those poor parents and sickened that the First Nations of this country are given less consideration. Where is the outpouring for our Native babies?

Congress passed the ICWA in 1978 in an attempt to reverse the ravages that forced separation of Native children from their families wrought on Indian people. In Native cultures, families are the center of our communities, and children are sacred gifts from the Creator. Judge O’Connor’s ruling not only threatens our future – it outright discounts generations of historical anguish.

The ruling also ignores the rights of tribes as sovereign governments. The ICWA only applies to children from federally recognized tribes, and tribes – as sovereign governments – are the only legal authority to determine the membership of a tribe. Destroying a tribe’s ability to speak out for its future – our children – undermines the modern efforts of tribal government to overcome hundreds of years oppression because of the U.S. government’s aggressive control over every aspect of tribal citizens’ lives, including our relationships with our own children.

Several years ago, my tribe – the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake – as well as five other tribes in Lake County, worked with County Department of Social Services to form an ICWA Working Group. Together, we have recognized that the ICWA not only helps ensure a child stays within an Indian community, it also helps facilitate a team approach to improving outcomes for Native children and the agencies and tribes working with high-risk Indian families. Using ICWA as a basis for collaboration provides a child access to tribal resources, helping to improve emotional wellbeing, avoid generational post-traumatic stress disorder, and expand otherwise limited foster care placement prospects.

My tribe also helped found the California Tribal Families Coalition, or CTFC, with the explicit mission to protect the health, safety and welfare of tribal children and families, which are at the core of our sovereignty and governance.

CTFC Executive Director Delia Sharpe told me, “As we prepare for the next phase of this case, CTFC stands with tribes in defense of ICWA, as an essential protection to keep Indian children connected to their families, cultures and communities.”

This ruling goes well beyond the implications for Native families. It furthers a dangerous and very real, anti-Indian narrative and undermines the legal framework protecting Native American self-determination. This ruling is a slippery slope which could result in the further erosion of federal, state, and local policies meant to protect tribes.

As tribal leaders, we are confident in the constitutionality of the ICWA. The Habematolel Pomo Tribe of Upper Lake joins other tribal leaders in condemning Judge O'Connor's decision. Further erosion to the Indian Child Welfare Act is an affront to our culture, our families and our self-determination.

Sherry Treppa is chair of the Habematolel Pomo tribe of Upper Lake, Calif.

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02.09.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
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02.14.2023
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