Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hershey Wall Builders

October 31, Halloween, is a time of an abundance of Hershey's Chocolate products in the stores, homes, and stomachs of many Americans. It is a reminder to me of my visit to Hershey, Pennsylvania (written about in a previous blog), and the eye-opening (not to mention "mouth-opening") experience it was for me. That is because it was not until that visit that I realized what a truly remarkable human being it was who founded Hershey Chocolates---Milton S. Hershey. He was a man of the Christian faith (a Mennonite) and he demonstrated his Christian love by the way he cared for the employees that worked for him, and his incredible philanthropy. He founded and FUNDED a school for orphaned children that is still in existence. Its mission now has been expanded to cover not only orphaned children, but other at-risk youngsters. In Hershey, you can tour the school, where the students live, study, eat and work, with all of their expenses covered, including their medical care. If they choose to go to college after high school graduation, that cost is also covered. You might wonder how all this is paid for. The answer is that 100 percent of the profits from the sale of Hershey's Products goes to the non-profit Milton Hershey School Trust and the M.S. Hershey Foundation. So when I titled this blog post as "Hershey Wall Builders", I was referring in part to the walls of buildings throughout Hershey, Pennsylvania, that have been built because of the generosity of Milton Hershey. But another reason I called it "Hershey Wall Builders" is because many of us use those Hershey candies (as well as any other candies that come across our paths) to build a wall of fat around our bodies, subconsciously thinking this will insulate us from life's troubles. We may use the temporary high we get from sweets to numb us to what is really going on in our lives that we would rather not face. I first learned of this type of wall when doing a First Place 4 Health Bible study called "Healthy Boundaries" that was based on the book of Nehemiah. Of all the Bible Studies I have ever done, the "Healthy Boundaries" one has been the most insightful to help me understand my own behavior, as well as the behavior of others.

It was while I was touring Hershey Park (an amusement park originally built by Milton Hershey for his employees and their families), that I stumbled into a big event being held there in Hershey Arena (yet another example of some GOOD walls Mr Hershey is responsible for). It was a rally of thousands of people that was being sponsored by an organization called "Wall Builders". Since I had just completed the Healthy Boundaries Bible study, I had a suspicion that this might be a Christian organization, and this was confirmed by a visit to their website ( There they explain that their name is based on the Old Testament book of Nehemiah that recounts the story of how the nation of Israel rallied together in a grassroots movement to help rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. WallBuilders uses this history lesson to represent allegorically, the call for citizen involvement in rebuilding our nation's foundations. Their number one goal is to educate the nation regarding the Godly foundation of the United States of America. They state their mission as presenting America's forgotten history and heroes with an emphasis on our moral, religious, and constitution heritage.
The guest speaker that day was Rick Green. Rick Green has his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, and has served as a Texas State Representative. His bio states that much of the uniqueness of WallBuilders message stems from its massive collection of original documents from early American history, affirming George Washington's declaration that "Of all the habits and dispositions which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." Studying these historical documents, as well as the First Amendment of the Constitution (which says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THERE OF, ....) has given me a greater appreciation for the Christian founding fathers, and a renewed commitment to protect those freedoms spelled out for us in our Constitution.
So this day of "Hershey saturation" is a time for each of us to examine the kind of walls we are building. It is a time to ponder the words of Psalm 11:3 that says "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Will the walls we build be a legacy that benefits future generations, or will we only build the kind of wall that isolates and insulates us from the surrounding world? Wishing you miles of BENEFICIAL wall building! TriciaPosted by Picasa