Yearly Archives: 2019

Forever Thankful

Thanksgiving is the purest, least commercial holiday on the USA calendar (though the encroachment of retail sales to Thursday is disturbing). It reflects four universal human experiences: First, gratitude for a harvest that sustains life for another year. Second, the centrality of shared meals: whether fancy or simple, there is something special about the table with family and friends. Third, a hospitable welcome for people of all cultures. From Squanto to an exchange student, mutual love and respect grows around the table. And fourth, our need to thank the Almighty and celebrate the bounty provided for our flourishing.

This year, A.D. 2019, the Thanksgiving Table takes on new significance for our nation and our world. What if millions of homes open their hearts and tables for peaceful celebration and conversation of topics other than impeachment and elections? What if around the Table, conversations were more personal, more encouraging, and focused on making neighborhoods stronger, with more opportunities for the marginalized? 

What if Thanksgiving history is shared, with the miracle of the Plymouth settlers meeting an indigenous friend who spoke their language and respected their God (and helped them survive)? What if we cry and laugh over what really matters?

This year, let’s host tables of inclusion and joy, lingering over delicious food (football can wait), and grateful for the warmth of faith, hope, and love? Political problems, football games, and great retail sales are ephemeral. But the people we love and the new friends we make are eternal gifts.

A Political Update

I am asked often to give my take on current American and global events and trends. I work hard to resist merely reacting to the latest vulgar Presidential tweet or utopian fantasy of socialist candidates. I work hard to cultivate conversations and explore differences with kindness, love and thoughtfulness. Regardless of intention, I find some folks (on all sides) angry that I do not approve of their ideas. Sometimes I am accused of not listening when I simply disagree with the arguments presented.

Here are some first thoughts on key issues:

  • No one is addressing the serious federal, state, and local budget crises that continue indebting future generations.
  • Our 24/7 data-age makes reflection challenging…it is easier to accuse and lamely retract than research carefully and offer tentative conclusions adjusted by evidence.
  • There are no impeachable offenses uncovered by current investigations: just highly partisan inferences. Best solution? Win at the ballot box.
  • Gender confusion is destroying our shared sense of human identity and causing deeper harms that some well-meaning folks intend. Behind the curtain of some groups, there is a deep hatred of the biological family with the nuclear bond of Mom-Dad-Child(ren).
  • Political correctness and hair-trigger emotional insecurities threaten the true intent of the First Amendment: we must live peaceably with deep differences, not silence voices we dislike.
  • Economic and social justice are not achieved with more government money and programs: access, equity, opportunity, and relationships (along with reasonable ethical oversight) are all part of liberating people from despair and poverty.
  • Israel is a gift to the world. Every time a crazed mob chants, “From the Rover to the Sea, Palestine will be free!” it is a call for elimination of the only democracy in the region and ultimately extermination of the Jews.

I will share more soon. For now, I urge my readers to reflect before reacting, pray for your persecutors, and engage in deep self-examination. I see hopeful signs of an awakening as we each know that today’s discipline in tomorrow’s destiny.

Choosing a Divergent Path: Wisdom in a World Gone Mad

We are inundated with loud voices clamoring for emotional reactions. In contrast, followers of Jesus are invited to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and choose loving obedience. Let’s take time to still our hearts, listen deeply, and love wisely.

We do not live in the best or worst of times…but in the most instantaneous information moment of history. Our conflicts are not new, but much more immediate and our responses are often unreflective. We can shun vulgarity. We can choose intercession for those who disagree. And we can recognize that power itself is an addiction affecting every part of the political spectrum. 

Forgiveness often sparks revival in persons and communities. Without pretending about our real pain or excusing transgression, what if we let go of the rap sheet that we keep against ourselves and others and truly forgive? And when we bless those who frustrate us most, we are liberated, and a new future opens to us.

An antidote for our epidemic and anger: In the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, we can meet every insult with blessing, every denial of truth with love and truth, arrogance with humility, and intolerance with civil discourse. And let’s respond to emotionalism and incipient Orwellian controls with careful thought and affirmation of liberty rooted in virtue. Systemic issues of class, gender, and race must be exposed…and overcome with love, relationships, and wisdom. Protest is one step…and practical, sacrificial action for others moves our vision of shalom forward. This is more than being nice and it is not passive. Living in the opposite spirit of our age of insults and vulgarity is a courageous spiritual posture.