Category Archives: diversity

Differences that Make a Difference

Learning thoughtfulness amidst the overwhelming data around us is challenging. In our desires for peace and justice, we must refine our critical thinking capacities and recognize what is timeless truth and what are timely opinions.

Here are some differences that make a difference:

Legitimate outrage about racism vs. anarchy and destruction.

Repairing historic, systemic injustices vs. calls for ending the family and imposing Marxism.

Repentance of prejudices of class, gender, and race vs. hatred for anyone with traditional values.

Passionate, principled debate vs. a cancel culture of personal destruction.

Building a world with true toleration vs. fear of violence.

Serious journalistic inquiry and allowing real evidence to further investigation vs. repetition of talking points and allegations.

Repairing our environment vs. alarmism cloaking wealth redistribution.

Accepting history as a tapestry of beautiful and broken narratives vs. cherry picking for agendas.

Treating every person with dignity and respect and respecting cultural diversity vs. blanket categorizations and generalizations.

Freedom of conscience allowing us to bring our best selves to the public square vs. privatizing any moral and religious convictions.

Let’s help the world be more thoughtful.

Happy Birthday to the USA

July 4 is our nation’s birthday. We are an experiment in virtue-based freedom that is now 236 years old, one of the longest eras of national stability in global history.

We are a self-correcting nation, with the Civil War of 1865 and the Civil Rights of 1965 correcting the birth defect of chattel slavery. Women finally voted in 1920 and 18-21 year old soldiers that could bleed were able to fill out ballots by 1972. We are still wrestling with our broken covenants with the First Nation/Native American tribes and our war with Mexico in 1848. In the midst of all the deserved criticism for Manifest Destiny and continental imperialism, people forget that no one north of the Rio Grande wanted (or really wants today) to be ruled by Mexico City and that thousands of leaders of conscience opposed the policies of rapapcious settlement.

We are the freest land in the world for people of all faiths or none to practice and preach their ideas without fear. Apart from tax issues and proper public permits, we are free to gather and express our ideas without prior permission. This was and is a unique reality of the USA.

We have amazing foundations of faith, freedom and sacrificial service. We have fractures of hedonism and enthnocentrism to repair and redeem. We still have too many unborn that are unwelcome and too many aged that are in oblivion. We have too many unemployed urban adults and too few political leaders with the courage to call for moral responsibnility. We are still a generous people, responding to crises with affection and alacrity. We are also spoiled, forgetting that even the (too) many that live in poverty in the USA are wealthy compared with half the world.

As we move into our 237th year, we aagain face “times that try men’s (and women’s) souls.” Our future rests on recovering the humility, reverence and tenacity that built the land we enjoy. If we will choose life in all its dimensions, including caring for all from conception to coronation, there is hope. If we commit to empowering suceess through free markets under the rule of law, there is hope. If we can learn civil debate and roll up our sleeves and become an answer to the prayers and problems, there is hope.

In 2008 we were sold a slogan, “Hope and Change.” In 2012, we need to become these words by doing and speaking the truth in love. If we will fear God, live within our means, stand up to intolerance and fear, affirm the central values of a virtuous society, and keep our marital and material covenants, there is hope.

Happy birthday, America. You are not a melting pot or a salad bowl. Your are a beautiful mosaic from every corner of world. Sometimes you are a crazy quilt with loose threads. But you remain a land worth praying for and serving well.

9-11, Islam, Christianity and America

At the request of friends, I am transcribing some thoughts from another work to this online forum. I am concerned that we approach future relationships between Christians and Muslims and Americans and Muslims (they are different, with America’s diversity and our Constitutional guarantees of liberty of conscience and religion) with thoughtfulness. Not all readers share my religious convictions; however, I will not veil them nor impose them. It is my deep desire to see all humankind freely and joyfully discover the love, grace and liberty found in Jesus Christ. I make it my life aim to persuade women and men to believe in the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus and find salvation through his suffering and victory over death. I believe that the principles and values of the Bible are the finest guide to human attitudes and actions. I also reject all notions of coercive totalitarianism, or an imposed theocracy this side of eternity. This said, I also affirm that it is the duty of Christians to bring redemptive insight to all human situations, from business ethics and property rights to the dignity of all persons from conception to coronation. An honest look at the world compels even skeptics to admit that the freest lands around the globe are those touched by Judeo-Christian values.

Here is the essay:

A Word on then 10th Anniversary of 9-11

As a Christian leader and historian, I am called upon to comment on the threat of radical Islam to America, Europe and other parts of the world. The anniversary of this tragic day is a moment to pause and pray, to reflect and respond to the love of God and the challenges we face. There are three facets of our response to those who wish to destroy our way of life and enslave (they would say, “liberate”) the world under a universal caliphate.

The first facet of response is spiritual. As a follower of Christ, I am enjoined to bless those who curse me, pray for those who persecute me and look for ways to serve even those who wish me ill. The most important response to the threat of radical Islam must be a deep spiritual awakening that leads to intimacy with God, integrity in life and positive impact in the world. For Muslims around the world (and perhaps across the street), the terms, “Christian”, “Western” and “moral decadence” are all part of the same corrupt culture they want to transform. If we are honest, we must concede that we have abused our liberties and transgressed the commands of a holy God. Authentic repentance and a renewed desire to honor God and serve others is the greatest antidote to the virus of intolerant theocracy.

The second facet is a reaffirmation that the liberties, principles and virtues undergirding the U.S. Constitution have produced the freest societies and the greatest social progress in human history. Radical Sharia law is not just a few folks wanting to practice their religion. Roman Catholics (think charities, churches and parochial schools), Orthodox Jews, Amish communities and other groups have found ways to maintain their distinctions without hastening the demise of a nation and civilization suffused with Judeo-Christian principles. We must never allow two legal systems to coexist and let any group be above the law. Islamic radicalism suppresses women, creates class distinctions among differing religions and, in some cases, rejects all the intellectual and social progress of the last 500 years (think Taliban).

The third facet: Let’s make friends with our Muslim neighbors, work together to make our neighborhoods beautiful places for families and call upon all people of goodwill to resist the totalitarian claims of Taliban, Wahhabi and other radical strains that pervert piety. There are millions of Muslims who want to live in a pluralistic world, practice their faith and make a better future for their children. When they discover that we want to life peacefully with (not under or over) them and help them reject the intolerance and violence of some of their co-religionists, the possibilities for real peace increase exponentially. There are reform-minded groups hoping to create a pluralistic Islam. They are few in number, but they deserve our respect.

Moral courage, relational outreach and spiritual awakening compel us to pray for millions to find the joy and peace that Jesus Christ offers. The Gospel is not a coercive religion – it is a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ that liberates all to discover God’s love and their personal destiny.

We are 13 months away from the most important presidential election in my lifetime. In my next essay I will propose some key principles for progress as I refuse to give in to fatalism and national self-destruction.