I desire that all others enjoy the opportunities, privileges and rights I enjoy. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is not a guarantee of outcomes, but a call for access and justice for all. Life is not a zero-sum game. There is room for all to fulfill their callings and develop their capacities.
Our deeply flawed President is correct when he challenges all lovers of freedom to consider the structures and values that contrast the best of the West with the totalitarian threats of Islamicism and radical global-secularists.
I am not defending the egregious actions and words of our leader(s).
I am asking that all of us look deeply into the first principles of virtue-based liberty and take responsibility for the moral and spiritual condition of America and Western Europe.
From the French Revolution to today, we see the tragic effects of removing reverence for the Almighty and replacing it with elitist scientism and technocracy.
I am NOT aiming to reify a prior age, but crying out for humility, reflection and renewal…and liberation from the anger, fear and hatred that spoils discourse and debate.
The Declaration of Independence was approved on July 2, 1776 and signed by John Hancock on July 4, with most of the other signatories penning their names on August 2. In celebration and for reflection, I offer the following insights that flow from this Declaration and the later Constitution and Bill of Rights. These are our founding documents.
We are still catching up to the promises of the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence and Constitution declare that human rights are God-given natural rights. Governments exist to protect our rights, NOT bestow them!
“Let’s freedom ring…”
Today, I am appreciating the words and works of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. When asked about freeing the Blacks, he said that his cause was about freeing ALL people…and saving the soul of White America from the scourge of racism.
As we rightly celebrate our nation’s birth, let’s ask the Almighty for full liberation from hatred, injustice and prejudice. People of every class, gender or race or religion are made in God’s image and endowed with inalienable rights.
“Proclaim liberty throughout the land…”
May God help us relearn civil conversation, principled debate and good-faith progress toward justice in all our political circles.
As we face personal and community challenges, there is “wisdom from above” that is pure and peaceable and unites love and justice, compassion and empowerment. Here are some more reflections as I listen to God – and that listening is mediated through wise people in my life.
Confusion leads to anarchy and ultimately external control. Clarity leads to accountable liberty and greater personal responsibility. On most issues, ethical/moral clarity is not difficult – it is just demanding.
Reflecting and responding beats reacting and resenting every day.
Instead of castigating former and present leaders, how about constructing new friendships?
Current reactions in our civil conversation are morphing from legitimate dissent to hysterical accusations and perceptions. Instead of anger and violence and quashing voices, how about concrete actions of love and service and policy proposals that have a chance to work? I challenge all parties and groups to think of the common good of all – Black and White, rich and poor, religious and secular.
Grateful for the global church of all ages today: Jewish and Gentile, African and Asian, Near Eastern and Western, in soaring cathedrals and hidden catacombs…from Mt. Sinai to Monte Cassino, from Armenian chapels to American campuses, from bells and incense to freeform dance and song…may their testimonies inspire our fidelity and service.
Choosing contemplation over cynicism, helpfulness over hatred and vision over venom. Such responses are harder than reactions, but so much better for the soul and society.