Everyone is offering insights on trends and possible future. I add my voice, but in a different key. The following are universals that will happen regardless of personal or political decisions. The real question is how each of us will steward each day. Here are some insights for 2018:
God’s mission will go forward, with millions coming to faith and thousands of new churches planted.
The Gospel will continue its competition with missionary and militant Islam and increasingly militant pagan-secular elites determined to eradicate Christianity as a major force in the West.
God’s people will keep finding each other and discover new ways of uniting in the face of cultural implosions.
American politics will be polarized, but small progress will be made as elected officials prepare for midterm elections in November 2018.
Global economic progress will continue, with millions more gaining access to markets and opportunities.
Serious challenges remain in American cities as the gap between those who can afford housing and those on the margins keeps growing.
Many American churches will experience significant renewal in local communities, especially those parishes that care deeply about all aspects of personal and community flourishing.
The Warriors and Celtics will meet for the NBA championship.
Many prayers for a wonderful New Year!
Privilege. A reality. Will we use it for humble service or self-aggrandizement?
Lord, help me use every gift, opportunity and resource to honor you and promote others.
We cannot be “anything we want to be.”
But we can, by God’s grace, fulfill everything the Lord’s designed for us.
Theology is art and science, poetry and prose, ecstasy and ethics, affirmation and action.
Dear conservatives and progressives:
Make a friend different than yourself. Enlightenment will follow. Friendship and common goals can help us transcend our prejudices. May I continue shedding stereotypes and learn deep listening and mutual love.
When we ask someone in greeting, “How ya doin’?” Let’s listen for their answer.
Classism, racism, sexism…lose their power through friendship and shared vision.
Shalom is possible when a vision of flourishing overtakes hatred.
Endless federal deficits. Porous borders and immigration chaos. Selective enforcement of oversight laws and regulations in the EPA and IRS. Health care for all that includes 2400+ exemptions, including government employees. A foreign policy without direction. Serious scandals dismissed as phony and a media that is rarely investigating those currently in power.
These and other problems are not five years in the making, though the current Administration has done little to resolve and much to exacerbate this state of affairs. Our current crises are a century in the making, beginning with some of the unintended consequences of the Roosevelt Administration in the first decade of the 1900s, continuing through the elitism of the Wilson years, accelerated by the policies of FDR and codified by LBJ’s Great Society in the 1960s. Neither Democratic or Republican leaders have been able to reverse the trends that are presently carrying our American experiment toward oblivion.
The fundamental issue for over a century is the disempowerment of individuals and local government by the Leviathan of ever-increasing federal power. It is important to note that this essay is not a nostalgic foray into a mythical past. We need federal agencies for everything from protecting civil rights to decent food and a clean environment. The ethical and social oversight that ensures freedom and opportunity is a vital part of the original intention of the founders. What was never in their minds and must be altered in ours was the federal administration of so much public money! The corruption, bad stewardship and inefficiencies of federal power hinder the good intentions of most citizens that want compassion, safety and reasonable public services.
We must begin a reversal today and re-empower local and state governments and restore the dignity of personal virtue as the critical foundation for liberty. This will not happen overnight and will call upon every moral and spiritual resource we possess. We can begin by taking ownership of our decisions and votes and calling upon public servants to serve rather than be enriched at our expense. We must not allow collectivist or libertarian extremists or social elites to control the public conversations critical to our future.
We can reverse a century of malfeasance in less than a decade if we will find the courage to stop over-promising and under-delivering largess and call upon the better natures our citizens to contribute to the common good through their business and charitable enterprises. We must welcome people of all faiths (or none) into the civil-political discourse and stop pretending that religious values have no place in public life. Coercion of conscience has no place in a free society, but faith convictions are not restricted to the private sphere. Polite and robust debate is good for freedom and we must not permit one political party or religious tradition to impose their will and stifle dissent.
Wealth can be created while caring for the environment and compensating employees fairly. The tax code needs complete transformation – and some folks will need to find other employment. Military readiness and care for veterans are important priorities. Our policies must stop rewarding irresponsible behavior. Our management of the public purse needs an overhaul, releasing some local, state and federal workers to the private sector. Immigration policy requires courage and decriminalizing drugs is a social folly.
All these words are easy to write – and extremely hard to practice because our system discourages disrupting current norms that might displace voters. When enough citizens find courage and their elected officials discover integrity, we can reverse the tides and uncover new wellsprings of potential and prosperity.