Category Archives: Politics

Peace in the Valley

“There will be peace in the valley … one day.”

I woke this morning with a song playing in my head. It was like I was a child again, sitting on the floor of our living room on a Sunday afternoon while my father settled a stack of 45s on the record player. He loved music, but preferred two types—Western and Gospel.

Now when I say Western music, I’m not talking about the country twang of lost dogs, wrecked trucks, hangovers, and cheating lovers. Not the banjo-picking or bluegrass stuff either, though they each offer something special. He loved Western, the smooth, mellow outpouring of the soul we heard from the likes of Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and The Sons of the Pioneers.

He also loved gospel music—The Blackwood Brothers, George Beverly Shea, and his all-time favorite, Tennessee Ernie Ford. It was Mr. Ford’s rendition of Peace in the Valley that rocked me awake today. My first conscious thought was, “Yeah, our country needs this reminder more than ever.”tennessee-ernie-ford

Which brings me to the point of this blog: Politics suck!

The news has been filled with negativity for as long as I can remember, this week even more so. Next week will likely follow the same pattern.

Yes, I worry about the state of our country. I fret over the BLM violence, the police-hating, the race-baiting, and all the political posturing. I grieve even more over the terrible things happening in the world. Evil has a foothold, but I have a higher hope.

“Concerned yes, but I refuse to let it consume me.”

I know that nothing happens by chance. Not kismet, not fate, not happenstance, luck, accident, or destiny. The two candidates vying for the role of President of the United States may not be ideal, but they’re what we have, and I don’t believe for a second they’re in this position by happenstance. And though the journey be long and difficult, as my grandma used to say, “Things don’t just happen, sweetie. They come to pass.”

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  ~Romans 13:1 (NIV)

I don’t like my choices, so I will pray. And listen. And then I will vote for the one who best supports a return to a God-fearing America. To not vote is to abdicate my responsibility as an American.  It is an admission that I have no value as a citizen of this country, and a declaration of my failure as a Christian.

I will do my part. And I will trust God to work things out according to His great purpose.

Peace in the Valley Picmonkey Collage

‘Nuff said. Listen to this oldie and let it soothe you, for I know that one day, we too will find Peace in the Valley.

 

Yeah, but what if I’m right?

I woke this morning to the terrible news of another shooting, this one in Dallas where law enforcement officers were targeted and killed when they answered the call to duty.

My heart broke even more when, only hours later, a ‘spontaneous’ march sprang from nowhere to parade down the streets of MY city, MY Atlanta in support of– not the fallen heroes, but the Black Lives Matter movement. Similar marches occurred all around the country.

Think about it. Spontaneous marches don’t just happen. An event of any size requires a great deal of organization and communication. While I have no doubt the vast majority of the protesters had no idea of the violence planned – yes, I said planned – going forward, they have to realize how they’re being used for nefarious purposes.

Black Lives Matter, BLM for short, is formally postured as an international activist movement originating in the African-American community to campaign against violence toward black people.

I wholeheartedly agree. Black lives do matter, but NOT MORE than Whites, Asians, Hispanics, Slavs. Males and females. Adults and children. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists. Politicians, farmers, soldiers, stay-at-home moms, teachers, rich men, poor men, homeless men, and COPs.

The truth is …

all-lives-matter

Think about it. We have to look beyond these individual tragedies, look at the overall picture, profile what is happening in our country, ask the hard questions, and follow the money trail. These are not random acts of violence. They are too well-orchestrated. And I fear more are planned. I fear we face a summer of violence meant to further a bigger agenda.tears

Think about it. When the policemen grow tired of being set up like sitting ducks, when they refuse to step forward in your defense, when the protesters riot out of control and come for you, when the government has confiscated your guns – who’s going to protect you and your family?

As Mahatma Gandhi so eloquently stated…eye-for-an-eye

“You’re just another right-wing conspiracy nut,” some will say. Maybe so. Maybe not. But to repeat my lead in question … what if I’m right?

Novels, “Brexit,” and the Bible

One of the keys to good novel writing is to plunge your main character into a pressure cooker of trouble and keep piling it on until they think they can’t take anymore.

Overwhelm characters memeThis might come in the form of physical danger, mental pressure, or emotional turmoil. Whatever, you really lay it on. Of course, you also throw your hero or heroine a rope once they’ve reached their darkest point, when they’re about to lose all hope and give up. But then they escape and, oh the sweet relief! Maybe they don’t get away unscathed. Most likely they’re changed forever, definitely scarred, humbled, and much wiser, but they get to go home.

Great Britain’s recent vote to withdraw from the European Union (EU), popularly called “Brexit” (or Britain’s exit), seems to provide such an example. Once a man tastes freedom, he will fight tooth and nail to keep it. Keep nibbling at his sovereign rights, and the pressure builds.

This vote was an historic event, a mandate issued by an unheard of 78% voter turnout. The powers that be—those who deem themselves the leaders and governors of the world today, whether in public positions or behind the scenes—don’t get it. They can’t believe what happened. They’re still spluttering. “How can this be? It’s not according to our plan.”

(I have to interject a funny here. It always amazes me how creative and witty people can be, regardless of the gravity of circumstances. While I would love to take credit for this ingenious meme, I can’t. I’m just not that imaginative. There’s a ton more out there, too. It does, however, prove yet again how much truth there is in humor.)

Brexit

Chuckles aside, the bottom line is the people of England are in rebellion, plain and simple. They’ve had enough. This same sentiment is rising in the United States. By the people and for the people seems to have been lost somewhere along the line. The new mantra is by the politicians and for the politicians. I suspect we’ll see a similar adventure in our November presidential election.

No one knows what repercussions will stem from this momentous event, but if you take a good, hard look at the greatest novel of all time – the Bible – well, I think the pressure is just beginning.

Yes, I likened the Holy Bible to a novel. It’s the PRE-historic story—meaning a history of the world before the world had history. Which leads to a conundrum. If history is written before it actually occurs, does that make it fiction until the events happen?

Too deep for me.

Prophecy defined by Merriam-Webster:  a statement that something will happen in the future; or the power or ability to know something will happen in the future.

Prophecy defined by me as a Christian: Belief in the Bible as God’s promise of what has happened, what is happening now before our eyes, and what will happen.

Belief is very comforting for Christians. Years ago, my old grandma lay dying in the hospital. She said, “I’m going home today … or I’m going home. Either way, I’m going home.”

Wake up, America!

The news you choose to ignore, those reports coming out of Africa, the Middle East, Indonesia, South America – the killings, mutilations, rapes, beheadings, genocide, famine, pestilence, epidemics – they exist. And they’re growing in frequency. Just because you find the words and images disturbing, distressing, upsetting, bothersome, and distasteful doesn’t mean they aren’t real. Just because they upset your sensibilities, make your nose wrinkle with repugnance, and don’t touch you personally doesn’t mean they’ll go away if you ignore them.

News Flash: Terrorism has already come to the United States. Terrorists have breached our defenses. Heinous acts are being perpetrated on our own soil, and we’re playing the stupid, foolish game of political correctness.

Look at this list of terrorism acts that occurred inside our borders since 9/11, all of them with ties to Islamic extremists. Remember the headlines? Note also the deaths reported DON’T include the even larger number of victims injured in these attacks.

September 2001 – New York City, Washington, DC – terrorists attack the Twin Towers and Pentagon killing 2, 974; July 2002 – Los Angeles – gunman kills 2 at LAX airport; June 2009 – Little Rock – gunman kills 1 in attack at military recruiting center; August 2009 – Fort Hood – gunman kills 13 on military base; April 2013 – Boston – bombers kill 3 at Boston Marathon; July 2015 – Chattanooga – gunman kills 5 servicemen at military recruiting center;  December 2015 – two gunmen kill 14 at office Christmas party; and the latest,  June 2016 – Orlando – gunman kills 49 at nightclub.

This list is far from inclusive. Many more attacks than those listed above have occurred on U.S. soil, but didn’t quite make headlines because the impact value didn’t measure up to the news media’s drama quotient. You see, Shock & Awe sells. The problem with this tactic is that after a while, Shock & Awe no longer shocks. Or awes. After repeated exposure, it loses its impact, becomes mundane, commonplace, ho-hum. Which means the news outlets have to up the ante, raise the bar in a constant search for the sensational, the higher death tolls, worse atrocities, more depravity, evil and wickedness that assaults our hardened senses. Anything to achieve enough outrage to draw viewers and readers.

Where does it all end? Well, the end may be closer than you think. Ever hear of The Tytler Cycle? It dates back to the 1700s.

Tytler Cycle

I’m afraid, so very afraid. Our forefathers in 1776 paid a precious price in blood, paid with their lives to leave bondage behind and live in freedom. The Roman Empire lasted 1,400 years from rise to fall. Today, in 2016, in just over 200 years, the United States is about to come full circle. We’re staring in the face of a government bondage, one of our own making because of lethargy, indifference, and laziness. We’re already well down that path, a slippery slope that will be nearly impossible to reverse.

Christians have claimed forever that “The End Times” are here, so why hasn’t this God of Judgment zapped us by now?

Let me put it in a way you can relate. Don’t we want the best for our children? Don’t we love them and forgive them over and over? Don’t we give them every chance to do right? To conform? To obey?

God the Father does, too. God is patient and long-suffering, far beyond what our flawed human minds can comprehend. He wants no one to perish – not the murderer, the terrorist, the rapist, the liar, the thief; not the Jew, the Christian, or the Muslim; not even the “good.” For the same reason He promised in the Old Testament to give Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan forever … but said they would have to wait for 400 years.  Why?

For the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” Genesis 15:16.

(The Amorites, who no longer exist, were a wicked people who occupied the land at the time of God’s promise to Abraham.)

God wants no one to perish, but there is a Day of Reckoning. At some point, a time only He knows, enough is enough.

 

Turning point, or abyss?

Does history repeat itself?

I don’t care for political posturing. Unfortunately, we’re facing another presidential election where all the in-your-face bluster of the candidates filters down to us everyday people. You see it in our social media posts  — snide comments intended to rile, and passive-aggressive flooding of Pep rally“gentle” opposing views that provoke. I swear, sometimes it’s like a pep rally back in high school. Yells of “Slay the Gladiators!” and “Rip the Raptors!” versus sweet, lying tones of “Tigers Rule!” and “We’re the best!”

A few years back, I conducted a social survey among the members of a local Toastmasters chapter. We were facing a presidential election with an incumbent as one of the candidates. I asked this group of 35 potential voters a series of questions about how they felt on the hot button issues of the time. These twenty-five questions had a numerical value that matched the views and voting records of each candidate. I very carefully laid out the logic behind the methodology in simple terms. There was no confusion. Everyone agreed it was fair.

After we completed the survey, I conducted a straw poll to see who my Votefellow citizens planned to vote for. Imagine the surprise when results showed a 95% leaning toward one candidate, while the straw poll gave a slight vote advantage toward the candidate few had agreed with!

I allowed a few minutes of grumbling and watched as people began to shift uneasily in their chairs. When presented with the results of their individual questionnaires that showed the candidate their values were best aligned with, those 45% out-of-sync voters WERE NOT SWAYED.

“No way, I’m not voting for him!”

“I don’t care what the survey says, I’m voting for—”

“This doesn’t change anything.”

“You’re trying to trick me.”

“It doesn’t matter. I like this guy better.”

“I’ve already made up my mind.”

No trick questions. No magic. Hard, blunt, yes-or-no questions. My one intent with this exercise was to encourage people to register to vote and then get out and cast their ballot. In that regard, I succeeded. But the “You can’t make me change my mind” attitude has troubled me ever since. It smacks of fanaticism based on other than values.

I fear a great divide has split the people of this nation, a chasm that grows wider every year. Which tells me the winds of change are on the rise. Again.

This isn’t a jab at any one political party. The current attitude is rampant on both sides of the political fence. What one sees as morally (or constitutionally or ethically) right, the other sees as wrong, and vice versa. Both sides continue to put forth strong, valid arguments citing why their stance is the correct one – but neither side is willing to budge. (Can we say, The View?)

Back in the 1920s and 1930s, our nation experienced an epic stock market crash followed soon after by what has been termed The Great Depression. In the early 1930s,  ONE-QUARTER of all wage earners were unemployed. Poverty was  huge. The Plains states suffered the worst drought in history which led to 2.5 million people abandoning farms in Dust Bowl 1935the Dust Bowl. These were the years of prohibition and the devastating auto workers strikes. The resulting political war  inflamed the citizens, all looking to blame someone for their ills.

We were a divided, angry, defeated country … and then Pearl Harbor happened—”a day that will live in infamy.” But it pointed the country back to God. Gave us a common purpose. And solidarity. We united around a single cause, one more important to our future than any since the birth of the nation—survival.

Consider these words from George Santayana, esteemed essayist, philosopher, author, and poet:

Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.

When men and women agree, it is only in their conclusions; their reasons are always different.

Matters of religion should never be matters of controversy. We neither argue with a lover about his taste nor condemn him, if we are just, for knowing so human a passion.

The line between what is known scientifically and what has to be assumed in order to support knowledge is impossible to draw. Memory itself is an internal rumor.

The picture we frame of the past changes continually and grows every day less similar to the original experience which it purports to describe.

My point? The best intentions in the world, the highest empirical evidence, and most persuasive arguments can’t make someone believe if they don’t want to. Heck, most of the time they don’t even listen to us! Of course, we don’t listen to them either.

Funny how all the issues, all the stories, all the problems point back to salvation. As Christians, all our eloquence won’t save a single soul. Only the Holy Spirit can change a person’s heart. What we can do, though, is tell them and tell them. Some turn violent. Some laugh. Some consider, but walk away. But if there is one in a thousand who will heed, we dare not stop.

I pray we as a nation find our way to unity against an increasingly 911dangerous threat to our beliefs and our way of life. I pray it won’t take another, more devastating 911 event to bring us together again. I pray idealists and cynics alike learn to listen. I pray the violent tantrums of the minorities and the passive-aggressiveness of the majorities come to terms with each other. I pray for respect, ethics, and personal responsibility to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of this torn and broken country. I pray for the future of my children and grandchildren.