Thanks for joining me for DAY ONE of my Advent Meditations.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,”
says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was,
and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”
\Discover Peace Today, AChuck
Today’s article is not a political musing! This article is about the three essential changes that America MUST correct if we remain the most prosperous and blessed nation on the planet. There are hundreds of other issues to address, but if I could somehow influence our leaders, I would start with these three.
I would consider myself a patriot. I unashamedly love America. I tear up at the National Anthem. I marvel at our beginnings. Throughout this great land, we have had some pretty bad seasons and some pretty remarkable, heroic recoveries.
We need one of those recoveries right now. We can’t wait much longer. With the new transition of President-Elect Biden, we cannot afford to spend our next four years bickering and feuding over silly, partisan crap! Lord knows that’s what we’ve spent the past three decades doing. Bush fought with Dems. Clinton fought with Elephants. Bush fought with the left, Obama fought with the right. Trump fought with everybody, and now I fear Biden will go to war with the Republicans and hopefully combat the far-left socialist wing of his party. But we have to stop fighting among ourselves and discover some wholesome goodness to attack together.
These three things are non-negotiable as we attempt to recover from a long year of COVID-19, racial unrest, civil unrest, riots, looting, and economic hardships for families across almost every sector of American life. By the way, if you disagree with these three, that’s more than okay. The question I would ask you is, what are three of your ideas to make America all she can be?
1. We Must Find Common Ground to Build On
I don’t say this lightly, but I cannot say it loud enough. We must come together for the greater good. Our broken political, educational, spiritual, and financial systems are dying from a lack of common purpose and the greater good. There was a day when we rallied around a familiar opponent and joined together to conquer that obstacle. Today, that obstacle is ourselves. We are the house divided, and the walls are crumbling. Not because of presidents, members of Congress, or senators, but because of our lack of common purpose and open, shared accountability.
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions
of its members.”
—Coretta Scott King
The common good is and should be
focused on three areas.
Education. Put our kids first, and get our educational systems in the top three in the world in science, math, reading, and technology. If a traditional education path isn’t for a kid, then have skill-based education that can raise a generation of steelworkers, welders, artisans, artists, and builders. Education must become a central theme of rediscovering the wonder of this great land!
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Education is the first step for people to gain the knowledge, critical thinking, empowerment and skills they need
to make this world a better place.”
– Nelson Mandela.
2. We Must Solve Our Desperate Debt Load
Never before have we faced a reckoning like the one we face as we look at a continually escalating debt. As of this writing, the national debt of the United States is more than $27,265,000,000,000. That is more than $218,000 per taxpayer and almost $90,000 per US citizen.
Payday is coming, but we MUST reel in our spending. I’m not a nationalist in the sense that we should button down everything except what we spend in the States, but we cannot continue to fund the world. Pet projects are at the heart of this crisis. The reason pet projects exist is the ongoing political system in Washington. If your future and sustainability are dependent upon reelection, you will – by human tendency – please who you need to for reelection. Term limits and complete transparency on pork-laden bills of legislation much stop!
“We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we
haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt
because we spend too much.”
― Ronald Reagan
3. We Must Recover our Patriotism and Honor
When we were fighting the Nazis and were drawn into World War II, we knew our enemy. We rallied around an American pride that leads to Americans fighting for Americans and fighting a common enemy. In the war on Communism, we knew who we were attempting to defeat. In the war on terrorism, we knew we were in a common fight. The days following 9/11 brought us to common ground.
But what if we need common patriotism as opposed to “common complainism?” I know that’s not a word, but you got the picture. We are at war! We are at war with a world that does not see the freedoms and American ideals as essential. We are in a battle for our republic and the democracy that it upholds.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.”
Somehow, someway, we must engage a different bank of leaders. America is in desperate need of leaders without political aspiration, but aspirations of selfless service. We need to return to a people with a vision for freedom and equality, but not at the sake of losing the soul of our country.
Loving your country shouldn’t be a label by which you are considered old fashioned, out of touch, or simple-minded. Loving your country should call out the best of us and mold us into leaders that influence what is good, healthy, and wise.
Why not return to the days of American exceptionalism? Why not return a sense of pride in our great country? The answer? PRIDE & SELFISHNESS. We seem to all want our rights, the credit, and our due. The truth is that we need to return the “In God We Trust” to our hearts and actions, not just our currency. Jesus had a good word for our leaders and ourselves. “Whoever wants to be great among you, let him become a servant to all.”
“In the beginning of a change, the patriot
is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him,
for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”
I know there are so many things to work on, but this country is worth it. She is worthy of laying down our logos and our egos to serve our children and their future well. She is worthy of course-correcting our out-of-control waste and spending. And she is most undoubtedly worth serving others in the name of righteousness and goodness.
When I think of race relations, economic challenges, political upheaval, civil unrest, riots, looting, and a pandemic, I realize how urgency has taken center stage with these issues. But friends, we must start attacking these issues shortly or we will crumble as a society. Our kids and grandkids need us to fix our mess.
Not that we need any further opinions on the pandemic, but both sides seem to be tossing verbal grenades at one another regarding gathering in large crowds. With masks, or without masks, we all need to take a breath.
The problem with lobbing hand grenades at whoever those other folks are, is you have to be willing for it to come back to you. Verbal sparring isn’t a new phenomenon, but it seems to be brand new in each political cycle.
The Blue side was stunned that the Red side would meet in those arenas and stadiums to get fired up in their rally. Each media site that leaned blue just had to use the term “super-spreader.” But then the Blue team won, and the Red team threw a hardy “well look at them.” I couldn’t hear super-spreader after hearing “Na-na-na-na-na.”
Our political systems reak of the rot left in the wake of our foul-mouthed hatred and venom.
Here’s a thought. How about we determine that we all have sinned in our past, and we ALL have a history. That we also (hopefully) grow and develop the ability to speak the truth and know the truth, and live in reality. No, seriously. Okay, one can hope.
Let’s get back to the point. When it comes to calling out the other side like a pair of toddler twins, be careful what you scream about. It always comes around to bite you in the butt.
Jesus had a word for the most self-righteous folks that were ready to stone a young lady that had made some deplorable choices with her life. He said, “If you have no sins, yourself, throw the first stone.” OUCH! That had to have left a mark! It should leave a mark on us as well.
Can’t we clean up our junk, bitterness, anger, and insecurities – Before we go into attack mode? I hate it when I violate this rule. I always pay the price, someday, someway. Jesus has this way of reminding us that we love to point out the dust in somebody else’s house while we have mold on the dirty dishes in our sink.
Here are two good rules to follow when we want to toss our “gotchas.”
- STOP! Give yourself three seconds to determine if what you are about to say will help the situation at all? If not, hang onto it and drop it in the mental trash can.
- Remember that you might need to take a quick peek into your past or even your future. Is it possible that these words are coming back like an Australian boomerang and will potentially decapitate you?
Have a great day! Remember your dishes and count the cost of your words. You’ll be so glad that you did.
Ps. See you tomorrow on the 4forFRIDAY!
Maybe I am the only person that has felt the sting of imperfection, daily. I’m so far from perfect that I couldn’t even see perfect with the Hubble Telescope. Or maybe there are plenty of us out there and we just don’t talk about our imperfections, frailties, insecurities and failures?
I think there are plenty of us that recognize our significant peculiarities and the challenges that they present. But why then do we see through the lenses of social media, our veneered, perfectly wonderful lives?
I listened to a podcast recently from a distant hero of mine, Michele Cushatt. Michele is a speaker, author, coach and part of leadership team at Michael Hyatt and Company. She is brave, brilliant, powerful, full of faith and a source of wisdom and encouragement.
If you are one my fellow messed up pilgrims in this life of ours, I urge you to listen to THIS PODCAST. When you have listened to this episode, stop and invite the God of all Creation to simultaneously soften your heart for the folks in your relational circles that aren’t perfect, while thickening your skin to the sting of criticism and shame.
I promise you that you’ll be encouraged and strengthened by listening to Michele Cushatt.
As Always—-Go in Peace,
If I Were 17 Again by AChuckAllen
Even with the odd graduations of 2020, it would appear that we will be going back to school this fall. As a result, I started thinking about the things I would do differently if I were about to start my senior year at South Gwinnett High School again.
I enjoyed my high school years, well at least a couple of them. My dad moved us several times during my four years, but I wound up attending three schools, but two schools for three years. I know, it was odd.
I have fond memories of my short time at Southwest Dekalb High School, which I attended for one fall and then we were off to South Gwinnett. There we stayed for almost two full years and we made a stop in Lubbock, Texas. I attended a few Summer School classes attempting to avoid sitting out a year of varsity football. That summer turned out to be a great year and held one of my favorite adventures of high school. I was 15 years old, living with Mom and Dad in Texas. I would have had to sit out a football season and so, moving back to Georgia was my highest priority. So, I left Mom, Dad and the sweetest little girlfriend, Deanna and drove myself (remember-15 years old) from Lubbock, Texas directly to Camp Bow and Arrow for football camp with my teammates – The Not So Mighty South Gwinnett Comets. That trip at 15 years old included a night of sleep in the back of my Monte Carlo in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Sometimes being stupid will cause you to grow up in a hurry. So, after that little bypass, here are my re-wishes.
If I could relive a few of those senior days, I would have:
1. I wish that I had been less of a butthead and been a nicer human being. Especially to kids that were struggling.
2. I wish I had been a real Follower of Christ, not a convenient Christian with no spiritual guts at all.
3. I wish I had played every single play like I was one yard away from winning the Super Bowl. I loved playing ball!
4. I wish I would have said yes to Troy.
5. I wish I would have focused more on literature and actually listened to Mrs. Adair. I didn’t particularly like her.
6. I wish I had started intentionally reading earlier in life…like as in at 17.
7. I wish I would have made that one tackle that got away from me while playing the coldest game of my life at Elbert County. That dude was big.
8. I wish I would have kicked the guy playing over me as I was long snapping while at Habersham County in the privates. I don’t even know his name, but I still hate him.
9. I wish I would have treated my Mom and Dad with more respect. When you are 17-18 years old you really are an idiot.
10. And finally, I wish that I would have honored my coaches for the painstaking efforts they poured into me. I’d still try and run through a wall for any of them..especially Coaches Strickland, Johnson, Carter and Sawyer.
We don’t have the luxury of reliving our past, but we can pass along our hard earned knowledge to those that come behind us. So, feel free to share these and your desired mulligans with the kids that will start their Senior years this Fall.
Go in Peace, AChuck