about America -
From differing opinions, points of view and experience, a greater Republic is formed. If those opinions, views and experiences are listened to with an unbiased ear.
I usually have an opinion about most things. And though I tend to be vocal about many things (me? really?), there are still some secrets hidden in my heart :) Okay, I am working on being quieter - in my spirit, in my mind and with mouth! And I'm praying to hear with God's ear!
There are times for quiet. In the past ten years, some working situations have necessitated my being quiet, yet my quietness has not meant agreement. It has, however, meant that I want to hear what other people are thinking. I have seen a new populace in our States that I knew existed but their situations did not touch my life. I have met people whose beliefs are greatly different from mine, yet they treat people with great respect and are wonderful teachers. I have made decisions that would affect whether people had heat in their homes or medications on their shelves. I have seen homes devastated by floods and seen their neighbors run to help. My beliefs have been challenged and in doing so, they have changed in some areas while some convictions have grown stronger.
There are also times to no longer be silent, but to speak in love, choosing words wisely so that all who hear may listen and walk away challenged.
The greatest thing my parents gave me was the ability to think for myself. A gift they have probably wished they could take back on many occassions! I think of Will Rogers who said that to know something you have to look at it from all sides, walk around it, look behind it to see where it came from and ahead to see where it is going. Will Rogers who was very opinionated, ran for President, wrote newspaper articles, starred in movies and believed that people should be in control of their own destiny; their property; and responsible for their own actions and their own beliefs.
It saddens me greatly to ask why a person believes in an issue, be it nationalized healthcare, abortion, gun control, air pollution, national security or any of the other hot topics that have touched our tongues in the past decade and they not know why they hold their beliefs. They may have talking points memorized, but they have not done their own homework or research. They have not read anything for themselves, or worse yet, read only one source, listened to only one person.
We are not a perfect nation. But we are a striving nation, working on our problems. Our great strength lies in our compassion. No other nation has given more, fed more, loved more, freed more, taken in more people than ours. Without monies from the United States, Europe would not have been able to rebuild after the World Wars. Without food from our farms, other nations would have disappeared as their people starved to death. There are entire nationalities that would have been erased from existence without US intervention. And we still take in the tired, the oppressed and the weary.
Yet our compassion grows selective. We mourn for the pregnant mom who doesn't wish to be a mom and yet pass over the "embryo" as a choice. Know what a late term abortion is? Google it. You'll be horrified. We do not wish alienate foreign religions and so Universities are building places of worship for muslims with alumni funds (University of Tulsa, Oklahoma) while Christians are ridiculed for expressing belief in Intelligent Design (Bourbonnois, Illinois). The national seeks to be sensitive to everyone? Right? Hmmm.
So now the spark in our country is Healthcare. Is it a Right? A Privilege? Should we counsel the sick on End of Life choices? Would parents of children with disabilities be counseled to all them to quietly pass? Would members of Congress be forced to use the same healthcare? Is their still dignity in life or in choosing death?
Do you know what you believe? Do you know why you believe it? Have you read documents for yourself? I don't mean relying on NPR or Conservative Talk Radio; CNN or Fox. Find out for yourself!
As a kid, my dad once challenged me: don't take what I say as truth. (He was a minister.) Don't take what you hear any minister or teacher say as infallible - find out for yourself! That's how I learned to study the Bible. That's how I learned to look at politics. Nothing antecdotal - we all "know someone" or "heard someone" and we can balance both sides of EVERY issue with that argument.
I challenge you - Know What You Know and Why You Know It! Teach your kids to search out truth for themselves; to seek Godly counsel and above all else, pray about what you hear and see. Pray that God reveal truth to you. Pray that God open your ears to hear what is really said. Pray that God do the same for your friends and family.
Pray that God reveals the true issue on any topic - sometimes taxation is about personal rights; maybe healthcare is related to gun control; and, sometimes education reform is really just agencies jockeying for more money. There are people involved and therefore, the issues get muddled in personal agendas. Pray, " What is the real issue here?"
Pray for your Leaders. Our President is a man who needs guidance as all men do. We are admonished in God's Word to pray for our leaders! It's your job as a citizen of both America and of Heaven! 1 TImothy 2:1-4
Pray for God's will to be done in our Nation. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
And always pray for the Peace of Isreal - God demands that as well. Psalms 122:6
Then, when you've prayed, you've researched, you've prayed some more - STAND!
"And having done all, Stand!" Ephesians 6:13