Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 We Must Never Forget

Last year, on September 11th, I published a reminder for us to never forget the nearly 3000 people that lost their lives on September 11, 2001. I remember that day like it was yesterday...

Do you remember where you were on that day?

Well, if you can remember that day, then obviously you were not counted in the number that died that fateful day.

You are here for a purpose.

Do you know what that purpose is?

I believe we all have a special assignment from God that we were created for. I believe we all have gifts and talents and influence that God wants to use to impact the world.

But I also believe that we all have a general calling in life. It may take on different forms and utilize different methods. I believe this calling can be found in the Bible:

He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy 
and to walk humbly with your God.* 

No matter where we live, where we work, who we are, God wants us to be just (fair, right, true) and to love mercy (kindness, compassion, empathy) and to walk humbly with Him.

Have you given your life to works of justice?

Do you extend mercy towards others?

Are you walking with God -- loving Him, spending time with Him? Do you live humbly -- with the constant reminder that He is God, and you are not?

God's calling is simple, yet so profound. Easy, yet so difficult.

Are you changing the world for the better? We owe it to those who lost their lives on 9/11 to make our country -- the world -- a better place. 

We owe it to the One who gave His life so that we might live a life worth living.



* Micah 6:8

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Republican National Convention: I'm Just Saying...

You'd think after I ruffled more than a few feathers with my last political post, Republicans vs. Democrats: Who Gets It Right?, that I'd leave this presidential race well enough alone.

I don't think there's any other topic that gets people more riled up than politics. And I can't think of many other topics that people will go to their graves believing they are absolutely 100% right, and everyone else is absolutely 100% wrong.

It baffles me. It amazes me.

It annoys me.

So today, I begin with a disclaimer. I am 100% sure that my political thoughts and beliefs are not 100% right.

And as you read, I beg of you -- would you consider that perhaps your political thoughts and beliefs might not be 100% right either?

That being said, on this first day of the Democratic National Convention, I'd like to share some thoughts about the Republican National Convention from last week.

I'll start with some highlights:
  • Condoleezza Rice: Condie's speech was my absolute favorite, but then again, I'm kind of partial to this brilliant, bright spot in the political world. She spoke with compassion towards "the AIDS orphan in Uganda, the refugee fleeing Zimbabwe, the young woman who has been trafficked into the sex trade in Southeast Asia; the world's poorest in Haiti." She applauded the government's assistance toward the least of these, along with "the compassionate works of private charities -- people of conscience and people of faith."
  • Condie also spoke of the crisis in our K-12 education system, which she called "the civil rights struggle of our day." I must quote her to capture the full essence of her thoughts: "Today, when I can look at your zip code and tell whether you are going to get a good education... We need to have high standards for our students... And we need to give parents greater choice -- particularly poor parents whose kids -- most often minorities -- are trapped in failing neighborhood schools." Amen, Dr. Rice!
Mia Love
  • I enjoyed seeing some diversity at the podium as well: In addition to Condoleezza, there was Mia Love, the African American U.S. Congressional candidate and mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah and Susana Martinez, Governor of New Mexico, and our country's first Hispanic female governor. Women, minority women even, are making great strides in the U.S. political arena. Amen to that!
  • And while I can't personally rave over Ann Romney's speech, I appreciate hearing from the wives of candidates. Our men cannot lead -- our families, our churches, our country -- without their wives supporting them. Ann proved her wholehearted support of her candidate-hubby when she took her turn in the podium.

And of course, there were some duds last week:

  • Clint Eastwood... I'll sum this up with just three words -- What was that???
  • Governor Mitt Romney spoke of love for his family, his country and for the American Dream, but my heart dropped when he revved up with these words: "We are a nation of immigrants. We are the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the ones who wanted a better life, the driven ones... They came not just in pursuit of the riches of this world but for the richness of this life. Freedom. Freedom of religion. Freedom to speak their mind. Freedom to build a life... This is the essence of the American experience..."
If I could sit across from Governor Romney, I would share these words with him:

Governor Romney, when you speak of these immigrants that came to America for a better life in pursuit of freedom, you left out the ancestors of those of us whose forefathers and mothers came to this country in chains, on slave ships, stacked up like sardines in inhumane conditions. When our ancestors crossed the borders of America, they lost their freedom and were deemed a mere step above livestock.

Governor Romney, it was difficult to hear about your dreams for our country when I felt left out of your speech. Does your dream include me? I sure hope it does...

In November I will cast my vote. But don't be so quick to decide which way I'll vote. On many issues, I side with Republicans. On other issues, I side with Democrats. My heart is torn on yet other issues.

I'll never share here which way I will vote. But I will vote with conviction for my God and for my country and world -- in that order.

Will you do the same?

I'm just saying...