There is never a day that goes by I don’t hear people voicing their concern for the welfare of America. Our citizens are afraid of losing their homes,losing their jobs, the price of gas, housing costs, terrorism, contaminated food and drink, the inability to afford health care insurance, high taxes, exorbitant food costs, medication costs, etc. This may sound strange, but I really do not worry about these things. I truly believe that we as a society have completely lost an informed awareness of what the condition of the world really is. We rely on television, radio, and publications of all kinds to “educate” us on world events, catastrophic weather conditions, reasons and rationalizations on the war, and why our men and women in the armed forces have to die on a regular basis. But who is to blame for this convoluted mess? Is it really George Bush’s fault, or Bill Clinton’s or maybe John F.Kennedy’s? Maybe we can go back in time and blame this entire mess on Abraham Lincoln! It must be someone’s fault. Well, in my humble opinion I think there can be only one true answer to all this dysfunction; US. Yes, I mean me and you.
Wow! That’s a mouthful! Now as you sit there and recover, take a deep breath and consider the slight possibility this premise could be true. After all, America is America because of people. We really are all the same. Black, white, red, green- people are all the same. But how do people who think they are different than other people, make a positive difference in society? Do we have to agree on certain issues to effect change? We people live in a country enamored with division. We are surrounded with different religions, governmental parties, all-encompassing controlling corporations, frantic media scare tactics, and children who are pressured beyond what their years should allow. So, what IS the answer? If the media barrages us constantly with negative information, how do we go about effecting positive change from negative programming? Where do you find inspiration and courage; from fear? I don’t think so.
Is courage and faith dead? I don’t think so; it may be hidden or sleeping but as long as a person is breathing, hope is waiting to raise its head and say; “I am alive- please use me.” Consider this; the opposite of fear is faith. Faith encourages people-fear destroys the spirit. So, what do we do about a fear driven society? Acquiesce lie down and just give up? How long do we get to complain, commiserate and be-mourn our fate? If knowledge is power, then where does knowledge get its information to fuel its own power? Isn’t information supposed to be informative? Isn’t being informed a form of education? Isn’t education power? You would think that educated people would be able to stand their ground and produce change in their environment. Sounds logical, but ask yourself this; is that happening in America today? I don’t think so.
We are in an election year. The candidates are in “full tilt boogie” mode. Each candidate is trying to convince the American people that THEY are the only ones to effect change! How many stories have we listened to? How many times have we blindly believed in our government officials how many times have we been disappointed and enraged at their behavior? Have we subtly lapsed into a “sheep” mentality? Is life really about what party you belong to or what church you attend? Have we lost total control? If so, what do we do about it? Well, don’t get too uncomfortable. The only thing I know for sure is this; I know nothing at all.
I am really not interested in me. I am a mere mortal. I am not interested in what I think I know, or how educated I am, or how much money I have, or how successful I am. I just want to live in truth. I want to be able to stand in “the evil days”…which are far too numerous to count .Ask yourself this simple question? When things get so convoluted, so distorted, so deceptive, so destructive, where DO you go to for guidance? Where do you find the truth? Is truth subjective? I don’t think so.
If truth is based on a person’s opinion, then how does one determine the real truth? Look at our children. They are constantly bombarded with negative images. How do they determine what truth really is? Where do they go to find the real meaning of integrity? Where do they go to find the answers to those questions? Everyone is so afraid of offending someone. Maybe it’s better to say nothing- I mean, why take the risk? Well hold onto your hats! Without risk failure is certain. Speak up!….loudly and decisively if necessary. I feel this is NOT the point in history to be “politically correct.” This is not the time to be religious, or legalistic. These are the defining days. The days of “you’re in or you’re out”; stand or fall- it’s your choice.
So, what platform do we decide to stand on? A platform should represent stability and comfort. But if a platform is always changing, it cannot realistically offer any hope of stability. If we believe everything we hear from the media and keep running from one person to the next endlessly debating current issues, we will never change our life condition. The journey of intellectual debates confuses and frustrates people. These debates usually evolve into angry, hopeless, volatile mentalities that find an unsuspecting home in a place we call… ourselves.
When did our focus shift from truth to personalities? If we continually count on our leaders to guide us into a brighter world condition, we will endlessly be disappointed. I’m sure we’d all agree that we are all concerned about the unsafe conditions of the world. We are concerned about Social Security, National security, Drugs, crime, poverty, Terrorism, chemical warfare, sabotage, lack of morality, lack of money, and lack of health care, lack of life itself. Phew! That is an exhausting way to live.
Have you ever considered this simple hypothesis? What if these issues are too far gone to cure? What if there is a recession or an actual depression? What if we, God forbid, are attacked on our shores again? What if the National debt is so outrageously out of proportion, it can never be balanced? What if we are fighting a war we can never win? These are ALL some profound “what ifs.” Have you stopped to consider what you would do if these “what ifs” were ultimately found to be true? Do you actually believe a group of mere mortal politicians can solve these life altering problems? I don’t think so.
So what do we do? If the world all goes crazy and the bottom falls out from under us, what is the one thing that could possibly be the answer for our survival? What can we count on to never fail? It certainly cannot be us as individuals.
Many people have asked me if this is a Christian magazine. I answer “absolutely not! This is a magazine about truth.” I am hesitant to call myself a Christian because that term has become, in my opinion, very generically stereotyped. I always say; “I am a Jesus person. I consider HIM the truth”. They always look at me inquisitively, and generally answer with a simple, “Oh.”
Hey, let’s get real; no matter what religion you are, no matter what you believe, no matter how many debates on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity you have had ( and I love Einstein!) in the end, the only stable, unflinching, never changing. Consistent words of wisdom, I have ever heard, are from the “red” words in the bible…the words of Jesus. He never fails. He never changes. He is never wrong. His Love never fails. No, it is not easy, because it is not about us and our opinions, it is about Him and His self-taught obedience as a way of life. Please do not misunderstand .I am not interested in becoming a bible scholar… personally; I don’t believe there is enough time for that. More than any other time in history, truth is mandatory. In a world inundated with chaotic transient fear, we have to be able to stand; stand very firm.
The other day my friend and I were talking about these issues. After about an hour of exhaustive conversation she simply said; “then what IS the answer?’ With our hesitation I replied: “to take care of one another.” Maybe it has gotten down to being that simple-that profound. When we encounter catastrophic situations in a “me-me” society, turning our eyes off our own needs and pointing them towards another is not what we would think our automatic response would be; But history supports that is not true. Strength, survival and endurance thrive in adversity- in catastrophic situations. That’s where these traits come alive. Jesus said: “Love one another as I have loved you.” “Treat your neighbor as yourself.” Lay your live’s down for your friends.”That is strength and honor in action.That is a love from another dimension-a Jesus dimension.That is a love available to us all; if we take our eyes off of ourselves and keep them focused on Him-on His words- on His teachings.
If you think I am being religious, I am not. Look at it this way. IF Jesus DID die for mankind, then He willingly did it for you! As He was scourged, beaten, demoralized, spit on, and ultimately nailed to a cross, was He thinking about his bank account, His Ira, His job stability, loosing his car, or the comforts of a warm safe home? No, in fact, he did not HAVE a home. His home was with his Father and YOU. He gave everything for His children; and He still is today. Call it what you like, but all debates on truth will ultimately revert back to the words in “red.” The truth never changes.
A perfect example of Jesus in action was in NYC on 911. I am a New Yorker and I can tell you from first hand knowledge, 8 million people crammed into one square mile, was a disaster(responding to a disaster) waiting to happen! When the planes flew into The World Trade Center, the terrorists EXPECTED a chaotic, hysterical, fearful response to their attack. Instead, NYC didn’t lose a step. I know because my 86 year old Mother lives in NYC on the upper West side. I find it interesting that in a building housing hundreds of concerned people, my Mother’s telephone was the only land line that continually worked. The elevator would stop on the 8th floor and the door would open. People would automatically exit and see her front door open. She would just escort them into her apartment to use her telephone so they could call their relatives all over the country to let them know they were okay. Does that phenomenon make any sense to you? From a “red” perspective, I believe so.
Think about it; if you were in New York City without food and water, with the threat of death surrounding you, with smoke, explosions and the stench of burning flesh filling the hot air, what would you expect to happen? Anarchy? Would you expect to see Panic, violence, looting, greed, avarice, or cowardice? Would everyone just be out for themselves? Well, NYC did not lose a step. What did they do? How did they re-act? They automatically HEPLED one another. There was no time to be afraid. There certainly was no time or place to run and hide. There was only one thing to do; immediately ban together and help one another. It was strangely automatic. It was like the inner strength of the people rose to the surface and they DID lay their lives down for their friends-automatically.
Now you may be asking yourself what has that got to do with Jesus? Well, if God made man in His image, then it makes a lot of sense. Many people that survived 9-11 told stories of people of all races and religions calling out for Jesus; Jesus help me…help me! When the rubber meets the road, that’s where you will always find Him. That’s where you will always need Him, that’s where most people, who never thought they would, will call out His name. Rest assured, He will always answer; sometimes even in silence… but be assured; He will always answer.
Jesus will always remind us of His strength that lives in us .We can identify His spirit in another’s eyes .That spirit binds us together. In today’s fear ridden world I hope we never forget the spirit of 911. I pray we never forget the threat that created the need for that heroic spirit. But we must also not forget that we need one another- that we can get our power back by being accountable; one person at a time. So when fear knocks at your American door, and I assure you it will, remember; you are not alone. No matter how terrible your life conditions are- no matter how sick, afraid, broke or broken hearted you are- Jesus is there. Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever. He is standing right by your side…whispering steadfastly in your ear…. “Do not be afraid…I have… overcome the world.”