Last Saturday I stepped a little bit outside of my comfort zone with a few thoughts relative to politics. It’s not that I don’t have thoughts about the subject, it’s just one of those things that I would typically prefer to keep to myself.
So let’s venture out on a limb a little bit this week as well and toss in some religion.
I grew up a Methodist. One of my favorite uncles was a Methodist preacher. His name was Marvin Claude Cook but we all knew him as Windy.
Preacher. Windy. You get the picture.
I joined the Baptist church after moving to Waycross somewhere around 1980. Rev. Bill Young re-baptized me and I thought for just a second that he wasn’t going to be able to hoist me back out of the water. He did, but it was quite the spectacle at Central Baptist Church.
I hearken to 1 Corinthians 13:13. (And by the way Mr. President, that’s First Corinthians, not One Corinthians)
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
I still have faith in the American Experience.
Ours is a culture that was based on immigration by people from all around the world to a new land where fresh starts offered hope for a better future.
Is that any different today? No, absolutely not.
Walk into any convenience store in the Rome area and you’re more than likely to see a nonCaucasian owner-operator originally from overseas doing his or her best for his or her family. Quite often you’ll see them working seven days a week.
Let that sink in just a little bit: “working seven days a week.”
Ride by any significant construction site in Rome and Floyd County. Again, odds are the workers you see were not raised in Rosedale or Wax.
Just hard working folks who want something better for their family.
Get used to it.
I still have hope in the American Experience.
No one ever confused me for a history scholar. I’ll leave that to my good friends David Mitchell, Selena Tilly and Russ McClanahan.
What I do know is that all of the great cultures of the world have had their run. Ours has survived more than 600 years and I have high hopes it can last another 600, in large part because of the diversity in the way our society was created.
Another part of that foundation for hope is that I do not believe that we as Americans are trying to rule the world.
At times it might have looked that way, particularly to folks maybe in Vietnam, or more contemporarily Iran and Afghanistan. We’ve been trying to share the freedom that we enjoy and believe is fundamental to all people — a belief shared in other parts of the world.
John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson didn’t want to conquer Vietnam and George Bush didn’t want to make Iran or Afghanistan our 51st state.
Finally, I’m still going to love and care for all of the people who have become important in my life.
I still fall short of the words of Jesus in Mark 12:31, “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
In this post-election period as I look to the future, I also hearken to the very first book and chapter of the Bible. Genesis 1:24-31.
Don’t have the space here to copy that, so please check it out yourself. But let’s focus on that last verse.
Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”
Hoping that I haven’t lost too many folks with references to the Bible. These verses are very fundamental to the core of what I believe.
Original creation was perfect. I completely believe everything that we need to live a wonderful life is here.
A cure for cancer is here, we just haven’t found it yet. A cure for Alzheimer’s is here, we’ve just got to keep looking.
A huge part of that process involves protecting what was put here in the first place.
That’s what makes me a conservationist.
I can remember visiting The Pocket Recreation Area up in the northern neck of Floyd County many years ago and plucking some watercress out of John’s Creek and eating it right there. The people I was up there with at the time were aghast.
They didn’t know what watercress was and they surely couldn’t believe I was just picking it and eating it.
That was a long time ago, but as best as I recall, my response was something like, “Haven’t you ever picked wild blackberries and given them a try?”
The water in John’s Creek was crystal clear, I had no fears of E. coli at that location and watercress has a nice peppery taste to it.
I wonder if anyone has tested watercress in the battle against cancer.
While I do believe that the “environmental movement” has occasionally become a bit zealous over the decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was established 50 years ago this December for the purpose of making sure we protect the Earth that was so perfectly created and given to mankind to provide stewardship.
All we need IS here, and it’s here for all of us to share and take care of regardless of which political party is in control of this great nation.
For the benefit of generations to come, I pray that going forward, after this election is settled, we can all put aside some differences and come together to save the American Experience, and America itself.