The Road to Character

david_brooks_road_to_character

In the book The Road to Character, David Brooks writes about, “a serene inner character, a quiet but solid sense of right and wrong—not only to do good, but to be good.”

David Brooks is a New York Time columnist, and a commentator on “PBS NewsHour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”  From a secular perspective, he promotes a return to character development as a necessary human value. Pastor Dan Scott has referred to this writing as “perhaps the book of the decade.”

Written from a secular perspective, we need Brook’s clarion call to work on our character instead just accepting our weaknesses.  Towards the end of the book, Brooks who is Jewish, briefly shares about his faith in Jesus Christ in a disarming, but authentic manner. An important book for our current challenges in cultural leadership.

It is evil, not just mental illness

So much chatter on the morning news shows in response to the mass shooting in south Florida. Not much was worth hearing, but I heard one commentator state with moral clarity, “we have to admit that we have polluted a whole generation.”
If you want to do your part in preventing mass shootings in the future, then contribute positively to the moral fabric of our culture. Do not entertain yourself with violent content. Do not make heroes out of the bad guys, as so much of our entertainment glorifies the villain. Do not participate in bullying (adults do this in sophisticated ways).
Clean up your language. Demonstrate civility. Operate with integrity. Commit to your marriage and family. Contribute to the success of a church, civic club, or community orientated organization.
This is not about “mental illness.” Some of the finest people I have ever known have struggled with mental illness. The systematic execution of people is a result of unrestrained evil.
We are a selfish people. I suppose the ultimate manifestation of selfishness is mass murder for personal pleasure. So, as much as we can, let us push against the pull of selfishness. If we do not live selfishly, we can demonstrate to our young people a better way.

My hope from the Presidential Election

I would like to post something uplifting, hopeful or original about the presidential election, but I have little to contribute in those areas. We are not a better people because of this election. We have not been inspired, lifted or given a vision. We are more divided, confused and uninformed.
But, we will survive. America is still exceptional.
Our founding fathers created a brilliant system of checks and balances that limit the power of the presidency. Neither candidate can accomplish much of what they claim. Representative government across the 50 states is designed to limit the influence of one person. Its time for us to de-emphasize the role of the executive branch, and we should expect Congress to assert greater authority in forming our national direction.
This is my hope from this presidential election.

Responding to the Conventions

Prayers for Philadelphia
Here is some good news no matter your political persuasion. After months of expecting and preparing for the worse, there was no significant act of violence or civil unrest in Cleveland. Let’s pray the same for Philadelphia in the coming week. Let’s remember, that despite our various national challenges, we are so blessed to be Americans!

I’m Trying to See the Better Side
We are most Christlike when we look for the good in people instead of only their faults. I’m trying to do this more these days. While I do not want to blindly believe propaganda, discovering and believing positive things about public figures with whom I disagree is good for the life of God in me. Public figures are influencers of our culture, so the more God works in their hearts, the better we all are. So, we should wish them all God’s best. Because of Jesus and His work in my life, I hope I will choose civility and kindness more and more.

A Christian Perspective on the Transgender Bathroom issues

restroom

Since I was out of the country this week, I have been quiet on the transgender bathroom issue that has come to the forefront of American society.  My silence has not been an indication of my level of concern. I am saddened by the lack of wisdom and divisive action of President Obama to release a letter on May 13, 2016, to all public schools in America advising them how to respond to transgender issues.

Closer to home, this issue is coming to fruition in Sumner County, as an ACLU complaint about one of our high schools has been formerly filed.

http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2016/05/19/aclu-files-complaint-feds-over-bathroom-access-sumner-county/84598168/

I think you will find an article by Russell Moore helpful in forming your opinion on this issues from a Biblical perspective.  I have read this article several times, because each word has been carefully constructed to bring insight and perspective from our Christian faith.

There are good reasons to put boys and girls in different bathrooms and locker rooms and sometimes sports teams, reasons that don’t impugn the dignity of people but uphold it.” – Russell Moore

Click below for the full article:

What the Transgender Bathroom Debate Means For You

Let me tell you about my church

I am so grateful for the church I get to serve.  We are a simple, but complicated people.  Long ago we laid down the illusion of being best, biggest, or trendiest.  That statement is not a criticism of the great churches that are classified as such, its just an acknowledgement of where our boundary lines have fallen.

We adopt children, get extra degrees, participate in youth sports clubs, take as many weekend trips as possible, and volunteer at the church in between. We love our church friends, but they are only one network among several we juggle.  Thank God that we can check on them through Facebook since we don’t attend the same service anymore.

We have pliable hearts to the Spirit and the Word, but struggle to hear those voices in between the neighborhood association cookouts, the school fair, and the Netflix binge.  Yet, in the midst of these contextual challenges, I think we are all doing well.  I find us to be loving, generous, thoughtful and pliable.  We’re not perfect, but we’re trying to get the most out of life and love Jesus at the same time.