Reflections on the Afghanistan War

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I still remember the vivid emotions I felt leaving a church service in 2001, when I heard the United States invaded Afghanistan.  An alarmed friend asked out loud, “What does this mean?”  Her husband soberly responded, “We are at war, honey.”   In that moment, I felt like life as I knew it would permanently change.  But, it did not.

For the last 16 years our soldiers have died in Afghanistan (and Iraq), and my life has proceeded in comfort.  During the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, I do not remember meaningful public discussion on the validity of fighting a two-front war overseas while so many were hurting domestically.

Barak Obama campaigned on the position of pulling out of Afghanistan. Donald Trump was more ambiguous on his plans, but there was hope that he would end our longest war (and he may still). I believe both wanted to end the war, but obviously there is more information received as president that changed both of their intentions.  We discovered on August 21, 2017, that the Afghanistan War will continue with a new strategy.

With my limited knowledge in this area, I have concluded a few things:

  • This war has been so long because the average American does not feel the impact of the war on their lifestyle.
  • When a nation topples a government, that country must be prepared to keep military personal their 100 years. That is something to consider before the next military invasion to uproot a government. This is a concern for Iran, North Korea and Syria. Yet, the United States and allies may have no other choice when it comes to those troubled regimes.
  • For democracy to succeed, a revolution of values has to occur in people’s hearts. We cannot export our values as easily as we had hoped after the Cold War ended. It may take many decades for an idea to germinate in a culture before a people group rises up in defiance for lasting change. It is not enough to win freedom; it is a continual struggle to maintain freedom.  The United State has 241 years of history that proves this struggle is necessary.
  • The fallen soldiers and disabled veterans, and their families, deserve for the Afghanistan War to reach resolution.

My prayer is for our soldiers to come home soon, and for Afghanistan to thrive as a place of freedom and security. I do not know if both are possible, so I will support my country in the path it chooses militarily, as much as my conscious allows me to.

Though good men and women participate in them, war is a manifestation of evil.  Through the future rule of Jesus, there will come a day when all war ends!  Praise be to His name!

Charlottesville calls us to better angels

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Despite the evil in Charlottesville on August 11-12, I believe that most Americans are united in love and respect. My heart breaks for the loss of life, the visible hatred, and the hurtful visuals of protest that have stirred valid emotional pain.
 
The key to being a united nation is to love and respect everyone, every day.
 
Abraham Lincoln spoke elegant words we need to meditate on in his inauguration speech of 1861:
 
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection … The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
 
With God’s help, let us appeal to the better angels of our nature.

Pray for the North Korea situation

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The United States and the free world face a grim responsibility to keep the world safe from the unstable North Korea. I am deeply concerned for our military and our South Korean friends.

We need a miracle! Pray for wisdom, protection and resolution to this international crisis. An unbearable multitude of lives will perish if there is not a turning. We need the help of the LORD!

I look forward to the day when . . .

“… they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war anymore (Isaiah 2:4).”

 

Tennessee tragedies point us to the Eternal

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There have been difficult times in Tennessee in recent days.

The deadly bus crash in Chattanooga (November 21).
Gatlinburg fires (November 28).
Tornados on Tennessee-Alabama border (November 30)

In this world of both environmental tragedy and human evil, we need a refuge and eternal perspective.  That place of security is not a location or institution. but the person of Jesus the Christ.

Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
creator of light and darkness,
to you be glory and praise for ever . . .
May your word be a lantern to our feet
and a light upon our path
that we may behold your coming among us . . .
As we walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
may we call upon your name,
raise the cup of salvation,
and so proclaim your death, O Lord,
until you come in glory.
                              – Daily Office, Evening Prayer, December 2

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.

UK Decision Points to Dissatisfaction

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A historic day has come to the  United Kingdom, as the vote to leave the European Union  passed. Humanity’s dissatisfaction with earthly government is creating a climate of change all over the world. I pray the United Kingdom, the United States, the Arab world, and all points in between will turn to the one in whom “the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).