Lessons from the Mask

I hope that the era of the mask debate has ended in the United States. I appreciate people who choose to wear a mask out of concern for the potential spread of disease. I find it helpful when others use the mask as a physical symbol they are ill, and it may be good to continue these practices voluntarily.

However, it is not the government’s role constitutionally to require medical intervention or preventative acts. I hope the government mandates we experienced in 2020-2022 become a short-term learning experience of what not to do. The government can encourage, promote, urge, and provide medical masks. Our tax dollars pay for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the research and recommendations they offer, but it is not in their authority to create requirements.

Should you wear a medical mask in the future? Maybe, but it should be up to you.

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Picture description: A passenger prepares to board a flight departing Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on March 15.
John Moore/Getty Images North America

Good news for America

For those who dare accept it, I have positive news. I recognize that media outlets and religious leaders are stoking fear, distrust, and hidden conspiracies. While that is one lens to see the world, there is another perspective I want to suggest. Good things are happening during our lifetime!

  • Diseases are being cured.
  • Life expectancy is increasing.
  • Roe vs. Wade is on the verge of being overturned.
  • Unemployment is at a record low.
  • Religious liberty has been widely upheld in the courts. 
  • The federal government supported churches and religious institutions with the PPP of 2020 and 2021. 
  • Home values are increasing.
  • Mass gatherings are occurring without required masks. 
  • So far, America is not being drawn into foreign wars. 

Now, there are many things I am concerned about – medical ethics, inflation, the value of the dollar, a porous southern border, affordable housing, health care access, the misuse of executive orders, and federal overreach – to name a few. There is much concern, but there are also reasons to give thanks.

The world is falling apart. The world is advancing. 

You can choose either tune to be the soundtrack of your life. Scripture teaches us that sin and evil are present in this world and increasing in many. Yet, Scripture teaches God’s victory over sin, and He is redeeming the world for His purposes through the church.  

Try positivity – you may like it! 

Gas prices are a big deal

Globalization can be our friend. Globalization can be our enemy.

The current record-high gas prices result from an economy of interdependent nations. There are many benefits to globalization; until a crazy dictator commands an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation. The energy supply from Russia, much of which traveled through Ukraine, is threatened by war and sanctions. Consequently, gas prices in the United States soared.

I have always believed that gas prices significantly impact a consumer economy. Gas prices should climb higher in the coming days, especially with President Biden’s announcement to embargo Russian oil. So, we will see how Americans respond to $5 / gallon gas, another component of inflation. Will our habits change, or will those who can adjust their personal budgets to the increase? Will higher gas prices reduce spending? If it does, how long will an economy based on spending function highly with limited revenue?

The next time you fill up on gas, say a prayer for our nation. The development of record-high gas prices may end up a significant story in our lives.

Roe vs Wade ends, the Abortion challenge continues

For those who are anti-abortion, a positive trend in preserving life has developed since 2021. Many states are functionally overriding the Roe vs. Wade decision by legislating drastic abortion obstructions. These state laws make it impossible to get an abortion in such a state. Recent United States Supreme Court decisions have protected these drastic state measures.

As the Supreme Court upholds these laws, Roe vs. Wade becomes ineffective as a federal precedent. The future is this: one could still get an abortion in states like California and New York but could not in states with restrictive laws, like Texas and Louisiana.

So, you probably know something about what I have just written. As I warned on this blog a couple of years ago, the overturn of Roe vs. Wade would not stop abortion in America, and it would only limit it regionally.

So, Christians cannot hide behind Roe vs. Wade as a distant cultural argument. Now, our stand for life is more consequential state by state, community by community, vote by vote, and conversation by conversation.

Beauty on January 6

This January 6, we had a morning snow in middle Tennessee, which brought a blanket of peace and beauty for those safe at home. As I look out the window, it reminds me of the snow globes I used to be mesmerized with as a child – a dream world that seemed pure and enchanting.

What a contrast of the divisive strife coming from our national leaders. When will a leader bring Americans together? Promoting unity is not a way to keep power these days, but it is an ache within us waiting to be soothed. May kinder and cooperative days fall over us like gentle snow, making us more beautiful.

Deconstruction – a new term for an ageless issue

If you have not heard the term deconstruction yet, you probably will soon. Relevant magazine states, “deconstruction is a popular term that refers to the practice of revisiting and rethinking long-held beliefs, specifically in the Christian faith.” It appears pervasive among younger Americans who have grown up in church, and it is a sad development when it ruins people’s love for the Lord. Deconstruction is not new, but its currents form is based on present sociological realities. It is a new term for an ageless reality.

Since the beginning of Christianity, apparent believers have fallen from their faith. Scripture prophesies that people will turn away from the faith. With the digital social connections available, we have a clearer view of the spiritual struggles so many individuals experience. We see it a lot more, but falling away from the Lord has always been part of humanity’s spiritual struggle.

It is natural and good to question, and I have seen that seeking truth leads to Jesus Christ. Jesus is not an option or a coping mechanism. He is the truth. If you are in the process of deconstruction, I believe that the authentic Jesus is on the other side of your questions. Keep seeking truth.

USA and Globalism

PHOTO: MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS

Globalism is a force that can not be reversed but can be managed better. America gave up its manufacturing base too quickly at the end of the 20th century. We have to keep making stuff in America.

We’ll never be able to make everything, so global trade is necessary and has benefits. Positive actions in recent years have slightly pushed back against our over-dependence on trade. As we see the ships piling up outside the port of Los Angeles, it is another sobering reminder of our dependence and vulnerability to the rest of the world. A strong America is good for the world.

The US needs fiscal leadership

Congress has been irresponsible with the national debt, and the continual argument about the debt ceiling proves this lunacy. We have to raise the debt ceiling, but we should not be in this situation. There are consequences for reckless spending.

The global economy relies on a robust American economy, but spending beyond our means produces instability that ripples around the globe. Beyond the rest of the world, we have significant financial issues hurting the middle class and those who desire upward mobility through hard work. Can you believe how expensive a college education and a starter house are today?

Sound financial decisions are the basis for long-term sustainability, but there seems no appetite for restraint. Our country must spend less, stabilize the Social Security program, and freeze the expansion of social programs until we can balance the budget.

We need fiscal leadership.

Todd Hunter’s newest book – Deep Peace

I just eagerly ordered the book Deep Peace, the newest release by Todd Hunter. Todd has been at the forefront of several Christian movements in American for the last 40 years, so his insights into our faith today are proven and needed. Todd desires this book to “make a real difference in the conflict and anxiety that permeate Church and society.”

Since Todd has moved to the Nashville area from California, he has been gracious to me. I am enthusiastic about his ministry and what this book can mean to people.

I like Constitution Day

I have not been aware of Constitution Day, but I am glad we have one! The United States Constitution, established in 1787, has served me well. I am thankful to be an American.

September 17 has only been designated Constitution Day since 2005, but social media is helping it catch on. Also, higher education institutions that receive Federal funds are expected to acknowledge Constitution Day.

So cheers for freedoms given by God, defined by the Constitution, defended by the military, upheld by the judicial system, and celebrated by the people.