Still Grieving Uvalde

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The information about the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022, has been too painful to bear, yet the news keeps getting worse. I am deeply impacted by the surveillance videos released by the Austin American-Statesman on July 12.

I recognize I do not understand the complexities of being in law enforcement, but I cannot understand what took place. I can make this conclusion: the power of an AR-15 is astounding. When an untrained 18-year-old can deter dozens of professional officers, that weapon must be considered an instrument of great communal concern. I know many who responsibly own such a gun, connecting ownership with their right to self-defense. I understand that perspective, but can’t we wait a few years for adolescent males to mature, preventing some of the mentally ill from having such an instrument for carnage? It is a conversation that needs to continue, and reasonable minds can collaborate for solutions.

Happy birthday, America. You are exceptional.

Happy birthday, America! I am proud of my country and grateful to be a citizen.

I am educated enough to understand our sins.
I am theological enough to understand the trappings of nationalism.
I am cynical enough to recognize the market forces that exploit patriotism.

But I am wise enough to know this country is exceptional!

The American experiment changed the world. We are not finished. We are learning to be a great country, and I pray we have the humility and resolve to ascend.

The establishment of our new Government seemed to be the last great experiment for promoting human happiness.” – George Washington, January 9, 1790

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.