Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Friday, October 22, 2004

It's not Sunday yet, but...

The issue of faith has come up in this year's presidential contest more than it has at any time in the past 20 years. George Bush has never failed to say publicly and privately that it's his faith that sustains him in the most difficult job in the world. Lately, John Kerry has tried to "prove" that his faith is equal, "preaching" in churches far and wide, and declaring his faith before all men.

If you're truly a person of faith, how can you choose between these two men? What key can you find that makes the choice easier to make?

The more I read the Bible, the more I study it and ask God's guidance for wisdom in understanding, the more I see that His word is unchangeable - it always fits the situation, no matter how much the situation changes, because it goes to the very heart of the matter - human nature, and how we act - and react - with one another. Today's "battle of the faiths" is no different. Yet 2000 years ago, Jesus understood this need, and the deceptions of man, and gave us the tools to choose between those that are true in their faith, and those whose faith is just a convenience, like an extra sweater, or a favorite jacket - to be put on and taken off as they choose. From the 7th chapter of the Gospel Matthew, Jesus says:

15 ¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

We can use these same words in politics: what men do in their lives, especially what they do over and over, reflect their true nature. What has President Bush done, not only in the four years of his Presidency, but in his life? Is there anything there that tells us what his character is? Does he do the same thing, over and over, or does he do one thing one day, and something different another? What did he do as the governor of Texas? How well did he do in other positions he's held? Do the people trust him to deal honestly with him? Do his words reflect his deeds, or is there a dissonance? When we study this man closely, do we think in our hearts, "We can trust this man", or do we feel "This man is dangerous to me"?

When we look at Senator Kerry, what do we see? What has he done in the Senate? What did he do as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts? How did he deal with people when he was a public procecutor? Do his words now, during his presidential campaign, reflect his actions in these positions? What has he done to convince us he's capable of handling the problems our nation faces today? What character traits has John Forbes Kerry exhibited in his life that will convince us to trust him with the highest position in our government?

What have these men done in the past, and what do they do now, to make us trust them? What are the fruits of their actions, their words, their deeds? By these we can judge these two men, and decide which is being honest about his faith.

One charge pressed against George Bush is that he cannot admit making a mistake. Yet he, himself, said that he made "many mistakes" during his early years, before he found his faith. Even during the presidential debates, when he was asked that very loaded question, he answered that "perhaps he trusted the wrong people, that he appointed people to jobs he shouldn't have", although, like anyone with a shred of common decency, he refused to name names. Most of us know who they were, but George Bush wasn't going to finger them - that would have been against his character.

What about John Kerry? Has he made mistakes? Does he freely and openly admit them? I seem to remember an incident on the slopes in Idaho, and a couple of other times as well...

By their fruits shall you know them.

There are five major issues facing us in this presidential election:

  1. The war against islamic fanatics.

  2. The necessity of increasing our internal security, and protecting the lives of citizens in this nation - not just against terrorists, but against all threats.

  3. The battle against poverty and disease in this country.

  4. The need to do something about the impending bankruptcy of Social Security.

  5. The necessity of government reform - to eliminate waste, to eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens, to restrain legislation from judicial bodies, to downsize a bloated bureaucracy, and to make government more responsive, more "user-friendly" to the people who grant government its legitimacy.

None of these stands alone, but each is complementary - and dependent - upon the other. I'll try to write about each more fully in other posts over the next week or so. But these are the biggies - the things that will make or break this nation in the very near future.

Study these issues. Find what these candidates truly think about each of these problems facing us. Look closely not only at what they say, but who they say it to. Is the message different to different audiences, or does the speaker say the same thing to everyone?

We are a nation "conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the principles that all men are created equal." We are also a nation built upon the principles laid down in God's words, especially the words of the Ten Commandments, and the words of wisdom He has given us to live in the world He created. Also in Matthew 7, Jesus said:

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Just as our founders built this nation on the rock of faith - both in God and in the wisdom of free men, the situation today calls for our nation to be "built upon a rock" - strong, honest leadership. It's up to every voter to educate themselves about both candidates, and determine which one is rock, and which one is sand.

Whatever your ideas are, whomever you choose, please exercise your right to vote, and encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to do so, too. Jesus said that no man can enter Heaven by works alone. But also, faith without works is like this:

18 ¶ Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

Works cannot get us into Heaven, but without works, we're like the fig tree without fruit - useless to God. Each of us can do His will, even if it's just helping a neighbor with their groceries, donating to food banks, writing a blog, or getting out to vote for our choice, to voice our commitment to both the foundations of this nation, and those that we select to serve it on our behalf.

I'm going to add a crass commercial plug to the end of this, because I've found this product to be absolutely essential over the past few weeks since I downloaded and installed it. It's the "Online Bible". It's a free download, and there are a half-dozen or more "plug-ins" to go with it, including the Apocrapha, a Bible dictionary, an index, and more. If you want the entire Bible at your fingertips, indexed and searchable, this is the best there is.


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