The black coffee flows this morning here in Texas, as I ponder this country’s past… I wonder what perspectives we would hear from those who are long since gone? I offer up mine in their stead; The Year of the Bible…
The mere mention of the book conjures up emotions. Some fond, some angry. Many just want to gloss it over and say; “Two things we should never talk about; politics and religion”. Well here we are… 243 years later, and the two things that gave birth to a Nation, are the two things least talked about. It hasn’t always been that way.
In fact, 36 years ago the 97th United States Congress authorized and requested the President of the United States of America to proclaim 1983 as the “Year of the Bible”. With these words they encouraged then President Ronald Reagan;
“Whereas the Bible, the Word of God, has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation and people;
Whereas deeply held religious convictions springing from the Holy Scriptures led to the early settlement of our Nation;
Whereas Biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States;
Whereas many of our great national leaders-among them Presidents Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, and Wilson-paid tribute to the surpassing influence of the Bible in our country’s development, as in the words of President Jackson that the Bible is “the rock on which our Republic rests”;
Whereas the history of our Nation clearly illustrates the value of voluntarily applying the teachings of the Scriptures in the lives of individuals, families, and societies;
Whereas this Nation now faces great challenges that will test this Nation as it has never been tested before; and
Whereas that renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through Holy Scripture can strengthen us as a nation and a people:
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,”
Proclamation 5018, made on February 3, 1983 at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, President Reagan was authorized and REQUESTED to so designate 1983 by Public Law 97-280 (Senate Joint Resolution 165] 96 Stat. 1211), “The Year of the Bible”.
Within the pages of that law it claimed that the Bible; “has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation and people”. It quotes President Andrew Jackson, who states that the Bible is; “the rock upon which our Republic rests”. It goes on to say; “a national need to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.”
President Reagan asked during that breakfast; “Can we resolve to reach, learn and try to heed the greatest message ever written, God’s Word, and the Holy Bible? Following up his question with this statement; “Inside its pages lie all the answers to all the problems that man has ever known.”
I feel the cringes by many. I have heard all the arguments “for and against” it. I believe in the great “wall of separation” that Jefferson talked about in his letters to the Danbury Baptist Association. I just believe the majority of We the People have been taught incorrectly regarding his intent with those letters.
Many feel he was referring to the removal of God from our government. Many believe that God has no business in our government, but I contend that Jefferson was reaffirming that religion would have no voice and the “church” would hold no sway. That is the “WALL” he was referring to… a protection to and for the people, that there would never be any form of State mandated religion. I also contend, that he never intended for the morality of that religion, to be vacant from its people or its government.
Can we feel it now? Can we see where our country, our government and its people are heading? Can we see evil manifesting itself in the form of “random acts of violence” against innocence? Can we see the deep-seated corruption within our modern-day politicians? The “leaders”; whose sole job is to ensure our Constitutionally protected rights remain intact. Can we not see how far our moral values (as a whole) have strayed? Can we see the anger, hurt and resentment in social media posts? Can we see the irresponsible behavior in groups like Antifa?
If you can’t? You aren’t willing to look at it and call “a spade a spade”. We are drifting so far off course, that it will eventually be too far to correct. In fact, I’m not sure We the People have what it takes to get us back. I’m never going to stop trying, but it’s going to take some real “soul-searching and bootstrapping” to get us turned in time to miss the rocks.
I’m going to say this, about that; I am not a “traditional” Christian. I have tattoos, I swear, I drink (coffee, beer and bourbon), I’m rough around the edges. I’ve seen and done things that would make most people bury their heads in the sand and cry. But there is one thing that I know; My Christ is a redeemer! The relationship I have formed with Him has saved my bacon more times than I care to mention. He is what makes me a different person, not perfect… but willing to try to be better tomorrow than I was today.
Being a follower of Christ isn’t a “warm and fuzzy” feeling. It’s not about being perfect… it’s about trying to be better. It’s about accountability. It’s about self-reliance and responsibility, for ourselves and others. It’s about “firm and helping hands”. It’s about discipline and structure. It’s about charity and kindness. Respect; earned and given.
It’s about FREEDOM, LIBERTY, FREEWILL AND ASSOCIATION. It’s about all the things our Founders intended for us to learn, and many of the things our modern-day politicians are leaving out of the equation.
I will leave you today with some thoughts from our past, do with them as you wish… but if we don’t find a better way to fix the mistakes of our past, we are destined to repeat it.
“I rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins” ~ Samuel Adams
“To the triune God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost – be ascribed all honor and dominion, forevermore – Amen” ~ Gunning Bedford
“On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits, not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts.” ~ Charles Carroll
“The great, vital, and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and the divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” ~ Congress, 1854
“As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
“that all nations may bow to the scepter of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that the whole earth may be filled with his glory.” ~ John Hancock
“Being a Christian… is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast.” ~ Patrick Henry
“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” ~ John Jay
“I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
“I give and bequeath my soul to Almighty God that gave it me, hoping that through the meritorious death and passion of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ to receive absolution and remission for all my sins.” ~ George Mason
“The Bible contains more knowledge necessary to man in his present state than any other book in the world” ~ Benjamin Rush
“You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.” ~ George Washington
“The Christian religion – its general principles – must ever be regarded among us as the foundation of civil society.” ~ Daniel Webster
“A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven.” ~ James Madison
If you have read this far… then I will iterate once more. Being a follower of Christ is not about being perfect. There are mistakes to be made as we journey through life… everyone will make them. Being a Christian doesn’t make you immune to them, it just makes you more accountable for them.
Remember, I’m just an imperfect man following a perfect Christ, and seeking His perfect consul. It will make little difference to or for me, if I am unable to self-reflect upon my past mistakes and seek the better choices with His guidance and words for a better future tomorrow.
Take with you what you may from my perspective today… but one certainly can look around and see that there is a key element missing today, that seems to have been present at one time in our history. Maybe we should start talking more about that…
Thanks for following along… and have a great day!
#blackcoffeeperspectives #patrioticselfreflections #makeaplan #talkaboutit #prayaboutit