At a Bilderberg Conference in Evian, France (1991), Dr. Henry Kissinger opined, “The one thing man fears is the unknown.” Understandably, most yearn for a hopeful glimpse into the future – even to the point of willfully embracing fantastical delusion. Case in point: 2008. Movie director Spike Lee likened the ascension of one Barak Obama to a “seismic change in the universe.” President Obama’s rise to leadership was so extraordinary it was believed that “another chapter could be added to the Bible to chronicle its significance.”
Oprah Winfrey depicted Obama as having “an ear for eloquence and a tongue dipped in unvarnished truth.” In the words of Deepak Chopra, Winfrey’s esteemed sidekick, President Obama emerged as “a messiah-like figure” whose true mission was to usher in “a quantum leap in American consciousness.” Louis Farrakhan pronounced Obama “a savior to us all.”
Just before the New Hampshire Primary, this alleged messiah-savior spoke to students at Dartmouth College and referenced “a beam of light” coming down. Students, he claimed, would “experience an epiphany” and suddenly realize a compelling need to go to the polls and vote. And vote they did. When Mahatma Obama prevailed as forty-fourth President of the United States, hope ostensibly won. Listening to an Obama speech of messianic magnitude, MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews famously admitted to having felt “a thrill go up his leg.”
Unfortunately, that sensation proved instead to be a “catch-in-the-get-along” of our ailing Nation. At recent midterm elections, folks once again realized a compelling need to go to the polls and vote – this time (borrowing words of Michael Savage), “holding their noses.” Even Obama groupies accept stark reality that suspended hope sickens the heart. Minus God’s appointment, no one man (or woman) can ensure that America’s status as a global superpower is secured, that Islam catches the wave of the 21st Century, and that world peace and justice prevail.
Heal the Bird
“Name it-claim it” doesn’t pass muster; apparently, neither does acrid partisan politicking. The late Ronald Reagan identified God’s followers, regardless of party affiliation, as the greatest political body in America. Less worried about the left wing or the right, he simply wanted God to heal the bird. Neither aggrandizing a mere man/woman, nor (on the other hand) shredding him/her to bits, serves the noble cause of healing. Neither nurtures hope in the unknown. So, what does?
Lyrics for What a Wonderful World prompt warm and cozy thoughts of “bright, blessed days” and “dark, sacred nights.” Metaphorical light and darkness typify the life cycle; and, in a very real way, both in tandem fan the spark of hope. Hope inevitably springs from sobering, oftentimes dismal realities – labor pains as it were. With a view to 2015, and beyond, it’s as if the entire earth is reeling in birth pangs at multiple levels – be it geo-political, economic, or cultural. Given divine intervention, as typically is the case in childbirth, something good promises to emerge. Hopefully, prayerfully, even in Ferguson, Missouri.
Forgetting the Past
The first century church offers a snapshot of what this looks like; its undisputed pillar, the apostle Paul is distinguished as one “forgetting the past” while at the same time reaching or pressing ahead. With great care and concern, Paul is said to have stretched himself forward toward a specific, identified mark, a prize for which he tirelessly fought. The Greek rendition for this passage of Scripture is in middle voice, indicating “for self-interest.” Indeed, Paul’s was a high, upward calling, one he did not lightly esteem, but nevertheless one fraught with great difficulty.
Throughout the course of his life, Paul experienced temporary blindness, not to mention an unnamed “thorn (or stake) in the flesh.” He was beaten with lashes, shipwrecked, imprisoned, and stoned. At the end of his life, Paul was abandoned by almost everyone. Still, you won’t find Paul burning businesses in protest, name calling, retaliating, or demanding reparations. To the contrary, Paul walked in the footsteps of his Master, suffering as a victor, not victim. “Milk toast” is hardly the descriptor that comes to mind. In tending to needs of the church, Paul boldly, even publicly confronted Peter; and he staunchly rebuked others who instigated division. He put out fornicators. In other words, Paul carefully pressed toward the Prize while, even under attack, standing stalwartly for what’s right.
While it’s true, the past informs the present, still, as was the case with Paul, our charge is to press ahead, “forgetting the past” – though not in the sense of closing our eyes, covering our ears, and babbling nonsense so as not to be distracted by reality. To be uninformed or misinformed is to fall prey to winds of change that are certain to set one’s vessel adrift. Issues as scandals involving the Sochi Olympics and Chris Christie’s bridge, heavy-handed government mandates, acts of violence (from invasion of Crimea to shootings at Ft. Hood and deadly racial “protests”), and misfires (Obama Care and Obama Core) all matter. A lot.
Case in point: Executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Jane M. Orient, M.D., reminds us that Lenin dubbed medicine the “keystone in the arch of socialism” – which, Orient warns, comes through the back door by means of universal health care. Furthermore, under the titanic weight of diversity, multilingualism, and entitlements (even for lawbreakers) America has already begun her downward plunge. Mexico drug war narco-terrorism is more likely than ever to intensify within America’s borders. Like it or not, amnesty for millions of illegal aliens virtually guarantees increased crime.
According to the New York Times, even big-government advocates stand amazed that federal officials are willing to print as much money as needed to build what is tantamount to second and third stories on the nation’s doomed financial house of cards. Problem is, “bad character leads to bad economics, which is bad for liberty” (Lawrence W. Reed, THE FREEMAN: “Ideas on Liberty,” 2008). In these cases and more forward-thinking, timely, decisive action is warranted if, in fact, the proverbial bird is to be healed.
Reaching for the Future
With over seventy million Christians attending America’s churches, transformative hope manifestly resides within our nation’s borders. The believer’s charge is to eschew fantastical delusion, look to God Himself, not humans, forget the past (except to inform the present), and thereby forsake all fear of the unknown. In reaching for the future, we do well to forego obsessive attention to the left wing, or right, in order to concentrate our efforts on healing. Then, and only then, will hope win out as the New Year unfurls.
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