There’s No Debate: The Challenge of Governing Our Nation

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After Tuesday’s night’s debate, pundits and political observers will certainly analyze how the Democratic candidate Secretary Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidate Donald J. Trump fared on the debate stage. Americans with varying political ideologies will take their corners and try to convince the other that their candidate is superior, no matter what happened at the debate. In one of the most polarizing times in American history, we are facing a startling truth. There’s no debate about this: The next president will face a challenge in governing our nation.

The losing campaign and candidate may accept the result of the election. However, the acceptance of the voters of the losing candidate are another thing altogether. The vitriol seeping through the American political discourse doesn’t reflect difference on policy or legislative approaches. Rather, the chatter about over-the-top rhetoric and advancing proven falsehoods by fact-checkers has dumbed down our politics – and our democratic system.

Admittedly, our political preferences can color our view of how we view candidates, political parties and how the Constitution of the United States should be applied. While this differences persist, why should it be too much to ask for respectful disagreement and willingness to compromise for the greater good? The next president will face an American family, broken by polarized factions and fears. He or she will take the oath of office with those cheering them on to be successful – and others wishing they would fail. Does this paint a dire picture of the United States? Absolutely. But, it can be changed by courageous leadership on both sides of the aisle and outside of the political party system. This courage may not be awarded in the polls, but it will be rewarded in national and global progress.

The intensity of campaigning for an office does not match the acumen and tenacity needed to govern a diverse nation like ours. Governance requires conversation, informed debate, policy sessions and the creation of legislation. Governance requires a command of facts, not peddled fiction. As a nation, our future is dependent upon what we, the citizens, demand of our politics. If we’re not demanding decent debate while in the midst of an election, what does that say about our governing future? Our country cannot afford the absurdity of an unpredictable campaign bleed into actual policy that affects everyday Americans. The challenge of governing after this election is real. Whether or not we as a nation will rise to the challenge of our times is still – well, debatable.

“Thoughts & Prayers”: The Action Behind The Words

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ThoughtsandPrayers

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:17-22 (ESV)

The aftermath of recent tragic events in Paris, Colorado Springs, and San Bernardino have solicited the thoughts and prayers of millions of people around the world. When such needless events happen, human reasoning and explanations fall flat in the face of grief and indescribable pain. Thoughts and prayers seem to be the immediate response to senseless tragedy as families heal and communities rebuild. After hearing the breaking news, I’ve offered my thoughts and prayers, taking to social media to join my heart with others that I may never meet but are connected to around a common cause.

But, the thoughts and prayers offered have caused media outlets such as the NY Daily Post to make a declarative statement on their front page: “GOD’S NOT FIXING THIS”. I read the responses of Christians as they railed against the media and how dare they make such a statement. The “godless” media strikes again. However, I read the title quite differently. Rather than an indictment on faith, I found it to be an invitation of faith to rise up — with the ones offering thoughts and prayers.

As I wrestled with the headline and the responses from all corners, I had to ask myself some tough questions:

For those offering thoughts and prayers, have they received answers from God to the problems we face?

If they have, why has there been too many silenced after the “smoke” settles? Where are the solutions beyond political posturing? 

Why are people of faith offended when this should be opportunity to share the joy of being in relationship with God?

It’s during times of pain and confusion that many are asking questions about faith, prayer and God’s involvement. The immediate disdain for opposing views and even demonizing others for their position has prevented meaningful conversation and dialogue. I believe God is fixing matters – if only we would not only be hearers of the Word but doers of the Word. The Book of James tells us in the same passage to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. If an opposing view or a challenge to your faith causes you to be incensed, the question is — why so angry? What is causing that response?

I believe the world is calling out those who offer thoughts and prayers. And rightfully so. We are living in a time when cliches and quick memes won’t do. Irregardless of your position on the use of guns in this country (USA), we should be open to having a conversation of how we can prevent guns in the wrong hands. We are all interested in the safety and security of our communities. Before vilifying another person for their views, we could offer an opportunity to discover why they have that opinion. They could possibly be persuaded to see another viewpoint if the atmosphere was not so toxic. We’re choking as a country because the air is poisoned with division. As a result, the voices with vision are being silenced or talked over. This has to change for the sake of this generation and future generations.

I challenge all those who rightfully offer thoughts and prayers after a tragedy. If you are unwilling to listen to someone who doesn’t agree with you, how are you open to hear God in prayer as He offers His wisdom? Let’s be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. Let’s produce righteousness in the midst of contentious issues with the sensitivity and discernment only God can provide. I look forward to when we can collectively take our thoughts and prayers and provide ideas and answered prayers. – REF

No Delay (Thoughts on the Passing of Dr. Myles Munroe)

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"Life is short. Time is fast..."

“Life is short. Time is fast…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may delay, but time will not. – Benjamin Franklin

I had finished ministering at all four services at my home church, Christ Church in Montclair, New Jersey. Preaching on the topic “The Work of Faith”, it was my heart to see our congregation fully operate in the realm of faith. One of the first points made in the sermon was to admit that you need God’s help. Without it, producing works of faith would be null and void. I was encouraged and deeply stirred by the faith in the room and the desperation for God.

After experiencing faith-filled worship services, I went home to discover a timeline of Facebook messages, posts and unconfirmed reports that Dr. Myles Munroe was killed in a plane crash. At first, I thought it was a hoax. A day earlier, there was a rumor that Macaulay Culkin died (and this was untrue). I’ve learned that social media can be a force for good, but also an instrument of abuse. I was checking reliable sources of news to see if this unbelievable news was accurate.

Then, it continued to stream.

The news was confirmed.

It was true.

Dr. Myles Munroe, his wife and colleagues on a plane from Nassau to Grand Bahama were confirmed dead.

Dr. Munroe was on his way to a global leadership forum that he hosted with prominent leaders and thinkers from around the world. And I thought to myself, “You never know when your life will end in pursuing your purpose.” Dr. Myles Munroe was on a mission to pursue his purpose as he taught others on the value of purpose. Tragically, his life and the life of those he loved and worked with ended right before they were supposed to land safely.

I pause to ask myself and those who read this blog a question: Are you pursuing your purpose in God? If not, why not?

My grandparents from both sides of my family would always say, “Life is short.” When you are young, you may nod in agreement but you don’t take their words with intense reflection. You figure that their comments on the brevity of life is because they are old! But when you begin to age yourself, you recognize that what Benjamin Franklin once said is very true — time will not delay.

Time is on the move. It does not wait until you get “your act together” or “you have all that you need” or “you made all the right decisions.” It just keeps moving. As a result, we may find ourselves reflecting on the question, “Where has the time gone?”

The focus on yesteryear and yesterday takes the focus off of today. We have today to pursue our call. We have today to make a difference in the lives we touch. We have today to seek reconciliation. We have today to love God and love others. Dr. Munroe, his wife, and the passengers on the ill-fated flight pursued their purpose and now rests in the blessed peace of the Author of purpose and life.

Whatever has been holding you back, keeping you arrested in thought-only mode and not action — it is time to move. No delay. No delay. – RF