Daily Devotions

President Nixon, Not a Fan

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“So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)

 

I was raised to be very patriotic. I am still a very patriotic person. I still get chills when attending a football or baseball game, and place my hand over my heart, and quietly sing along to the National Anthem. I sing it the traditional way. I do not try to emulate Whitney Houston. Until this month, I tried to never address the President of the United States by only his last name. Even when addressing Richard Nixon, I was oft to say, “President Nixon,” even when I was bashing him. I believe it is important to respect the office, even if you cannot respect the person. Yet, with over my fifty-four years on this earth, the way I live out my patriotism has changed in some ways.

 

Growing up as an “Air Force brat,” I was taught that the government was right and it was unpatriotic to question our nation and its leaders. President Nixon severely damaged my (and many others) naïve worldview. As an eleven and twelve year old, I was confused and frustrated by my family reactions. My father’s side of the family were staunch Democrats and I remember vividly them making fun of each Presidential aid stepping up to the judicial plate. They cheered when John Dean dropped the bomb shell. They laughed at Haldeman’s squirming. But the best day in their lives was the day Nixon got on the Helicopter, no longer president.

 

Meanwhile, my mother’s side of the family was stanch Republican. Each new indictment was an arrow through the heart of my mother and grandmother. It felt like the world was falling apart, piece by little piece. This dismantling of our innocence, went on for many painful months. Who were we as Americans, if our nation was no longer trustworthy?

 

As we open the Book of Acts, the Apostles were dealing with a similar lack of control and trust. Jesus is about to ascend to Heaven, and they were left to clean up the mess. The Jewish people betrayed them by not accepting their Messiah. Even worse, the Roman Empire denied them even the minority rights given the Jews. They felt lost and alone, while being vulnerable to persecution. But they were not really alone. Soon we shall find out how God will bless the people of faith moving forward. We will experience the Holy Spirit in a new and even greater way!

 

Today, think about how your patriotism has changed over time. How do your political views reflect your faith? In what ways are you in line with the values and beliefs of our present national leadership, and in what ways are you concerned with the direction our nation is taking? It is biblical to reflect and act on our faith, even when it is in opposition with our President. Sometimes the most patriotic thing we can do is speak the truth in opposition. The Civil Rights movement was considered anti-patriotic by many fifty years ago, and now is the foundation of our patriotism. Our opposition might be the future’s patriotic cornerstone. Reflect and take action today!

Anything But Politics and Religion

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“If we let him go on like this…the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.” (John 11:48)

 

The two things we must never talk about are politics and religion. Ask anyone! Nothing can end a party faster than a little discussion about why women should be priests with a conservative Roman Catholic.  Imagine the fun in starting a conversation regarding the Christian response to abortion at a dinner party. Here is another great conversation starter: “Do non-Christians go to heaven?” This is a real winner at a family reunion, because every family has someone who loves to preach that over the potato salad.

 

Enough with the uncomfortable conversation starters. You get the point. The problem is: Jesus is all about talking religion and politics. Jesus was so controversial, the locals were scared half to death, and ready to end his life. But it didn’t stop his ministry. He knew the importance of discussing his faith, and spiritual integrity cannot ignore politics. Jesus did not shy away from properly caring for people. Issues of justice and compassion are not changed apart from political transformation.

 

Today, take some time to evaluate your views on a couple of political situations and their relation to your faith. Then, think about a friend you can talk with about these issues. Bouncing ideas and sharing thoughts and visions with someone you trust can help solidify your beliefs and values. God will bless us as we ruminate on issues of faith and justice. Politics and religion do not have to be ignored. We can be part of changing lives, and making a real difference.

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