A SOLID FOUNDATION

Throughout my diverse teaching career the subject I most commonly taught was U.S. History. Having spent my early years on the east coast, much of what I taught was set in places that were familiar to me. The inscriptions that I often read in those places were filled with Christian words and ideals. It was obvious to me that our country had a Christian foundation. Aren’t those inscriptions still there? Aren’t our founding documents full of Biblical references?

What would be the purpose of denying this foundational connection to the Christian Religion? Perhaps there are those who would go another way, to change the foundation. Can you change the foundation without destroying the building? If the foundation is faulty, don’t you have to build a new building? What would be the foundation for this new building? Whatever it is, if it’s not Jesus, it will crumble.

I will close with this excerpt from George Washington’s Farewell Address from 1796:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

[This is a repost from last August 2016. I thought it worth revisiting in light of the current political circus.]

LOVE OR TOLERANCE

I only found the word tolerance used once in the Bible.  In Romans 2:4 Paul talks about God’s kindness and tolerance toward us, but God’s tolerance is rooted in his love for us.  Can we therefore have tolerance toward others if we don’t first love them?  I don’t believe so.  I believe loving one another produces a much broader connection with our fellow man that will naturally include tolerance.  If I don’t care about you, I will have a difficult time tolerating you.

Our society has rejected the foundation of God’s word, and we have decided to use man’s wisdom to solve our relational difficulties.  This doesn’t seem to be working.  We are told to have tolerance for one another. Tolerance is simply a bandage over the wounds produced by our bigotry and prejudice.   All we have really produced is hate.  God’s way, to love one another, has a deeper power because his Spirit is there to empower us. Man says to tolerate but offers only the power of the will of man.  Our sinful nature is constantly battling against our will.  Without God’s help, our ability to tolerate is at best a draw.

Jesus told us to love our neighbor as our self, to love our enemies, and to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-44).  Jesus lived out those words. In Romans 5:8 we read, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  He loved us and gave himself for us even when we were against him.  This kind of love is powerful and proactive.  It involves giving ourselves to others.  Before we are capable of giving love to others, we first need to receive God’s love.  Knowing that we are loved empowers us to give love.

We’ve been teaching tolerance to our children for years without much success.  Perhaps we should take a different tack.  Let’s start teaching them about God’s way of love.  You know it might just make a difference.

A SOLID FOUNDATION

Throughout my diverse teaching career the subject I most commonly taught was U.S. History.  Having spent my early years on the east coast, much of what I taught was set in places that were familiar to me. The inscriptions that I often read in those places were filled with Christian words and ideals.  It was obvious to me that our country had a Christian foundation.  Aren’t those inscriptions still there?  Aren’t our founding documents full of Biblical references?

What would be the purpose of denying this foundational connection to the Christian Religion?  Perhaps there are those who would go another way, to change the foundation.  Can you change the foundation without destroying the building?  If the foundation is faulty, don’t you have to build a new building?  What will be the foundation for this new building?

I will close with this excerpt from George Washington’s Farewell Address 1796:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.