Sunday, October 30

The Dilemma of A Decision...

For a couple of weeks now I have in my possession my mail-in ballot, unopened. Not dissimilar to arranging for the next appointment with my dentist to schedule his recommendation that I undergo the joys of a root canal, I have been as equally dreading the duty bound decision that awaits me to mark my ballot for one of the two front-running candidates that shall occupy the office of the Presidency of our country for the next four years. To say that I am woefully disappointed in the glaring character flaws imbedded within both of these deeply flawed human beings rivals any previous understatements ever publically uttered. In an ideal world of a character driven campaign, neither of these two individuals would be considered to be assigned  even the singular  responsibility as a school crossing guard.
I find it a gnawing dichotomy of common sense that permeates this election cycle that one is encouraged to check's one's sense of moral integrity at the voting booth curtain while consulting one's conscious for direction. Not claiming or boasting that I am an arbiter of anyone's moral imperatives, it would seem to me, nevertheless, that if one is going to call on one's conscious to guide them in  any major decision of importance that to cast one's vote based on the supposition that the lesser of the two evils is by some stretch of acceptability a justification to turn a blind eye on one's moral and ethical center is a fool's gambit.
Even more dishearteningly demoralizing is the vast array of purveyors of faith based institutions that council to forgive the past glaring indiscretions of the one candidate in particular, Mr. Donald J. Trump. "To err is human, to forgive divine." Were that logic to be equally applied, would it not be as fairly just to offer carte blanche the same degree of absolution to the Democrat contender? Hillary R. Clinton most assuredly has the documented requisite experience in the executive circles of power to qualify her for the Presidency.  What's fair is fair.
Abstaining from adopting this course of rendering a final decision on how to cast one's vote, leaves only two other options; one viable, the other less so. If finding either of the two major party candidates too repugnant to extend a personal endorsement, one could abstain from casting a vote for the position of President at all, electing, hopefully, to still vote for the under card candidates of one's choice that appear on the ballot. Alternatively, perhaps the more viable option would be to select one of the third party ticket candidates. I find these two options personally unacceptable.
I most certainly recognize that the current two party system is corrupt, manipulated and in desperate need of a massive restructuring, if not a complete abandonment. I further recognize that by casting a vote for a selected third part candidate that represents a most welcomed and needed departure from the status quo would send a definite message that a movement for reform is an undercurrent that is taking firm root among the nation's electorate. But pragmatism dictates that the current popular strength of any of these third parties is a mathematical impossibility. Therefore, expending a vote to support such a movement, although laudable, will not markedly alter the final vote tally on November 8th. Like it or not, the reality is abundantly clear, one of the two major party candidates in going to be elected as the next President of the United States. Which brings me back to my blank ballot.
Of the two remaining candidates, which shall I mark without conviction for my choice for President?  I will not vote for Hillary. Her historic thirty year trail of suspicious maleficence in and out office cannot be awarded yet another more powerful avenue to inflict her thinly veiled brand of centralized Washington power politics that will continue this country down the path of economic stagnation, class and racial division, and a reckless foreign policy that baffles our nations of friends and emboldens our avowed enemies. The latest FBI revelation that there are yet more heretofore unaccounted Clinton authored emails in need of careful and diligent scrutiny may prove, in the final analysis, to be inconsequential. Still, it speaks to a long and tiring continuing saga of Hillary's smoke filled past that defies a reasonable assumption that there may indeed be a blazing fire of purposeful criminal behavior lurking just under the next batch of classified, private emails. In addition, to minimally entertain the notion that the September 11th, 2012 attack on our Libya consulate in Benghazi, where our ambassador and three other Americans died horrific deaths, when available military assistance was directed "to stand down," and a bogus 14 minute YouTube video was put forth as the impetus behind what was proved to be a planned, organized terrorist attack against our woefully under-manned compound security personnel, is a leap of blinded faith that defies a careful, logical examination of the true facts. To have me accept Hillary's cavalier dismissal statement that, "After all the time that has passed, what difference does it make now?" affronts in a most visceral way my sense of truthfulness and human compassionate decency. It DOES make a difference to me! 

That leaves Mr. Trump; the most bombastic, arrogant, irreverent, ego-driven, self-preservationist, win at all cost, foul-mouthed, and any inconvenient flirtation with the truth be damned individual who has ever taken center stage in a presidential election. Yet I know this, he is NOT Hillary. He has at least voiced and demonstrated that he is the antithesis of everything that Hillary is and stands for. Without a crystal ball at my disposal to discern with any degree of certainty how he will govern as President,  I can, in the final analysis, only trust in the watch care of God who oversees the affairs of mankind and this nation that Mr. Trump will be agreeably persuaded to populate his cabinet with an influx of recognized level-headed, intelligent personalities that will temper Mr. Trump's uncertain propensity to take names, shoot from the hip, and see and who may be left standing.  

It  is a crap shoot, voting for Trump. I recognize that. And most assuredly there is a certain amount of trepidation in my doing so. But I can but continue to depend on the providence of God that the future of our country's beacon of light will not be allowed to grow dim in an ever increasing dangerous and dark world, but will be allowed to shine into the next four year term of President Trump. Hillary might also serve to accomplish that same desired end goal, but I cannot and will not trust that she would. Therefore, with several layers of duct tape wrapped firmly around my head, I cast my presidential vote for Mr. Donald J. Trump. And into God's hands we go...        


Saturday, March 26

The In Between Day

Christians all around the globe on this day are patiently waiting in certain expectation that the morrow, Easter Sunday, shall be the day we exuberantly celebrate our Lord Jesus Christ's resurrection from the earthly clutches of mortal death. But what about this day? What does this in between day offer us in the way of an inspiring lesson on how we are to live our lives once the sunset of Easter Sunday has come to pass? 

I awoke on this in between day with that question on my mind. In particular I began to contemplate by placing myself among the remaining eleven disciples who had the day before witnessed the horrific death of their beloved leader, hanging limp from the cross, his body no longer in agony from the relentless beatings that had torn his sinless skin to bloody shreds, and I asked myself what were these faithful, but impressionable eleven men thinking and feeling on this their in between day?

What would I think or feel or say to my fellow brothers huddled in that darkened room? Would any words at all be exchanged? Would the air hang heavy with the over-powering sense of hopelessness and resignation, where only silence among the eleven would rule the agonizing slow passing of the minutes as each considered individually; "How can this be? We had such hope for the future with this man! Where do we go from here? Where do I go from here?"

Even though we eleven men had gladly followed this kind and gentle man for the past three years, listening to his profound teachings and watching in still questioning amazement as he performed acts of kindness and signs of wonders that surely, we agreed, marked this man as unique and "Yes!" undoubtedly divinely inspired. Yet, this special man spoke so often metaphorically in his teachings to us of things as they are and things yet to come to pass, our finite minds did not see, nor could they fully grasp the true and certain meaning of his prophetic words of promise and assurance.  We still being but mortal men, our eyes that witnessed the miracles that he performed even then did not attest to our full understanding of who indeed he really was. So, on this in between day we sit in quite and uneasy contemplative silence, lost in our own confusing thoughts, not knowing and perhaps not caring what our lives were to be from this day forward. 

But this in between day passed and the morrow of another day of lingering sorrow broke equally unpromising with the rising of the new sun. Into the room rushed Mary Magdalene, having just come from the burial cave where Jesus' remains had been laid, to breathlessly announce that Jesus was missing from the tomb! The room, which had just moments before been a den of continuing sorrow, erupted into a cacophony of discordant and confused emotions!  "What did she say!?!  Could this be!?! Where could he be!?!  "Who would be so evil as to break into a sealed tomb and steal a body!? What must we do now,  if anything!?" 

The continuing story is so easily familiar to us, as we who know and proclaim on the day after the in between day that our Lord had indeed risen from the dead and that he would make this revelation a reality to all his brother disciples as he miraculously appeared before them in the upper room, and even unto a late arriving doubting Thomas.  

So, what are we to do about each of our in between days."  It comes to my mind and heart that on this God created sphere that is hurdling through time and space that there are untold thousands of souls who themselves are trapped in their own in between days, who have lost all sense of self and purpose, who have encountered personal set-backs or tragedies that render them emotionally traumatized and paralyzed to go forward. Who ask, "What now? Where do I go from here? Is there to be for me no answer to my longings for better days?" We know the assurance and the promise of bright and better days to come because we have come from a dark place called Calvary, through the in between day, and have stood in reverent awe and thanksgiving on Easter-morn to declare that our hope lies not in ourselves, but in loving grace of our Heavenly Father who sacrificed his beloved son on a cross to die that we may live joyfully with hope now on this earth and forever after in the infinite days beyond mortal calculation. 

That is our challenge. To seek out those who know at this time only the in between days. To share with them the promise that there is hope for a better life as they journey toward their own end of life story.  They need not journey alone. We must not allow them to go forth alone. We hold the answer and the promise that they so desperately need to hear and apply in their lives. I am thankful for my in between days. For I know my in between days are the prelude to the joy that only my Lord can and does provide. You?