Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Very Revealing

Recently it has been bothering me that my hair had turned kind of a blah brown, so I went to the store and bought magic shampoo. This shampoo promised to bring life back into my hair. It was going to reveal the color and highlights that had been beaten down. About a month into using it, I realized that it had in fact brought out my natural color. It was shiny and healthy, just as promised. What I didn't count on was finding out that my natural color, hidden under that brassy haze of styling products and life's mess, wasn't the brown of my youth, it was gray . Let's not say gray. Let's go with silver. Silver sounds more exciting. Rocky tells me that God and I are the only ones who would notice the higher number. He loves me and tends to say things like that to keep me from being neurotic.  It seems especially obvious around my crown. My first thought was a bit of dread. I don't want to start coloring my hair. I'm cheap, hate going to have my hair done, and don't trust myself to handle it at home. But, women who aren't 50 yet have to dye their hair, right? The funny thing is, the more I looked, the more I liked them. Those silver strands proving my maturity. They kind of sparkle in the right light. I don't want to cover up a natural sparkling silver crown! I'm sure I might one day change my mind, especially if the sparkle starts to dominate, but for now, I'm kind of loving the glimpses of silver here and there.
I was thinking about this at church Sunday. Our church is going to have a revival in October, and for the time leading up to it, our pastor has asked us to pray about renewal twice a day for 4 minutes each time. That is spending 8 minutes a day for a whole month inviting God to reveal our true color. Much like my hair discovery, my first reaction was a bit of dread. This kind of renewing isn't always smooth. Sometimes God uncovers something we didn't know was there. That can be hard or even painful, but sometimes that pain is of our own making. 
In 2 Samuel 9, we read the story of Mephibosheth (ma-fib-o-sheth) who hid out in a terrible place trying to avoid David because he thought David would hurt him. When David did catch up to him, he invited him to his table like one of his own sons. In case you didn't know, David was the king of pretty much everything awesome at the time. Mephibosheth was even lame because of trying to hide. All that pain and suffering to just avoid getting treated like a prince. I'd like to not repeat his mistake. 
So, with Mephibosheth in mind, I quote Psalms 139: 23 & 24
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." 

One other verse that I am playing on repeat during this is the always encouraging Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." God loves us and tends to say things like that to keep us from being neurotic.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015


My mother made a comment to me awhile ago that has been turning over in my mind a lot lately. She said that one of the main difference Ronald Reagan made as president was that he made us patriotic again. One of my earliest memories is of Reagan getting elected, so I don't really remember what the country was like before that. I've heard stories of gas lines, hatred towards the military, mistrust thanks in large part to Watergate (the first and only actual "gate" scandal), and just a general dissatisfaction. What I remember is the US beating the Russians at hockey, hostages being released, and the literal wall of communism being brought down.
In the 80's, if someone mentioned that the U.S. was the richest country in the world, we said "Yeah, it is!" If someone pointed out that we had the most fearsome military we responded with, "Hoorah!"  When it was pointed out that the U.S. was a Christian nation, we said, "God Bless America!!!".  Now, the response to all of those is, "I'm sorry." What happened?
It may seem like a side effect or trival, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like a major problem. When you no longer take pride in the condition of something, you often neglect the upkeep of that thing. That is what is going on. We have neglected to upkeep our great nation. We have thrown out all moral codes, chipped away at what use to be basic freedoms, and compromised our financial structure in a strange effort to prove we aren't better than anyone else.
People! It is okay to be the best at something. It is okay to be happy we were born into the freedom this country provides. It is okay that our country is so rich that even our poor people have more than some of the middle class in a third world country. We don't need to apologize. We don't need to give our stuff away. What we need to do is educate the world on how we got here. The cold war didn't end because of an apology. It was just the opposite. It ended because our way of life was clearly better, and we weren't going to back down or be ashamed of it. 
I think a lack of patriotism is at the heart of low voter turn out and uninformed voters. I recently heard a radio guy talking about how to get more people interested in voting, and the most common answer people gave was to entertain and feed people. This actually made me a little sick. I believe in the American voting system. I mean, hardcore, can't imagine not voting, have to know, believe in it. It's not just a right, it is a responsibility. We are charged with electing people who will preserve and protect the American way of life. If you are busy being embarrassed by that way of life or feel that you are owed something by it, then voting (certainly, informed voting) becomes a hindrance to you. We should not need a reason to vote beyond the fact that we have been blessed to be citizens of this great nation and are responsible for maintaining a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. 
When I was a kid, I remember my dad listening to a recording of John Wayne talking about patriotism. It stuck in my mind when he said that the National Anthem should not only bring you to your feet, but should give you chills up your arms every time you hear it. Can you imagine an actor unabashedly standing up to support the idea that we should be so in love with our country that we are willing to die for it? That is what John Wayne did, and by YouTube evidence, he did it fairly often. 
I don't think patriotism will solve all our country's problems, but I think a surge of it would go a long way towards healing the divide that has become so evident in this land. It is something I will be asking myself before I vote in the presidential primary, and then the election. Which canidate truly loves this country? Who wants to see it restored? Who recognizes that a revival is needed? If I said to them, "We live in the greatest nation in the world!", would they ask me to sit and be quiet or would they yell "Amen!"

Stand up people! We are awesome, and it is high time we remember that.