A young pal came to see me today, at the Fireplace in our retirement village. We talked about everything. Even about growing up. I said at one point, "Well, it's very important to know who you are." I meant by that knowing who you are meant to be; who God has called you to be. Something about why you're here, why God has you in the world.
"Arthur," he said, "when did you know who you are, and why you're here?" "It's a growing thing," I responded. "Beginning at 12 when I walked "the sawdust trail" to commit to Jesus. And then at 17 on the way home from Greece after delivering horses to Greek farmers and our ships' oiler asked our group of young men about the meaning of life and we fumbled for an answer.
It came clearer yet when Agnes Sanford, grandmother of the modern Christian healing movement prayed for me to have the spiritual gift of healing. "It's not something you talk about," I said, "but you know you have it, that you're called to use it, to help heal the wounded of the world who are all around you."
When God calls you, you have to be brave about who you are and why you're here.
I tried to say that religion and politics are both touchy subjects because they both have to do with things people care about the most. We need to care about politics because that has to do with our country's life, and about who we choose to be our leaders. And, we care about that.
I've been reading historian David McCullough's thick book about Harry Truman, who didn't have a clear picture of his own life and what he should be, until he was a man of 50. He was a Missouri farm boy, who plowed fields and mowed hay. He didn't go to either high school or college. But he knew right and wrong. He was to become the common man president of the United States. He conceived the "Truman Doctrine" of foreign policy, and gave the "Marshall Plan" to save Europe after World War II (which is why in 1946 I was taking bred mares to Greek farmers - to help restart European agriculture).
Truman dared to use the atomic bomb to show Japan it must end the war in Asia. Truman bore unimaginable responsibilities, and was vilified for some of his decisions. But he knew who he was, and the responsibility he'd been given. He was not an elegant patrician of wealth, family and culture like Franklin Roosevelt whom he followed. He was a straight forward, honest, common man of the land from Missouri. An amazing part of our wondrous land and natural heritage. He served, and did what he was given to do.
We are called to honor our presidents, whether they are Washington or Truman. Whether we like them or not. They all have survived the call of leadership, for us.
I heard part of Minnesota's Senator Amy Klobuchar's declaration of candidacy speech, given outdoors in the snow. "I'm a coal miner's granddaughter," she said, "and a teacher and newspaperman's daughter," as she launched into her reasons for daring to be president. She opened up new doors of responsibility for American politics in the future before us. A daring vision.
We need not to hate those who lead, but pray that they can be the servants they want to be.
The same is true in religion, and church. God calls people to tell the truth, to live love, and to fashion the church as the Body of Christ. Leaders of the church get vilified too - for things they feel called to be, and do. They too, need prayer.
And we all need to be loyal patriots, loving our country, but even more, loyal followers of Jesus, building believers who, in their lives, will dare the highest, and best.
Either way, it is a high calling, to be God's people in this strange world He made, and loves.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES