I am not a Know-Nothing

Former US President Abraham Lincoln's statue is seen at Lincoln Memorial  in Washington

Former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s statue at the Lincoln Memorial is seen in Washington March 27, 2015. The 170-ton, 19-foot-high statue, formed from 28 blocks of Georgia marble, was sculpted by Daniel Chester French and carved by the Piccirilli brothers. The 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre in Washington is April 15, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron – RTR4WKMZ

I found this writing from President Abraham Lincoln quoted in an article on The Atlantic’s website very insightful. Applying it to today’s political climate produces interesting results:

I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain,” he (Lincoln) wrote in 1855, in a meditation that reverberates all the way to our current election. “How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/the-party-of-lincoln-in-the-time-of-trump/479601/

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With malice toward none; with charity for all

1865oath
Library of Congress
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations. – President Lincoln, March 4, 1865
 
We may not think of Abraham Lincoln as “the most divisive president in U.S. history” as some have called President George W. Bush or President Obama, but the truth is Lincoln was president during the only time in our nation’s history that Americans fought against each other in a civil war.
Today, March 4, is the day in 1865 that Lincoln was inaugurated for his second term as President. The closing remarks of his address (above) were relevant then as a way to begin the healing the nation needed. Those same words have meaning today, much for the same reasons.
In the news, on social media, pretty much everywhere you turn, there are messages being shouted that pit one group of people or ideas against another. I look out and see our nation divided. I look out and see divisions, not just between Republicans and Democrats, but among those two groups. What I see is the rising tide of bigotry and racism. This tide is evil and has the potential to drown us all.

We can and must remember our history. We can and must overcome. We can and must do everything within our power to dispell the base instincts that are shouting for attention. Lincoln understood this. He spoke about it and took actions to stop the division. He took actions, just as we must today, to stand united, because should we continue to be divisive we shall fall.

Record-breaking

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Yesterday where I live we broke the record for snow on that day in our history. It was a lot of snow in a short amount of time. But, the day after made for some beautiful pictures. When the storm is the worst and it doesn’t seem like it will ever stop, be reassured that the end is near and beauty and hope will be there on the other side.

Be in and of the world

wpid-img_20150203_102555.jpgYou may have heard on the news that there is a named snow storm (#jonas) that is going to hit all up and down the east coast this weekend. Snow storms of this forecasted magnitude, especially for areas that are not traditionally used to getting so much snow at once, can be very dangerous. There can be no doubt about this fact. I am praying that everyone that will be affected by this storm will survive with little or no damage.

However, the impending storm, and the flurries we’ve gotten around my home region today have caused me to really think about the anger we often have toward “Old Man Winter.”

Instead of being upset and cursing the cold, snowy weather, why not pause and breathe it in. Go out and stand in the snowflakes as they fall. Marvel at the simple beauty they present. The cold air is refreshing. Take in the winter smells and noises. If you are able to look out at the trees, examine and revel in how the snow coats the branches and changes the scenery.

In other words, be in and of the world around us. Slow down. Reconnect with the natural part of the world, even for just a few minutes. Relish how nature works, it’s beauty and power. Many people may feel that being a part of this glorious world is depressing because they view themselves as just a cog. Contrary to this view, we are integral to the world around us. We take it in. We share it. We are a part of it and that is something wonderfully positive to think about.

3 Things – The same & different all at once

Be Positive, and Don’t Judge

Humility Promotes Unity

Purity

The three themes of the bible studies I did today.

When I first read each of them, I didn’t think that they fit together. Looking at them again, at the top of this post, focusing on these words, I realize that yes, they are all inter-related.

In this world, we are very quick to judge. We look for that which is different and then do our best to discredit it. We love the negative. We love the “dirty laundry” because it isn’t happening to us. Yet, when the circumstances are flipped, we are ashamed because we don’t want others to know our troubles. We care more about social stature that we do about being kind and helping out whenever and wherever we can. What if we decided not to judge, but to look at the world through a positive lens? What would that world look like?

My guess is that it would be one where we were more unified, because we are humble and recognize how important helping others and not always being right is to living a blessed life. Happiness found in helping others is greater than happiness derived from selfish actions. It lasts longer. And it is real.

Another way to put this idea:  the happiness that happens when you are positive your outlook and humble in you actions is pure.

At first what was muddied is now clear.

 

Positive & Encouraging Change in 2016

2016. What will it hold for us? That is the excitement of the new year. Yet, any day can be a “new” day. Any day can be a transitional and transformational one that sets us down a new road. All we need to do is realize and accept change. For many of us, doing so is difficult. It is for me.

outcome determines outlook

I read this quote yesterday and it really gave me a strong push to move forward with the resolutions I had been mulling over in my head. I’ve written them down and I am making them public.

2016. I am accepting change this year. I am resolving to:

  • Build a stronger relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
  • Be more positive and encouraging in all aspects of my life
  • Build stronger, more positive relationships with my wife and kids
  • Change my physical appearance by exercising more and eating better, with a goal of weighing 40 pounds less by my 40th birthday
  • Write a book by the time I am 40
  • Tie up any “loose ends” with people who were once a part of my life and now no longer are

What are your resolutions? How have you changed your outlook to change your outcome for 2016? Feel free to answer in the comments and have a happy, safe and blessed New Year!