My thoughts this morning may be somewhat a personal counter to reactions from my recent editorial complimenting Representative Virginia Foxx, her article addressing Federal involvement in education. I guess I admire her tenacity and at times get tired of the media’s use of sounds bites taken out of context that make elected officials look like the fools they are not! Do I agree with every opinion of just any official, absolutely not? Do I admire anyone who will subject themselves and their family to the potshots that come with elected office, you bet!
As a former educator, I know the dependence created over time by the minimal dollars thrown at local educators by the Feds. Yet the loss of control that always follows these dollars may not be the best trade? Often, federal grants that seem critical when local boards feel pressed to address special needs and provide breakthrough moments for children, which I sincerely support, come with political costs and special mandates that may move a system off center from focused learning goals. When monies are depleted, new directions are often employed, better positioning the system for other monies offered by way of political necessities brought on by paid lobbyists! So goes the cycle, impacting the lives of children moving through the system with their life preparation being less appropriate than necessary for competition in the marketplace. We have fallen behind other nation’s annually in critical areas like math and science and are becoming less competitive in the global economy, as indicated by our deficits!
In this instance, I felt support for Virginia quite appropriate, though I may have been a little more supportive than friends who might not regard her conservative fiscal approach especially effective and in some cases more “brake” than leadership requires? This is where my spirit seemed to become troubled. You see, almost all of my friends are believers, and thus profess to be of the same spirit, and in fact must be if the there is but one baptism?
The American church has so many different perspectives around fiscal policy, social reform, even racial reconciliation, all critical to a healthy economy.
However, the church seldom comes together as a community to discuss these broad points of view, allowing splinter groups to apply pressure on politicians in the name of the Lord.
As a mayor, I realize the challenges now facing municipalities; there are limitations to debt, though often a tool in providing for needs too enormous for a “pay as you go approach”. Its one thing to address pot-holes and parking meters, another to provide for public safety with minimal dollars, putting officers at risk; address critical highways in disrepair with right of way that must be purchased, if not taken by eminent domain. Still yet, when at the national level, we are funding a war that seems to spread faster than nations it has previously disrupted can be stabilized; to some, assuring our homeland secure, though it now threatens to bankrupt our nation, or at least the one we will pass to our children.
2/15/10 Associated Press article, Weight of debt looms larger by Carmen Reinhart, an economics professor at the University of Maryland, “suggested that the nation’s fast-growing indebtedness may not have a visible impact at this point on ordinary Americans. But some day it will pounce.
‘One thing we can say with a fair amount of certainty,’ she said. ‘We never know when the wolf will be at our door. The wolf is very fickle, and markets can turn very quickly. And a high debt level makes us very vulnerable to shifts in sentiment that we cannot predict.’”
Meanwhile the church continues mostly isolated from political decision, some pastors even seeing politics as no longer their role, ducking behind the old adage that “religion and politics do not mix.” I would challenge that by their own profession of the power of God and of the efficacy of prayer. Surely their teachings imply sufficient revelation available to offer some positive direction and elicit more common convictions within a community?
Our nation has in the past benefited from our faith, and I believe that still can be the case today. I am troubled by the image of Christ afforded to this post-Christian nation, one that is becoming little more attractive than the often bizarre menu of religions now a part of our pluralistic country. Are we as Christians simply believers of one of many myths or is Christ truly the resurrected one and the source of wisdom to those who pray.
Right, Left; Republican, Democrat, Independent; Fiscal conservative, Fiscal liberal; Tight fisted tea-party capitalist, naive socialist; minority sensitive democracy, majority driven theocracy, all in our churches!!
Where is the face of Christ once borne by the faithful?