Three reasons yesterday was brilliant.
Second pre-season game. For those of you who are new to my blog, get ready, football season is coming and I am a huge Dallas Cowboys Fan!!! Ryan and I are already trying to figure out how we are going to see the games from the road and when we are home we throw big Cowboys parties! But, just for the two of us, because that ensures there is no talking and plenty of food! And yes, I wear my jersey and hat each week. Go Cowboys! THANK YOU FOR FOOTBALL GOD!
My brother-in-law graduated from Baylor University yesterday (and, sadly enough, I was a much better sport about his graduation than my very own sisters...guess I am growing up!). Anyways, this was one of those special graduations that you thought, maybe, just maybe might not ever happen! Classic case of brilliant, well read, thoughtful, Mensa guy who can't quite get through a foreign language but can outsmart you at anything else. So I think when he walked across the stage we all let out a collective sigh, a breath that we have been holding for quite sometime. And my mother-in-law let out a lot of tears! It was a special day. And funny, humorous. I mean come on, he's brilliant. He was smart enough to graduate college before I did, and that would put him in early high school. But that's just his story and I think God likes it when our stories are, you know, different.
Finally, did anyone else sing a little Lee Greenwood to yourself last night? I know I did (in a country accent with fake tears and an imaginary American flag in my hand as I ran around the living room in patriotic blissful dance). Thank you, thank you, thank you Pastor Rick Warren for upholding the separation of church and state, and YET, still finding a way to ask your congregation, Christians across the country, and people of different faith backgrounds to carefully examine our presidential candidates based on an educated, civil, forum. Thank you. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin would be very pleased!
(Again, I feel I should give a disclaimer for all our new guests. I love history, the founding fathers, and politics and I believe firmly in the separation of church and state. Call me a dork, but these issues really get me excited!)
I have not read any commentary on last night's Saddleback Civic forum because for once I just want to savor what it feels like to have a good old fashion job interview without any third party opinions, judgments, or partisan evaluations. It was a nationally televised job interview conducted by a friend who did what friends do...asked really, really hard questions.
I was very impressed with each candidate's honesty (and a bit humored by their carefully chosen words and references to Rick's book. They may have been honest, but they were still playing the role of politicians). But what a nice feeling it was to watch two candidates who are both equally gifted for the job as President of the United States. I never once had the sinking feeling in my gut followed by the thought, "oh my gosh, surely this man is not going to be our president?!?"
Though their policies would be very different from each other's and they represent opposite parties, I think we can all agree that they both command respect from people all around the world for their intellect, political history, and their desire to bring about a much needed change to the current American course. And having two over qualified candidates is a good problem.
As I have said before and will continue to say, education means freedom. It is simply not OK to let someone else decide for us, to let someone else learn for us, to let someone else blindly lead for us. God has given each one of us the faculties of thought, reason, wisdom, and knowledge for a purpose. We live in a country where we actually get to exercise those good and perfect gifts to better the world around us and that is a privilege that must be taken seriously. Last night Rick Warren invited each of us to learn, to educate ourselves, and to get involved, and I am so glad he did.
His closing remarks were a call for civility among Christians and Americans. Open discussion without ignorance, hate, rudeness, or closed ears. I agree. It's time to grow up. Religious fundamentalism, which elevates black and white, tends to lack any grace, any room for growth, and any second opinions, has not added to this country (nor others, Afghanistan is a great example of that) but has created a great division in our midst. Unfortunately all Christians have been classified this way, unwilling to listen or change, and more than willing to hurl hateful comments around about the "heathen world".
This is simply not a correct characterization of all American Christians and I think Rick Warren proved that last night by hosting both candidates on an equal platform in front of an audience who supports both democratic and republican ideals and values. It was a huge step in the right direction of open dialogue and unification and I am so grateful that he was willing to host such an invaluable event within the walls of his church.
And, brilliant idea on asking the new president to initiate something similar to President Bush's crowning jewel, the PEPFAR plan, in regards to the 128 million orphans in the world. I hope we see orphans all around the world put in homes because of one educated, brave Pastor who chose to just simply ask.
Thank you Rick Warren, Saddleback, and Cnn! Brilliant!