Working through those hard times to find things for which to be grateful was challenging but ultimately fruitful, and it changed my attitude about life for the better. I hope there are some snippets of wisdom in these words that will help you get through a difficult Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
When I was much younger, I used to think that, at 56, I would be in my declining years before retirement, but to tell the truth, I feel like there is still a lot of great living ahead of me, and I can't wait to experience it. I may not be as hirsute or svelte as I once was - there's little I can do about the former and I must do more about the latter! - but I feel great and I'm excited about the future.
I am a fortunate man - I have everything I need and most of what I want, and I am one of the most contented men on the planet because I have chosen to surrender all to a powerful, righteous and loving God. It's not that I don't have troubles, and it's not that I don't occasionally try to do things in my own power, but I know that when I mess up, and I do and I will, my Lord and Savior will lift me up when I seek His mercy. It doesn't get any better.
Thanks to all of my friends, long-time and just-met, for the words of kindness on my birthday. I'm not one of those people who's old enough to be asked the secret of my longevity - not yet, anyway! - but if someone were to ask me that question, I would give them four pieces of advice:
1. Be kind.
2. Be humble.
3. Be grateful.
4. Above all else, be God's servant.
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." ~ Philippians 4:12-13
In honor of those who gave their last full measure of devotion on June 6, 1944. They were courageous not because they had no fear, but because they overcame their fear and charged ahead, many of them into eternity, to free a continent, and save the world.
"Far too many black Americans and liberal whites really do assume that racism is lurking in every conservative heart. It’s not merely a political tactic to put us on the defensive (although surely some demagogic politicians know they are spewing bilious rot when they make such accusations); instead, much of the Left really has convinced itself the accusations are true." ~ Quin Hillyer
A series of statements and articles centered around the author of this article led me to express an opinion - actually more of a probing statement to arrive at a diagnosis - on how non-black Americans react to the incessant accusations of racism directed at anyone who criticizes the president. Please review my post and the thoughtful comments which follow:
Subsequent to that conversation, Mr. Hillyer wrote this response to all the chatter surrounding him, and it is excellent. It is probably one of the more thoughtful commentaries on race in America that I've read, not to mention a spirited defense of conservatives who, for the most part, do not criticize the president out of racial animus but because they legitimately oppose his policies.
He also makes a disquieting point, reflected in the quote which opened this post -- that there are far too many people outside of the demagogues who actually believe there is an inexorable link between conservatism and racism. That does not bode well, either for the cohesion of our republic or the well-being of those communities that would really benefit from the enactment of conservative policies and the inoculation of conservative principles.
Three years after I wrote that article, I was going through yet another trial, but the outcome changed my relationship with the Lord, and therefore my life, forever. This article is Part Two of my journey toward a permanent attitude of gratitude, and I hope it is a lifeline for those of you who are suffering as Thanksgiving approaches.
If you did not catch the previous article, please scroll back in my timeline to read it, or you can go here:
I am grateful to God for each one of you!
A recent study got lost in the news around racially-charged events at the University of Missouri, and the juxtaposition of these two stories reinforced for me the futility of politics as a pathway to racial harmony. It's simply not big enough or compassionate enough to acknowledge pain wherever it resides.
I am proud of my University for inviting him, as I know such courtesy isn't typically extended by secular institutions to conservative speakers, or if they are invited, the subsequent protests by students and faculty lead to them being "disinvited". I expect our students and faculty to be gracious, as our Lord is gracious.
I also commend Senator Sanders for accepting the invitation. The public may not know that we invite public figures from both sides of the political spectrum to come and speak to our students, but practically all of those left of center decline. I respect him for his decision to come.
1. Ph.D in Criminal Justice or a related field preferred; Master's degree at a minimum
2. Practical experience in the field of criminal justice.
3. Adherence to a biblical worldview.
"I even floated a couple of trial balloons out there to see how they would fly. In doing so, I made a disturbing discovery.
"When it comes to race, neither side cares to listen to anything the other side has to say." ~ Ron Miller, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Reconciliation".
After the Pope's statements in his recent interview were publicized this week, a lot of heat was generated online by people who didn't read the entire interview.
Those who want the church to change with the culture hailed his statement as a potential reordering of the Catholic Church's teachings. Those who believe the church is God's emissary on earth, and should therefore influence the culture, criticized the statement as a capitulation to popular opinion. Both sides were spinning the story to emphasize what they wanted to hear, and it was dismaying to watch.
Catholic theologian and writer George Weigel read the entire interview, and he reveals the central theme about Pope Francis that people on both sides of the cultural divide are struggling to grasp. The term "evangelical Catholic" might be new to most people, and even those who know the term probably have different definitions of what it means, but I believe at its core it's placing Jesus first above all else.
Contrary to some interpretations, the pope explicitly defended the church's teachings in the interview, but he said they are secondary to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, without which there is practically no possibility of the Word being considered or received by others.
His message is clear to me; the love of Jesus must come before valuation or condemnation, as the author so eloquently describes in discussing the pope's appreciation for Caravaggio's painting, “The Calling of St. Matthew”. The pope says that, like Matthew, he is "a sinner on whom the Lord has turned His gaze," and that is true of all whom the Lord calls.
Making Jesus your top priority reorders everything that comes after Him, including your personal demeanor and how you interact with others, even those with whom you disagree. God's Word doesn't change, but it has the power to change people - if we first open minds and hearts to relationship with Jesus.
Without Jesus leading the charge, the church becomes nothing more than an interest group with policy priorities, and I believe that is the point Pope Francis is trying to make.
Please read the entire article before responding (grin!), and please do so humbly and respectfully. A topic like this generates a lot of passion, so please express yourself with conviction, but also with courtesy.
- Liberty UniversityAssociate Dean and Assistant Professor of Government, 2011 - present
- Regular Folks UnitedPresident, 2009 - 2011
- Frederick Douglass Foundation of MarylandPresident, 2011 - 2011
- 5M Consulting Services, LLCPresident, 2007 - 2011
Ron Miller of Lynchburg, Virginia is an associate dean and assistant professor of government at Liberty University, commentator and author of SELLOUT: Musings From Uncle Tom’s Porch. The nine-year plus veteran of the U.S. Air Force and married father of three has written columns for numerous online sites and print publications.
Ron has been a contributor to a variety of radio, television and print outlets, to include Fox and Friends, The 700 Club, Jansing and Co., C-SPAN2’s Book TV, CBN News, America’s Morning News, the Washington Post, the Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller and more, and is an accomplished speaker who gives presentations at events around the country.
Ron served in the federal government from 2001 to 2004 as a senior executive with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. He was recognized by Federal Computer Week in 2002 and 2003 as one of the “Federal 100″ leaders in government information technology, cited both years for his technology leadership in the homeland security arena. Since 2004, he has held senior management positions with the American Red Cross and in the private sector and ran his own consulting firm.
Prior to joining the federal government, Ron was a senior requirements analyst, project manager, and division manager in the private sector from 1992 to 2001, and served in the U.S. Air Force as an air intelligence officer from 1983 to 1992, attaining the rank of Captain. His military honors include the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Mr. Miller holds a B.A. in Political Science from Texas Tech University and a M.S. in International Relations from Troy State University. He was a Republican candidate for the Maryland Senate in 2006. Mr. Miller has been married for 30 years to the former Annik (ah-NEEK) Aeschbach of Hegenheim, France and they are the proud parents of two daughters and a son.
- Texas Tech UniversityPolitical Science, 1978 - 1982
- Troy UniversityInternational Relations, 1987 - 1989