Archive for courage

Honesty & Courage

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , on September 30, 2020 by andelino

Honesty and courage alone can save our wounded, disunited country now.

We need the honesty and courage to speak the truth — including painful truths that unsettle not only our foes but also our friends and, most especially, ourselves.

We need the honesty and courage to honor the contributions of the great men and women who have come before us — those who articulated and defended true principles of justice and the common good, built or helped to preserve worthy institutions, and modeled important virtues.

We need the honesty and courage to recognize the faults, flaws, and failings of even the greatest of our heroes — and to acknowledge our own faults, flaws, and failings.

We need the honesty and courage to recognize progress toward the ideal of equal justice and movement toward the common good that our civilization and nation have made — and the blows against injustice, oppression, and tyranny we as a people have struck, sometimes at incalculable costs of blood and treasure.

We need the honesty and courage to recognize the blights on our history, the grave wrongs that have been done, reflecting the failure of our leaders and institutions — and our own failures — to honor our principles of liberty and justice for all.

We need the honesty and courage to express dissent — to say, “No, I will not go along” — when conscience tells us that our own ideological or political tribe has gone astray or gone too far or become fanatical and blind to integrity and the dignity of all.

We need the honesty and courage to stand up — to stand alone, if necessary — to speak the truth, as God gives us to see the truth, to the politically, economically, and culturally powerful as well as to the relatively powerless.

We need the honesty and courage to think first of the weak, the poor, the vulnerable, and the impact on them, for good or for ill, of our own actions; the actions of institutions — be they economic, social, educational, or philanthropic — in which we play a role; and the actions of government at all levels. This will not generate unanimity as to what policies are best. Reasonable people of good will often disagree. But this can — and we believe must — be a starting point on which there is common ground.

We need the honesty and courage not to compromise our beliefs or go silent on them out of a desire to be accepted, or out of fear of being ostracized, excluded, or canceled.

We need the honesty and courage to consider with an open mind and heart points of view that challenge our beliefs — even our deepest, most cherished identity-forming beliefs.

We need the intellectual humility to recognize our own fallibility — and that, too, requires honesty and courage.

We need the honesty and courage to recognize and acknowledge that there are reasonable people of good will who do not share even some of our deepest, most cherished beliefs. This is true for Christians, like ourselves, or members of other traditions of faith, as well as for religious skeptics and atheists. It is true for conservatives as well as progressives, for libertarians as well as socialists.

We need the honesty and courage to treat decent and honest people with whom we disagree — even on the most consequential questions — as partners in truth-seeking and fellow citizens of our republican order, not as enemies to be destroyed. And we must always respect and protect their human rights and civil liberties.

We need the honesty and courage to be willing to change our beliefs and stances if evidence, reason, and compelling argument persuade us that they are in need of revision — even at the cost of alienating us from communities in which we are comfortable and rely on for personal affirmation, solidarity, and support.

We need the honesty and courage to love, in the highest and best sense: to will the good of the other for the sake of the other, to treat even our adversaries as precious members of the human family.

We need the honesty and courage to resist the hatred — the spirit of hatred — that the zeal even for good causes can induce in we frail, fallen, fallible human beings, and that corrupts the human soul and leads inexorably to spiritual emptiness and to tyranny, even among those who began as sincere advocates of freedom and justice.

To President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden: We hope you will consider our plea, though we, from our different vantage points, have been critical of both of you. You must hold yourselves to higher standards. We plead with you to exemplify the honesty and courage that all of us must embody if we are to reunite this nation and rebuild the civic friendship — what Abraham Lincoln called the “bonds of affection” — without which no republican democracy “can long endure.”

Where you have failed or fallen short, as we all fail and fall short, strive with God’s help to do better. Remember that victories can be pyrrhic, destroying the very thing for which the combatants struggle. When that thing is our precious American experiment in ordered liberty and republican democracy, its destruction would be a tragedy beyond all human powers of reckoning.

Honesty and courage could finally give this nation, under God, the blessing for which Harriet Tubman struggled and sacrificed and Abraham Lincoln prayed and acted: a new birth of freedom. To our leaders and to all our fellow citizens, we say with all our hearts, as two dear brothers and friends: “Let us rededicate ourselves to these virtues, and let us not fail in fidelity to them.”

Robert P. George is a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University. Cornel West is a professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard University.

Faith and Courage

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2020 by andelino

We are barely halfway through 2020. But from when we woke up on January 1 to now, the world has changed dramatically.

Sulemani, Netanyahu, Gantz, Johnson, Putin, Xi, the British royal family, the German far right. Escalation in Syria. Inferno in Australia. In the first months of the year, our world was already rapidly changing. Yet those events seem like distant memories. The world truly changed with the draconian government responses to coronavirus that crippled their own economies—and the rights their citizens thought they had.

But even the ongoing pandemic oppression seems strangely distant. Much more painfully immediate is the outbreak of “protests, rioting, looting, burning, violence and statue toppling” in dozens of American cities and the larger coordinated, sustained, direct attack on American “society, culture and history.” Activists are branding most of America, past and present, as “racist.”

This is obviously not a spontaneous, earnest protest about racial prejudice: “This is an ongoing revolution.” Many different people with different motivations are united in “hatred”, united not in what they want to build, but in what they want to tear down: “the American government and the system of American government itself.”

In fact, they are openly trying to destroy institutions even more foundational than American constitutional government. They are tearing down the principles of individual rights, rule of law, the police, male leadership, even the actual structure of family itself. What they are targeting are the last few remnants of America’s Bible-based heritage: “any lingering recognition of God, favorability toward the Bible, fundamental concepts of right and wrong, individual responsibility, the relationship between male and female, even the existence of male and female.”

It’s July 2020. You live in a “different” world. You can feel the “hate, fear and disgust” across the nation.

The surprising, almost synchronized reaction to this “socialist insurrection” has been journalists, actors, commentators, athletes, professors and even corporations falling all over themselves to show how “anti-racist” they are. Some people have tried to speak out. Within 24 hours or so they are retreating from one fearful, groveling apology to the next. I’m sorry I didn’t realize I was so racist. Some have been fired or silenced. Some have literally knelt before the mob. Most people are looking around and asking, “What in the world has happened?” They don’t understand where it came from, but they are beginning to realize that it is going to touch their cities, their families.

The state of the world gets a lot clearer, and a lot scarier, when you realize where this “raging wrath” comes from. It originates not with one person, one group, one political party, one nation or even one ideology. We are facing a “spirit of hate”, produced by a completely enraged spirit being: “Satan the devil!” (Revelation 12:9, verse12.)

Evil is real, hatred is real, and its spiritual source is very real. And what is coming will be far worse than people have ever imagined.  Satan is real, but so is God. And even as Satan’s tide of hatred rises, you can see God’s intervention. God is using the current president of the United States to fulfill this prophecy! People do not realize just how close the nation is to collapse.

Donald Trump has proved himself willing to take a stand where others have not. It is quite something to behold him resisting these anti-American forces! Think of it! Thousands of powerful politicians, bureaucrats, spymasters, professors, billionaires, media moguls, journalists, influencers and other enemies, foreign and domestic, swaying millions of followers. How could they possibly be held back? Only God could do it, and He does it not only through miracles but also by the hand of one man. Despite Trump’s flaws, there is something about this leader’s character that God is using.

King Jeroboam was flawed. The judge Joshua was flawed. The judge Gideon was flawed. The Prophet Ezekiel was flawed. The Apostle Paul was flawed. So was the Prophet Jonah, who took God’s message into the heart of the cruel Assyrian Empire and also prophesied to Jeroboam that God was with him. But God overcame enormous hostility by the hands of these men.

What quality did God use in these men? Courage. Winston Churchill said, “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others.”

You are flawed. You lack courage. So do we all. But without it, satanic “hatred and violence” will overwhelm you. How can you replace your fear with courage? Believe and fear and obey God. He commands true Christians who are doing His work to “be strong and of good courage” and “be not afraid” (Ezekiel 2-3; Deuteronomy 3). Follow the examples God gives you in the Bible, and trust Him for the courage. Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land, and conquering it took six or seven years of fighting one fortified city after another.

“It appears that the Joshua of Moses’s time had one outstanding strength, spiritual courage.” (Joshua 1:5-7) “God was instructing him to use this quality, showing him how much he would need it.” Among those true Christians who have turned away from God, “spiritual courage may be the greatest need. Without it, the other virtues are of little value!” 

Satan is raging. His “spirit of hate” is in the process of literally ending the world as we know it (Ephesians 6:12). And his greatest targets are those who have something to do with God, His work and His message. You will either succumb to him, or you will arm yourself with God’s power and overcome him (verses 13-18).

Joshua said to the Israelites then, and to us today: “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” (Joshua 10:25)

Without God, you are “helpless and hopeless.” But with God, you can be “fearless, brave, solid, courage’s and not afraid.”

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