At the moment I am in Toledo OH visiting my new grandson Caleb and his parents, Katie and Jason. A Sunday holiday gave many business and organizations – not to mention the schools, postal service, government and banks to turn Monday into a holiday, as well. I suspect with the New Year’s Eve being on a Saturday that more than a few places will start shutting down early on Friday, as well. Let’s see, that leaves three work days in a lot of places – and not much work is going to happen. 2011 is most definitely winding down. (By the way, I worked both days of last weekend and will work both days of this weekend. It is comes with the territory when you are a pastor).

Blogging for me is something I do to relax. I don’t hunt, fish, wood carve, or chop wood-I unwind with my computer and unleashing my fertile imagination. So right now I will “relax” looking at the political scene.

We are now eleventh months from the next general and presidential election. The Republicans debates are in full swing–with candidates almost daily giving us reason not to vote for any of them. The Democrats are having those debates behind closed doors, but right now there are many voters who will not support Mr. Obama’s re-election bid. In fact, after the craziness of the budget, tax breaks, and other assorted DC impasses, I am afraid that a whole lot of people are fed up with the current leadership on either side of the aisle. Unfortunately those throwing tea parties or occupying Wall Street don’t inspire me either.  Persons whose whole campaigns revolve around “throw the bums out” rarely have sustainable ideas that promote the common good.

2012 will be a matter of significant prayer for many of us who love this nation and treasure its democratic institutions.

Another dictator, who styled himself literally as a god, died last week. Kim Il Jong of North Korea went where-ever dead “gods” go and I am pretty sure it’s not Heaven (even if as a diehard communist, he believed in any kind of afterlife).   No administration has been able to reign in the meglo-manical paranoia of the North Koreans (even the Chinese find them troublesome and potentially dangerous “allies.”)  In fact, three thorns in the flesh of democracy met their Maker this year – bin Lauden, Khadaffi, and Jong.  Will the world be safer, or freer?  Perhaps for a time.  But in our Fallen World where men aspire for the power to compel people to choose their way of life or live subject to their warped ideologies, more such “thorns” will erupt.  That is why we must work to make our democracy be a beacon of light instead of a poor excuse for a family feud.  Democracies work where this is mutual respect, an honest resolution of differences, and the integrity to work for the common good.

This morning’s news contained the disturbing report that the Iraqi President has already begun to act like Saddam Hussein, arresting his Sunni minority Vice President and making bogey men out of his political opponents.  Fearing the Shiite majority, the Sunnis and others are already threatening civil war, a development that will only serve the purposes of a greater threat to the world–Iran.

As Walter Cronkite used to say, “And that’s the way it is.”  This is where I say, “We need Jesus now more than ever.”


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