Instructions from The Father to His Son

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Child of the Father

We celebrate Christmas as the season of remembering the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We relish the image of a baby in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. But we spend little time thinking about Jesus as a little boy growing up under the care of his mother and father. Apart from myth, there is little in the Bible that tells us of how he was raised. However, we do have a glimpse into how His Heavenly Father, God, trained him while Jesus was young.

We find a brief account of Jesus as a young boy in the New Testament book of Luke that gives us insight into his upbringing.

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

[Luke 2:41-52 KJV]

Jesus, as a boy, recognized his duty to be subject to Mary and Joseph but at the age of 12; but he also recognized that he was the Son of God and had a duty to His Heavenly Father. This led him to answer his earthly parents saying that he was about his Father’s business. Obedience to his Father in Heaven was first on his mind. As the 5th commandment tells us, Jesus was subject to his earthly parents (although Joseph was only a step-father) and this was in fulfillment of the Law of Moses.

Reading and understanding the Word of God was a part of the Father’s business with Jesus. He was learning and discussing what he learned with those who had a ‘learned’ position within Judaism in the city of Jerusalem. He was able to convey his understanding and reach out to understand more. The idea that Jesus as a pre-teen would seek Biblical knowledge and wisdom speaks of the training he received from his Heavenly Father.

It is no stretch of the imagination to understand that Jesus’ Father would use the book that He wrote, the Hebrew Bible, to teach His Son with. Jesus had many lessons to learn from this textbook of the Bible before entering into his earthly ministry and fulfill his Father’s Will. Just as we have lessons to learn that prepare us for the purpose God has in our life and ministry, Jesus had to learn these lessons as well. Any loving Father will train and discipline their children so that they may grow to their full potential.

Take for example the story of Sampson and Delila in the Bible. If Jesus were to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh, he would find his eyes blinded and led to serve at satan’s mill for an eternity. If like Esau, Jesus took hold of the pleasures of the flesh instead of the inheritance God gave him, he would lose the position he had with God and His Kingdom although he would bitterly seek it all his life. And like Adam, if Jesus disobeyed the Will of God and took hold of the carnal knowledge of good and evil, Jesus would be rejected out of paradise and left to suffer the thorns of labor all his days.

There are so many stories that can be counted as lessons from the Father God to His Son. All of them are stories of God’s love for His Son that prepared him for his ministry and ultimately for the Cross. While these lessons not only applied to Jesus but to ourselves as well, let us look into the greatest challenge Jesus would ever face – the crucifixion.

Jesus was led by the Father to a water baptism with John the Baptist before the Holy Spirit came upon him. Then, led by the Spirit, Jesus raised several people from the dead during his earthly ministry. Jesus even raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been in the tomb 4 days. Jesus foretold of his death and that he would raise from the dead after 3 days. The experience the Son gained from obedience to the Father, led by the Holy Spirit, helped Jesus understand that his death on the Cross would not be his end. This all led to Jesus being able to trust the Father and obey His Will to suffer the death of the Cross.

We can draw from the lesson book that God gave to Jesus, the Bible, many lessons that apply to us as well. The truth of God’s Word is timeless and endures to all generations. Looking into the curriculum that Jesus had from his Heavenly Father gives us a glimpse into Jesus the man who was also God, prepared to take on the sins of mankind so we could be forgiven by the Father.

There is more to this story than meets the eye. Trusting God, being led by the Holy Spirit, obedience to the Father by faith in His Son Jesus Christ, are only the beginning of a life well lived. Truly, we are children of God the Father by trusting in the Cross of Jesus Christ. How wonderful it is for us that Jesus was an obedient Son, obedient even to the point of death.

Pray this prayer to become a child of God.

God of heaven, I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for me. I believe that he paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you for your love. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and now my Father in Heaven. Amen!

Love Is the Gift of Christmas

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Christmas Love

We have often heard of the passage in the New Testament book of 1 Corinthians that speaks of the power and primacy of love. The eternal blessing God has given to us through His Son Jesus Christ is a gift of love. This gift of love was first given to us on the day we celebrate Christmas.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

[1 Corinthians 13:8-10 KJV]

What is that which is perfect? It is the love of God given through His Son Jesus Christ.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

[1 Corinthians 13:11-13]

We know in part, we see in part but when we see Jesus, we will know as we are known. How are we known – by the love of God. We are not seeing things clearly not but God really loves us!

Our knowledge of things on earth is only an imperfect picture of God’s love. Our picture of knowledge, when we’re in heaven, will be the face of God, from which all things are seen with perfect clarity. We can learn now that love is the foundation of creation and of salvation and everything in between. There is nothing that God has given to us that is without His Spirit of Love – God is Love!

This Christmas, let’s celebrate the Love of God, who gave His only begotten Son, not just on the day of his birth but on the Cross through which he triumphed over our sin. We have God’s love in us when we accept God’s forgiveness of sin through the work of Jesus on the Cross. When you ask Jesus into your heart, to forgive your sin, and to renew your fellowship with God, you will experience the joy of Christmas, now and forevermore.

Celebrate the spirit of Christmas.

Celebrate the love of God.

Celebrate Jesus in your life.

The Media Doesn’t Have a Clue

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Media vs Trump

America’s Media, tabloid journalism gone professional, lost the recent election when Donald Trump became President. They wanted Hilary Clinton to be President and have been so upset that they couldn’t manipulate the outcome of the election that they persistently blame the Russians for influencing the outcome of the elections more than themselves. At the end of the day, the media is not aware of the way Trump won the election; they simply have no clue!

Trump did not campaign in a traditional manner throughout the Republican Primary. The traditional candidates bristled against him for his non-traditional manners. He repeatedly went past them to those voters in America who would not be called Republican or Democrat. Trump ran in the Primary as an independent candidate for the Republican nomination. This is the first fact of his campaign that the media doesn’t understand.

After winning the Republican nomination, Trump ran a campaign to get the Republican base to support him, after all the rhetoric was settled. Mike Pence was chosen to be his running mate to consolidate the GOP around Trump. Pence is the professional, traditional, conservative element in the Trump campaign that secured the Republican vote for the general election. Trump’s reach to the right with Pence may have also caused concern with the ‘liberal’ media but not with the American people.

At the outset, Clinton had an uphill battle against her and her husband’s political baggage. The ability she had to reach the independent voter was marred from the beginning. Trump, who campaigned for the independent voter before the general election, was already amassing new voters in the GOP for the primaries and general election. Clinton was behind from the beginning while Trump had the advantage; and Clinton never caught up. This is the big reason why she lost; and the medias doesn’t get it.

The fact of any election is that there are usually 3 candidates in a race: Republicans, Democrats, and the Media. The two major parties usually have candidates in all races down the ballot. We all understand that people typically vote for party candidates or for candidates independent of party ties. To win an election, one must get their Party’s base vote (~33%) and a majority of the independent vote (~17%) to get a majority of the vote (50%+1 vote). The Media typically represents neither of the major parties but they consistently represent the independent voter. Like Clinton, the Media didn’t realize that Trump was ahead of them during the general election in reaching out to the independent voter.

Trump won the presidential campaign because of his non-traditional reach to average Americans who have no party affiliation. And when the Media continually berates Trump for his non-traditional behavior, they are undermining their ability to influence the independent voter. In fact, they insult the independent voter of Trump with their fake news and attacks. Attacking Trump means attacking the independent voter, who is the deciding vote in any election.

It wasn’t the Russians who caused Hilary to lose the election, they lost it themselves because Trump reached out to the independent voter before they did. Democrats like the Media, are undermining themselves the more the compete against Trump. Republicans run the risk of losing elections if they dismiss themselves against him because they also need the independent voter to win elections. Although one may disagree with Trump’s manners, Republicans should agree with Making America Great Again, with lowering taxes, with common sense government. Finding something to agree with Trump on means winning the midterm elections in Washington.

It will take another election cycle for the Media to understand that this is not a populist movement, this is an American President who has reached out to the American People in terms they understand. Political correctness ends at the door of the independent voter. The more people in the Media and elsewhere try to fit Trump into a traditional box the more they find they will fail. They simply don’t have a clue!

Contraception is Not a Civil Right

© Original content written by James R. CarlsonImage result for contraception in court

The States of Pennsylvania, California, Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Virginia are teaming up to sue the Trump administration’s policy on defunding contraception. They are claiming that the burden to pay for these services will fall upon them if the federal government does not pay for them. The trouble, however, is not a lack of funding but a lack of perspective. The government should not facilitate contraception at any level, which is what these State’s Attorneys General are asking for; contraception is not a Civil Right.

According to constitutional principles, the government is supposed to provide for Civil Rights. Civil Rights are those areas of responsibility where the government should facilitate what We the People cannot do on our own. The right to vote has no meaning if the government doesn’t facilitate a polling place where we can register our vote; this is something we cannot do on our own. Contraception, although not illegal, is not something the Constitution says the government should facilitate. Again, contraception is not a Civil Right.

Civil liberties are the joint responsibility of the People and the government. People facilitate their own liberties whereas the government protects them by law. Contraception is a freedom that people have in America that is protected by the law but that does not mean it is something the law should facilitate. These State’s Attorneys General are not approaching this issue correctly as they are defending civil liberties in terms of civil rights. There is no legal foundation for their complaint as such.

Let’s review the issue of the Separation of Church and State. Ideally, the government should be based upon the second tablet of the Ten Commandments and not both tablets (please see earlier blogs on this subject). As such we have religious freedoms (first tablet) and civil freedoms (second table), which may also be called civil liberties. According to the original Christian rationalist perspective of separation, the government is to base law upon moral principles (even Biblical ones). And where there is no right to do what is wrong, there is a right to do what is right.

Unfortunately, the culture wars of our nation are perverting the judgment of our Courts to extend the idea of civil liberties into areas of immoral behavior. The ACLU has championed the notion of immorality as a civil liberty for decades. Yet, they do not support the idea of the freedom to do what is right. Those who bake cakes are penalized for following their conscience when it comes to moral issues. The people who follow morality and righteous lifestyles are penalized for doing so.

The patriots back in 1776 stood for the right of self-determination or the right of self-government. However, that was not in the modern context where people argue for the freedom to do what is wrong. They were standing for the freedom to do what is right! What does the government have to say with people who are already doing what they’re supposed to do in the eyes of God?! Standing up for what is right, doing what is right, is what self-governance is all about!

Clearly the culture wars will continue without abatement and the left wing of society who rationalize away mores and morality will find a way to convince the Courts to share their dogma. However, we are losing our freedoms to do what is right and follow our conscience before God. This is what religious freedom was once all about. Now, with atheism and secularism dominating the Courts, we are in jeopardy of losing these freedoms and liberties.

Although recent court cases have decided in favor of those arguing for religious freedom, this is a case more for civil freedoms and liberties not religious freedoms. Now, civil liberties (freedoms) are being opposed by false claims of civil rights. People should be free, have liberty, to do what is right. The culture wars will continue until we get this right.

Cookoo over Coco – Another Unholy Day

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Coco

Disney has produced and is ready to release a new movie that highlights aspects of Halloween for the Holiday of Thanksgiving. Giving God thanks during this holiday season is replaced with a mistaken idea of another holiday – the Day of the Dead. Here once again, the dark spirit of Halloween is invading the Holy Days of the holiday season.

The idea of All Hallows Eve, now called Halloween, was a day of preparation just before the Day of the Dead. The Days of the Dead were observed from 31 October to 2 November, with Halloween starting the season on 31 October, All Saints Day following on 1 November, and All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead wrapping it up on 2 November. Disney has decided to extend this holiday season by a few weeks into the Thanksgiving season. In effect they have taken the darkness that surrounds the modern activities of Halloween and put them in the middle of Thanksgiving.

Coco is a movie where a child returns to his ancestors to visit them. However, they are all dead and only their skeletons remain. Ancient Latin American cultures have taken pagan festivals and ‘Christianized’ them to include having meals with their dead relatives whose bones sit at the table with them. This is the foundation for the movie Coco but it is not a tradition that serves a Holy God. God has clearly stated we are not to talk with the dead or touch that which is unclean.

The idea behind the original Christian celebration called the Day of the Dead was to commemorate those who lived before us who gave us our rich culture and heritage. To remember the lessons of the past and pass them on to the next generation is a good thing. The idea of taking the bones of dead people, touching them and talking to them is indeed a tradition born of a dark spirit that need not be propagated by Disney for children.

The idea of Thanksgiving is the simple idea of giving God thanks for his provision in our lives. Thanksgiving is a Christian Holy Day (holiday) that commemorates the blessings of heaven in the lives of believers of Jesus Christ. Thanksgiving was celebrated by Hispanics of the Latin (Catholic) tradition in El Paso years before it was celebrated by Protestant Pilgrims in New England. It is a rich tradition of giving God praise for the wonderful works he has done. This is the spirit of light that should permeate All Hallows Eve, the Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But it is being perverted by a dark spirit of Halloween.

One may pass on judging the movie but one cannot pass on seeing the light. A spirit of darkness is seeking to cloud the Holiness of the Holidays by adding the evil aspects of a perverted tradition that came from a modern Halloween spirit. This dark spirit need only be confronted by the spirit of light found in the Holy Spirit of God. This Holy Spirit of light tells us of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who came to earth to forgive us of our sin and lead us into a new life of light and holy love. Please remember to share the light with family and friends on the holidays and pray that God will help us keep the Holidays Holy.

Modern Health Care – Medicine Without Charity

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Charity Care

The profession of medicine has developed over many centuries with the growth of science and religion providing a foundation for modern medical miracles. The ancient ideas of medicine have been replaced by more empirical methods that diagnose illnesses and treat patients with practical remedies. And the idea of medicine as a charity stems from the idea of the Love (charity) of God for the benefit of one’s fellow man. With a misguided application of false charity by the government in the realm of medicine, the idea of charity in medicine is slowly being discarded in favor of big business. This has created a situation where the public health is threatened and the true ministry of medicine is all but lost.

We’ve recently seen how veteran’s health care has diminished when it comes to what is considered a treatable health problem. Given the limited resources provided by socialized medicine for veterans (government run health care), and the increasing number of veterans demanding health care without an equal increase in health care providers, the more the higher the thresholds will become before a person can be treated by doctors. It is simple math; you simply cannot do more with limited resources.

The idea of government run medicine treating people’s illnesses is as old as the progressive movement in the 1930’s. As a social gospel, the idea of charitable medicine stems from the idea of government run charities serving the public health; a proposal that is beyond constitutional boundaries. The old idea of the separation of church and state once prevented states from taxing people for charitable contributions to fund public ministries. Whereas the government was not supposed to be in the business of tax funded charities or ministries, that has turned around through the New Deal and now the government is funding national charities to aid in the business of medicine. This, however, has backfired and is not providing any real charitable support for people.

The idea of getting government out of religion in the 18th century was to help religion flourish without government intrusion. Keeping the government out of people’s religious decisions and the charitable contributions they might make helped to make people more likely to be charitable with their giving. The idea of charitable medicine being applied to the health of the poor was a Christian goal throughout the United States in the 19th century. That goal, however, has been high jacked by progressives in the 20th century who seek to fund government charities for health care at the expense of killing real charity.

The medical profession itself used to require its doctors to provide free health care to people for a period of time each year (one month per se). When Medicare and Medicaid came along in the 1960s, the free care that was provided by doctors was being paid by the government through tax payer dollars. The care provided by doctors to the poor didn’t change, only the money distributed to them; doctors were being paid for their charity. Now, medicine is big business and the idea of charity without taxation in the realm of medicine is all but lost. Medical charity has suffered at the hands of forced charity by state funding through taxation; again, a violation of the separation of church and state.

Not only has real charity gone down, but the cost of health care has gone up due to the idea of funding medicine by government charity; again, paid by taxpayers without any free will giving or freedom to not give. Now, the cost of medicine has skyrocketed. Hospitals, once funded by the government, charge more for their health care due to the fact that they are required by law to support the poor and indigent. Go to a lab at a hospital and to one at a private facility and the hospital will charge more for the same procedure to cover their charitable costs to other patients. Hospitals are not providing more charity, they are simply passing the cost onto the average consumer.

While the threshold for health care is raising for veterans across the country, it is lowering for the rest of the country. New standards are requiring people to get colonoscopies, high blood pressure medicine, and other procedures and medicines that raise the potential income of doctors, pharmacies, and the medical industry. A key business practice in marketing any product or service is to show how that product or service can be used for other needs. Providing new medical standards that lower the threshold for the level of health care one needs means more money for big business and charity is nowhere to be found.

The growth of medicine as a big business in America is directly related to the lack of real Christian charity in the ministry of medicine and the advent of a pseudo-Christian ministry of government run health care. Real charity is lost in government run medicine. Standards are lowered for those who suffer under socialized medicine, the idea of charity by medical professionals is now being funded by taxpayer dollars, and the rise of big business is creating reduced standards of health care to increase profit margins. Medical care needs to return to its foundations of providing for the needs of people regardless of the cost; for the benefit of the patient and not the stock holder. To do this, we must first get big government out of the big business of medicine so that charity through medicine can flourish again in America.

Two Texans in Two World Wars

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Texans in WWs

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Recently, I have been focused on finishing a book about two Texans whom I admire deeply. Two years of research has finally produced the story of two Texans (my dad and his uncle) as they served our country during two world wars. Their story is a family history, a history that is yours as well. The American family has a heritage that we all share. And walking in their footsteps helps us relive the past and prepare for the future.

John Emil Carlson and John Benton Carlson both grew up in the Swedish community in Central Texas where they learned the love of God and Country through their family and Church. They both grew up on a farm and learned the value of hard work; and when their country called upon them, they both served their country with honor.

The story of WWI was one of average Americans called to serve their country in a time of crisis. Like thousands of others, John E. Carlson answered the call of duty and fought overseas. His journey with the 90th Infantry Division on the Western Front in France as a light machine gunner shows the courage of the men who fought on the front lines. They won the war and afterwards, with the Occupation of Germany, they also won the peace.

The story of WWII is in part a continuation of the first world war. The second world war was begun by a German corporal who lost his fight in WWI. After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, America went to war again. In WWII John B Carlson answered the call of duty, like his uncle before him, and prepared to fight in the Invasion of Japan. However, two nuclear bombs ended the war and Carlson served in the Occupation of Japan instead.

This is their story.

Challenge the Darkness

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

HollowSanta

Ghouls in Christmas Attire (Walgreens)

The holiday of All Hallows Eve has been taken over by a spirit of darkness to the point that we no longer regard those who lived before us; celebrating the achievements of people in the past is what Halloween was originally supposed to be. Now, the Day of the Dead is about death and corpses. This dark spirit no longer resides in just one holiday as it is trying to invade the Christmas season. It’s time we invade the darkness with the Gospel of Jesus Christ during each and every holiday.

The idea of Christmas or any other festival being a holy day is what a ‘holiday’ means. Christmas, however, was taken over by commercial interests nearly a century ago and making money seems to be more important than celebrating God – a holiday. Choosing where you shop this holiday season may be as simple as noting who is celebrating what.

At Walgreens I was shocked to see the Nightmare Before Christmas display with Halloween creatures dressed in seasonal garb. Although the mid-90s movie tried to convey an image of importing Christmas into Halloween, the reverse is true with this display. As we saw Frankenstein last year carry the dark spirit or horror movies into the Christmas season, here again we are witnessing the invasion of Christmas by the spirit of Halloween.

The 31st of October is a special day to remember Martin Luther who began the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago. In keeping with his legacy of bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people bound by needless religious ritual, I decided that I would invade the darkness by passing out Gospel Tracts to children this year. I had a few on hand (next year I’ll buy more) and I handed them out with the candy that I gave to the children. In this way, the kids had fun and could learn of the Love of God.

This year, I plan on sending out Gospel Christmas Cards to family and friends. As commercialism and Halloween’s dead spirit are seeking to dominate the Christmas season, we need to remind people what Christmas is all about. The Cross of Christ could not happen without the Birth of Christ; God’s Son was given to us on Christmas day so he could free us from sin on Good Friday during Easter. No skeletons, no Santa, no bunny rabbits, just the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s what Halloween, Christmas, and Easter are supposed to be about. Please remember to keep the holidays Holy.

The NFL is Guilty of Piling On

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Zeek

The suspension of Ezekiel Elliot, following an alleged domestic violence case, is an example of the abuse that NFL players are being subjected to. The Rule of Law is the final arbiter of penalties in such cases but the NFL is piling on to the point of vigilantism. And in a climate of Black Lives Matter (BLM), which complains about police brutality, the actions by the NFL against its players is more of the same.

The Rule of Law is supposed to provide for justice through a court system where the victim and the accused both have rights. The Court is uniquely established in our country to provide for the due process of law to both parties in a legal case. The Court has the final jurisdiction in such cases and their decisions are not only final, their verdicts are the final word in such matters.

When a person is punished by the Court in civil or criminal cases, they are not supposed to be subjected to additional penalties, called double jeopardy. When someone pays their debt (money or time) to society, they are supposed to return to society without further retribution. Society is supposed to respect this process and not take matters into their own hands and add further punishment.

When a person or group of people decide to take matters into their own hands, they may seek justice but because they are not duly authorized or established to take on matters of law, they become vigilantes. Vigilante justice is well known in America as many people have been lynched by it. Hanging a horse thief or a Black man who just wants to vote was a common practice in our nation’s past. We consider vigilante justice to be brutish and without justice.

The NFL has rules that penalizes poor sportsmanship on the field of play. Piling on is one such penalty. When a runner has been tackled and is down, others might jump on top of him to create a pile; the intent is to punish the runner with extra weight. While this delivers a crushing blow to the runner, it also delivers a yellow flag indicating a violation of league rules. This is exactly what is being done by the NFL when they add penalties to Mr. Elliot after Court actions have already tackled him.

The business of the NFL is entertainment, not justice. Social issues are certainly highlighted by the BLM movement within the NFL as they a protest against legal abuses. The solution sought by BLM should be the rule of law and equal justice to all people despite their color. The solution to the legal issues that Mr. Elliot faces should be found in a Court of Justice, with the provision of the due process of law and not with the vigilantism of the NFL. As people complain about the disrespect of the nation’s flag during our national anthem ceremonies, perhaps it’s time to talk about the disrespect of our nation’s Rule of Law by the NFL. There is nothing wrong with being patriotic at the beginning of each game; but there is something very wrong with the NFL piling on Mr. Elliot.

One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

One Nation

The recent turmoil with the issues of race and racism has led many to challenge the established order of things and demean the foundation of our nation. Some have even called for demonstrations during the National Anthem ceremonies at various sporting events. The movement called Black Lives Matter has provided a foil whereby the continued problems of our society with respect to race can be addressed. However, this movement has not captured the heart of the problem nor has it provided solutions to the persistent problems that many people face daily.

Recall that the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. led the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and was a proponent of both the Christian Gospel and the equal application of the rule of law for all people. These are two solutions that the Black Lives Matter movement misses; nonetheless, black lives do matter. If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t get there. It is more important to identify the solution than to constantly rave about the problem.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ shows us that we are all created equal and treated equal in the eyes of God. The book of Revelations sums it up clearly:

9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. [Revelations 5:9 KJV]

The Christian religion is an inclusive religion that accepts everyone despite their ethnic makeup. While we identify people by color but God sees us differently. He treats us all the same without regard to differences. The Christian faith is the primary means whereby the issues of race and racism can be treated spiritually in the heart of individual people and society. Respecting people as people is the goal. When we treat people like we want to be treated, we are following the Golden Rule of God. The Christian religion was key to the success of Dr. King.

Also, Dr. King supported the rule of law as a means of protecting the black community, not harming it. The rule of law is supposed to provide for civil and criminal justice for everyone in society. It is also supposed to protect our liberties; although we have to exercise our liberties ourselves. The rule of law is also supposed to provide for our Civil Rights, which includes the right to vote; people cannot establish their own polling stations so the government has to provide for these rights. So, where the law is supposed to provide for justice, liberty, and the rights of people, it wasn’t doing so in the American South before Dr. King. That is what he wanted as a solution of the state to deal with the problems of race and racism.

The trouble that Black Lives Matter presents is one of attacking law officers when they should be advocates of the law. The rule of law is a foundation for everyone to stand on and people need to be sure they are following the orders of the police or else they may be in trouble regardless of their color. The police are there for all people and all people should support them.

I recall reading the Federalist Papers many years ago and the ideas of the authors John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton remain on my heart and my mind still today. Their wisdom led this nation, before we became a nation, to see who we are as a people and what our new government should be like. Their words also provide a foundation for unity amidst the troubles of race and racism.

With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people–a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence. [Federalist #2, John Jay; 31 October 1787]

The country that Jay referred to was dominated by descendants of the English people, religion, law, and language. The heritage that Jay spoke of is of profound importance to us today.

The English were immigrants to North America and were accustomed to change. In fact, the population in England was heterogeneous consisting of many groups of people like the Anglos, the Normans, the Saxons, the Welch, the French, etc. The idea of a group of people descended from the same set of ancestors is really a signal of how many people groups migrated to England before coming to America. In the colonies of North America, the English immigrants were met by any number of migrants from other nations that were incorporated within the colonies. Not only did England have a history of bringing in new people to their country, the English in America carried on with the same traditions.

This cosmopolitan nature of England also led to a cosmopolitan language. With the influx of people from many countries into England came the change of the English language itself. English is a mixture of many different terms from various other languages and today we find the language still changing to meet with new concepts and ideas that often come from other countries. The mixture of language that now comprises English came from England’s ancestors.

From Jay’s essay we can still see how the foundation of our nation has led to an immigrant nation with a mixture of languages and cultures. Many people from many nations continue to seek the protection of America’s system of liberty and justice. As much as in the past, we are still today “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” America continues to build on its original foundations for the needs of all people.

So too, the rule of law was meant for the protection of the people and not the state. The history of law throughout the world has been dominated by the Roman Civil Law where the purpose of law is the protection of the state (an adversarial system). However, the English Common Law was founded upon an advocacy system for the protection of the individual. The rule of law is our defense against the excesses of crime and bad government.

The words of Dr. King and John Jay provide a foundation for solutions to today’s dilemma with race and racism. Faith in Jesus Christ and his redemption for us is the spiritual solution. And treating people like people is a personal solution; we learn this from God as he takes us just as we are. And the equal application of the rule of law is a state solution. So, while black lives do matter, Black Lives Matter misses the mark on all counts. It is time to complain more about the solution than the problem.