What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Truman by David McCullough

I love McCullough's style of writing biography and history. Having read his works, "1776", and "John Adams", I picked up a copy of his earlier work on Truman and read it this week. I always like to read American history and/or biography in July.

Don't pick it up as light reading. It's 992 pages.

Truman is a character in the rest of us. He behaved admirably at times and at other times you wonder what he was thinking. Was he more of a striking character because of the momentous times in which he lived and led? I think so. Was he a politician with impressive campaigning and arm twisting skills - definitely. Is he worthy of a place of high honor in American history? Maybe.

Having inherited the oval office upon the death of his venerated predecessor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as World War II was coming to a close, and the Cold War was just beginning, he did have large shoes to fill. I actually think his legacy is slightly more to be respected than that of Roosevelt's - especially his foreign policy. (In spite of all the liberal propaganda to the contrary - Roosevelt's measures did not bring the Great Depression to a close - World War II accomplished that. Government give-away programs begun under FDR have hurt more than they have helped.) In his domestic policy he was basically a Roosevelt clone - which is where I part with his liberal agenda - other than the fact that I respect his stand on civil rights.

He was considerably more of a decisive leader than the guy with the silver spoon from Hyde Park. Whether he was confronting a labor union on strike or the communists in Korea, he wasn't afraid to act. His prominent decision to utilize the atom bomb to end World War II to actually save lives will forever be debated - but it was the act of a man not afraid to make the momentous decision.

He had a bad temper but a good sense of humor. He was stubborn, yet at times easily moved by the simple requests of his subordinates. He may have been the first president of the postmodern era. And that in itself may be why his character is so interesting. He was a man faced with making momentous changes in a quickly changing period of time.

It would be my guess that a lot of presidents have learned a lot from him - both in what to do and what not to do.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Deb's Family Reunion

On Thursday, July 20, Deb's side of the family gathered in Gordo, Alabama, near Tuscaloosa, for a reunion. The Baines and Davis families were both from Gordo, and this was Deb's mom's side, the Davis family.

Deb's Aunt Ellen still lives in Gordo and that is where we met. The first picture is of almost everyone who met - some had left earlier.

The second is of Deb's mom, her three children, and their families. Our son Brandon and his wife Keshia couldn't make the get together, and neither could Bethany's husband David.

It was an enjoyable meeting. Lots of laughter and even a sing-a-long of old hymns which was a joy because most of Deb's family sings. I don't know of anyone there who isn't a follower of Christ.

There were members of the family who couldn't be there because they are already waiting for the rest of us in heaven. And, as has often been said, a family reunion is a reminder of what heaven will be like - united with family again, not hindered by distance or business.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fireworks & Community

John Adams, a lawyer, the first Vice President, and the Second President of the United States, was one of the members of the Second Continental Congress who signed the Declaration of Independence. He wrote to his wife, "I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival... it ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games; sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other..."

As I watched fireworks today on July 4th I once again had feelings of being a part of something bigger, something more important than just my obscure life - part of America.

It's good to be an American, not that we are inherently better than any other citizens of God's earth. It's just good to be a part of a nation blessed so magnificently by God.

God intended His creatures to be a part of community. We are intended to enjoy God's plan for community in family, church, neighborhoods, cities, counties, states, nations, and we should even see ourselves as part of the world community.

Community should be celebrated from time to time. Today we celebrate the God-given community called America.

John Adams was right - Independence Day "ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games; sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other..."