Category: Government & Politics

Learning from George H.W. Bush

It’s easy to say we need more presidents or more politicians like George H.W. Bush. That lets the rest of us off the hook.

Joseph de Maistre famously said, “Every country has the government it deserves,” and, “In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve.”

We are not the same nation today as the one which nurtured Bush into maturity. This nation is always shifting and changing. It’s interesting that the U.S., in its 1992 incarnation, dumped this good and great man as president who had overseen the fall of the Soviet Union and led the nation to victory in a war to stop aggression — The Gulf War.

But here we are at now. We need a nation that nurtures and lifts up truly great leaders as it did with George H.W. Bush.

Whenever we learn of a person’s values, we should ask ourselves how they align with Jesus and the broader scriptural wisdom. So let’s try that with a few ideas attributed to Bush. His biographer, Jon Meacham, said Bush’s life code was “Tell the truth. Don’t blame people. Be strong. Do your best. Try hard. Forgive. Stay the course.”

Tell the truth. This is about as solid as it gets. It’s in the 10 Commandments — don’t bear false witness. Jesus said, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” In other words, you should be so trustworthy that a simple “yes” or “no” will do; you don’t need to swear on your mother’s grave or anything else when you are trustworthy.

Don’t blame people. The first thing that comes to mind is Genesis 3 when Adam blames Eve for his sin, and she blames the serpent for her’s. It didn’t work; God punished all three. Proverbs 28:13 says we are not to conceal our transgressions, and blaming others is a way people often seek to do that. One other thought occurs to me. Blaming others is really childish behavior; it’s immature. The Apostle Paul said, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” 1 Corinthians 13:11, ESV).

Be strong. Paul’s words come quickly to mind. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10, NIV). To live a life of character, to live a life for God requires courage and strength. It’s throughout the Bible.

Do your best. Try hard. Colossians 3:23: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (NKJV).

Forgive. This is at the core of Christianity. The model prayer asks God to forgive me as I forgive those who wrong me. In other words, we need and want God’s forgiveness. We should be like God and be forgiving of those who wrong us.

Stay the course. This one is a little tricky. Staying the course is a good thing if you are following a good path; it’s the opposite of what we need to do when we are on a bad path. Hebrews 12:1-2 talks about the importance of following Jesus with perseverance. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (NIV).

Those are a few of the values that characterized the way George H.W. Bush lived. They are consistent with Scripture. Bush, however, was not perfect. Like the rest of us, he can be open for criticism.

As we think of the late president, we can see shortcomings in ourselves and seek to be better Americans. Better yet, we can look to Jesus and seek to be better followers of Him. As we follow Christ, chances are we will choose leaders who can someday be eulogized as was George H.W. Bush.

A version of this post originally appeared on the Texas Baptists website.

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Good health care requires widespread use of medical insurance

Forget politics for a minute, as a Jesus Follower I think everyone has a right to good medical care.

In a capitalist society, that means people, not the government, pay for it. So, along comes insurance to help the non-wealthy pay for medical care. That works OK when employers are paying for most medical insurance. As that falls away people cannot afford insurance, so many don’t have it and the result is that have their medical care is subsidized by everyone else who has insurance or pays full costs.

For good health care in a capitalist society people must either pay full cost or be insured at a level that reflects actual medical costs. These costs are high and, as a result, insurance is high, but the vast majority of people must have insurance in order for all of us to receive reasonable medical care.

The problem is many people can’t or don’t want to buy insurance. Medical insurance is essential to our nation and its people because if millions go uncovered the quality of medical care will continue to decline in the U.S.

In short, in a capitalist society, good medical care for all is dependent on the vast majority of people having insurance.

Pray today for frightened children

Elections are more than political exercises; they affect lives. Fear and confusion is gripping some children today, so they need our prayers. Two friends shared the following prayer requests and gave me permission to share them more broadly.

“My wife is a high school librarian. She called to let me know many Latino students are distraught. Their parents are not in the US legally and the students are afraid their parents will be deported.

“Please pray for these students. Today this is probably happening at schools throughout Texas.”

And another friend responded:

“My wife is a pre-k teacher . . . and she has felt and heard the same from her students, even at 4 years old. Prayers are definitely needed.”

No matter who we supported in Tuesday’s vote, we should care deeply for this children and their families.

(This post originally appeared on the Texas Baptists website.)