One Example of a Common Sense Liberal

Today’s post and yesterday’s (Why Liberal?  Confessions of a Recovering Evangelical) started as one, but my introduction mutated into a post in its own right.  Funny how that tends to happen when you’ve got ADD.

As I’ve said before, there is no such thing as a monopoly on common sense and family values.  Liberals in both the political and religious realms have a justly earned reputation for being elitist and overly academic.  however, I think it’s time we got to work on correcting that, especially if we hope to engage with the hearts and minds of people off-campus.  I don’t mean that we dumb it down or reject the contributions of scholarship; I mean that we communicate what we believe in ways that are more simple and direct.

One person who is already doing an amazing job at this is an older guy in Georgia who owns a peanut farm, volunteers with Habitat For Humanity, and teaches Sunday School at his Baptist Church.  By the way, he is also a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and served a term as President of the United States.

It’s Jimmy Carter.

Say what you will about his presidency and policies (I have beef with both), but Jimmy, more than any other living president, embodies a sense of personal wisdom and human decency that is rarely found among national politicians.  Perhaps that contributed to the fact that he did not serve a second term.  My wife says that Jimmy Carter is living proof that personal integrity doesn’t always make for the best presidents.

This former-president’s most recent project is the production of a study Bible with his own notes and reflections on the text.  This may be a bit ambitious on my part, but I would hope that a project of this magnitude might find its place in history alongside the famous Jefferson Bible.

You can see and/or order Carter’s Lessons from Life Bible at Amazon.com by clicking here.

In order to promote this new publication, Carter gave an interview to folks at the Huffington Post.  I provide a link and invite you to read the interview as an example of one Common Sense Liberal Christian speaking his mind about the faith of his heart.  On a human level, here is an example of how one can be an open-minded, open-hearted, and faithful Christian.

Enjoy!

President Jimmy Carter Authors New Bible Book, Answers Hard Biblical Questions

Make A Declaration Of Inter-Dependence

Here is my Labor Day article from last Sunday’s Rome Sentinel.

One of my favorite growing-up memories is of a time when my father took me to hear the President of the United States speak in my hometown of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Walking away from the event, Dad repeated a single sentence from the President’s speech: “We must learn to treat one another as indispensible partners and not disposable parts.”

I’m not surprised that this phrase stood out to him. My father’s family moved to New York from Puerto Rico when he was a small child. He grew up facing the dual pressures of prejudice and poverty. My grandmother and her seven children lived in a one-bedroom trailer with no furniture. My father worked his way through college as a janitor.

Dad knows firsthand what it feels like to be treated like a “disposable part” because of one’s ethnicity or blue-collar status. Nobody cares about learning what the janitor’s name is until he misses a spot! Years later, he eventually worked his way out of poverty and made a comfortable life for my siblings and me. However, he never forgot what it felt like to be treated like a “nobody” at the bottom of the pile. He raised me to respect the humanity in all people, especially those who work in occupations that receive less prestige than doctors and lawyers.

This is an important value to remember as we celebrate the Labor Day holiday. We cannot afford to hold onto the myth of the “self-made individual” any longer. We all depend on one another for community stability. We couldn’t even order lunch or gas up the car if weren’t for the labors of others. This Labor Day, it’s time for us to make a Declaration of Inter-dependence. We need each other. Our future depends on it.

So, when you’re ordering lunch at the diner, make a habit of looking up from your menu and looking the server in the eye. Remember his or her name. Say “thank you” and take a moment to honor your common humanity and mutual inter-dependence.