Thursday, March 15, 2012



At long last…. a ‘voice of sanity’ crying in the wilderness, a model of godly manhood, a stand-alone leader! Last week Governor Steve Beshear refused to cancel the governor’s prayer breakfast. Despite the political pressure brought on him by both the Americans United for Separation of Church and State and The Freedom from Religion Foundation to cancel the event, Beshear, the son of a Baptist preacher, refused to relent. Beshear said the prayer breakfast is a 47-year Kentucky tradition that he has no intention of canceling. He also has a long history of faithfulness to his family, his church and the public trust. The governor has a ‘leadership backbone.’

Governor Beshear reminds me of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” a name given to him years ago by the media. He has been elected/re-elected to an unprecedented 5 consecutive 4-year terms by the people of Arizona. His list of accomplishments is too long to detail here; but his ‘Tent City’ for prisoners, his chain gangs that contribute thousands of dollars of free labor to the state, the banned smoking, coffee, movies, pornography and TV in his jails, their meal costs of between $.15-$.40, the pink underwear on the inmates, etc. have established his reputation of having a ‘leadership backbone.’ He has regularly been the target of civil libertarians, but so far has successfully overcome their legal maneuvering to get him out of office. Sheriff Arpaio and his wife Ava have been married for over 54 years and have two children and four grandchildren.

And do you remember when Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States? The Iatola Khomeini immediately released 8 American citizens he had held hostage in Iran for 18 months. Why? Because he knew that Reagan had a ‘leadership backbone.’ The Iatola was not yet ready to ride his camel off into the sunset. Later Regan called the bluff of the air traffic controllers who were threatening a strike unless their union demands were met. They were all fired in one executive action. Later in his presidency, Reagan would declare ‘The Year of the Bible.’ Talk about courageous!

Thinking about this reminds me of the passage in Acts 23:1-3 when the high priest Ananias ordered one of his henchmen to strike the apostle Paul on the mouth for no reason. Paul might have turned the other cheek, but he also said, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” Whoa Paul! Now there is a ‘leadership backbone!’

Now, make no mistake, I am all for appropriate grace in the way we, as Christ-followers, behave toward the socially/politically anti-Christian, toward the convicted/incarcerated and toward totalitarian/inhumane despots. At the same time grace must be balanced with truth. John 1:17 says that, “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” So, I am taking the position today that we need more truth and less insanity if we are to preserve the culture.

Pray with me…. Father, the Psalmist has declared that ‘strength and beauty are in your sanctuary.’ We want to reflect both your strength and your beauty in our character because we your people are your sanctuary. So, give us wisdom about when we should bow our heads in quiet submission and humility and when we should lift our heads to shout with conviction about what is right and true. Jesus is our model as we aspire to ‘speak the truth in love.’ Give us your head to know when we need a heart and when we need a backbone. In His name we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

No comments:

Post a Comment