Happy Birthday, Mr. President

Abraham Lincoln pictureToday is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. He would be 207 years old! The president is one of my heroes, primarily because of the role he played in saving this country. Mr. Lincoln had a wonderful spirit about him and his humility, compassion, and willingness to forgive his enemies arguably saved this country from a terrible aftermath following our Civil War. Reconstruction was hard enough as it was, but at least we did not have guerrilla warfare to contend with, something that would have probably done us in as a country forever.

We healed as well as any country could following a civil war. If you don’t believe me, check out other countries who have suffered through a civil war. Most of the time it didn’t turn out well. The reason our country’s reconstruction went relatively well is because of President Lincoln. He set the tone for U.S. Grant and the other Union commanders by insisting that they treat the vanquished with dignity and respect. Lincoln insisted that the rebels would not be treated harshly or punitively and as a result, everyone else followed suit, including the Confederate commanders.

Of course, this wasn’t all Lincoln’s doing, but as president he set the tone for others to follow as great leaders always do. It would have been just as easy to hang all the rebel commanders and make life miserable for the vanquished. But Lincoln knew better. He knew how that would turn out. It would have been interesting to see how much more quickly we would have healed as a nation had Lincoln lived to serve a full second term. Instead, the zealots and self-righteous decided to “fix” Lincoln’s initial proposals for reconstruction and nearly managed to destroy all that President Lincoln had sought to establish in the process.

I am convinced God put Abraham Lincoln in our history for a reason. His presidency is more evidence that God has blessed this country. Whether that blessing continues today is debatable.  But that’s a different story for a different day. Today, it is fitting that all Americans honor our 16th president and give thanks to God for placing the right man in the right situation at the right time. Happy birthday, Mr. President, and thank you for your service to our country.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mom basting the turkey at Thanksgiving

I wish you a happy Thanksgiving today. Please take a few moments and stop to give praise and thanks to God for his bountiful blessings to us as individuals and as a nation.

Among others, I am thankful for God’s gift of himself to us, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and for his promise to rescue his good but corrupted creation.

I am thankful for my family and friends, past and present, and for a childhood that was second to none. I am thankful for my family of origin and for the many wonderful memories I have of Thanksgiving growing up in Van Wert. What a blessing it was to have two wonderful parents and my extended family all living in the same town.

What are you thankful for?

Giving Thanks for Veterans Known and Unknown

I am thankful that God has blessed us with so many brave men and women who were willing to sacrifice and to serve this great country of ours. I am thinking today especially of my dad, John F. Maney, who fought in Europe during World War II.

John F. Maney

I am also thinking of my grandfathers, John S. Maney and F. Earl Shaffer, who served in the army during World War I. Grandpa Maney also saw combat in Europe.

I am thinking of my uncle, W. Everett Jones, who served in the army in Europe during World War II.

I am thinking of my father-in-law, Donald E. Traylor, who served in the army in Germany during the Korean War.

I am thinking of my dad’s best friend, Dale Terry, who served in the navy in the Pacific theater during World War II.

I am thinking of my friends John Falor, Tod Tapola, Jim Lytle, and Jerry Gallaway who served in Vietnam.

I am thinking of my friend, Col. David Mullins, who served in Iraq.

I am thinking of all the men and women who are currently serving in our armed forces, some in very dangerous places, and ask God’s blessing and protection for them.

Thank you veterans, both known and unknown, for your valiant and heroic service to our country. God bless you all.

Which veterans are you thinking about today? Sign in and tell us about them.

A Prayer for Veterans’ Day

Governor of Nations, our Strength and Shield:
we give you thanks for the devotion and courage
of all those who have offered military service for this country:

For those who have fought for freedom;
for those who laid down their lives for others;
for those who have borne suffering of mind or of body;
for those who have brought their best gifts to times of need.
On our behalf they have entered into danger,
endured separation from those they love,
labored long hours, and borne hardship in war and in peacetime.

Lift up by your mighty Presence those who are now at war;
encourage and heal those in hospitals
or mending their wounds at home;
guard those in any need or trouble;
hold safely in your hands all military families;
and bring the returning troops to joyful reunion
and tranquil life at home;

Give to us, your people, grateful hearts
and a united will to honor these men and women
and hold them always in our love and our prayers;
until your world is perfected in peace.

All this we ask through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Archbishop Cranmer: We Will Remember Them, Won’t We?

Tomorrow the English will observe Remembrance Sunday. Although his grace writes about what is going on in England, the same thing is going on in this country. Will we be part of the problem or part of the solution?

Remembrance-Sunday-4aLife isn’t really much to lose when you’re old, but it’s an awful lot when you’re young. We don’t send the old to war: we send the young so that the rest of us can grow old, and then we can build our marble monuments and write our paper memorials to remember the glorious young dead with honour and solemnity, religiously, every year. And then the politicians come along and remove those monuments and re-write those memorials because.. well, times change and we must move on. If not this generation, it’ll be the next. Or maybe the one after that. Old enemies become friends, and old friends become enemies. Memories must be erased because good is re-evaluated and evil is turned to dusty myths.

Read it all.

Frank Bruni: The Real Threat to Hillary Clinton

Bruni is not one of my favorites. But he sure gets it on this particular issue. Good for him. Let’s hope the Repubs wake up. See what you think.

In the eyes of many disapproving conservatives, “[Kasich’s] the one Republican in the field that not only embraced Obamacare, but took it out in his dad’s station wagon and made out with it,” as the Republican strategist Rick Wilson told Caitlin Huey-Burns of Real Clear Politics.

There’s no reason to think he’ll do well in early primary contests in Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada. That puts do-or-die pressure on New Hampshire.

He’s known to have attention problems and a mean streak. His congressional career links him to the disastrous mid-1990s effort to shut down the government. And after Congress, he worked as an investment banker with Lehman Brothers, the Wall Street firm. That’s a résumé line out of sync with the electorate’s mood.

But he has made the best of it, portraying it as an inside look at a vital part of the economy, a fruitful research mission. He’s dexterous that way. And Democrats, trust me, have noticed, enough to hope that Republican primary voters don’t wake up to the same realization.

Read it all.

Richard Cohen: Why ISIS Trumps Freedom

A brilliant and spot-on analysis worthy of your serious reflection. Human history is littered with failed attempts to provide for our own meaning, purpose, and happiness. Look around. How’s that working out? See what you think.

Western societies have been going ever further in freeing their citizens’ choices — in releasing them from ties of tradition or religion, in allowing people to marry whom they want and divorce as often as they want, have sex with whom they want, die when they want and generally do what they want. There are few, if any, moral boundaries left.

In this context, radical Islam offers salvation, or at least purpose, in the form of a life whose moral parameters are strictly set, whose daily habits are prescribed, whose satisfaction of everyday needs is assured and whose rejection of freedom is unequivocal. By taking away freedom, the Islamic State lifts a psychological weight on its young followers adrift on the margins of European society.

Read and reflect on it all.

Some Thoughts on Saturday

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I don’t usually post stuff like this because I am a pretty private person. But this is just too good not to share. On Saturday at Bridget’s and Brian’s wedding reception, it came time for me to dance with my daughter. Despite all the things that can sometimes separate us, she picked the song, In My Life, by the Beatles, one of my all-time personal favorites.

In doing so, she honored the connection we had when she was a little girl and loved listening to the Beatles with me. She honored the times we played together and read stories together and watched Disney videos together. She honored the family from which she came. She honored my love of history and the importance I attach to keeping important family traditions alive. She honored all the times she enjoyed with her grandparents Maney. And in doing all those things (among others), she told me loudly and clearly that she loves me and that I still matter to her. That’s pretty important to a dad who has just given his daughter away in marriage (a good and wonderful thing). I am really proud of my daughter and happy for her as she begins her new life together with her husband. For those reasons and much more, I am still basking in that dance with her. God is good. Thanks be to God.