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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bordering On The Ridiculous

OK, I don't address political issues much because, from my perspective, politics is tremendously limited in it's impact. I also abhor the inflammatory rhetoric that is the norm on both sides of the political aisle when talking about divisive issues. But, I feel the need to weigh in on the "controversy" over President Obama addressing students in our public schools on Tuesday.

From many of the things I have read and heard, there is a tremendous outcry over the President's address - and it is an outcry coming from the conservative side of the aisle. It seems there is a fear that the President might unduly influence impressionable students to embrace stands and ideals that are contrary to their parents.

The speech President Obama is giving is not a policy speech, it is a speech about the importance of education, of staying in school, having goals and sticking with them. Although President Obama comes from a liberal Democratic philosophy, there are things that both sides of the aisle agree on and one of those is the importance of education.

As well, what a phenomenal opportunity to talk with our kids, this event represents. Research over and over has shown that the most influential person in a child's life is their parents. This is a great chance to open a conversation with our kids about a number of issues - education, politics, the role of the President, etc. It is an opportunity to help our kids develop discernment in understanding what people are saying and why they are saying the things they are.

The righteousness of God is greater than the politics of men. We do not need to live lives of fear. Pastor John Piper in his blog today (, gave this prayer. We need to take the Bible seriously and pray for our President and others in power over us, that they would use their influence for the common good. (1 Peter 2:13-17) Piper's prayer is a great place to start.

Father, the condition of our schools and families is so broken that nothing seems to be working, especially for the poor in our urban centers. Help our president to have the courage to use his amazing place of influence to speak into this situation in such a way that boys and girls would take their studies seriously and put school above sport and homework above hiphop and graduation above gangs.

O, Lord, create a culture where it is not cool to fail. Give our President the courage to call all children, especially ones who feel hopeless about academic work, to fight for knowledge the way gangs fight for turf.

And as the President plans his speech, help him to feel as helpless as he really is to meet the greatest needs of the children, so that he turns to Jesus who alone has the answer for the ruin and the wrongs of our cities. In Jesus’ name, Amen.