The Fourth


Today I am tempted to avoid the contemplative call that seems to be there every morning, often with a new thought that I need to struggle through. This morning was exceptionally difficult. It’s the Fourth of July, when social media is filled with astonishing photos of wind driven flags, the Statue of Liberty and quotes promoting nationalism and liberty.

One such quote:
“To be born free is a gift.
To remain free is a struggle.
To die free is a duty.”

We Americans are serious about Liberty, yet the passion that called men to such Liberty was much more than capitalism and free enterprise, though holding awesome outcomes for many when balanced with philanthropy. Yet at times, one must admit that our incarnate lust entangles us, spotting our history with brutal wars and such madness as slavery.

Surely this gift of liberty was of spiritual essence for men are seldom long bounded by their own morality; otherwise the joy of success would not be repeatedly tainted by greed and true freedom so rare upon this earth, given this great American experiment in democracy.

Though varying in their spiritual understanding, there was a sense of an Omnipotent Being guiding the wisdom of our Founders and encouraging their risk, even unto death.

This morning after a couple hours of moving from the local news, Facebook, scriptures and numerous cups of coffee, it seemed appropriate to open a new book for the rest of the morning. This would be my second book by Barbara Brown Taylor, entitled Learning to Walk In The Dark, I ventured no further than her first quote and first scripture passage before this compelling urge to write, to think out loud, gripped me once more.

“There is a tendency for us to flee from the wild silence and the wild dark, to pack up our gods and hunker down behind city walls, to turn the gods into idols, to kowtow before them and approach their precincts only in official robes of office. And when we are in the temples, then who will hear the voice crying in the wilderness? Who will hear the reed shaken by the wind?” - Chet Raymo, The Soul of the Night

Ironically, in my scripture readings I had just finished the prayer offered by Solomon in II Chronicles 6-7, upon the dedication of the temple so long desired by and prepared for by his father, David.

These days, I seem to have outgrown the simple stories that placate American Christians, perhaps anesthetizing them from otherwise available opportunities for intimate relationship with the Almighty. Yes, the very One that enabled this freedom we now celebrate most passionately on this day.

Surely, we have cause to celebrate and responsibility to be grateful, but I often wonder if we have chosen religion and nationalism over a relationship with this powerful Being who knows the number of our hairs, each of us by name and so desires to be known as “Friend.”

One of the articles read as well this a.m. was a pastor’s lament over the diminishing numbers of Gen-Xers leaving the institutional church. His bottom line was that 20-30 year olds don’t need hipper pastors, louder music or better lighting shows, but a powerful encounter with the God we profess.

BTW, that passage that compelled me to write:

“I will give you the treasures of darkness and the riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.”
Isaiah 45:3

If you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to the treasure: Intimacy with God in a place called America!

So blessed & grateful!

About John Bost

John and his wife LaDonna have lived in Clemmons for over 16 years, along with one daughter, Summer Bost Jackson, who is now an Assistant Principal with the WSFC Schools. John, LaDonna and now Summer have a combined service as well, of over 60 years in public and private education. John holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology, a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Community Education & Resource Development as well as an Education Specialist Degree (Ed.S) in Leadership & Administration, all from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. He served seven years on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Planning Board and is a former three term Mayor in Clemmons, NC. He has been active in various Early Childhood initiatives, the Infant Mortality Coalition, Healthy Carolinians, Assembly Terrace (HUD 202 independent living facility for seniors), Reynolda Rotary, Winston Salem First (church deacon) as well as several Community Development Corporations, to include the hugely successful Goler Depot Street CDC in the downtown of Winston-Salem. Formerly the Chair of Leadership Winston-Salem, where he now serves as a board member. John is also President and owner of Master Counsel and Associates, Inc., which offers real estate acquisition and small business development services.
This entry was posted in Being Loved, Leadership, Post Christian, Reformation, scripture, Spiritual Revolution, Transformation. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Fourth

  1. joecoylekr says:

    Like myself, many of the young generation have left the church precisely because we are looking for that encounter you speak of. The church has become a culture. To “accept Jesus” really means to adopt a culture as opposed to seeking truth and character. We left because we wanted the truth and we wanted the character and the institution of the church has really been missing the point. It’s those walls you and idols and official robes you quoted. We don’t want them.

    A potentially uncomfortable suggestion, but if you can find those outside the walls and see why they left, their answers ay give you some inspiration and some peace.

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