Derek Johnson Muses

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Why You Should “Watch” Your TV

Recently, I read a book on my Kindle called Primetime Propaganda by Ben Shapiro. It opened my eyes to the agendas of a lot of shows I liked. Turns out, the Hollywood left could be as extremist, intolerant, and cold-minded as they accuse the Tea Party of being, and probably more so.

I watch TV, and even if you are really conservative, you probably do too. TV has this addictive quality that I taste whenever I eat fast food: you just can’t get enough of it, and you can take the trashiness of it as you swallow (or watch) your favorites. Consuming liberal television does your mind what consuming fast food does to your waste-line.

Vanguardism is the buzzword in Hollywood. Those who inhabit the golden shores of Malibu and the sweeping lawns of Sunset Boulevard are of an almost uniform political bent-virtually all vote Democrat, fervently support gay marriage, see abortion as a sacrosanct human right, approve of higher taxes, despise religion, think guns are to blame for crime, maintain that businesspeople are corrupt and union organizers are saints, feel that conservatives are racists, sexists, and homophobes, and sneer at the rural right-wingers in ‘flyover country.’ Almost all voted for Barack Obama. Almost all hated George W. Bush.”

And we all let them into our living rooms, with subtle coded messages on our flat-screens. My conservative friends and Christian brethren, Hollywood hate us. Thanks be to God.

Shapiro also makes the point that Hollywood constantly derides big business when they are just that. And Hollywood fights for the same tax breaks that every other big business fights for and gets.

One of the most revealing parts of the book is how Hollywood has come up with every storyline about how gays are discriminated against. The writers take a story about they discriminate against conservatives, and make the conservatives the ones who discriminate.

“…the television industry is going to have to admit that it has a problem: it’s ideologically xenophobic. Most conservatives in Hollywood don’t work today…because liberals employ a mirror form of McCarthyism on a large scale…Outspoken conservatives are less likely to get jobs, as many of the liberal television folks I interviewed openly admitted…”

“They wouldn’t dare do to the same to blacks or gays who suggest discrimination in Hollywood, even though the evidence of such discrimination is far scantier. There is institutional bias against right-wingers in Tinsletown…”

In light of this, this part of the left shouldn’t be called liberal. Liberals are people who defend everyone’s right to speech and perspective and bringing in lots of opinion.  What this really shows is how insecure the people who make television are. If you have to slander and call your opponent nasty names and try to defeat them by saying they are a hateful person, it says that if their opinion is allowed to even be spoken, you can’t believe your own.

Reflecting on Shapiro’s book, I think a lot about how Christianity gets portrayed on TV, under the liberal protestant that subjects God to any force of mankind. Consider how Christian father Herschel is portrayed on The Walking Dead: when he comes on the show, he is portrayed as strong, faith-motivated person who uses his faith to stand up to Rick. But after the crisis of (Spoiler Alert) his zombified wife and son being gunned down, Herschel abandoned the effectiveness of his faith. He still reads scriptures with his daughters, but he stays out of the big decisions on the show.

And by the way, his daughter Maggie is a sexually promiscuous vixen who hops into bed with Glenn pretty quickly. Like Angela on The Office, TV seems to be telling the conservative Christians they can separate their faith and sexuality. This much worse than telling Christians that their faith isn’t valid. It’s telling them that faith can be secondary to liberal social views. It’s having a semblance of Jesus to justify your behavior.

Thankfully, there hasn’t been a TV show that I’ve really liked that’s come on in the last couple of years, but that’s probably because I’m burnt out on TV. I feel in love with the medium back in college, when Lost came on the air in the fall of my senior year and was Jurassic Park on the small screen. I loved Lost (through season 5), 24, How I Met Your MotherPrison Break, and shows I can’t even remember. In a lot of ways, those shows inspired me to be a writer. But I binged on those shows until I was fat as a hog.

I still watch TV, but I don’t expect it to fill me. I realize I need real food too.

Do Democrats Do the Most for the Poor?

Old House

Where Much is Needed

When I grew up, I didn’t have any depth and understanding to the politics of the democratic party. All I knew was that they supported a larger government and higher taxes, plus the evil of abortion. As I aged, went off to college, and watched more news, I became more acquainted with the ins-and-outs and the nuances of American, even becoming surprised to learn that there were many Christians who thought that Democrats were the better party, because of their emphasis on social programs that support the poor. I took this with a shrug but found it odd.

But upon some recent contemplation, I’ve come to believe that because the Democrats’ support is actually because they don’t care about the overall well being of the poor. They support these programs because they favor a society driven by the whim of fleeting emotions and sexual passions, not one that provides sustainable support systems for those who are least fortunate.

Not everyone has the same gifts in life. There are a lot of people whose gifts are to do skilled labor or are to work in a service industry, which they do with all their hearts. They are not like the leaders of our country or industries, who go to sleep thinking about their work and their employees; once their forty hours a week are done, they go home with a clear mind. This work is not any less valuable than work that is done at the highest levels, even though its monetary value is much less. (Cite the Doctrine of Vocation.)

So the question becomes, what happens when these people go through a poor experience in their lives? If you have a health crisis or get laid off in this country, you’re going to have a lot of bills for it. So what do you do? How should uncle Billy be cared for when he’s in a construction accident? This is were the programs of the “great society” come and say, “Here, the government can’t just let uncle Billy suffer under the weight of his medical bills.”

But let’s look at it from another angle: what if there were an organization in our society that could care for uncle Billy, without incurring the massive health care costs and will keep his job for him? What if he had a brother, parents, and children to chip in while he recovered? Again, let me go to my personal experience: I was wandering around after college when my father welcomed me into his business. Because I had a family, I was able to recover from the issues I faced from quitting one career track prematurely and move into another one at a time that was best for me.

While my story is just my own, it represents this point: families can be the greatest source of stability for the lower members of society. And who makes a better judge of what a person needs in a time of crisis, a close family member or a large sterile government, who comes in and makes quick, mass judgments?

Obviously, the federal government can’t go out tomorrow and eliminate every entitlement program, or our country would collapse under its own weight. Was Obamacare necessary? I would argue the problem is real, the solution is debatable. The medical industry itself could benefit from a change in perspective, from an attitude of always gunning for the best care and biggest profits, to an attitude of how can we serve everyone who needs care.

But for the life of me, I can’t understand why social conservatives don’t make the thesis of their arguments “sexual looseness and no fault, easy divorce are class-ism and a war on the impoverished.” Granted, some of this is probably the liberal media and television, but still, if you want to make your case more successfully, just say sleeping around is the cause of class gap. That will get people’s attention, and give you a better chance of winning.

Because the government programs that feed the poor aren’t there because of the poor; they are there because the rich people in our country, democrats and republicans, wish to live in sexual debauchery, and a society full of sexual whimseys is bound to have lost and divided members, living as units unto their own selves who are going to need assistance. When the natural family gets destroyed, the poor are made to suffer.

So all you rich people, go out and get your divorce and say it was “all for the best” because you can afford it. Just know that the result of fighting for this kind of revolution leaves the weakest members of our society at risk.

Where Family Experience Left Me

I grew up in a small family. My parents married shortly after college, but waited until they were in their thirties until they had my older sister and myself. It always bugged me that they didn’t have more kids. My sister and I would go out and socialize with other, larger homeschool families, many of whom had six or seven kids, from unions that began in their early twenties. My mother raised my sister and I in a large farmhouse, and because we never left for school in the morning, I learned to burrow in and find adventures in my own mind.

As I’ve grown into the world, I have lived a life mostly by myself, but recently, I have come to appreciate more how important large families can be. It started when I was watching Arrested Development on Netfix. I observed, whenever someone in the family had a problem, they went and talked about it with someone else in the family. The family, while not perfect, had a lot of different people to turn to when something bad happened, and a lot of bad stuff happened to this family. It got me to thinking: in our society, did we replace our brothers and sisters with therapists and life coaches? Was sexual promiscuity a way to replace our cousin Becky who told us about how sensitive some girls were, or uncle Bill who taught us how to change a tire? Was a family just God’s way of providing for many of our physical needs.

While our family isn’t exactly the closest, meddle-in-each-others business that some families are, it has been a great boon for me. I don’t have college debt because of my parents, and when I struggled to find a job after college, I was able to begin working for my dad’s company, a position that has afforded me a lot of flexibility.

In the years after I left college, I saw a number of people who were not as fortunate as I was. Having been homeschooled and gone to liberal arts, private college, I was stunned to met co-workers who literally had no curiosity about life, people, and relationships. Some had been burned by their parents’ divorce or their own, some had children out of wedlock they were trying to support. They simply went to their jobs and went home at night, never asking the question of what would make their lives better, or how they could serve their neighbor.

Over the past few months, I began reading a lot online about the marriage debate and about how birth control, and eventually abortion have changed our society, causing us to put our focus on what doesn’t matter. There were a number of influences: Jennifer Roeback Morse on Issues, Etc. and her own blog, dealing marriage and the sexually promiscuous culture; the book The Flip Side of Feminism by Suzanne Venker, calling out our modern generation of twenty-somethings for their entitlement and indulgence; and, most recently, Mark Preus’ paper on his natural family and fatherhood, and how it connects to the Biblical family.

This whole process of realizing the truth about family and life style choices has been very humbling, because of the years I’ve run of and hid in my own depression. But I have come to realize that I have to start making incremental changes in my attitude, the music I listen to, and even the stuff I read online. There are certain things I can’t change about myself right now. I don’t have the means to start a family (kind of need a woman for that), but I know I will come into it with a different attitude. I don’t know if I’ll even want to have kids of my own, but I’ve warmed to the possibility.

Land Without Football: Think on the Good

So football ended a couple of weeks ago, and I hear a lot of people saying how much they miss it. I do miss football too, but not that much. Don’t get me wrong, Husker football is still great rush, but part of what makes football great for me is that it runs its course from late August through January, and when it’s over, I love spending my Sunday afternoons with books or catching up with shows on Netflix. And this year, I’m bringing a new focus to my football-less season.

Football is just a game. It’s a way to get your juices going, and bond with your friends. In the fiction I’m now writing, whenever I can’t figure out what to write, I just have the characters start talking about their favorite team. But even when it’s on and I miss a game that I wanted to see, I have ways of keeping up with it. In 2011, I missed the dramatic Wisconsin-Michigan State game as we were driving back from the Nebraska-Minnesota game. I kicked myself, but I caught the replay in a bar three months later. Just the other day, I found a fifteen minute video highlight package of this past year’s Clemson at Florida State duel, just as dramatic and capturing the whole spirit of the game. This summer, I’ll probably catch this past year’s Penn State-Wisconsin game or Ohio State-Indiana shotout while I’m out on the couch at a Super 8 in small Wisconsin town X. So here’s my new focus.

When Ron Brown said it would be an honor to be fired because of his faith, I was reminded of how difficult it is to maintain a Christian worldview these days. It’s challenging for me to write about my faith, because I want to be liked so much, and sharing your Christian convictions in this culture can lead people to dislike you, even if you speak the truth in love. But I’ve been reading books and listening to programs on the natural family, and I want to write about it.

So I have made a renewed commitment to cut back on the ESPN radio and spend more time listening to Issues, Etc. I’ve rediscovered Focus on the Family, a program I used to listen to much more in my youth. As someone who enjoys writing about relationships, I don’t know why I haven’t turned back to Focus sooner. I read GetReligion.org and SteadfastLutherans.org, to stay politically and socially informed. Don’t worry, dear readers, you’ll still get sports insight, but they’ll just be some other stuff coming too.

My goal in all this to write good pieces, some about politics, some about religion in public life, some just about culture. These may appear controversial, but through watching way too much television, I believe there is great truth to be communicate, and I don’t think anyone in society benefits when beliefs get put on the shelves and resentment builds up. Our society has lost the ability to have civil debate, and I want to be a part of bringing some of that back.

So like me or hate me, I just ask that you read me. Besides, it’s still six months until football returns, so what else will you do?

This Election that Debated Nothing

When they election was complete, I was relieved, because, of the five presidential elections I can remember, this was worst in terms of what was debated. The debates amounted to two tax accountants telling people how loopholes in the code worked for them, as if we were going to just vote for whoever gave us the biggest check.  Even four years ago, Obama talked ardently about vision and governing fairly, and, even though I disagreed with things he said, at least it was more important than the deficit roundabouts that Obama and Romney had this year. Even foreign policy got shut out.

Partisanship aside, what I felt got left behind in this election was a serious debate about leadership and where the country is headed. In many ways, this election didn’t work because we were numbed by Obama’s message of “coming together” from four years ago. Obama sold a message of compromise and being an outsider who understood all perspective, and the country naively acted as if he had no perspective himself. The result was, in this election, all we talked about sterile spending issues and Obamacare, and ignored the “hot button” issues.

In a way, it’s funny. Obama is asking the country to put aside our differences and solve problems, which sounds good and is necessary in some cases. After all, don’t both sides get tired of arguing over abortion and realize the issue won’t get solved this generation or the next? While all of that is true, ignoring huge differences doesn’t solve them, it only makes them worse in the long run. As a conservative myself, I hope what this sets up is a run by a strong conservative in 2016, even if the prospects look bleak at the moment.

As I observe the Republicans, they seem to be neglecting the key principal to winning national elections is finding the candidate who can appeal to the broadest part of their base, to both the business Republicans and the religious Republicans. Entrapped by the fear of backlash from the gay lobby and the lifestyle left, Romney downplayed his pro-life, pro-family positions, when he should have been taking advantage of Obama’s War on Religious Freedom, AKA the HHS Mandate and public support of gay marriage. Yes, the national media would have sabotaged him, but religious conservatism and moderates would have run to the polls.

I’m a Christian conservative who grew up hearing stories of the Moral Majority and the glories of the 1980 election. If you had told me six years ago that a Mormon would be the Republican nominee for president, I would have said, “At least he’ll be tougher on social issues than any Christian.” No wonder there is talk about forming a conservative-Christian party.

But I’m hopeful about the conservative movement, because it’s the one that fights for principals, even when everyone else tells them they are wrong. Recently, I’ve been reading in Suzanne Venker‘s book The Flip Side of Feminism about how the Equal Rights Amendment was defeated in the 1970’s. The conservative lobby educated people on the bill, and in spite of the fact that the state senator received so many threats and smear tactics from the left, the amendment never passed. That gives me a lot of hope when I hear the national media telling the conservative lobby that they should just go home and they’ve already lost.

But in spite of all this, I’m still hopeful because my faith is in God, not the political process.  I know that, whatever happens, God will be still be the one who saves, thanks be to him.

Hearing Paul Ryan: A Political Apathete Steps Out

Beign the good Lutheran I am, I’m politically apathetic. Heck, when the zombies rise up, politics are going to get simplified pretty quick. But on Sunday, I received an e-mail about a rally for Paul Ryan in Adel, Iowa, on a day when I just happened to be driving from Ames to Seward, I figured why not go.

Due to some construction, I had to drive into Adel on country roads. I didn’t realize how big the event was until I saw cars lining the street several blocks away from the courthouse. I choose the most expeditious spot and hoofed it. There were barricades set up around the square and the businesses were empty. If you didn’t know, you might have guessed they were filming The Walking Dead, as all of the storefronts in the town square where empty. A giant American flag had been hung over a building that had Obama banners in it.

Passing the security checkpoint, I took a place at the back of the square. The crowd looked to be about two or three hundred; I don’t know where all those cars came from. I showed up late, and it was worth it. I had to listen to twenty minutes of local politicians before Ryan came out. He’s slick and smart; really, the only difference between him and Sarah Palin is that Ryan has something to say and isn’t relevant in the Kardashian-esque way. Even if he and Romney don’t win, he’ll be relevant after the election,which is wonderful.

I was surprised at how much he spoke of job creation and the economy. The one thing he mentioned that I thought was noteworthy was how much prosperity there could be for average people. All politicians, both parties, talk about that kind of stuff, which I find to be pandering. Not that it’s not sad when people lose their jobs; but there’s a limit to how much anyone can achieve, and there’s no shame in admitting it. But of course, politicians don’t get elected by telling people the truth, only what they want to hear. It’s not a Republican or Democrat problem; it’s an American problem.

I stayed for an hour and left at the end of Ryan’s speech, while I believe he was shaking hands. Sorry, Congressman Ryan, I had a life to get to. But I’m glad I took that hour and a half out of my day of travel to listen and consider the issues he talked about. After all, I’m not going to start thing about government and order again until Joe the Plumber wants to bit my neck to feed his ravenous desire for human flesh.

Appealing Flaws

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Matthew 23:23 (ESV)
John Grisham’s novel The Appeal, while a work of liberal propaganda, raises many issues conservatives must confront. Grisham, a self-described moderate baptists who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 election, draws his lines clearly, using a tort case against a big company: on the one side, there are the big corporations who use “Christian values” to mask their agenda of advantages for the rich. Then there’s the real church, the one that’s concerned with helping the poor above all else. Just judges, in Grisham’s mind, will always take the side of helping the poor. While I do think that helping the poor needs to be an important part of the judicial system, Grisham draws too many generalities when it comes to religion and excludes the obvious connection between the liberal philosophy he’s advocating and abortion.

Grisham’s perspective, however flawed, does provide insight as to how the Democrats have won the upper hand in the current political arena: cast them as rich, out-of-touch bureaucrats who use empty values to mask greed. Jack Donaghy has done as much to ruin Republicans’ image as George W. Bush did. Growing up, I always thought of Republicans as a party primarily defined by religious, traditional values, but political parties are much more complex. In light of the financial crisis where big corporations share much of the blame, it does give me second thought about the party I belong to. Truth be told, I get my political news from SNL most of the time. Being a true Lutheran, I’m politically apathetic.

Politics aside, there is a bigger problem in this regard, and Grisham takes advantage of American’s (and even Christian’) lack of religious knowledge). There’s more to churches than just large, suburban, and callous, and urban and outreach oriented . Grisham writes little about specific beliefs in The Appeal, andI wonder if he would be surprised to find out that churches who preach social activism over Christ forty years ago are now dying off in America.

As Lutheran, I understand this personally. My own church body, the LCMS, while trying to resolve its issues, has congregational practice that can vary quite a bit from congregation to congregation, and with that, teaching also can very. Not to get into that debate, but churches just can’ be judged actions only. Their teachings (and specifics) should be debated too.

Yes, many Christians have abandoned missions in the cities for houses in the suburbs. Repentance is needed, but we cannot go into these neighborhoods with just food and money. If we don’t preach Christ to these people, than they are worse off than before. This is something that cuts at me personally, because my own church body, while doing notable acts for the poor, does have a track record of pushing doctrine, sometimes too hard.

As far as cases like the one Grisham describes, sadly there are instances where families who suffer injuries aren’t compensated fairly by the courts system. But the judicial liberalism that Grisham advocates for victims is the same logic that legalized abortion, which in many ways slaps the poor in the face by telling them, “The world doesn’t have room for your unexpected babies.” Grisham subtly ignores this fact and does his readers a great disservice by doing so.

But conservatives should read and deal with the issues raised inTthe Appeal, because these are the tactics that lifestyle left are using in their arguments against them. The winning side of a political debate isn’t the one that’s right, merely the one who frames its argument the best.

Sarah Palin’s problems are of attitude, not from the liberal media

Game Face

Last week, I watched Game Change clips on YouTube, which lead to a re-watching Steve Schmidt’s  60 Minutes interview about the McCain/Palin campaign. I’m mostly Republican in my views, but after reviewing all that the video, I have to admit-Sarah Palin is kind of train wreck who has invited a lot of scorn on the Republican party, in the same way that George W. Bush did by being an insular President.

Don’t get me wrong: I still think Palin is a great Republican spokesperson and I’ve heard a lot of women say how much they admire her as a symbol of the conservative, Republican women who doesn’t support abortion and automatically take the feminist position. I respect that about her, and if she wants to be on Fox News and host a radio show for the rest of her life, that’s great. What I don’t respect about Palin is her lack of personal responsibility when she has to deal with criticism, like the Katie Couric interview.

After the Couric interview-disaster, Schmidt told Palin that the reason it didn’t go well was that she had spent the time she should have been preparing for that interview answering written questions from a local newspaper in Alaska. That reveals two flaws-Palin has no time management skills and cares too much about insignificant details. Palin’s response that CBS edited the interview to make her look bad shows is a key lack of a leadership attribute: humility and personal responsibility. If Palin were to come out and say, “I really did underprepare for that interview. I made a mistake, and I’m sorry for hurting Senator McCain and my supporters”, it would effectively end the story. It wouldn’t make Palin a better national candidate, but the “lamestream” media would no longer have a real reason to criticize her.

Confession: I get a lot of my political analysis from Saturday Night Live, but it’s undeniable, even based on their skits, that the Palin fallout has involved a lot of mediocre candidates jumping at the race for president. Maybe it’s just a down election cycle, but perhaps Palin’s tough talk, whining at her smarter opponents have emboldened the Rick Perrys and Mitt Romney to run like they actually know something.

As a conservative, I see how CNN and the other national publications slant liberal and trash conservatives (see the coverage of religious leaders testifying before congress for the right to have a conscious), but Palin’s stratagy of offering up vague condemnations isn’t going to work. She needs to have the humility to admit she wouldn’t be a great national leader

For Palin, I truly hope that she does find a calling as a speaker. Ironically, she needs to hear the same that those who occupy Wall Street do: contentment. Sarah Palin doesn’t have the A-lister drive to be President, but her acceptance of her limitations will be the key to how much influence she can have.

The Occupy Movement and the Doctrine of Vocation: Lord, Grant us Contentment

I didn’t follow Occupy Wall Street when it debut last fall (football season), although recently I used it to spoof the SEC’s domination of the Big 10. But recently , I have read up on the movement, and while I do agree with the assessment by the Occupiers, I don’t know if camping out in the financial districts of large cities is the right way to go. Colin Cowherd said on ESPN Radio, anyone of these people could invest themselves in being a good doctor or lawyer, they could end up earning what they demanded of others.

But I will acknowledge: people do have a right to be upset with the rich in this country. The financial crisis hurt a many people demolished their savings, and the rich were the ones who first made mortgages an investment commodity and sought to sell as many as they could, until they upset the system. Predatory lending was, and still is, a big problem. If the rich people aren’t willing to invest in getting more jobs into this country, people do have a right to be upset.

However, the answer to those problem isn’t to give people more money to the lower classes. Look at what happens to athletes who come from poor backgrounds get lots of money on pro football or basketball contracts: the majority are going broke, and these are people who at least pretended to be students on a college campus (another subject for another blog post). Just giving more money to people isn’t a solution.

And, while a lot of the occupiers want to blame the rich, why don’t the blame the lawmakers who passed no-fault divorce laws? As former Yale professor Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse noted in an Issues, Etc. interview, when divorce hits a low class home, there goes any saving they may have, and from there, a mother with two children can easily end up in straights. Forty years since the first set of such laws, and marriage has virtually disappeared from the lowest class in America, whose out of wedlock birth rate is seventy percent. Meanwhile, everyone who can afford to get divorced act as if happiness is the only social function for marriage. There’s a real reason to have class warefare.

As a Christian person (and I’m surprised that I haven’t found much Christian or Lutheran commentary on the occupy movement), I am forced to turn to the doctrine of vocation-God gives us all a calling in life, and tells us to be content with that calling. I went to school with a lot of people who were going to be pastors and teachers, and all of them knew they were not going to be making a lot of money and graduating with a lot of private school debt. But it meant a lot to them, knowing that they had God’s gifts to serve his people, so they carried on.

When I hear Michael Moore is saying on a news program that rich people have all this money and they owe the poorer classes, I hear the entitlement to blue-collar jobs that sunk the rust belt (a native son of Michigan, indeed.), and I recognize the signs of coveting. Is it wrong to call on companies to invest in domestic jobs? No, but those jobs are provided to those who earn them, with the proper education. Mr. Moore himself has made many successful films; would he just hand over $20 to any schmoo to make a movie? No; what he should be saying to people, is “Get your education. Pursue your idea to the hilt. There’s always room who work hard and pursue their ideas. I’m proof of that.”

I know what people will say “Jesus said ‘You cannot serve God and money.’” (Luke 16:13). This is true, and it is likely that a lot of the people on Wall Street love money more than God, family, and many other things. But is the person who goes to Wall Street and says they deserve some of the one percent’s money coveting? When John the Baptists addresses the crowd in Luke 3, he doesn’t just tell the tax collectors and soldiers not to extort people. He also tells them to be content with what they have.

As Christian people, we have an obligation, to talk to our friends about the Occupy Movement. Yes, rich people may done many things wrong, but we must leave their judgment to God (Jude 9). Instead, we must remind our neighbors and ourselves of the explanation of the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer: “God gives daily bread, even without our prayer, to all wicked men; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to know it, and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.” Lord, teach us to receive our blessings from you with thanksgiving! Amen.

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