The very first day of 2017 is probably a good time to once again share my testimony. I’m a proud American and an unapologetic follower of Christ. I believe in doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God, and I respect the rights of others to walk with theirs. I’m blessed to be a citizen of a country that cherishes and upholds the principles of liberty and justice for all. I am not called as a follower of Christ to force others to conform to my view of morality. I’m called to walk the path I’m given in the light I’m given, and to share that light with those who’ll have it. If you glimpse in any of my humble and imperfect efforts the reflection of a merciful and compassionate Savior and follow Christ as a result, I’m gratified. If you do not, that’s my shortcoming not yours.
I believe many would agree that 2016 has been a long, tumultuous, transitional year. It remains to be seen what that transition will produce. In any case, our challenge in 2017 is to salve our expectations of what might have been, and reconcile ourselves to what is. With that in mind, what are my expectations, resolutions, and goals for the New Year? Throughout my life, I’ve had the good fortune of membership in some remarkably successful and rewarding groups and clubs. In each instance, these groups had several things in common. They were comprised of people who were prepared to set goals, participate, and achieve results, with the expectation that they would pay dues based on their ability, and share equally in the responsibilities and the benefits. They were dedicated to addressing the needs of every member, and the greater good of the group. Each member agreed to adhere to basic rules of civil behavior, and each group selected members, officers, or representatives who were given authority to enforce the rules and pursue the goals of the group. When followed, this simple arrangement can prove successful on any level, whether the group is family, community, city, state, or national. Sadly, there are always those who abuse the privilege of membership by thwarting the efforts of other members and refusing to pay their dues, while taking full advantage of the benefits. My goal in 2017 is to pay my dues, exercise responsible stewardship and citizenship, continue my support for civic minded citizens, and pay forward the benefits of being an American. I wish you a happy, healthy, harmonious 2017. SC