C: Back in the 1990s, Coral Ridge Ministries used to broadcast anti-ACLU sermons by Dr. James Kennedy. When I was an atheist, I used to watch Dr. Kennedy on TV – swearing and shouting at the TV screen every Sunday morning. Dr. Kennedy later helped found the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). After I converted to the right side, literally and figuratively speaking, my employer tried to strip my weekly opinion column of First Amendment protection. I appealed and won a unanimous decision before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. I was represented by none other than the ADF – co-founded by the pastor I used to curse on Sunday mornings. What a blessing to be reconciled with the Truth. I was also blessed when Dr. Kennedy’s former ministry flew a film crew up from Florida to interview me on the topic of anti-Christian bias in higher education. I understand the phenomenon well. I used to be Saul for it. Now, I find it a Pauling.
D: David French is a good friend and a great First Amendment attorney. That victory in front of the 4th Circuit never could have happened without him. David Noble, president of Summit Ministries, is another great David who slays Goliaths. He changed my life when he asked me to join the Summit faculty in 2008. Of course, there’s also my Dad. He gave me my passion for refusing to accept non-sense and refusing to tolerate foolishness. Plus, he gave me all my wild hand gestures that help distract the audience whenever I lose my train of thought in a speech. What was I just saying?
S: I’ve found that when you get to the Wheel of Fortune part of the alphabet, counting your blessings gets pretty easy. I’ll take an “S”, please. And I’ll take time to thank God for my American Vintage 1962 Fender Stratocaster. Enough said.
T: I am also thankful for my American Vintage 1952 Fender Telecaster. Enough said. I really mean it this time. The people over at Gibson Guitars might take exception.
Z: I almost had to thank God for ZZ Top but I was fast asleep with pen and paper in hand before I finished my exercise in gratitude. It was fitting that the exercise really did end with ZZs – badly needed sleep for which I could be grateful.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: Gratitude and self-pity make for bad neighbors. When they move into your neighborhood they are never content with their initial property lines. They both have a tendency to grow like confederate jasmine. They consume everything in sight. They cannot coexist so we have to choose between one and the other.
Every now and then we must also catch ourselves and make sure we recognize our blessings instead of mistakenly labeling them as curses. No man can win a culture war all by himself. But that is actually good news. It also reminds us that no man is strong enough to subvert God’s will for another man’s life. That includes your own.
Our great constitutional experiment may occasionally be plagued by setbacks. But freedom is a process, not a result. It wouldn’t be worth defending without the prospect of losing. Just being a part of the fight is among life’s greatest blessings.