Updated: Sep 28
COLUMNIST BOB BRIDGE
I was raised in a Methodist church. Our family went to worship each Sunday and said grace before each meal.
The prayer was elementary: “God is great. God is good. And we thank Him for our food. By His hands, we all are fed. And we thank Him for our bread.”
One afternoon after reciting the prayer, I stared directly at Dad and stated, “That doesn’t make sense. If He is great, don’t we assume He's good?”
Dad’s response was swift and straightforward. He shook his head from side to side. “No,” he explained. “You can be great, and not good.”
I struggled with that concept pretty much throughout childhood. Gradually, I realized there wasn’t a lot of “good” in some of the so-called “greatest” people. Perhaps it‘s because of their determined quest for individual achievement. On the road to personal glory, they forgot the importance of patience and kindness.
I certainly have learned to admire goodness over greatness.
Athletes, politicians and entertainers can be great, even awe-inspiring achievers. However, goodness isn’t always among their qualities.
The United States has strayed from its path in recent years. Some say our Americans are lazy, self-consumed.
We’ve been labeled ugly Americans. Bitterness abounds.
I understand the quest to “make America great again.” That’s a noble mission.
However, I’m convinced the best way to begin is to make “ourselves” better. What can we do to become more noble neighbors, to establish a more quality community?
We can - and should - serve as agents of this much-needed positive change.
Too often, we overestimate our intelligence. We view ourselves as know-it-alls and act too sternly and self-righteously.
Must we be so critical and caustic?
Can’t we exercise patience? Seek common ground and reunite?
America can be a wonderful place to live if we strive to make it “good” again.
Make no mistake, our house is horribly divided. Harsh words ricochet off walls and across airwaves. Emotions are running high.
This segment demands this, and that faction demands that. The chasm is … colossal.
Is there a simple solution? Can we discover a semblance of peace and a modicum of hope amid this restlessness?
We should start with genuine introspection.
Ask yourself, “Who am I? What is most vital? What are my foundational beliefs? Where do I stand on the list of life-and-death decisions?”
More importantly, who serves as our ultimate judge?
Let those with an appetite for anger and argument drown in their philosophical soup.
Do you remember what once made America so appealing to the masses?
It wasn’t smash-and-grabs, blatant thievery or selfish plots in pursuit of power and ill-begotten treasure.
If you truly want America to be great again, steer an unfettered course toward goodness. I pray for a strong yet gentle leader with a bright lantern to nudge us along a proven path.
If we don’t stand together … the future is too bleak to imagine.
Contact Columnist Bob Bridge at 812-276–9646 or email@example.com.