Coincidences . . .

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steele coddingtonSometimes it’s difficult to understand why a series of unusual minor coincidences can happen without wondering if there is a tiny possibility of some mystical influence to explain them.  Something like that may have recently happened to me while at my wife’s urging I was unpacking a neglected box of books out in the garage.  Like so many people these days, I quietly worry about America and how it can possibly survive the constant barrage of destructive agenda undermining the constitutional and spiritual convictions that are the foundation of this country’s beliefs in individual freedom.

Consider just a few worries on my list:  radical Islamic Jihad calling for death of all infidels, because we are predominantly a Christian nation; the growing acceptance of coercive leftist visions of social justice; the misguided influence of moral relativism to discourage responsible behavior; the impact of liberation theology and its distorted gospel of Marxist equality – all accompanied by a general unawareness by too many Americans that our most unique and defining guarantee of individual freedom and personal responsibility is becoming irrelevant.

My initial awakening coincidence started with the first “book” I unpacked – a Bible given to me when I was confirmed.  “Hmmm,” I thought as I flipped through its pages, “Only several thousand years of advocacy here for the idea of freedom and respect for the individual.”  Yet regardless of a personal belief or religion, “Love thy neighbor,” still influences millions.  Two pages were ear-marked, one an invitation, “Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened and I will refresh you.”  Another verse from Ecclesiastes, marked by my son in good humor, knowing me, said “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.”  Supposedly written by Solomon, I can’t argue with that.

The second book I retrieved was a text book from my first year of law school entitled `Constitutional Law containing the Constitution, Bill of Rights and briefs of most major Supreme Court decisions.  “Hmmm,” again, I thought.  “Only 200 years of legal precedence here, confirming the rule of law and the rights of individual freedom.”  Then, taking a break, I pursued the latest newspaper reports on the new Pope.  “Hmmm, a genuine holy man,” I thought.  One paragraph from The Wall Street Journal caught my eye, remarking that along with the Pope’s “Catholic Evangelism,” Western culture, “might want to listen to religious traditions that argue on behalf of moral absolutes and the inherent dignity of every human being.”

So the three combined coincidental exposures; a holy man, a Bible, an American Constitution and perhaps the close proximity of Easter’s celebration of Christ’s resurrection, renewed my faith that our country’s “exceptional” basic individual values are strong enough to endure as long as we understand what they are.  I’m not suggesting that if you take a Bible and a copy of The Constitution out in your garage you will find peace – only that if we know the sources of our individual freedom, we should express them.

By the way, at the risk of being undeservedly labeled a covert religious evangelist, for teachers interested in the ancient world’s geography and history, the latest instructional Bibles are quite functional education texts that offer explanations and historical chronological time lines along with geographical maps.  And the biblical sections are a part of that history that works its own way into your heart.

Good grief – amazing what mystic coincidences can do – if a sinner like me can recommend the Bible, imagine what a saint like you can do!