You have probably seen the Rick Perry ad talking about gays in the military and our Christian president's war against religion and the left's hatred of praying children or something like that. I don't know. I watched it once, hurled some profanity at my cat, and then ate an orange and felt better.
Honestly though, thinking back over it, one of the things that is most annoying to me about the ad is the title: Strong. There is a statement near the end that faith has made America strong. But how that ties into what Governor Perry mentions isn't really how I picture strong faith.
Instead I think about my friend Billy and his work with Nuru International. That group of Christians decided that just having faith didn't mean much if they didn't put feet to it. I love that they have been motivated by their faith to improve the lives of thousands of people in Africa. This is strong.
I think of the women who started The Good Woman Project, teaching women to embrace every part of what it means to be a Christian woman (and yes, they mean EVERY part). Through stories and mentoring, they are giving women an opportunity to be real, honest, and good. This is strong.
I think of all of the amazing people who contributed to Not Alone. These folks refused to allow the stigma of depression dictate their ability to share their stories. Rather than fear and isolation, they chose to be public with issues like substance abuse, sexual abuse, self-abuse in order to allow others to find healing. This is strong.
I think about friends dealing with terminal diseases. Parents of children with disabilities. Children who have endured abuse. People going day after day to a job that doesn't really fulfill them. All of them reacting with grace and dignity. This is strong.
Strength is found in building people up. Strength is found in sharing our burdens. Strength is found in working together.
Faith isn't about making America strong, it's about recognizing our weaknesses and allowing God to use us anyway.
This is strong.
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
~Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV
Who are some people who are strong in your life? What do you do that makes you strong?