Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Keeping Faith

While in Atlanta for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly, I did something that I had put off too long—a visit to the Carter Presidential Museum and Center.  President Jimmy Carter has long been a hero of mine, so I am not sure why it took me so long to do this.

The Center is in a beautiful setting. The Museum is an attractive and informative survey of the Carter Presidency, and the complex is also  the headquarters for the work that the Carters continue to do around the world in addressing issues of peace, health, and poverty.

Carter was something of a populist but he was, most of all, a progressive Christian, probably the President most formed and driven by the idea that all people have worth, deserve respect, and should be given a hand up when needed.  As recounted in Randall Balmer’s Redeemer, his activist Christian perspective was rejected by Christian fundamentalists, even those who had supported his election in 1976.  Carter not only talked the talk, he walked the walk.  As in the title of his presidential memoir, Keeping Faith, he really attempted to do what he promised to do. People rarely see that in a politician.

Did he make mistakes? Certainly, but his errors in judgement pale into insignificance compared to what we have seen in recent years from his successors.

Jimmy Carter was, and is, a decent human being whose legacy and impact have continued to grow since he “left the job earlier than he expected.”  He and Rosalynn continue to forge new paths of service.  We are lucky to have them.

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