Who is the Greatest President? (2017 Edition)

In anticipation of Presidents’ Day, C-SPAN released its updated list of the greatest presidents. The list was based on a survey completed by historians, professors, and media professionals. It is an interesting list, and like all surveys is subjective based upon the viewpoints of the individual’s ranking bias (conservative/liberal, strong government/weak government, etc.).

The list made me think of my own list that I put together five years ago and the need for it to be updated to reflect the end of the Obama Administration. That list, and the one that will follow, was my own reflection based on my studies of the presidents.

It is fair to list my biases at the start of the listing. I favor the long-term influence of a president over historical popularity. I also look at leadership competencies in the realm of whether the individual was able to motivate the nation to a purpose, was driven, and took control of the issues. Lastly, I want to look at whether the individual was effective in dealing with those issues that faced them.

I also believe it is worth noting that modern presidents are hard to rank. That is because the emotions (both positive and negative) drive a lot of our views on the effectiveness of a particular president. I have argued that it takes a generation to truly get a good perspective on an administration. I am beginning to wonder with the advent of social media that it may take multiple generations to evaluate presidents in this Technology Age.

That being said, here is my list of the greatest presidents … 2017 edition: Continue reading “Who is the Greatest President? (2017 Edition)”

Israel Travel Blog Day 8: Even Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

Throughout this trip, one of the constant refrains has been how the Holy Land experience of has made brought the Bible to life. One person has said that it has made the Bible go from black and white words to colorful images.

None so more than Psalm 23 and Luke 10:25-37

When we think of Psalm 23 we are drawn to the image of the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I think it is easy to take the image as a symbolic reference to life’s difficult trials and even death itself. We look to this Psalm for assurance at funerals and in struggles, and rightly so. I don’t believe, however, that we think of the Valley of the Shadow of Death as a real place. Continue reading “Israel Travel Blog Day 8: Even Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death”

Israel Travel Blog Day 7: Journey into Conflict

It would be easy to write tonight’s column about visiting the place where Jesus was crucified, to talk about what it was like to pray there, to describe the emotions from praying where he was laid to rest, and what it was like to visit the entire Old Jerusalem areas. I will save those for another occasion.

Tonight I’m drawn to the many interactions of conflict we encountered as we walked throughout Old Jerusalem. You couldn’t help but notice it. The signs of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians were all around us. Continue reading “Israel Travel Blog Day 7: Journey into Conflict”

Israel Travel Blog Day 6: O, Holy Town of Bethlehem

So far, traveling in the Holy Land has been an eye-opening and breathtaking experience. Others have described it as the Bible coming to life. I’ve sort have seen it as getting a reintroduction to my Introduction to the New and Old Testament courses in seminary. Every day you feel like you are gaining something new and, as well, a deeper appreciation for the history, culture, and challenges that plague the area.

Today was no different. Every moment of the day were filled with experiences that, in time, will affect how I preach and interact with others. More so than any other day we’ve spent here it will be hard to put into words to describe all that we did and encountered. Continue reading “Israel Travel Blog Day 6: O, Holy Town of Bethlehem”