January 6, 2021
I recently flipped back through the 51 issues of The Alabama Baptist published in 2020 and chuckled when I reread the Jan. 2 editorial — “What will history write about our version of the 20s?”
Meant at the time as a simple challenge to reboot our lives by flushing out the chaos and clutter so we could enter the new — and at the time seemingly exciting — decade, 2020 certainly took the “what will history write” question to a level I never anticipated.
Still, the idea of learning from the past and entering a time of serious reflection and renewal remains pertinent.
What did we learn from our friends and family a century ago in the 1920s when “pedal to the metal” living and constant demands to push the limits drove Western society right into the middle of its worst nightmare — the Great Depression?
What did we learn from ourselves a hundred years later in 2020, as we claw our way toward the hope of a new year without a global pandemic, intense anxiety and a divided society of people?
If we are honest, then we know the answer — Jesus.
But we also know we struggle daily to totally trust and let Him have full control.
We fret about the what ifs and sometimes let our personal situations cloud our view of what God could be doing in the big picture of life.
Brokenness, pain and suffering are all real and should be acknowledged and addressed.
Ignoring the areas of life that hurt only makes matters worse.
Showing compassion to those who are suffering and avoiding the temptation to judge others — you know, the whole until we’ve walked in their shoes concept — not only serves the other person better, but it also keeps our hearts focused in the right direction.
And checking our own hearts before pointing fingers will likely surprise us in what we find.
It almost always results in an adapted response, one that seeks to understand and find consensus with a touch of love, grace and kindness.
Will we ever all agree on right and wrong? Can we convince everyone else to think like us?
Is it possible to develop a plan that ensures the days ahead work out exactly like we want?
Of course, we know the answer to all three is no, but for some reason we spend lots of energy trying to make them so.
What if we shifted our strategy and spent the time we have left focused on Jesus and what He would have us do rather than being frustrated or discouraged by what we see happening around us?
It might mean He leads us to become actively involved in our community in a way to model better behavior, to help at-risk kids find a successful and independent future, or to show how unity can take place even among people who don’t agree.
God might use us to change the world for the better, simply by pointing people to Him.
Sticking with the tried and true — ‘Rashional Thoughts’; retiring recent years’ editorial title of ‘My Rashionale’
It’s hard to believe, but it was a little more than a decade ago (November 2010) when we launched the “Rashional Thoughts” column and blog.
And within days, the title caught on, so much so that I knew it would forever be my brand. My Twitter and Instagram handles are even @rashionalthts, and we post the weekly columns online at both tabonline.org and rashionalthoughts.com.
When I stepped into the editor’s chair on Jan. 1, 2019, I wanted to expand the editorial offerings with two brief editorials each week.
In order to maintain the softer “life as life happens” approach of “Rashional Thoughts” and also provide space to deal with more difficult subjects, we created “My Rashionale” as the second column.
However, what we’ve noticed in the two years since making this move is that I’ve made a natural shift toward merging the two columns and their purposes. It’s actually hard to distinguish between the two now.
We’ve wondered if there’s a need to continue with two column titles. Plus, “Rashional Thoughts” still wins out as the most recognizable of the two — and I love how well it fits.
So, “Rashional Thoughts” is now the official title. I promise to continue the quick-read style (and maybe even offer an “ir-Rashional” thought on occasion).