With nearly a decade of weekly column writing this one is unique. This is the first time I ever wrote one on my birthday. About six o’clock this morning, 77 years ago, I was born out on Seventh Street in Brownwood, Texas, U.S.A.
It was a Sunday and I was the first born son of a seventh son of a seventh son. The family missed Sunday school that day.
A child born on Sunday is fair and wise, goes an old saying. Since I was not fair and my school grades show I was anything but wise, so much for old sayings.
Haile Selassie became emperor of Ethiopia in the year of my birth. Old Haile is the only emperor I ever saw in the flesh. The picture I have of him shows him on the platform with Billy Graham. Selassie is giving Graham a side-long glance that made me wonder what he was thinking. Since he claimed to be a direct descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, he may have been wondering if the great evangelist knew about his heritage.
In 1930 Herbert C. Hoover was president. The population of the United States was 123 million, plus a few. Our country has tripled membership since I was born. In 1930, 9.2 percent were estimated to live to age 70.
This birthday week has been an unsettling one. Over three months ago, voter displeasure over the Iraq war was made evident. The president has waited three months to do something different. Wednesday night he re-issued his “stay the course” plan cloaked in new sound-bites. He passed the buck to the Iraq prime minister and parliament–and to the next president of the United States.
Our troops have not lost a battle in Iraq. They have done their job and done it well. We won the war. There is just no American military solution to the Iraqi civil war. Congress and the White House need to get real and find a way to bring our military home.
Suppose our soldiers were able to rid Baghdad of the bad guys. We did it before and they returned. Now, the plan is to keep our guys in the neighborhoods longer. We stay 10 or 20 years, the bad guys will still come back. It is Arab land and Lawrence of Arabia is dead.
We should not be the referees in their civil war–a war mentality that began the year Muhammad died in 632. Some say if we leave Iraq it will be chaos. Iraq is in chaos already! (Muslims get along with each other just a bit worse than Baptists.)
Possibly in the future, say in the 25th century of Buck Rogers, man will learn that the violence of war only begets more war and violence.
During my 77 years there has not been a day without war somewhere. Birthdays come and birthdays go. My prayer is for a leader to be born that will make the 21st century an improvement over the 20th. Pray he or she is born on a Sunday and full of wisdom.
Britt Towery, a retired Baptist missionary, writes a weekly column for the Brownwood Bulletin in Brownwood, Texas.