By Dr. Jim Ferguson
I have to admit that I missed the Vols’ recent come from behind victory over South Carolina.  Becky and I tried to hang in, but when our guys were down fourteen points late in the fourth quarter we went to bed.  It’s not because we are fickle fans.  It’s just that we’ve been disappointed so many times before.

Perhaps the improbable victory is a turning point for our team.  And perhaps the resounding political victory over the policies of Obama on November 4th is another turning point, this time for our country.  It is my hope and prayer that America has seen its nadir (lowest point) and brighter days lay ahead.  However, Coach Butch Jones and I suffer from no illusions.  The long road back to being a champion will take a lot of work.  And it will take much sacrifice and work to restore our country’s economy, secure its borders and reinstate our position as leader of the free world.

The Founders of our country brilliantly constructed a balanced Constitutional form of government.  After the American Revolution 18th century Europeans referred to our young country and Constitution as “the American experiment,” and most thought it would fail. In fact, everyone assumed that George Washington would replace King George as the American king.  They were wrong.

Until recent years, the closest we have come to an imperial presidency was FDR, who was elected president four times.  I understand the reluctance to replace the Commander in Chief in the midst of WWII, a war waged for survival of freedom.  Nonetheless, the operating agreement of our country (the Constitution) was amended in 1947 to limit the presidency to two four year terms.  Many of us now take this Constitutional limit on the presidency for granted.  We shouldn’t.

President Obama nationalized the recent mid-term election by stating that his policies were on the ballot.  This was a serious mistake which contributed to his party’s defeat in elections across the country.  Additionally, what has increasingly been referred to as the Obama imperial presidency was repudiated by We The People.  Americans believe the country is going the wrong direction and change was imperative.

I’ve been teaching my grandson, Oakley, about campfires.  Metaphorically, Americans have been playing with fire by experimenting with liberal-progressive-Democrat policies, now seen as so destructive.  The people voted to restore balance in the government by giving control of the legislative branch back to the Republicans to counter an imperial executive branch.  Having just fought a costly revolutionary war to free America from the tyranny of an English King, the Founders constructed the Constitution to limit government.  Folks, divided and limited government is good.

Mitch McConnell will be the Senate majority leader in the new Congress and vows to bring legislation to the President’s desk.  We’ll see. Democrat Harry Reid was the obstruction in government.  More than three hundred bills still languish on his desk without debate, amendment or vote.  I retain a healthy amount of skepticism regarding the Republicans so I plan to contact Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Coker regularly.  I will also hold Congressman Duncan and Speaker Boehner’s feet to the fire.  I have all their offices’ on speed dial!

My concern for the country caused me to consider intercessory prayer.  I find that I tend to pray more for general issues like strength and courage or for great causes like our country’s fate more than local concerns.  You may find it sacrilegious, but I don’t pray for the Vols to win, as I don’t consider this of cosmic significance.  But perhaps my perspective is limited or limiting.

As a theist I believe the best explanation for the universe is a Creator and what scientists call the “genesis point.”  Aristotle argued eloquently that something cannot come from nothing.  Science can take us back to the very earliest moments of the universe, but can’t take us all the way because at the genesis point all our theories and physics break down.  Consequently, no one has any science-based explanation for where Creation came from or how it started.  Logically there has to be a Creator of the Creation.

One of the tenets of my Christian religion is that for some inexplicable reason the Creator cares about me.  This concept is not universal, but is a product of western culture based upon Judeo-Christian philosophy.  The first forty years of my education were focused on science.  Over the last twenty-five years I have rededicated myself to the humanities in an effort to balance and broaden my understanding of my place in the universe.

The ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras (an atheist) said that “Man is the measure of all things.”  He was wrong.  Man exists at the pleasure of Providence and grace.  Unfortunately, a materialist believes in only what he can understand and discounts and labels as foolish a theist’s broader vision.  Prayer is finding and aligning oneself with God’s will rather than asking for deliverance or trinkets.  I do ask for wisdom and guidance along with courage and strength.  And you may be surprised to learn that I also pray for President Obama, our leaders and even the otherwise odious Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.  They too are children of God.

I’m praying a lot these days.  The President in his post-election news conference said he “heard the people” in the resounding defeat of his policies and his party.  Unfortunately, he went on to say that he also “heard” the voice of those who didn’t vote.  I’m not sure how that’s possible, and I’m fearful that my prayers for President Obama to listen to and serve the electorate will be ignored in favor of his vision for America.  And I’m fearful that the People’s House and the Senate will go back to their old ways or follow the media’s call for compromise of principles.  Thomas Paine once said that “Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principles is always a vice.”

In final analysis, it’s again up to We The People to pray and to work diligently for our neighbors and our country.  The ancient prophet Micah, speaking for the Lord, once said it best.  We The People are “To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  If all Americans followed this ancient wisdom, our country would once again be blessed and would return to a genuine beacon of “hope and change.”