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  • Can We Bridge Division?

    Lee Hamilton, Center on Representative Government|Updated Apr 1, 2024

    Disagree Better. That's the name of an interesting initiative at the National Governors Association this year, spearheaded by the organization's current chair, Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox. The idea, in a nutshell, is to "reduce partisan animosity and foster healthy debate by modeling a more positive and optimistic way of working through policy problems," as the NGA puts it. It would be easy to scoff, of course. In this era of bitter political hostility, as we head into a...

  • One Away

    Tammy Jordan|Updated Feb 26, 2024

    We're all just "one away" from something. One day, one choice, one decision, one contact, one drink, one hit, one breath away from something different in our lives. Sometimes our "one-aways" are insignificant, or at least they seem so at the time. And other times, they are life-changing. For an addict or an alcoholic, that one drink or one hit and the decision to take it or not is the difference between sobriety and falling off the wagon. For the procrastinator (and yes, this...

  • You May Be Tempted to Tune Politics Out, But Here's Why You Shouldn't

    Lee Hamilton, Center on Representative Government|Updated Feb 13, 2024

    Back in January, the Pew Research Center released the results of an intriguing set of focus groups they carried out last year. Ordinarily, of course, survey research organizations test the sentiments of registered or likely voters to check in on their mood. But these groups were voters who, in Pew's words, "look at the nation's politics as a topic better avoided than embraced." What those voters had to say is a sign of these highly polarized, highly politicized times. They're...

  • Why Does the House Speaker Matter, Anyway?

    Lee Hamilton, Center on Representative Government|Updated Nov 6, 2023

    Wednesday, November 01, 2023 It would be a stretch to say that the US government came to a standstill after GOP members of the House unseated Kevin McCarthy as Speaker at the start of October. The Senate and the executive branch both kept working to move their priorities forward during the three weeks before the House finally found a replacement. Federal workers kept programs running and operations on an even keel. Yet the House's dysfunction had a clear cost: an inability to...

  • The Dialogue of Democracy Needs Tending

    Lee Hamilton, Center on Representative Government|Updated Jul 10, 2023

    There are so many things I worry about these days. Are we going to default on our debts? Can we adapt to the accumulating impact of climate change? How are we going to handle the dangers posed by China and Russia? But bigger than all of those is this: Can we as a nation confront those challenges by arriving, together, at reasonable solutions? Or to put it another way, do we even know any more how to carry on a public dialogue about the issues we face and how to resolve them?...

  • My Answer: God knows our need for rest and relaxation

    From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham, Billy Graham Literary Trust|Updated Jun 20, 2023

    Q: My husband and I are retiring and he plans to play golf and rest. I want to do something worthwhile. Is it wrong to spend retirement years enjoying all the things we couldn't do when we were busy working and raising our children? - R.Y. A: God knows our need for rest and relaxation. The writer of Ecclesiastes said, "Enjoy the good of all his labor -- it is the gift of God" (3:13). After a grueling period of ministry, Jesus urged His disciples to go with him to a quiet place...

  • My Answer: Jesus' followers belong to a different world

    From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham, Billy Graham Literary Trust|Updated Jun 8, 2023

    Q: The church today seems much the same as the world. What does it mean to take up the cross of Christ, and would this make the church stronger? - B.D. A: While our nation is seeing an increase of crime, immorality, adultery, drunkenness, irreverence, infidelity, and open apostasy, millions of professing Christians have forgotten the Scripture that says, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matthew 16:24). Jesus rega...

  • My Answer: Christ is tolerant

    From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham, Billy Graham Literary Trust|Updated May 30, 2023

    Q: Is it true that Jesus Christ is intolerant (or narrow), as some Christians claim? - I.J. A: In loving, compassionate intolerance Jesus says, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction... [and] narrow is the gate... which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). Intolerance seems to many a divisive word. But consider the intolerance of a pilot who maneuvers his plane through the storm, realizing...

  • From My Perspective: Don't Let the Time Pass

    Tamy Jordan|Updated May 17, 2023

    One day it just hits you that time is moving fast, barreling forward and it isn't waiting for you. Nor will it stop. It makes me wonder why I, and probably so many others, keep putting things off. Not just things, but important things, and often people, too. Well, the truth is I don't so much wonder why I do it. I know the reason, but to say it's a good reason would be a lie. The truth of the matter is there really is no good reason or excuse to do so. We put things off with...

  • Only God fully appreciates influence of a Christian mother

    From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham, Billy Graham Literary Trust|Updated May 16, 2023

    Q: My mother claims to be a Christian but there is no evidence of it at home. How can this be? - B.M. A: Living for Christ in the home is the acid test for any Christian. It's far easier to live an excellent life among our friends when we're putting our best foot forward and are conscious of public opinion, than it is to live for Christ at home. Our own family circle knows whether Christ lives in and through us. A true Christian will not give way at home to bad temper, impatie...

  • God's Word is inspired

    From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham, Billy Graham Literary Trust|Updated May 3, 2023

    Q: When I was young, my Sunday school teacher helped the class memorize an Old Testament passage when the world was very wicked: "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). When I was little I couldn't quite imagine that kind of living, but doesn't it seem that the world has regressed? This verse describes our world today. - W.R. A: When everyone does what is right in his own eyes, there is no possibility of order and peace. Too many people today feel that mo...

  • Live Like a Student

    Tammy Jordan|Updated May 2, 2023

    It's always amazing to me the people I meet while I'm traveling and teaching, and the lessons I learn from them along the way. This past weekend I was in Farmington, Utah teaching at the Great Basin Fiber Arts Fair. It's my second year teaching at this event, and it seems each year I'm there, I meet some of the most amazing people and reconnect with ones I see only at festivals. Some will say it's the teacher who is supposed to teach, but often I find I can learn as much from...

  • From my Perspective: Practice Makes Perfect

    Tammy Jordan|Updated Apr 18, 2023

    We've all heard the phrase, "Practice Makes Perfect," and it's one that has impacted my life over the years. Recently, while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, I heard it in a different way. It's a quote by Art Williams, author of Pushing up People. It says: "Remember, before you can be great, you've got to be good. Before you can be good, you've got to be bad. But, before you can be bad, you've got to try." It's essentially saying the same thing as practice makes...

  • Not one of us deserves God's love

    From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham, Billy Graham Literary Trust|Updated Apr 18, 2023

    Q: I've struggled with my spiritual life, examining every form of faith, every god, every proverb, every church, and every truth. I've concluded the best way to get to Heaven is to practice each of these theologies and patterns to cover the bases. I believe that the true God will accept this effort and allow me into Heaven when the time comes. The effort certainly speaks for itself, more than those who run after every imaginable evil. At least my thoughts are centered on...

  • Only the Lord has conquered death

    From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham, Billy Graham Literary Trust|Updated Apr 11, 2023

    Q: No wonder Christmas is a more favored holiday than Easter. Christmas speaks of a new life [the infant Jesus] that brought joy. Easter brings thoughts of death [His gruesome death], yet there is the new life found in resurrection, which is curious. What does the Bible verse mean when it says that death is swallowed up in victory? - B.I. A: Think about the holes children make when they dig in the sand on the seashore. When the waves come in, the holes are swallowed up by the...

  • From My Perspective: A Turn in the Road

    Tammy Jordan|Updated Apr 11, 2023

    As spring has finally made an appearance and the snow begins to melt, the roads we drove all winter are starting to become dryer and more wide open. Open roads make me want to get out, drive, see and do things. In the winter, especially if you drive Flesher pass, the snow is built up all around you. It's difficult to see out the window to the expanse the Blackfoot Valley has to offer. I feel so closed in, claustrophobic and trapped. It's when I can see for long distances from...

  • How One Life Can Change a World

    The Foundation for a Better Life|Updated Mar 28, 2023

    On the choppy waters of the Bay of Bengal, somewhere between Rangoon and the northeast coast of India, a ship packed with migrant workers returns to Andhra Pradesh. One of the workers stares out at the waves and has a dream about the 2-year-old son he hasn’t seen since birth. The dream is filled with colors—and promise. When he returns to his village, the man requests a meeting with the elders. Although he is low in the caste system, the father declares his son to be the chosen one of the village. After much time in the sma...

  • Why You Should Want Your Representative to Learn Things

    Lee Hamilton, Indiana University Center on Representative Government|Updated Mar 7, 2023

    In the pantheon of political attacks on sitting legislators, probably none is more damaging than the charge that they've lost touch with the people back home. If they're in Congress, it's usually couched as having caught "Potomac Fever"; in a state legislature, that they don't care about the views of the people who put them in office. The ranks of ex-legislators are filled with people who faced this. Even Abe Lincoln, who served a single term in Congress, was accused as a fres...

  • The moment we receive Him, we are born again

    From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham, Billy Graham Literary Trust|Updated Mar 7, 2023

    Q: I read a lot about blending various faiths from around the world and many support a one-world religion. Years ago, this was frightening to some, but now people from all faiths are coming on board as "people of faith." We're told that we should concentrate only on the common ground of our beliefs, which is to be the best we can, do the best we can, and love others. The world says this is what can bring humanity together. Is there room in Christianity for this kind of...

  • From My Perspective: The Way of the World

    Tammy Jordan|Updated Feb 28, 2023

    Is it just me, or has the world - and by world I mean everything - seemed really heavy? I'm not just talking about lately, I'm talking about in general for the last several years? I think I've noticed it before, but it's really hitting home for me even more lately. There always seems to be some sort of controversy, some tragedy or some new threat being thrown at us. When I visit with close friends and family, it continually feels like there is more illness, death and...

  • Human nature seeks to please itself

    From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham, Billy Graham Literary Trust|Updated Feb 28, 2023

    Q: It's surprising to see young people fighting for social action and at the same time completely steeped in the pursuit of self-pleasure. It doesn't seem that these two lifestyles can work together. – S.A. A: Human nature seeks to please itself. When something brings pleasure, we are inclined to call evil good, even if we know that down deep it is dead wrong. To make ourselves feel better when things go wrong, we blame others. Evil cleverly disguises itself as good, and human...

  • Pornography a symptom of immorality

    From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham, Billy Graham Literary Trust|Updated Feb 28, 2023

    Q: My teenagers think their mother is quite old-fashioned because of my warnings about pornography. The culture has done a very bad thing by teaching young people that there is nothing wrong with obsessing about sensual images, cleverly changing the meaning of words to take the sting away. - P.P. A: Pornography is both a symptom and a cause of the widespread immorality and corruption of modern society. It reaches people of all age levels through a multibillion-dollar industry...

  • Courage to Do

    The Foundation for a Better Life|Updated Jan 30, 2023

    In 1841, a physically imposing, twenty-three year-old Frederick Douglass leaned against the rail of a ferry headed for Nantucket. He contemplated the wake widening out behind him and second-guessed his decision to travel after three years of trying to remain inconspicuous as a runaway. But he had been invited by a group of abolitionists to attend a rally on Nantucket Island. The Fugitive Slave Act was still in force and Frederick risked being captured and a sure return to...

  • Getting Outside is the Best Way to Get Rid of the Blues

    The Foundation for a Better Life|Updated Jan 24, 2023

    Brad's idea of a good time is to swim across the lake at the base of the Grand Tetons, then hike to the top peak and back again on the same day. Sometimes his wife Sheila will join him for the hike portion. He's also summited with his two daughters, ages 19 and 15. They climb frozen waterfalls in the winter and ski the backcountry. In the summer they do 100-mile bike races together and afterward hold family pull-up contests on an abandoned trellis 30 feet above a sandy river....

  • Going Home

    Tammy Jordan|Updated Jan 24, 2023

    This week I'll be traveling, and for the first time in a very long time (three years to be exact), I'll be "heading home." I'm excited for the trip and the opportunity to spend some quality time with my mom, and in the sunshine. She says it's been cool there but let's be honest, her cool is Lincoln's spring, heading towards summer. I was going to bring my swimsuit, but instead she said I should bring a sweater. I'll bring both, just in case... This trip will take me back to...

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