Jimmy Carter´s presidency continues to be debated.
A few daring souls come to his defense, but the majority are adamant that as a president,
he did nothing.
When among his peers, presidents past and current, he is often ignored and avoided.
No one is more obvious about this than Clinton.
But, Jimmy Carter is an above average man, worthy of our admiration and respect
not only as a historical figure, but because his moral character is above reproach,
and his compassion for humanity is infinite.
Despite my republican registry,
he will always have my vote for one of the greatest American role models ever.
Along with being a former president, a published author of twenty nine books,
a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Grammy winner for Best Spoken Word Album,
he supports 7 charities standing for 17 different causes, founded The Carter Center,
at the age of 88 he still actively helps build Houses for Humanity,
and he teaches Sunday school.
This summer I had the opportunity to attend one of his Sunday school classes.
We were stopped by Secret Service men for a car inspection before entering the church parking lot,
and as I watched the bomb sniffing dogs go around our vehicle,
my sundress strap gave.
I sat there safety-pin-less wondering, now what?
It was a hot morning in Plains, Georgia
and I felt pretty silly wearing the wool shawl that was in my bag.
I felt even sillier as I was personally screened before entering the church.
Nothing to hide but the upper body part my dress malfunction revealed.
Mr. Carter entered the room with his signature smile,
and took a few moments to meet and greet the congregation allowing for pictures to be made.
He asked individuals from where they were visiting, and
paused when Dream Baby responded, ` Norway´.
`Norway! I like Norway.
Norway has a long tradition of being supportive in collaborations with the United States.
Norway stands up for humanitarian rights, and is at the forefront of the world environmentally.
I wouldn´t want to live there…´ (It took all I could do NOT to say me either)…
He went on to say if he had to live anywhere in the world besides The United States,
it would be New Zealand…(duly noted on my mental bucket list)
Then he moved on.
There were people from all over the world visiting that Sunday,
and Dream Baby still mentions how Jimmy Carter only reacted to Norway.
Mr. Carter used fifteen or so minutes to catch us up on what he has been up to,
and let us know immediately after church he would attend his wife´s family reunion,
then they would fly to Bogotá at 2pm to congratulate
President Juan Manuel Santos and the people of Colombia
for becoming the first of six countries in the Americas to eliminate river blindness,
also known as onchocerciasis,
a parasitic disease that can cause intense itching, eyesight damage, and irreversible blindness.
(His schedule alone had my mind spinning)
It was apparent his Sunday school lesson picked up where he left off with The book of Revelations.
And it came as no surprise that the former president was an outstanding speaker.
He was polished, clear, and to the point.
He used current events, headlines, and other things from our modern fast changing world
to get his audience to relate. He was honest in admitting that he finds Revelations a difficult book.
One that he would rather not have as lecture material.
He was funny
when explaining his in bed conversations
on the subject with Roslyn the night before as he was preparing his lesson.
Too many of us tend to worship self indulgence and consumption.
Prosperity is not bad in and of itself,
but if we allow it to make us “fat and lazy”, not just in body but also in mind,
we are doomed.
Don´t be lukewarm and become fat and lazy.
Serve God better, and in doing so, help others.
So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
It was a message I enjoyed listening to, and one I am glad my children were present to hear.
“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” -Ronald Reagan
“No one has ever become poor by giving.” -Anne Frank
And getting to the heart of the matter,
“We should live our lives as though Christ was coming this afternoon.” -Jimmy Carter