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Week Three – EA March 9, 2016

Posted on 09 March 2016 by Scott Cooper

Week Three

Each week, I will share a little more about myself, while discussing some topic or topics of the day.  I feel that’s important because it will help you understand how my views have been shaped.  My writing will include my efforts to “get outside the box,” which hasn’t led to a change in my principles, but has helped me understand other’s viewpoints, and think hard about ways to reconcile the divisions our national leadership like to accentuate.

In last week’s edition I mentioned my belief that national leadership in both parties encourage the American people being divided as it enhances their ability to control us.  I believe we’ve evolved into a one party system in Washington, and both parties are leading us in the same direction, simply at different paces.  Divided, we cannot unite against the corrupt and sometime treasonous activities taking place in the faraway land, Washington, DC.  Thus, the hyphenation of America continues.

Since Ms. Derrick asked me to contribute to the Edgefield Advertiser, I’ve outlined a calendar for the remainder of the year.  There are forty-three weeks left in 2016!  I believe if you participate in these weekly editorials, you will begin to see recurring themes in my thought process.  I hope these will eventually be placed online, where discussion can take place.  I hope you will join the discussion, as the topics discussed will be broad indeed.

Also last week, I shared that I was in branch banking in the Washington DC market when in 2008 President George W. Bush decided “to abandon free market principles, in order to save the free market system,” and how that angered me, causing me to engage in the civic arena at the local and state level.  To put it bluntly, the bailouts pissed me off.  I can’t describe in less than 500 words everything I witnessed in the banking world, the correlating real estate bubble, as well as multitude of other issues that caused my blood to boil!

I stayed active until just after the 2012 Presidential election, an election where conservatives were forced to work for a man who really was just “The Lite Version” of the Democratic ticket.

Following that election, combined with a Virginia U.S. Senate Primary defeat in June, which was far more important to me, I needed to take a break from politics.

Over the course of the next year I began something I would encourage everyone who struggles with anger directed toward our civil magistrates to do.  I committed to read one Proverb and five Psalms a day.  I repeated monthly for over 24 months. remaining faithful 65 % of the time!

The process of reading King David and King Solomon’s words each day for over two years re-confirmed for me that there is “nothing new under the sun.”  It also reconfirmed for me that the majority of our issues are “non-respecter of person” issues, which should unite us, not divide us.  More on that next week.

Have a blessed week!

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This was the third week I was published in The Edgefield Advertiser, the longest running continues paper in South Carolina, published March 9, 2016.

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My Hope Does Not Lie in The Presidential Primary – EA March 2, 2016

Posted on 02 March 2016 by Scott Cooper

where-are-you-placing-your-hope

Watching the Presidential Primaries in South Carolina these past two weeks, quite honestly has left me sad.

I’ve worked a large portion of my adult life in the Washington DC area.  My career has been spent working for medium to large sized private companies in operational management in the service industry.  In these settings, every dime was scrutinized.  Payroll and expenses were managed in a way that owners or investors received the largest return on investment possible.  Our compensation was set up in a fashion that if we performed well, we would also financially benefit. During turbulent times, we learned to “do more with less.”  When we performed poorly, there were always consequences.

I was in branch banking when President George W. Bush famously stated “I have decided to abandon free market principles, in order to save the free market system.”  That is when I became so angry I got involved in the civic arena at the local and state level.

As Edgefieldonians, we now live in a small, rural county, where the first piece of advice I received when I moved here was, “Scott, this is a small town.  Never forget, people know more about you than you know about yourself!”  I thought that was a hilarious piece of advice – and I have reflected back on it numerous times as I have gotten to know my new neighbors and combined that advice with my own view, that perception is not always reality.

This being only my second week doing this weekly column I hope folks who have pre-conceived ideas about me will re-read the paragraph two paragraphs above. A Republican President abandoning principles is what made me angry enough to get involved in the civic arena, not a Democrat.

Since then I’ve had the privilege of driving across the 14th street bridge into Washington DC multiple times to attend meetings. Each time, I simply marvel at the number of construction cranes you can count in the skyline.  Rome is under massive construction, while at the same time burning.

Stated another way, since the bailouts, initiated by a Republican President 8 years ago, our nation continues to borrow 40 cents of every dollar it spends, mostly from enemies who want nothing more than to kill us.  Today, Washington is bigger and more corrupt than ever and our two leading Presidential contenders prior to Super Tuesday are: a man who knows how to pay off elected leaders from both sides of the aisle, and a political insider who runs a foundation receiving contributions from foreign enemies, as well as involvement in numerous other corruption allegations.

Perhaps when this is published, the results of Super Tuesday will change the outlook, and an outsider will be leading.

Either way, my hope is not in Washington, where leadership seeks to divide us for control and personal gain. My hope lies first in faith in God and through His intervention we will see a revival of virtue in the American people. When the majority finds that type of revival, I believe we will find there is more that unites us than divides us.

I hope you have a blessed week.

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This was the second week I was published in The Edgefield Advertiser, the longest running continues paper in South Carolina, published March 2, 2016.

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Today is The Lord’s Day – EA Feb 24, 2016

Posted on 24 February 2016 by Scott Cooper

Sabbath Rest

I feel privileged to have received the call by Suzanne Gile Mims Derrick to submit editorials to the oldest paper in South Carolina, The Edgefield Advertiser.  Overtime, those who don’t know me yet, will get to know me, but let me begin this journey by saying I am passionate about several things, to include, but not limited to: engagement in the civic arena AND ensuring we honor our Lord each week by honoring His fourth commandment to have a day of rest!

Therefore, I will start this journey with the Edgefield Advertiser by sharing something I wrote and posted to my Facebook page on Sunday February 21, the day following the Republican Presidential Primary here in South Carolina.

Today is the Lord’s Day!

Today is the day immediately following the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary – and many will be focused on those results today.  Truthfully, I would like to dig down into the county and precinct level, to see where certain candidates were the strongest – especially as we consider more important races – local, county and state wide races.

I say that, because ultimately I believe the leadership of our nation rests with the people – not the President.  And even in the counties with the largest voter turnout yesterday – some 70 % or more of eligible voters exercised their pro-choice stance by choosing NOT to participate in our electoral process for the top leadership position in our land.  So, we have a long way to go to engage the true leadership, the people. with an articulate message that will encourage majority participation in the process so many before us fought and died to bequeath to us.

Again – today is the Lord’s Day – a day of rest.
I have so many friends, good friends – friends who voted for someone other than I did yesterday – who will dive right back into politics today.  I would like to encourage each of us to take the day off.  Spend time in church.  Spend time with family.  Build the relationships that truly will get you through any storms that might be coming your way.

This morning, while reading Day 18 in Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” I read “When it comes to fellowship, size matters: “Smaller is better.”  The point was, authentic relationships take place in small groups.  I hope each of us will spend some time resting, sometime reflecting on the Lord, and some time building the relationships where we can be most authentic.

In closing, for The Edgefield Advertiser, through my own journey in Social Media, I have been talking about the importance of being strategic with our “Day of Rest” for a long time. Having spent over 20 years in Operational Management, much in 24/7 type operations, I recognize many are required to work on Sunday. I believe The Lord understands this, and is ok if you strategically pick another day!

Wishing you a fantastic #DayOfRest

May you have a blessed week!

__________

This was the first week I was published in The Edgefield Advertiser, the longest running continues paper in South Carolina, published February 22, 2016.

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What Does It Mean To Wish Someone a Happy New Year

Posted on 01 January 2016 by Scott Cooper

Mercies 2

I have been thinking – what does IT REALLY MEAN to wish someone a Happy New Year, or that they would be blessed in the coming year? 

 

At this point, I have decided that true happiness comes from a life centered on something bigger than oneself; therefore, wishing someone a Happy New Year means wishing them a life focused on something bigger than themselves.

 

The question then, at least in my mind, is raised: when searching for something bigger than oneself, where does one turn?  Some places include, but are not limited to, faith, family, charitable work, activism in civil governance, and some turn to work.  For some, it would be a combination of all this, and possibly even more.

 

For me, it is a combination of each of those things.  Suzy frequently teases me for saying, “it’s all connected!”

 

Simply analyzing time usage, the majority of folks will / should invest close to 38 – 40 % of their waking hours at work.

 

With the labor force participation rate at historic lows, I personally have been thinking a lot about the impact of work on our culture.  Stated another way, about how millions of individuals not being engaged in labor is having a massive negative impact on our country and culture.  With each new year, the effects of this is having a compounded effect on our country and culture, in my opinion. For those who are Christians, this should be of even greater concern.

 

So this new year, I wanted to share with you a message (linked), which I believe provides us with a paradigm shift on work.  I mentioned this message, by my former pastor Dr. Drew Landry, when I wrote about work as something to be thankful for, during Thanksgiving 2014.  If you choose to listen to it, I hope it blesses you as it has me.

 

In closing, this year – I wish you a year focused on something bigger than yourself!

 

Blessings,

 

Scott

 

P.S.  The above picture was posted on Facebook one year ago today, on January 1, 2015 with some comments about how God works over time, and how He creates diamonds through great pressure.  If YOU have felt great pressure during the course of 2015, which could be for a wide range of reasons, there is at least a 50 % chance that ultimately a diamond will be formed!  Feel free to add your thoughts.

 

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I Am Thankful For The Next Generation!

Posted on 30 November 2015 by Scott Cooper

The Next Generation

As we close out our Thanksgiving Weekend Celebrations this year, I am particularly thankful for the next generation.  You know, often at Thanksgiving time, we look backward – to generations which came before us.  In particular we look to the early colonial era and the Pilgrims.  Their thankfulness was always God-Centered, for the provisions He had provided.

I am not saying we shouldn’t continue to look to the past, or that we shouldn’t be thankful for our current provisions – but I am saying we also need to look forward – to the next generation, and find things in their generation we can be thankful for!  There are great things happening with the next generation, often called millennials and Generations X, Y & Z, which we need to highlight & be thankful for!

I want to share four points.

First, without the next generation, there really is no future.  Everything in our society, whether it is faith based or secular depends upon our following the first commandment, “to be fruitful and multiply” and then successfully passing the baton to the next generation.

Second, when I speak to individuals in this demographic – millennials, Generation X, Y or Z, and ask them open ended questions then take time to listen to them, and their idea’s – most have thought through tough issues.  In all honesty, many in my generation and past generations have made the issues they face tougher!  For many, their idealism may have not yet received the dose of reality older generations already comprehend.  For others, their reality is extremely harsh, and they already have a lot to be negative about.  I have found that if you show a genuine interest in them, actually listen to and try and understand what they have to say – they are happy to talk.  Listening to this generation is rewarding – and I am thankful not only for them, but for the older folks who are willing to invest the time to do so!

Third, I don’t believe the line that the majority of the younger generation doesn’t want to work.  I believe a large percentage of the next generation lack adequate leadership, which has modeled proper behavior for them – helping them to identify their gifts and talents, and how they are best to be utilized in a productive society.  I am thankful for the next generation that is diligently working to find their role of productivity and service in our world – and I am thankful for the older generation which is helping these folks accomplish this task!

Finally, this past weekend I had the privilege of attending a wedding where I have known a large percentage of the wedding party for over a decade, at least on the groom and groomsmen side.  While all of these young men now in their mid-20’s grew up together, they have each taken vastly different paths.  One is getting an advanced degree in higher education, one is in sales, one is in graphic design, one is part of a family small business and another one has started his own small business.  Each one of them is working hard in their chosen field.  While I only personally know one of the ladies in the party – I know each of them are also working, and both the groomsmen and the ladies are striving to serve God in their lives.  This wedding, which was entirely planned by the next generation was God honoring, and forward looking with hope.  It gave me great encouragement and hope – and I am thankful for each of those who helped make it so.

I simply wanted to share these thoughts, because as we get older – often times we look to the past with rose colored glasses, and either are not as optimistic about the future or sometimes are downright fearful of the future.

I believe there is nothing is new under the sun.  Generations have always struggled at times getting along and passing the baton to the next generation.  But I have great hope in the next generation, and I am thankful for them!  May my generation be diligent in working with them, passing the baton to them with a smooth transition!  We, after all, are dependent upon their success!

In an effort to show how important I think looking to the past is, I want to share two Thanksgiving greetings from other organizations, which I believe do an excellent job in their fields, and have highlighted our past.   The first is from American Minute, written by my friend William J. Federer.  The second is from High Frontier, written by my father, Henry F. Cooper.  I too have written about the importance of understanding our past.

I sincerely hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend, and are looking forwards to the next year with hope for the future!

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Reflections on The Response: A Call to Prayer For Our Nation

Posted on 15 June 2015 by Scott Cooper

The Response II

This weekend I travelled to Charleston, SC to attend The Response: A Call to Prayer for our Nation. Somewhere between 4,000 – 7,000 individuals (my guestimate) from all denominations, all races, all socio-economic status and all age groups gathered to simply petition our heavenly father to work His plan in our nation.

The six hour event was divided into five specific areas, where the crowd individually and corporately prayed for each of these items to take place in our individual lives, the lives of our families, our local communities and our country:

  • Repentance
  • Reconciliation
  • Revival
  • Reformation
  • Refreshing belief in Jesus Christ

South Carolina is now the third state where such a large, diverse group has gathered specifically for the purpose of prayer and fasting has taken place.  The first was in Texas and the second was in Louisiana.

While there were two Governors who spoke, this event was NOT political.  The event was free to the public and there was no indication of who sponsored this event, which certainly wasn’t inexpensive, as the Charleston Coliseum was rented out for the entire day.  With the exception of the two Governors, I am not sure any names or organizations were even mentioned, and dozens of individuals participated on stage.

At the outset, the leader said (I am paraphrasing), “Heaven is going to look like this – a coat of many colors: all races will be present, all ages will be present, and all socio-economic statuses we experience on earth will be present.  We are asking everyone to come into this place in a spirit of worship – to leave your titles, your accomplishments, your organizations, and your agenda’s outside this place.  Today we are simply here to see what God has for us, as we divide the day up into these five categories (listed above).”

To this point, I have been unable to find many videos of Saturday’s event.  It is possible to see a few short clips, as well as pictures by reviewing The Response Facebook Page.

It should be noted that the audience was 15 – 20 % black, and those who participated on stage were 35 – 40 % Black.  There were numerious hispanics, as well as other ethnic groups present as well.  I simply give that estimation (mine) of the statistics, so you know it was a diverse setting, which is required for the five goals to honestly be attained.  Also, some of the most poignant prayers came from the youth and young adults, ages 15 – 25, who were honoring to the older generations but also recognizing how much work is ahead of their generation.  Out of the mouth of babes often comes the greatest wisdom – as they have not yet been conformed to the things which hold us back.

I am going to try and summarize each point in just a few sentences:

  • Repentance: Today our society celebrates that which is evil, and condemns that which is virtuous and we humbly seek forgiveness for allowing this to take place in our culture, on our watch.
  • Reconciliation: Today we have allowed our society to become more divided than ever – by age groups, by socio-economic class and by race. We recognize that God created each of us as individuals, with specific gifts and talents to be used to benefit all in society – and we pray for the walls between the generations, between the classes and between the races to be broken.
  • Revival: Revival does not happen for unbelievers. It happens within the hearts and communities of those who already call on the name of Jesus Christ.  Our nation is filled with dry bones, and we humbly pray for God to blow a mighty wind on the dry bones of The American Church – to wake us up so that we might be faithful to His calling on our lives, in our families, in our communities, our state and our nation.
  • Reformation: We don’t seek the reformation of others – we seek the reformation of our own hearts, families, churches communities, states, and nation – that we might place virtue above all else. Without fixing our own lives, families, and churches first – we cannot have the impact which is required on our culture.
  • Refreshing: This was simply a time of praise and worship. Many went to the “mosh pit,” or the front of the room to lift hands, and dance before the Lord.  It truly was a coat of many colors – where the things which divide were not present.

The Response Mosh Pit

Because of the work I have been engaged in, both through the Social Conservative movement, and specifically helping to put on The National Security Summits, which are being conducted in many of the early primary states, I had the privilege to be asked to participate in the prayers from the stage, specifically to pray for the National Security of our Country.  Honestly, because I had not personally met any of the organizers before, I chose to simply go and participate as an individual.  Observation before participation has become something I have learned, sometimes the hard way, in the last four years.  After attending the event, there is no question in my heart, mind or spirit that this effort is Spirit led, and it gives me great hope – because the numbers of those whose hearts are pure, and are praying for our country – both inside our borders and outside our borders are growing.  I believe the growth is becoming exponential.  When The Response comes to your state – I would highly recommend not only attending, but doing all you can to help promote it, and get people there.

What this means for our future may not be what we expect or even desire.  God’s ways, actions and timetables are generally not ours.  He is however at work, and we have a lot to look forward to in the future.

In closing, I want to share two things:

  • Another area of hope I have – but also a sliver of disappointment. I have had the privilege of traveling South Carolina quite a bit in the last 2 years, as a result of both High Frontier, and helping on a U.S. Senate Campaign.  As a result – rarely do I go to such a large event where I do not see several people I already know.  On Saturday, in such a large crowd, I spent the day with a good friend of mine, who also relocated to South Carolina from Virginia.  He drove from Myrtle Beach, where he now resides, to invest his day at The Response.  He was the only other individual who I personally know who I saw there.  In a way, it saddened me that I did not see more of my evangelical brothers and sisters, who I already know, who desire to see these five points achieved in our culture, in our lifetimes, invest a day in this effort.  Obviously, it could be simply because there was an unawareness.  This leads me to think of one of the points of the day – the need for our individual churches to stop being territorial, to get outside of our boxes, and unite with other believers outside of the four walls of our own church.  United, we can impact culture but divided we will not.  On the flip side – it also gives me great hope – because the pool of individuals who The Holy Spirit is working on is far larger than we know, or likely can even imagine!
  • Governor Bobby Jindal shared his testimony, and it was phenomenal. I was hoping that I would be able to find it on YouTube, and while I couldn’t find Saturday’s – I did find the testimony he gave at The Response in Baton Rouge.  It is very similar – and I would encourage everyone to invest the time to watch it.  You can watch Bobby Jindal’s testimony by clicking here.

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I Have Respect for Our Elected Leaders in Washington DC!

Posted on 12 June 2015 by Scott Cooper

Respect Must Be Earned II

Anyone who has been my friend or has followed me for any length of time knows I have publicly stated my disdain for not only the leadership within both of our political parties, but the way they orchestrate the entire political process.  Therefore they are likely to find this title highly unlikely.

It is true though – I do have a selective respect for our elected leaders in Washington DC.

In the last four years I have helped folks running for elections at the following levels: School Board, County Supervisor, State Senate, United States Senate, and now I have the privilege of serving on the leadership team in my state for one of the Presidential Candidates, Ted Cruz.

When this journey began for me, as a middle aged man, it wasn’t because I wanted a career in campaigning or politics – it was only because after being in private industry for two decades, like millions of Americans, my infuriation with the way our national leaders led angered me enough to no longer sit and simply yell at the nightly news, but to actually try and do something to change the leadership of our country.

Having a front row seat in several campaigns, one of the many things I have learned is the personal sacrifice it takes, not only for the candidate and the spouse, but generally for his or her entire family, to seek the privilege to serve a constituency of any size.

When it comes to the elected leadership in Washington, regardless of party, at some point – whether for noble reasons or selfish ones – they and their families chose to enter the arena of public office, which to be successful requires a tremendous amount of time, personal energy and money.  Not to mention, it requires a willingness to undergo scrutiny beyond belief.  It has been said if you want to research your family tree, rather than pay for it or do the research yourself, run for office – your opponents will do all the research for you!  For these reasons – I respect them, even those I philosophically disagree with.

For those who have been in Washington for decades now, they have learned the art of political power: how to acquire, retain and wield it.  With a leadership structure based on seniority rather than gifts and talents for true leadership and statesmanship, as well as a financial and committee reward structure which protects the seniority based leadership, it is a skill which generally is acquired over a long time period.  While the process may disgust us, that willingness and ability to invest the time, which generally requires multiple re-elections, to move up the leadership rank does deserve some respect.

Leadership - Maxwell

For the millions like me who engaged because we see the financial titanic we are on is about to hit the iceberg, as well as philosophical worldview issues we face – not for the purpose of “wielding power,” which under the current system takes decades to acquire, it is somewhere between the fifth and seventh paragraphs above where my respect is lost. Between the sentences where I state they sought “the privilege to serve” and “they learned the art of political power.”

While their willingness to enter the arena, and their understanding of how power really works in Washington does deserve respect, and while those who just in the last few years began entering the arena are still learning the power system of Washington, I am convinced that less than 5 % of those who have been in elected office in Washington over a decade should be there any longer.  They simply are too closely connected to the continual extension of debt on our national credit card.

Respect aside, we need a paradigm shift in the way leadership is selected within Washington.  Leadership by seniority has led us to the financial cliff.  It fosters and propagates the status quo – and the status quo is leading us to financial ruin.  Sadly, I am not confident we will be able to fix our existing spending problems under the existing structure. The paradigm shift in leadership selection which is required, likely won’t come until after a financial reset.

It is my prayer that hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans are today considering running for office.  We have over 3,000 counties and municipalities in our republic.  Each of these jurisdictions have at least two dozen elected offices.  The phrase “all politics is local” is so true. Many of the problems we face in Washington are also being addressed at local and state levels – and strong leadership at these levels is required if we ever have any hope of seeing a paradigm shift of leadership, as well as a new breed of leaders in Washington.  Will you join me in that prayer – up to and including putting your hat in the ring?

So, despite my selective respect for our elected leaders in Washington – I am praying for the future folks who are mentally, physically and spiritually preparing to earn that same respect.  I pray they will also earn our respect for truly solving the problems our country faces, something I am convenced very few of those currently in Washington will be able to earn.

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So Many Folks……….

Posted on 06 June 2015 by Scott Cooper

Perception Reality Crossroads

So many folks tell me their perception is my life is centered in politics. The reality is my heart is concerned with culture – and politics is simply downstream of where my heart is.

_________________________________________________

The life of my family has gone through extreme transitions in the last three years.  I am not going to list them here – but suffice it to say that in 2012 we started a journey that was 180 degrees from the path we were on, and drastically different than anything we had planned on in the two decades leading up to our transition. As is the case with all of life, road blocks and speed bumps have been visited along the way. We are grateful for the hardships, challenges, opportunities and the triumphs!

One of the focuses I had when leading a civic organization in Fredericksburg, VA in 2011 and 2012, prior to moving to South Carolina, was to be strategic in that organizations communications.  It was critical to me that we stopped overwhelming our member’s e-mail boxes. So we diligently strived to have only one communication via e-mail per week.  We gave folks who found us via social media, or through the forwarding of e-mails an opportunity to subscribe to our communications.  More importantly – we gave people an opportunity to opt out, or stop receiving our communications without having to tell us.  What we found during that time period – is our overall readership drastically increased.  Our readership and influence increased when we began limiting our total communications.

I share those two things with you because since that time period, due to my life and professional experiences I have had the heart to write on a multitude of issues.  I believe the vast majority of these issues impact and interest you and your sphere of influence.  Honestly, the majority of the issues are about business, life and culture, not politics – but as I mentioned starting out – politics is downstream.  It isn’t downstream of only culture, but just everything in life.  Furthermore, due to our transition I have not been able to commit the time, or quite honestly with everything going on, have the discipline required to be consistent in writing.  Beginning June 1st of 2015 I am now committing a portion of each week toward this effort.

I would like your permission to once a week share links to my writings and thoughts with you via e-mail – which will always link back to my personal website.  If you would like to receive this weekly summary – please sign up in the upper right hand corner of this page.

What will the topics cover, you may ask?

Through my career I have been engaged in the following industries: Travel, Big Box Retailing, Banking, Technology, Agriculture, Non-Profit Work and Political Campaigns.  My life experiences have taken me all around our great country, Europe, Israel and the former U.S.S.R.  I have lived in communities, and with housemates, which were extremely diverse and communities which were not. I have friends and mentors which are at very high levels of the worldly “success” spectrum as well as friends and mentors who are not, but although they don’t outwardly exude worldly “success,” they truly are the salt of the earth.

I mention all of that simply because most of the issues we face today are what I call “non-respecter of person” issues.  In other words, they impact everyone – and despite our leadership wanting to put us into boxes based on race, gender, socio-economic status, nationality or faith – we are all part of the same human race.

So, the topics will be varied and on things that impact us all.

I am going to close with something I shared on my Facebook Wall last night:

“I honestly think the years ahead of us are going to be the most challenging, but also the most exhilarating. God placed each of us here for this time, and this place.

Yes – there will be many of us who will see the proper course, who will come up severely lacking in will and resolve. But I believe there are vastly more individuals His Spirit is preparing in ways we cannot comprehend – and in the end, good will be achieved.

Lots of negative things being reported out there.  Chaos and negativity sells – for some reason.  But there are good things happening too.  Bridges being built – people seeking to understand vs. simply being understood – folks getting outside of their boxes and comfort zones – and legitimate love and charity taking place.”

I can’t wait for the future!

#BringItOn #LetsRoll

Again – if you would like to subscribe to my weekly summaries, please do so in the upper right hand corner of this page.

Blessings,

Scott Cooper

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Why I Have Hope for 2015!

Posted on 01 January 2015 by Scott Cooper

Mercies 2

Taking my own annual advice, I attempted to complete “Three of The Most Important Things You Can Do This Time of Year” – which is something I found via Doug Phillips about 16 years ago.  As a result of this effort, I want to share with you a few things that give me hope as we enter into 2015.

Doug recommends you chronicle things from throughout the previous year, like bills, checkbooks, diary’s, calendar’s, correspondence, books / articles you wrote or read, etc.  One of the things I reviewed during my “chronicling process” was some of my postings, both to my website and over Social Media during the course of the last couple years.  While I typically spend a little time in Social Media every day, and have done so for several years, I have been inconsistent in posting to my actual website, which is something I hope to improve on in 2015.

Here are three things which give me hope as we enter 2015:

Social Media Gives Me Hope:

I am thankful for Social Media and the increase in the blogosphere.  It gives me hope for several reasons.  First I believe it is one of the greatest tools which can be used for the defense of one of our greatest inalienable rights – The First Amendment.  Freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of expression and freedom of association are all amazing gifts the founders of our country bequeathed to us – and never before in history have average citizens had the ability to share their thoughts and ideas to an audience that reaches beyond their own sphere of influence.  I believe Social Media will play a critical role in our preserving this gift, The First Amendment.

Second, over the last two generations journaling really has become a lost art, which is curious because the popularity of websites like Ancestry.com, Geneology.com and FamilyTree.com is at an all-time high.  So while this generation has a fascination with looking to our past, most are not intentionally journaling to leave a record for their future generations.  Social media however is providing that for us – it provides a permanent record for those who come behind us, of the things we valued in our lifetimes.  As a student of history – I believe this is a good thing and I believe it will be incredibly valuable to future generations – not only for individual families, but in the study of sociology.

In reviewing my personal website, I thought it was interesting that the first post of 2013, and the last post of 2013 both dealt with National Security.  The first 6 months of 2014 was exceptionally busy for me, and I didn’t post anything until August.  Between August and December, I had 11 Postings.  Three of them dealt with National Security Issues; however 8 of them incorporated Faith into the post.  As I reflect not only on 2014 – but the last several years, that trend in my personal life gives me hope – because I see that trend – the trend to highlight faith – among many, many others as well, not just my own life.  I will return to this later.

Renewal of Leadership Gives Me Hope:

As a result of the activities I have been engaged in since the economic collapse and the financial bailouts, I have had the privilege in the last few years of meeting literally hundreds of people from all around the country.  Many are individuals who as a result of hardship or frustration got involved in the civic arena. As a result, today they are leaders in their local and state communities in ways they had never planned, expected or desired.

One can look at this and consider the old question: “Is one born to lead or do circumstances create the leader?”  Looking at the development of these unexpected leaders during this time period of history – I believe both is true, but I also have come to believe that leadership doesn’t come with birth, degree or position.  There are many with advanced degrees and many in positions of leadership who due to self-interest choose to go along to get along, vs. lead.  Stated differently, they choose not to influence for the things they believe in, because there will be a cost involved.  For many who are new in the arena, this has been frustrating – but as we study history (which this group has intensely done these last few years), it has come to be expected.  There is nothing new under the sun.

These hundreds of new, unexpected leaders will continue to grow in 2015 – and that gives me great hope!

Renewal in Faith Gives Me Hope:

For me, the most rewarding part of meeting these new leaders from around the country hasn’t been the focus on the issues that brought them into the arena – whether they be tax issues, spending issues, national defense / Patriot Act / NSA issues, IRS abuse issues, Education issues, agriculture / food supply issues, healthcare issues, energy issues, environmental issues – or any of the other issues that are out there these days – but the key ingredient among the vast majority of these new leaders is their belief that it is our Judeo-Christian Heritage which led to our republic being the most prosperous, productive and blessed nation in history, and their desire to see a restoration of virtue and a spiritual awakening in our country.  For the vast majority of these new friends and new leaders – that one issue trumps almost every other focus.  There are too many evidences of this to list, but those new leaders who I refer to in this post will know exactly what I am speaking about.  I have spoken with many in the course of the last year(s) who are most thankful for this resurgence of activism, because it has placed them in contact with friends in the faith based community, all around the country, that they never would have met otherwise.

This is encouraging – and it gives me great hope, not only for 2015, but for beyond!  I pray it gives you hope as well!

Happy New Year!  Many blessings to you and yours!

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Like Agriculture Fields Require Rest – So Do Our Leaders in Washington

Posted on 31 December 2014 by Scott Cooper

This morning I did my exercises walking the perimeter of a field we hope to incorporate into our Grass Fed Beef operation, Lord willing, around 2020.  Several things transpired during my brisk walk.

First, I looked onto a portion of a field that we have basically allowed to be dormant for close to two years.  Even though it is in a prominent, highly visible location, we intentionally have done virtually nothing to it, except allow the cows to graze it 4 times this year and hand pull some of the undesired plant life that naturally came back into the field when fertilizer and pesticides weren’t added.  We also cut it for hay twice during the first year.  It has been fascinating to watch what happens naturally, when nature’s system is left alone.  I am a novice at agriculture, but the more I study, the more I become convinced that all of God’s creation needs rest and healing – not just our bodies!

During my brisk walk, I also called my oldest son, who lives in another state. With the exception of discussions and a couple of weeks work at the very beginning, he has had very little involvement in our farm operation.  We spoke about the farm, some of the plans over the next several years.  Then we spoke about real estate – his passion – and some of the goals and projects he is focused on.  Then we spoke about other business opportunities, concluding by speaking about one specific entrepreneur who has used what God had blessed him with to bless countless other organizations, all of which have done great work in the civic arena.  This particular entrepreneur passed away in 2014 – and we briefly discussed how the philanthropic work this man has done over the last several decades will likely change as his foundations are passing to the next generation.

After hanging up with my son, I was at a different vantage point, looking back at the field that is coming out of two years of rest, yet still walking in the field that we hope to incorporate in 2020 – likely to place in its own 2 years of rest, which it will come out of in 2022, Lord willing!

For some reason, my mind went to Congress – and I thought – what if Congress and Washington simply took a rest – and did nothing for two years?  What would our world look like, after watching the effects of what they have done already – without doing anything new – no new additives, no tweaking – just a rest to observe the nature of what those who have been in Washington the last 2 – 4 decades have created?

Then I wondered, when they (those in Washington) look at and vote on their 2,000 page bills – do they contemplate what stages their “comprehensive” reforms will be in 5 years out from passage?  Do they contemplate the effects and the unintended consequences of their “comprehensive” reforms which often include hundreds of changes for things that have nothing to do with what the title the legislation indicates?  Then I wondered, are they building relationships with those who they hope will come behind them to manage the work they are so passionate about?  Do they listen to their viewpoints – as different generations do see things differently?

Yes – those are rhetorical questions – and if you got this far in my writing – you likely have the same conclusion I do.

Congress

In December of 2009, five years ago, I had the privilege of sitting at a large Conference Table in the U.S. Senate Russell Office building, which is where Virginia U.S. Senator Mark Warner’s office is, to discuss The Affordable Care Act Legislation.  That day we started in a Small Conference room – but because the number of people that ended up showing up at what we thought would be a small meeting was exponentially larger – we had to move to a room that would accommodate 150 or so people.

That was an infuriating meeting, because while Senator Warner’s Chief of Staff and a Legislative Aide did provide the public service their constituents are entitled to, and met with us – it was clear they were not open to any of the comments that came from their constituents – which included one passionate couple who had escaped the tyranny of Eastern Europe and an individual who had escaped Cuba.  One individual who had previously experienced socialized medicine, through her tears began to pound on the table out of anger and frustration – and others began to do the same.  I was angry that day as well – but I was also fearful for my country – because while there might be such a thing as righteous anger – what was being displayed would accomplish nothing, except end the discussion, which it did.

Well – we now know that The American Public was lied to in order to pass that “comprehensive” reform.  We know the answers to the rhetorical questions I asked above – because we are living through them – and it is painful.  And the pain is likely going to become more and more intense before it gets better.

The reason I share my experience in December 2009 in that Conference Room on Capitol Hill in conjunction with my walk this morning, five years later, is because I am convinced that just like our Bermuda grass fields, which have experienced a mono-culture for decades, require a rest – I believe the leadership in Washington requires a rest as well.  While I believe many of those in Washington were well intentioned when they arrived in DC, it is clear they have lived in the mono-culture of the beltway for far too long – and it is time for them to return home, take a rest and manage their own fields.

In my idealism, I would love to see a groundswell of patriotic action by those who have served us in Washington in elected office for the last 2 – 4 decades, and see them to return into an industry they have spent their lives legislating and regulating.  I would love to see them become entrepreneurs in the economy they have created vs. spending their final days on K Street.  That would be patriotism, in my humble opinion.  And if they achieve success in business, they would have opportunity to be benevolent with the wealth they create.  That is an American value.

In conclusion, before I began my walk this morning I read two articles about John McCain working to purge conservatives from the Arizona GOP.  This causes me to grieve.  Senator McCain has served his country nobly in war, as a prisoner of war and in public office – serving in Congress since 1983.  Even though there are policies I disagree with Senator McCain on, I believe that at 78, he has such an opportunity to leave Washington as a Statesman.  However rather than investing his energy encouraging conservatives and mentoring a replacement, my prediction is he continues to stiffen against the current trends within his party, will leave Washington like Eric Cantor – and the Arizona GOP will experience continued renewal much like RPV did this year.

Something happens inside the beltway to the vast majority of those who go there to serve.  Let us pray that the Dave Brat’s of this generation, and I predict many, many more in 2016 and 2018 – will learn from this time period – stay grounded – and remember that after a season or two – everything needs a rest.

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