Personal Reflections

Introducing Fireside Chats

The Fireside Chat sculpture by George Segal at the FDR Memorial

Welcome! Introducing Fireside Chats! 

First, let me introduce myself.  Just to give you an idea of who is writing this blog, and the owner of this website, I am Jacob White. I am a Christian, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a friend.  I feel it is my calling to open up a discussion where people can share ideas.  The thing about ideas is they are very personal.  The blogs that I write are extremely personal.  If you only knew the time I invest in a single blog post, you would be shocked.  I am a voracious reader and only rarely will I read fiction.  I enjoy reading very deep material from philosophers of the 1600’s to the 1900’s, economists of the early 1900’s, scholars of the 21st century, and other blogs. I try to reference any material that I read with the Bible to determine its validity.  The thing about ideas is that sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am wrong.  I will freely admit that. But I will continue to read and learn. And while I feel extremely vulnerable to open my ideas up to anyone that wants to read and comment, I trust that everyone will be civil.  Maybe we can learn from each other.

The journey that led me to this point can be traced back to 9/11/2001. Dismayed at the horror of that day, I was in full support of striking back. I swallowed all of the news, shows, and writings of Fox News, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and others.  As time progressed, in 2003, I was told we must attack Iraq due to Weapons of Mass Destruction, which honestly confused me but I still believed.  Once the lies of that war were exposed, I found myself dismayed yet again.  This time I was shocked at the lack of honesty in government.  Looking back I find it somewhat humorous that I was shocked.  However, I started searching for a better way.  That led me to conventional Libertarian thought and books like “The Law” by Frederick Bastiat, podcasts by Tom Woods, and too many blogs to count. Beyond that, I have finally settled on simply just Biblical thought on politics.  That has changed everything.  No more Democrat or Republican.  No more Libertarian.  No more Independent.  The more I read and the more I studied, the more I realized how out of step I was, as an American Christian, in relation to Biblical principles concerning government.  That has led me to being dismayed a third time at the posts, conversations, memes, and lack of true, honest love for fellow man. Yet, I also realize that it has taken me nearly 20 years to get where I am. I do not expect anyone to be convinced overnight of anything I write.  I also understand that tradition and beliefs are extremely personal for everyone, so I will try to be as gentle and understanding in my approach as I can.  But if I feel led to at least shine a light.

The idea of writing is not new for me. Over the years, I have written short stories, some comical and some serious. I have written essays on antiques and selling on eBay for a website.  I have written political pieces, mostly in my head.  For the few I have actually written on the screen, even fewer have made it past the delete button. As alluded to in a recent Facebook post, I rarely share my thoughts online and when I do, I always end up writing too much for a “post”.  I realize posts are supposed to be quick, punching, fast.  That’s just not me.  I scroll, click, laugh, shake my head, cry but never really share my thoughts. I feel led to change that.

On contemplating how to change that, there is really only one forum I keep coming back to and that is the blog.  It seems like the world is flooded with blogs. Most start and last a month or two only to fade away. This one may too. We’ll see. But rather than calling it a blog, I’ll just call it a chat.  I want to hear your thoughts and opinions, too. I know I am inviting disagreements because I know I am in a very tiny minority.  Maybe we can both learn from each other’s thoughts, lives, and opinions. Maybe we can both listen.

There is just something about a small campfire or a fire in a fireplace. I tend to be old-school when it comes to starting a fire.  I split the wood to smaller pieces and arrange them like a tee pee or a log cabin.  I like to collect just the right kindling, pull out the knife and make shavings. I collect dried grasses and maybe some leaves too. I like to get the “bird’s nest” carefully formed to receive the ember or spark. I even like to use a ferro rod and a striker to create a simple spark. There is a lot of preparation in making a fire, unless your thing is a blow torch and gasoline.  There is a lot of work involved. Doing it the old-school way somehow connects me with our ancestors.  But once that fire starts to climb and spread, creating a bed of coals, then I can sit back, in silence, with only my thoughts as I am mesmerized by the flame.  So too, with these “chats”, I intend to read a lot, prepare my thoughts just right, pray about what is conveyed, and trust that an idea, a topic, a conversation, will grow to a flame.  Maybe you will sit back, in silence, and contemplate the topic.  Then, doing your own soul searching and research, maybe even respond.

While I hold various opinions of different presidents, one thing, and about the only thing (more on that in future posts), I like about Franklin Delano Roosevelt was his Fireside Chats. I disagree with the content of those chats, but he used the relatively new form of radio in 1933 to share his thoughts and ideas for our country. In using this form of media, he could share his words without the filter of a newspaper reporter or editor.  I can just picture a dad, a grandmother, a newlywed couple, an interested teenager sitting quietly beside a crackling radio to listen.  It was a one-sided conversation most of the time.  I’m sure there were people that disagreed that may have been shouting back at the radio. Then, at least, the listeners may have felt like it was a two-way conversation.

After much thought and prayer, I decided to start my own Fireside Chats. While FDR may go several months between each broadcast, there may be sizable gaps between my writings as well.  As a means of introducing Fireside Chats to you, I believe most posts will follow along the broad topics of Christianity and politics, two subjects that, I feel, shouldn’t even be placed in the same sentence. Yet, they are two topics that need to be addressed.  I will also be discussing freedom, liberty, Christianity, Founding Fathers, politics, tradition, and everyday life.  Using the format of a blog will place all of the content in one place for future reference and discussion.  I am sure some topics may offend but that is not my intent. I wish to only create reflection.  I hope to convey ideas that spark more interest and cause you to read more, listen more, think more, search more and talk less.  And through it all, Christ be glorified. Come, have a seat.  Let’s chat.

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