Freedom must be cultivated to survive
by Donald Conkey
May 28, 2014 11:20 PM | 1276 views | 1 1 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Recently, on our way to a doctor’s visit, while driving out of our Eagle Watch Community, Joan asked, “What have they done to those trees?” I looked. There was little left of our community’s highly manicured cone trees that line the boulevard leading into Eagle Watch. They looked horrible.

The HOA had approved pruning 10 to 12 feet off their beautiful and well-manicured foliage. There was only one small ring of foliage, along with a few bare branches left on each tree.

As we continued to the doctor’s offic,e I noticed a large truck with the words “In God We Trust” written in large letters on its hood.

I kept thinking of these two images — pristine trees pruned back to a minimum foliage and a truck with the words “In God we Trust” painted on its hood? Was there a story for me in these two images? Perhaps.

As I continued to ponder those images, I remembered a story from years ago, a story told by Hugh B. Brown about a gooseberry bush that had grown tall and beautiful but wasn’t producing any fruit. Brown’s story also told how a wise old gardener had used his pruning shears to cut back the gooseberry bush, leaving it with “tears streaming down its bare stems.”

The moral of that story was that sometimes a bush has to be pruned back if it’s going to produce fruit — the very purpose of its existence.

But was there a connection between the Eagle Watch pruned trees and the words “In God we Trust?” Perhaps there’s no connection; perhaps it was only my concern for America that I imagined a possible connection. But my concern for America is real; a concern shared by millions of Americans today. My concern: the direction the progressive leadership is taking America today.

Is there a connection for me between these two images? Yes. They connect, I believe, because too many Americans only give lip service to the words “In God we Trust.”

For me, “In God we Trust” means being good citizens; taking part in our government by voting intelligently; by searching out those persons who are honest, trustworthy and live honorable lives to lead us, men and women with experience and supporting them when they run for office; and by living fully the commandments of He whom we say we trust.

One doesn’t have to look too far to see that corruption we see at every level of government here in the United States is little different than the corruption that led to the destruction of ancient Israel, or the rejection of God that led to the destruction of Germany, Japan and Russia during World War II.

But what has this to do with the pruning of our Eagle Watch trees? The pruning of our local Eagle Watch trees, like the pruning of the gooseberry bush, should be a reminder to all Cherokeeans and all Americans that the God who raised up America’s Founding Fathers to create this “land of the free and home of the brave” is still in charge and is the Master Gardener that is now pruning back America so that it will be able to regain its strength and resume the God given mission He gave to America when he created America — “to proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the in-habitants thereof:” (Lev 25:1) and to be a better example of a freedom founded nation than it has been in recent years.

I personally believe that the Lord, in his wisdom, is sending a message, a very strong message, to America that it better get its act together and get back on track before he really lowers his wrath on America, as he did on Israel anciently, by sending in armies to take us captive, scatter us, and/or destroy us entirely. Serious Bible students have read in 2 Kings how God destroyed Israel. It wasn’t very pretty. The parallels between this story in 2 Kings and America are real, very real for me.

Serious Bible students are also familiar with the story of the non-bearing fruit tree in Matthew 7:19-20. It reads: “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

And here is my connection: if America fails to continue bringing forth its God assigned fruit it too could be “hewn down and cast into the fire.” America’s fruits have been freedom and liberty — since 1776.

Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.

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May 30, 2014
In tree pruning we trust?

Never has a writer gone so far, for so long, with so many words, for a cliched analogy.

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