Building Back Better in the Spirit of Bethlehem

Dear Lord, let me live a life constantly in search of the truth, but spare me the company of people who have already found it. –– An “old Texas prayer”

The closest I’ve come to finding enlightenment in some sacred setting during this past Christmas season is pictured above–no wise men on camels or a shepherd boy tending his flock, just two LED laden reindeer outside an Irish pub in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I had resolved to once more make sense of 2021 by way of my keyboard before greeting the New Year. But like my resolution to drink less in 2022, an idea which has already been toasted too many times, my own ambitious program of building back better is being held up not by some Senator from West Virginia, but by the man who looks back at me in the mirror each morning.

While writing this, my focus is interrupted by the sound of the cable news channel in the other room. The day’s panel of pundits is debating why Republicans have opted, except for the two honorable souls from Wyoming, not to partake in the remembrance of what occurred in our nation’s capital last January 6th. Their collective absence seems to contradict that adage about criminals always returning to the scene of the crime.

The uprising and pandemic aside, the talk around Washington for the last twelve months has mainly been about what amount of taxpayer dollars will go toward the Build Back Better Bill. And while I agree with most of the President’s agenda on that matter, we should probably first shore up the foundation of our democracy before it seems that the best use for our crumbling interstates is to find the quickest way out of Dodge.

In many ways, America’s brand of democracy shares several similarities with the Divinely inspired ethic manifested in that birth in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago. Both extol the virtues of respect, tolerance, and inclusion–and both hold sacrosanct the absolute equality of all! And while the vast majority of people and politicians have always proclaimed these principles a proper roadmap for human behavior, history suggests that there are a significant number of non-believers amongst the American congregation. Our reliance on loopholes, cheating, and that nasty habit of excluding whatever segment of society threatens the status-quo certainly proves the point.

So by the grace of God and in that true spirit of Bethlehem–I pray that we all find a common path for both ourselves and our country to build back better in the coming year!

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Click on Sit Downs and Sessions or the PodBean logo to hear an in-depth conversation about the events of January 6th.

Posted by: Chris Poh

New Hope for the Holidays

CNJ Train Station - Jim Thorpe, PA - Christmas 2008

CNJ Train Station - Jim Thorpe, PA - Christmas 2008

Just when I thought that it couldn’t get any worse for humankind this year, rumors started to be heard on the streets of Jim Thorpe, PA that one our much vaunted stops along the Irish drinking parlor  circuit,  the Molly Maguire’s Pub was not going to renew its lease at year’s end. But now certain well placed sources are saying that a reprieve of sorts is in the cards, and that this venerable institution will remain intact for at least one more grand parade down Broadway come this March. “Saints Be Praised.”

And while we are on the topic of  Jim Thorpe, I was speaking with the owner of The Gandy Dancer; as a devotee and dealer of railroad photography,  he is one who certainly appreciates the Tracks and Taverns section of our magazine. He was also kind enough to share the image of the train station as a way to pass along the spirit of the season from all the good people up in  Jim Thorpe.

Another great Pennsylvania community also sends out its holiday greetings to the rest of mankind in the current issue of  American Public House Review. Indulge your visual senses with these images of the city of Bethlehem in this photo essay compiled by Kathleen Connally.

 On behalf of  the creative and editorial staff, and all the communities and public houses that have opened their doors and hearts to us during the past year we wish everyone – 

A Season Filled With Hope and Many Blessings!

Candle and Tankard

Candle and Tankard

And May Your Candle Always Burn Bright, and May Your Tankard  Always Be Full!
 
 
Posted by: Chris Poh, Editor-in-Chief
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