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

A Post St. Patrick’s Day Confession

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While it is probably more a function of the passing years, this particular St. Patrick’s Day was a rather tame, yet extremely pleasant, undertaking. Four pints and one wee dram of Tullamore Dew was accompanied by a bowl of Irish Stew at McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub in Bethlehem, PA. But there were those other years when my behavior was fraught with a lack of good judgement.

I was reminded recently of one such endeavor by an old friend who had agreed to escort, and would eventually wind up maintaining the upright position of me and another staff member of American Public House Review as we attempted to traverse the island of Manhattan during one of our March 17th adventures nearly twenty years ago. As I recall, that exceedingly warm afternoon’s long stretch of the legs began at Peter McManus Cafe in Chelsea and ended at Molly’s Shebeen on New York’s West Side. As to the finer details of the return trip, one would have to direct such inquires to the steadfast and sturdy host of The Barfly Confessional.

As part of a long overdue thanks and perhaps a bit of penance, we are pleased to announce a new partnership between our magazine and this superb podcast. And as the latest episode of The Barfly Confessional explores the life and challenges facing a priest in today’s Roman Catholic Church, hopefully, our partnering will be the source of many mutual blessings–or at the very least a few well deserved indulgences!

Posted by: Chris Poh for American Public House Review

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