The Great social Experiment Called America
by Ben Kinchlow
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Please forgive a personal reference, but this column is meant to provide an insight into life, and challenge some of our comfort zones, my own included. This is not just an exercise, or an attempt to overwhelm or impress. This column is from my heart, and my previous references to the great social experiment that is called America, it stems from a personal knowledge and life experience. In other words - this column is meant to be the real deal.


It has been 13 years since I finished the book, Plain Bread, and in that time I have seen and experienced much. One recent incident stands out clearly in my mind.


It was the day of the Clinton-Bush presidential election. My wife Vivian, our youngest son Sean, and I were walking to the polling booth along a back road in Chesapeake, Virginia. Each of us had a voter's registration card. Vivian and I had voted on many occasions, but for Sean this was the first time.
There were no German shepherds and no water hoses, no poll taxes, and no civic tests to take. In fact, nobody paid us much attention, except those who recognized me from the "700 Club." In a way, it was wonderfully anticlimactic. We were simply an American family voting in an American election for the President of the United States.


My son and I had discussed the issues and he had told me why he wanted to vote for his candidate. I had challenged him to make sure that he understood why he was voting. I tried to explain that many people, of all colors, had suffered and died so he would have the right to walk into that booth, punch out the little blank spots, and exercise the privilege of democracy. America works.


My son, Sean, is a fine young man. Nigel and Levi, my other two sons, are working men. They are responsible family men with good Christian wives. They pay taxes; they go to church. They pray. I am proud of them. My wife has done a good job. I feel comfortable that I have passed on to them the legacy of being an American, who through an incident of birth, happens to be black.


I have been an Executive Vice President of a major ministry. I have preached to a gathering of perhaps twenty-five thousand people in the Philippines. I have eaten Sushi in Tokyo. I have traveled down a nameless tributary of a river in Indonesia and I have stayed in a hotel suite previously occupied by a sitting President of the United States. When I pulled off a test track in Uvalde, Texas, and walked into a fly-specked dining room, eyes red from weeping as a result of meeting the Lord Jesus Christ, I never dreamed what God could do if I only dared trust Him.


I have traipsed up and down the highways and byways of America. I have managed a television station, written books, preached in big churches, little churches, and private prayer meetings. I have prayed with people across the length and breadth of this great country, listened to their hurts and their triumphs. But it was God who was speaking, not the people. And what was He saying? He was reiterating that He was not impressed with worldly positions, but He will give us opportunities beyond our wildest imaginings, if we will but trust Him with our lives.


I felt God was saying, "The time for playing religious games is over." We are close to a critical juncture in history. In terms of personal cost, being a Christian will soon become an expensive proposition. Our faith will be challenged in ways that are difficult for many of us even to imagine. Our children must have their own faith. They will no longer be able to be sustained comfortably on "the faith of their fathers."


I believe that America will soon be shaken to her very roots. I believe that a time is coming when we will have to lay aside color, creed, and national origin, and stand together as Christians in a world that will become increasingly hostile to the true followers of Jesus Christ. I also believe that it is for such a time as this that God has called us all to the Kingdom. 
Over the years, as I said, I have seen and experienced many things. The presidents have changed six times Ð Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and now Clinton. Styles have changed. My children have children. My hair is grayer. Unfortunately, my waist is thicker. But Jesus Christ is the same, was the same, will be the same: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever."


This is not the end. In my opinion, it is a new beginning and it is a great time to be alive and it is a great time to be a Christian.


Ben Kinchlow, Former co-host of Pat RobertsonÕs 700 club, is currently a motivational speaker doing seminars all across America. He is the author of several books by Nelson Publishers.