President’s Days is just around the corner, and the leaders of the past can offer insights for our times. Abraham Lincoln is remembered for holding the union together and trying to bring reconciliation and his faith has often been referred to as a “quiet fire.” His life holds valuable lessons for a deeply divided nation in 2020.
“30 Days with Abraham Lincoln – Quiet Fire,” a new book by Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer, explores the spiritual side of the former president.
“The book is like chicken soup for the soul, drawing on Abraham Lincoln’s character and courage for its wisdom,” said Mark Sappenfield, editor of the Christian Science Monitor. “But ultimately, what emerges is a portrait of what made Lincoln extraordinary. In a word: reconciliation.”
The book has been praised by leading Lincoln scholars and media professionals. Newcomer’s goal is helping as many Americans as possible rediscover Lincoln’s spiritual wisdom — a surprising invitation, because many Lincoln scholars have pointed out the president’s often ambivalent attitude toward organized religion.
In fact, he writes, “Lincoln was uncomfortable with some of the cultural baggage that accompanied a lot of 19th-century religious life, because he was deeply committed to spiritual values that in many ways were ahead of his era.”
Newcomer reminds readers of Lincoln’s belief that it is “not the land that makes us American. It’s a mindset. Americans are not a race or a tribe. To Lincoln, Americans are a people who have received a great gift: a free nation with self-government.” And “Thirty Days With Abraham Lincoln — Quiet Fire” reminds us that “Americans did not create this free nation on their own; in Lincoln’s mind, a divine assistance made it possible.”
In these short daily stories, Newcomer touches repeatedly to the role of the divine in Lincoln’s thoughts, writings and deeds. In one story, Lincoln senses “an abiding presence everywhere for good.” In another, “God acting in history.”
“It may just be,” Newcomer writes, “that more than two centuries after the birth of Lincoln, new generations of people are ready to follow Lincoln once again — in order to find a new birth of freedom. This spirit can make the young wide awake and relight the fire inside the old.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice