The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







This Journey

by JC Bowman

I am writing this article pretty far in advance, as I will be traveling and unable to communicate.  So, I wanted to let you know I am still thinking about the friendly readers I have out there that so often send me words of encouragement. 

Where have we gone on this journey that is the Public Square?
  Well, in the 10 plus years we have looked at issues from a local, state, national and a global perspective. We have discussed people, politics and power.  We have discovered intimate connections to each other through a common faith in Jesus Christ.  You, my readers, have challenged me and inspired me to be genuine, honest and forthcoming.  I hope somewhere along the way I have helped you define issues that you care most about. 

I told my friend Gary Ray several days ago that in many ways this column is a journal.  I think the great challenges of life through in the pages of the People News.  I appreciate Pete Edwards for providing the forum, and for the last eight or so years the challenge of my daughter Jennifer to try to compete with as a writer.  We often race to see who can get their article in first and we like to critique each other's work.  Jennifer can be a brutal editor, but it is a fun activity.  Quite frankly, I have thought about quitting the column many times.  But then an issue arises and I think just one more month, and as you see I am still here.  One day I would like to compile all the articles and see what I really have as a body of literature.

Many of you reading this article could have written the words and some of you that send me emails should consider writing, you have important things to say and others need to hear it.  I have tried to be thought provoking at times. Sometimes I try to pick political fights and others times I just needed an escape.  The monthly task of cranking out an article has afforded me a regularly scheduled outlet to jot down what is on my mind.  I probably have not heightened the peaks of your mountains, but hopefully I have not deepened your valleys either.

J C Bowman

-J. C. Bowman, a native of Cleveland, is a well informed and outspoken conservative educator. Is a freelance public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN. Prior to this, he was Director for the Center for Education Innovation at Florida State University.  He served as the Director for the Florida Department of Education Choice Office and as the Chief Policy Analyst of the Education Policy Unit for Florida Governor Jeb Bush.



There was a point in time where men and women of faith were held in high esteem.  Unfortunately, that day is beginning to vanish.  I have heard it referenced that less than 2% of the citizens of Seattle consider themselves Christian, and the West Coast of the United States is increasingly isolated from the rest of the nation.  We worry about the Hollywood elites understanding the average citizen.  I worry about the average Californian to whom faith is a foreign concept.  We want to send a missionary oversees to China, yet almost all dialects of Chinese are found in Los Angles.  We have more immigrants in our country than the entire population of Canada. 

There has to be something in our faith that makes the non-believer understand that the spiritual life allows for a more rewarding life in general.  We cannot allow our faith to be mired in intellectual superficiality or artistic mediocrity.  Dick Staub, an award winning broadcaster, writer, and speaker, believes that people of faith can rise from the grave of cultural obscurity to artistically and intellectually enrich our culture.  I never thought of my contributions as anemic or indistinct, but I sadly confess we no longer hear Christians described as an intellectual force in modern culture.

We are slightly spoiled in Cleveland because we have Lee University in which to help foster our community.  Perhaps that is why we do not feel that we are adrift spiritually, politically or culturally.  But Cleveland is an anomaly in society.  The bright rays of the sunshine which shine here can shine elsewhere and often do.  Every Lee University student who comes into our town brings some hope with them, but they also take a piece of Cleveland with them on their journey in life.  As a native Bradley County resident I want Lee University students to take a part of my community with them as they impact the world.

I rarely get an opportunity to praise Paul Conn, but he has made a huge global impact by virtue of extending his arm at Lee University.  He does not get the community recognition he deserves, but he does not solicit such recognition.  Lee University has filled a large void in our community that could never be filled if the university was not here.  It is important to separate the

man from the institution, but it is also important to respect the contributions made by this man for this institution, and subsequent contributions of this great institution to the community.  I am very proud to be a Lee University graduate. I am also proud that my daughter Jennifer is following the family tradition begun by her great grandmother Julia O'Bannon and countless other relatives. 

The intellectual, like the political is too often "polarizing, demonizing, and dehumanizing."  Leaving God's transforming presence and full imprint in society will begin by touching all facets of the spiritual on earth including: intellectual, moral, relational and creative.  These areas will be perfected in an eternal setting, but must be embraced on earth and Christians can lead the way.  So where does this column go next?  I leave it to you the reader to decide.

--J. C. Bowman is a public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN..
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