Back in the fall I traveled back to Plains, Georgia, for my second visit to this teeny tiny town (population 683). On my first visit I'd heard that I should come back some weekend when Jimmy Carter would be teaching Sunday School at his home church, Maranatha Baptist (check out the website for Carter's teaching schedule). As Plains is tiny, Carter's church is small too, yet the sanctuary was at capacity that day (it seemed that the majority were visitors). While I was in town I toured a few other places in town and at the museum in the old Plains High School building I purchased a copy of Carter's 1992 book on his first political campaign in 1962 for a seat in the state senate. It's called Turning Point: A Candidate, a State, and a Nation Come of Age. As this is an election year and things are heating up, I figured it would be a good time to move this book to the top of my reading pile.
That Sunday Carter spent a few minutes of his Sunday School hour talking about the good work that's happening out of The Carter Center in Atlanta. He talked about his travels around the world (his travel schedule would wear out someone half his age) for the purposes of making health care accessible in hard to reach places and encouraging fair elections around the world. Then he turned his Sunday School lesson to one right out of the Bible. He used parts of 1 Corinthians 4 and talked about being a good steward of the mysteries of God.
It would have been a good lesson for anyone in the public eye representing the masses to hear. Now that I've read the book I picked up that weekend I realize how much Carter wanted to properly represent the people in those rural southwestern Georgia counties, and how advocating for his friends and neighbors became a calling that he wanted to do the right way. I also wondered if his experience with his own first election in 1962 influenced his work for fair elections in other parts of the world since he left presidential office. In the book, he and his team uncover unfair and illegal election practices going on at one of the polling places in a county he's hoping to represent. The book outlines the legal battle that ensued, and ends with his swearing in at the state senate.
No matter how you vote or what you believe in politically, it's always good to hear a story about a politician striving to do the right thing. It was an interesting read. As I've only been a Georgia citizen for about five years, it was particularly nice to get this back story on our former president.
Here are a few photos from the weekend: