In an exclusive interview during Thursday morning’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am– Gill and Leahy spoke to Mark West, who last night, resigned as President of the Chattanooga Tea Party after nine years. During the interview, West discussed his reasons for resigning and what he was currently focused on. West convictionally expressed his new found enjoyment in raising buffalo and his commitment and dedication to reading the word of God each day. He concluded the discussion by reciting a portion of a piece entitled, “Mission Worthy of an Old Guy’s Focus” and how this applies to the word and one’s duty to pass it on to future generations.
Leahy: By the way we are joined now, on the line by our good friend, Mark West, who has served as the president of the Chattanooga Tea Party from April 15, 2009 until last night, when he resigned. And so, Mark West welcome to the Tennessee Star Report.
West: Hey Michael good to talk to you and Steve good to hear from you!
Gill: And in addition to his many other duties also raises buffalo in his spare time which I think is impressive as anything you do Mark.
West: I am so enjoying that. Something I knew nothing about two years ago but we are just really enjoying. In fact I’m sitting here looking at them right now.
Gill: Now why was your decision made to step aside from the leadership of the Tea Party in Chattanooga?
West: You know it’s been coming for a long time and there’s been a lot of things that have been changing in my mind. My understanding of the last couple years, primarily as I’ve spent time just reading a book. And so you know, one of the greatest honors of my adult life has been serving as the President of the Chattanooga Tea Party. It was an incredible opportunity, incredible learning experience for me. But it’s time to move on. Our roles change, life changes and we gain new understandings from time to time and it’s time to act on those understandings.
Leahy: Well Mark first let me say, job well done. Job well done. I mean you did a great job there. You supported limited government. I think there was a piece in the Chattanooga Times Free Press that said, although they don’t always agree with you, that you were a leader of an excellent example of how civics and citizen engagement ought to take place in America. So congratulations on more than nine years of outstanding effort.
West humbly thanked Leahy for the kudos and went on to reflect about six years ago when Leahy came down during the Romney nomination. Leahy questioned West about the book that had influenced his decision to step down after nine years as the President of the Chattanooga Tea Party. West hesitantly answered that he’s been reading the Bible as his Grandfather had been an advocate of. He explained how the Bible has changed his mind and how he looks at the current political landscape and deciphered that the battles are spiritual in true nature, not political. He was convinced that we we’re trying to put “political Band-Aids” on “spiritual issues.” He firmly stated, “We are fighting spiritual problems with political solutions.”
Gill: Mark, one of the challenges I think we face, as we try to restore that faith based approach in our country, that has been so much of a fundamental part of our culture when we were doing better. We’ve not always done right. But we’ve always, you know, kind of aspired I think as a nation to follow the right path and a lot of that has been based upon Christian religious faith. I mean our founders were composed of that belief and tried to put us on a path as a country that would fulfill that. How do we restore that culture of faith in a culture that is spinning so out of control where despite the mockery of the left and the fake news media there is an assault on Christians constantly in this country, certainly internationally. But people are persecuted for their faith in this country. And personally, I see, I like the fact that you’re talking about spirituality rather than church because I see church leadership in so many cases not promoting a spiritual re-birth of faith in this country. They’re worried about that guy in the third row that’s their biggest donor. They’re worried about whether the IRS is going to come in if they talk about cultural issues and start terms. They want to be liked more than they want to lead. How do we restore that when we don’t in many cases have the right people in the pulpit leading the people in the pews?
West: Well I think it’s a really simple answer. It’s not easy, but it’s a very simple answer. We’re focusing on the wrong thing. We don’t solve the nations problems by solving the nations problems, if that makes sense. We solve the nations problems by looking at ourselves, looking in the mirror, saying what is it that is wrong with me. Not my neighbor, not my politician, not the government, not Congress, not Donald Trump. What’s wrong with me? And the only way we find out what’s wrong with me is by looking in the perfect Word that is a mirror to our soul. When we look into God’s Word, it’s a mirror and it shows us exactly what’s wrong with us. And so when I start looking at me, I see all the crap in my life, pardon me, all the crud in my life, I see what’s wrong with Mark West. I see the brokenness of me and I see what I need to do for myself so that I can be a better Mark. So that in turn, just coincidentally, I become a better citizen, I become a better neighbor. And as I do that, as a thousand Tea Party members do that, as a thousand Democrats do that, as a thousand Republicans do that, just as a thousand Americans do that, looking at ourselves, spending time in God’s word. Not five minutes a day. Not fifteen minutes a day. How about an hour a day. We spend three or four hours in front of Fox News. That was me for years. What if we took one hour of our time in front of Fox News and spent that focusing on what’s wrong with me. Not, what does Sean Hannity say is wrong with the Democrats. And so, as we begin to focus on ourselves and we become the person that God wants us to be, all of a sudden our nation begins to turn the corner because you have thousands, and tens of thousands, and millions of Americans who are not so concerned about the flaws of their neighbor but they’re working on the flaws of themselves.
In conclusion, Leahy described West’s realization as perhaps a “restoration of the American character through re-learning, re-living Christian values.” He questioned West if he believed this was a generational problem. West agreed, and also determined that our Christian values need to be found in the standard of truth in God’s Word. He urged listeners’ in 2019 to look into the Bible. He asked them to see whether it changes your mind or changes the way you look at your neighbor, the way you look at yourself, the politician, or the guy across the street you don’t agree with. West added that by immersing yourself in the Word, “you will be focused on eternal things that will matter way past your last breath.”
West ended the conversation by reciting in reaction to Leahy’s previous “generational” issue with what he called, a Mission Worthy of an Old Guys Focus: “Now that I’m old and grey, do not abandon me oh god, let me proclaim your power to this new generation. Your mighty miracles to all who come after me.”
Listen to the full segment:
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