October 22, 2008
If it weren’t for a man by the name of Al Quie, I might not even be speaking to you now on BreakPoint. That’s because there are very few people that have ever had such a profound impact on my life as this humble giant of a man.
A former farmer, naval aviator, state senator, congressman, and governor of Minnesota, Al is a model for all who aspire to live out their Christian faith with integrity. So I’m thrilled that a biography of Al Quie is out so that you, too, can get to know the man who has had such a tremendous impact on my life and ministry.
Indeed, integrity is one of the great themes of Al’s life, and it shines through the pages of Riding into the Sunrise by Mitch Pearlstein. As Al says, “There’s got to be congruency between all of what you say and what you do.” When there isn’t, “it corrupts the soul.”
For years, Al starts of every day with prayer, devotional literature, and time in the Word. As he meditates on the passage, he notes any inconsistencies between his life and what he’s reading about. Al explains, “What I say and do all have to be in harmony with each other. And when it isn’t, I tackle the inconsistency.”
Quie’s life reflects the fruit of pursuing integrity. One of the accomplishments that gives him the greatest satisfaction is the fair-employment legislation he helped pass in Minnesota back in the 1950s. The bill would abolish job discrimination against African-Americans in Minnesota—but it faced stern opposition from Al’s fellow conservatives. Al spoke out: “I’m going to vote for it for only one reason,” he said in his speech. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Quie’s remarks changed the tone of the discussion that day. The legislation passed.
Al’s warm, quiet manner won him many friends on both sides of the political aisle. But he was never afraid to stand up. Shortly after arriving in Washington as a junior congressman, he was invited by a senior House member to go to Europe to examine farm policies.
Al was enthusiastic about the opportunity, until he learned that two of the Congressman’s beautiful young secretaries would be going along on the trip; but he was told they “wouldn’t be doing any secretarial work.”
Only a few months into his congressional term, Al challenged the senior member’s impropriety, telling him that if the secretaries went on the trip, he would not go. Well, Al stayed home.
But I know Al’s integrity and consistency from up close. Seven months into my prison term, I was facing some family crises that were terrible. Al called me and told me about a law that might allow him to serve out the rest of my sentence. Al said he was going to see President Ford the next day and ask him, if he, Al, could serve the rest of my prison sentence. I was speechless.
If a senior Congressman would lay his life down for one of most reviled men in the country, then I knew that Jesus had to be exactly who He says He is. That moment affirmed my faith like no other. Though Al never had to follow through—because a couple of days later I was released from prison—the lesson never left me.
We so desperately need examples like Al Quie. I so hope that you, your friends, and your family will read Riding into the Sunrise and get to know a man who has lived the most consistent life of integrity of anyone I’ve ever met.
Chuck Colson’s daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.
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