Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A time such as this!

It doesn't matter any more where we stand with regard to politics.  More and more of us seem to be discerning that our national story is a real mess!   From our foreign policy, to the administrations organizational goals, to the increase in racist and extremist voices, to the increased disfunction in national leadership, 
on and on, we're like a drunk college student trying to get home, stumbling and fumbling, not able to think or process very well.    

Not only do many of us no longer find the latest "events", "breaking news", or tweets shocking, many don't even find them very interesting any more.  

At first it was like seeing a terrible accident off the highway - drivers craning their necks to see what terrible event had just occurred.  But after so many, while they are all tragic, the mind has trouble making sense of them anymore.  

All this said (and done), I do find the deeper points and themes still meaningful  --more meaningful than ever.            

One the positive effect from all this is that many more peole (than otherwise) are taking stock of their values, about what's important to them, about what they stand for, what they believe.  And more importantly... why they value these things, why they hold these values dear, why they believe what they believe.

In this place -- this time -- in our nations story, with this expression of government, of polity... and the effects of these on us all...   all this wraps up together...   bringing from us strong responses from more and more people.

In spite of the fact that many of us see what is happening in front of us as some kind of horrible Reality-TV circus writ large on our national stage, there is a positive movement;  more and more are driven to an interest in politics in healthier ways!  
More and more people are informing themselves on issues.  They are reading, studying, and learning.

Some of us may be reacting against something something.   So look at what you are reacting against.... let it lead you to what you hold dear.

Maybe some are reacting for something... what might this be opening you to?  What does this reveal about your core convictions?      

What do our reactions reveal about our views of  immigration...  and citizenship?   ... About what we think of people that don't look like us  -- or act like us   -- or speak like us?   

What do our reactions reveal about our views of social safety nets?   ...And to whom do they apply?     ...And how might they apply?  

And what if we hold these views -that we recognize in ourselves- and hold them up to the Gospel message we also say we hold dear, or "true"?   What would we see?   What might the comparison reveal?  
What if there were a contradiction - between what we say we hold as important, and what we actually hold as important?   Could we be honest enough to recognize this? 

Another way of asking this is:  
What do we think Christ stood/stands for?    
        Certainly an interesting question.   It's a 
        question about what we suppose our faith 
        might rest on.   

What do we think God is asking us to stand for?
         Now, here, we have to reconcile what we 
         say we hold dear with what we feel this 
        faith calls us to.

And... how do we measure up?   
If there is a contradiction, do we even recognize the conflict?

A message from Stephen Colbert ---  
                          “If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't 
                 help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus 
                 was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to 
                 acknowledge that He commanded us to love the 
                 poor and serve the needy without condition and 
                 then admit that we just don't want to do it.”

What does this moment in our time bring up in us?   Anger?   Frustration?   Inner conflict?  A desire to hold the "faith" at arms length...  or to grab it and pull it in?

Whatever your reaction is to all this, don't just  not leave it at that!   Let the process guide you!  Listen more deeply.     Listen for what you're reacting to... and why you're reacting.  

What does this say about...    
      ...Your values?     
      ...Who you are?     
      ...What you stand for? 

Listen to all this.    

Let it help you clarify 
      -- your true core convitions
      -- what you actually stand for
      -- your faith...   
              as lived out in the secretnesss of your 
               heart and mind

Here's the deeper question:   What kind of God do you believe in?   

Who is God...        
      ...to your world?      
      ...to your nation?
      ...to the people around you?     
      ...to you?

I can assure you, this process can be very difficult.  If we're serious   --and honest--   we indeed recognize a very high ideal... a high standard!     Oh so unrealistic a standard!     

Yeah... and so?    Just because it may be hard, or scary, or challenging, that doesn't mean we can't engage in the hard work of aligning our lives and actions with the deeper virtues of our faith.  

Let this time be a time for us of deep learning.    Let us have the clarity to identify those areas that do not align with what we say as our higher ideals, and the strength and endurance to do the hard work of living our ideals! 

In my last conversation with Andy Kirchmeier, a man who was at first one of my High School teachers, and who later became a friend, he shared with me... we should never be afraid to be idealists.   We should never justify our ideals!  

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