I did not start this blog to tackle the political side of life, although our politics tend to reflect deeper aspects of who we are and what we believe. Having said that, I TRULY believe that both sides (because let’s face it – there ARE sides no matter what anyone in the public political field wants to tell you) genuinely want to help people who are struggling and genuinely want to get America back on track, they just have very different ideas of how to get there. Much the same as my husband and I having very different ideas about how to get an elk from the field into our freezer. His idea involves ‘us’ cutting it up and packaging it, and my idea involves the butcher block down the street! However, I don’t want to minimize how important our differences on a national political scale are.
I have been reading a lot of hateful and hurtful statements (from both sides) over the past few weeks, many of which came from people who, like me, have vowed to uphold the Gospel in our life and work. What I have been reading from many of them does not uphold the Gospel and it really, really bothers me. I want to believe that their intensions are genuine, but at the heart of the Gospel is not alienating people, not casting people aside. Yes, as Christians we have to stand up for what we believe in, but not at the expense of what we believe in. That sounds like I’m talking in circles, but if we have to put ‘others’ down in order to lift up our own viewpoint, then we should take pause and consider what it is we are lifting up.
And today, I keep reading and hearing a lot about ‘coming together,’ that now is the time to come together and reach across the aisle. I hear it from politicians and I hear it from pastors. Why is now the time? Hasn’t it always been the time? And when is anyone going to acknowledge the differences that exist? When I hear people say ‘come together’ and ‘reach across the aisle’ I wonder if that really means ‘it’s time to see things my way.’ Why are differences so bad…so taboo? Differences inevitably make our unity stronger because we have to set our egos aside in order to make progress. Egos are what get in the way of progress, not differences of policy or opinion.
Here is a quote from John Wesley that is an appropriate one for any election and is one of the more positive things I have seen during this election season. John Wesley is known as the father of the Methodist church in America, and was the driving force for embedding worship in the wilderness areas during the colonial times. Find any small town today and you will likely find a Methodist church because that is still part of their mission – making sure people, no matter how remote, have access to religious worship.
“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them, 1. to vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy; 2. to speak no evil of the person they voted against; and, 3. to take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.” ~John Wesley, October 6, 1774
I think we can all learn a thing or two from this.