For starters, I’ll state the obvious. No system is perfect, nor any political party or candidate. But still, VOTE. It’s a right and a privilege. And it matters. Especially, when both extremes question the viability of our democratic form of government.
Consequently, extremes remind me of the Church and ways some are too wedded to politics and power. It puzzles and unsettles me. And, judging from my circle of friends and family, confuses too many outside any church or religious affiliation. What is the place of the Church in society? Have we left space for grace?
Which brings me to Dean Pedersen’s Sunday School class yesterday. Dean led us to consider how to “Agree and Disagree in Love.” We, within the Church, too often contribute to the lack of civil discourse. We’re failing Listening 101. In class, Dean asked us to define the difference between a response and a reaction. I thought, “Sometimes it’s just a matter of a few seconds before speaking.”
Still, we work at winning arguments, getting the last word, and exchanging truth to get what we want. Consequently, our strident speech takes a toll on relationships in homes, churches, as well as on national and global levels. So what or who determines how we vote? Oscar Wilde wrote, “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” What do I want? What does someone else need? Or our country?
Philip Yancey reminded me in Grace Notes of a G.K. Chesterton quote. “While a coziness between church and state may be good for the state, it is bad for the church.” Yancey continued, “Herein lies the chief danger to grace: the state, which runs by the rules of ungrace, gradually drowns out the church’s sublime message of grace.” (p. 357)
Which leads me to ask, “When I go to vote tomorrow, does The Church have a place on the ballot? Also, does truth matter anymore? And what about grace?
Which is why I’m grateful our choir, accompanied by flute(Thanks, Liz) and organ, filled the sanctuary with the sounds of Amazing Grace yesterday. We need reminders, nudges to offer to others what we’ve received for no earthly reason. And who hasn’t sung as personal truth, “I once was blind, but now I see.”
Finally, Yancey instructs, “The church works best as a force of resistance, a counterbalance to the consuming power of the state. The cozier it gets with government, the more watered-down its message becomes.”(p.357 in Grace Notes.)
So, after all the votes are tallied, winners and losers known, may we, who identify as Christians, be recognized by our dialect of grace. Not everything is worth a war. Or a win.
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