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Posts Tagged ‘Democrat’

Earlier I tried to write a post about the tragedy at Newtown, but even as I wrote it, I recognized how flat it was. I read a number of posts various people have put forth. None of them resonated with me. I determined that I needed to be quiet for a few days. To think; to listen; to pray. We shall never know what complex influences, inner demons, or mental issues combined to drive Adam Lanza to commit these horrible acts. If he had lived, he might have been able to provide an explanation that made sense to him, but I doubt anything he could have said would have satisfied the rest of us.

Out of all the complex emotions I have experienced, one thought keeps coming back to me. In various forms I have said it before, and it is what I would leave you with. We have become a nation in which hate is not only acceptable; often it is considered a virtue. We feel that if our cause is right, we are allowed to hate those who oppose it. Republicans, democrats, gay rights advocates, evangelical Christians, on and on goes the list of people we feel it is okay to hate.

I am a Christian, which means I am commanded by God to love even my enemies. That is not a command to have warm fuzzy feelings about people whose beliefs or practices are repugnant to me. It is a command to love them in the Greek “agape” sense. This means that I wish and will work for the best for every human being I encounter. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS!

While unconditional love is simple to understand, it can be terribly difficult to practice. Yet we dare not become satisfied with anything less.

We must stop hating other people. It is that simple, and it is that hard.

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Once more I am departing from the normal subject of this blog. I hope you will indulge me, and if this turns you off, just ignore it.

Monday evening President Obama and Governor Romney will engage in their final debate. I offer a suggestion for you to consider; something different upon which to focus.

If you choose to watch the debate, try this simple exercise. While you are cheering on the candidate you support, more than likely agreeing with everything he says, why not take a break and do one more thing. When the other candidate speaks, instead of focusing on how you disagree with his position, why not listen for some aspect with which you might sympathize.  While you will probably still disagree with this candidate’s solution, try to find an issue which you might acknowledge needs to be recognized as we seek an equitable solution.

I have become convinced that the major differences between the two parties have to do primarily with how they focus on solutions. Now if you currently support a particular candidate, obviously you agree with that person’s overall philosophy of government. At the same time, we as a nation have become so polarized that we can unconsciously come to feel that our candidate is 100% right about every issue, and the other candidate has no concerns which I need to address. I have lived long enough to be on the receiving end of issues which I now understand that both the left and the right need to acknowledge.

Very likely, you will not come out of the debate with a totally different philosophy. You will still believe your candidate’s performance was better than the other. So be it. But you just might also recognize that the other candidate has legitimate concerns which deserve to be heard. If we all did that, real compromise (as opposed to political compromise) just might go further to resolving our problems than the stalemate which seems to characterize our current leaders.

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Is God on my side?

In the book of Joshua the writer describes an encounter between Joshua and what is initially described as a man with a drawn sword. Joshua is ready to begin the conquest of the land, so he asks what would appear to be a natural question. “Are you for us or for our enemies?” (Joshua 5.13). We can picture Joshua gripping his sword, ready to fight; depending on the answer the man gives. The man then changes the dynamic when he answers, “Neither . . . but as commander of the army of YHWH I have now come.”

I’m not certain just why this story was originally written, but I believe it speaks directly to us, specifically to our view of how God acts in our lives. Essentially Joshua is asking the angel, “Are you on my side?” At first this would appear to be a legitimate question. After all, don’t all of us want God to be on our side? I have certainly been in situations where I would like to believe that.

However, I see a problem with this view. Now you may say it’s just semantics, but think about it for a moment. If God is on my side, then I’m still in charge. God’s purpose is to assist me in doing what I have determined to do. Consider how the situation changes if instead of worrying about whether or not God is on my side, I spend my efforts in making sure I am on God’s side. You see, if I am on God’s side, then I am no longer in control. God is leading. It’s His plan, His agenda. I am simply there to be a part of helping God implement His purposes, whether it is for my life or impacting the world around me. You may have heard the saying, “If God is your co-pilot, switch seats.” There is a great deal of wisdom in that. But, how does this impact my life?

One area that comes to mind would be in my prayer life. I must admit that much of what I pray about is centered around me, asking God to bless decisions I have already made, heal me or those I love who are sick, keep me safe while I am traveling. The list goes on and on. And to some degree there is nothing wrong with that. God does care about me and what is important to me.

But if that is all I focus on, my prayers reveal a view of God that needs revising. Perhaps more of my prayers should be asking God to reveal His will for my life and to open my eyes to how I can be part of his vision for me and for the world in which I live.

Seeing me as being on God’s side can also affect the way I view events in this world. It constantly amazes me that both Republicans and Democrats seem convinced that their cause is righteous, and they have God in their pocket. I believe that portraying God as supporting either the Democratic or Republican cause reflects a shallow view. Perhaps this is too harsh, but I wonder if it may border on blasphemy. As if God’s purpose for this earth is to ensure that one political party or the other is in power. What if God’s real purpose for us is not to change our political leaning, but to change our hearts, so that, Republican or Democrat, we filter those views through a deep desire to live out our lives in ways that reflect both the wisdom and the compassion of God. That kind of focus, would, I believe, change members of both parties in ways that would bring out the best of both views, perhaps even reconcile some of the bitterness that now seems to characterize our political scene.

Whose side is God on? Maybe the real question should be, “Whose side am I on?”

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