Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Love, Fear, and Politics

Which of the following sounds more like the current state of our society, country, world?

1. Idolatry, hatred, division, envy, jealousy, anger, selfishness, contentiousness, fear.

2. Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love.

Current state - 1. Ideal state - 2.

Politicians. Are there are politicians who live #2? Or who at least seem to try to lead our country with compassion or humility or kindness?

Sadly, I think the list of politicians seems to be full of #1's.

This political season, I seem to be hearing more and more and more speeches and soundbites that are all about hatred, division, anger, and fear.

What I long for are leaders who desire cooperation, cohesion, teamwork.

I want to follow someone who understands the weight of the world but still leads with hope, love, joy, peace, patience in their heart.

I'm not going to turn this into a discussion about the current Presidential race. Because in all honesty, I think all of the candidates have a lot more of #1 in their campaigns than they have #2.

There will never be a perfect #2 candidate or politician.

But there is one leader who embodies #2.

A leader who sees it as a priority to care for the poor, attend to mental health issues, seek justice for the oppressed, connect to our brothers and sisters in the world. A leader who believes strongly in peace instead of war, who values women and children, who gives food to the hungry and medical care to the sick. A leader who has stood up to the regime and the historic leadership and made huge changes to how things have always been done.

Jesus.

Do you know where the words for #1 and #2 came from? All of it came from the Bible.

Galatians 5:19-21
19 It’s clear that our flesh entices us into practicing some of its most heinous acts: participating in corrupt sexual relationships, impurity, unbridled lust, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, arguing, jealousy, anger, selfishness, contentiousness, division, 21 envy of others’ good fortune,drunkenness, drunken revelry, and other shameful vices that plague humankind. I told you this clearly before, and I only tell you again so there is no room for confusion: those who give in to these ways will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Colossians 3:12-15
12 Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. 14 But above all these, put on love! Love is the perfect tie to bind these together. 15 Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body), and be thankful.

When I watch the debates and I read the articles and I hear the speeches, I also think about the Sermon on the Mount. The words that Jesus himself gave us that guide how we live and the choices we make and the impact we have on the world. Do any of the candidates meet anything at all in the Beatitudes, for example?

Jesus: Blessed are the spiritually poor—the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
    Blessed are those who mourn—they will be comforted.
    Blessed are the meek and gentle—they will inherit the earth.
    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness—they will be filled.
    Blessed are the merciful—they will be shown mercy.
    Blessed are those who are pure in heart—they will see God.
    Blessed are the peacemakers—they will be called children of God.
10     Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness—the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

I can go through the candidates and clearly check off - meek? gentle? merciful? pure in heart? peacemakers?

Don't make me laugh. Imagining someone seriously convinced that Trump is meek and gentle or that Cruz is a peacemaker or that Clinton thirsts for righteousness gives me serious pause.

I am biased - I do "feel the Bern" and I do feel that out of what is being offered, Sanders comes closest to how my faith wants my country to be run.

Do you consider your personal values when you consider electing a president, a governor, a mayor, a senator? Do you look at the priorities you have for yourself and your children, the expectations you have in your family and friends and do you apply that to the people who want to make laws and rules and policies and represent you in the world?

Matthew 5:21-22
21 As you know, long ago God instructed Moses to tell His people, “Do not murder;[a] those who murder will be judged and punished.” 22 But here is the even harder truth: anyone who is angry with his brother will be judged for his anger. Anyone who taunts his friend, speaks contemptuously toward him, or calls him “Loser” or “Fool” or “Scum,” will have to answer to the high court. And anyone who calls his brother a fool may find himself in the fires of hell.

Matthew 5:38-48
38 You know that Hebrew Scripture sets this standard of justice and punishment: take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.[d] 39 But I say this, don’t fight against the one who is working evil against you. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, you are to turn and offer him your left cheek. 40 If someone connives to get your shirt, give him your jacket as well. 41 If someone forces you to walk with him for a mile, walk with him for two instead. 42 If someone asks you for something, give it to him. If someone wants to borrow something from you, do not turn away.
43 You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy.[e]44 But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you— 45 in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us—good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. 46 It is easy to love those who love you—even a tax collector can love those who love him. 47 And it is easy to greet your friends—even outsiders do that! 48 But you are called to something higher: “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Politics and religion do not mix. Politicians are, almost by definition, the opposite of all that Jesus preached. But my faith is a priority in my life. It indicates for me how I should live, how I should care for others, how I should view the entire world. So my faith drives my interest in politics because I do wish that we could have leaders who want these things that Jesus taught. I want politicians to be fair to everyone, no matter what their faith or value system is based on. But I think leaders who seek to lead the way that Jesus did, who follow what Jesus taught, those leaders speak to my heart in a bigger way.


sig jan 2014 photo owlsig.jpg

1 comment:

Lindsay Flegge said...

So great to find another local blogger. Really enjoyed this post.