Monday, October 1

I'm a moderate Republican and. . .

A few days ago I found out there are some folks who think I'm a liberal Democrat. I understand why. I do and that's fine. We read and see and understand how we choose to interpret through our lens and perspectives and if I don't always say something with which you agree then. . . . Whatever.

However, that's part of the problem. We're not listening and we're not asking clarifying questions. Instead, we're making assumptions, trolling, making death threats. I cannot even begin to wrap my head around all of the complexities we face just now and it's just going to get harder as both sides of the political aisle insist on getting more and more entrenched.

So a couple of thoughts that seem random but aren't, at least in my head. First, many of us have read Chinua Achebe's brilliant book Things Fall Apart. I'm not going to give you a book report or even a book review because what strikes me is that in this book, the protagonist, Okonkwo, consistently tries to control everything. Achebe references Yeats's poem "The Second Coming", specifically the line "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold." I remember when I first read this line I sensed immediately what Achebe might have meant, though it might have simply been the way the line and novel resonated with me. My thinking was that the tighter we try to hold on to things, the more we try to control things, the greater the tension and, sooner or later, the center will not hold and everything will collapse. I feel like that's where we are with the Kavanaugh story.

Too many people have chased after different things that appeal best or most to them and, well, it's a disastrous mess. Disastrous on more levels than I can imagine or try to articulate. And this mess is merely one of many as politicians get more firmly entrenched into positions from which they have no recourse but to dig deeper and shout more loudly.

I wrote my piece about #whyididntreport. After that, when talking with a friend, other recollections surfaced. Mostly small stuff but, even still, it was reminder that too often young women are simply not safe with older men. On the other hand, there are often young women who are acutely aware of the control they can have over men by simply whispering a threat. Either behavior is reprehensible and I worry we are too far into the abyss to find our ways back.

So this whole Republican thing. Yes, I'm a moderate Republican and I worry that my party has lost its mind. I'm not too sure about the Democrats either because right now there is just a lot of positioning that seems mostly about proving the other guy is a nitwit or some immoral monster or both.

I was thinking, though, about why I'm still a Republican because, given the behavior of the party over the past few years, well, I don't even. I'm not going to talk about this administration because I know that's incredibly controversial and my hope and prayer is that this president is an anomaly. However, having said that, my further hope and prayer is that people will wake up and pay attention to how a democracy can and should work, and by "people" I mean both voters and politicians.

Even so, I'm a fiscal conservative and social moderate. I think that's a biblical position. Oh yes, I'm also an evangelical Christian. Now I'm not a theologian and don't pretend to be one, and I've no doubt some of my former students can sort out my exegetical mistakes but my position is fairly simple.

I'm a fiscal conservative because we are charged to be good stewards. I'm a social moderate because we are charged to care for the widows and orphans, for those who cannot care for themselves. I also believe the Bible teaches us to care for them until they are able to care for themselves because as we are good stewards of all things, we also help others become good stewards of their capacities, skills, and abilities.

Sure, it's a lot more complicated than that for many of the issues that face us, but I think it really gets down to some fundamentals we've forgotten or choose to ignore. First, James 1:19 which reads
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.
But you should think about reading this guy's blog which is powerfully articulate and thoughtful on the topic of Brett Kavanaugh. Second, three of the hardest verses in the Bible:
Jesus replied:“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV).
I'm fairly confident that God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. God is much greater than either party. God does not bless one and condemn the other. He knows our words are not often what is really in our heads and hearts. He knows how we are able to dissemble and rationalize. Politics and perspective of patriotism or anything else notwithstanding. 1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us:
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
It's likely there are times I err more liberal than conservative on some issues, especially when it comes to the care and treatment of women and children as well as for those who are fighting so hard to be successful. And I'm okay with that.

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