Friday, February 26, 2016

A Place for Love in Politics

The last Republican debate before "Super Tuesday" was held last night.

I didn't watch it.

I did watch some of the "highlights" as edited by ABC News and Good Morning America this morning.

Men in suits, behind podiums with microphones, had a lot to say about each other and little to say about much else.

These guys are literally supposed to be on the same side, agreeing about more than they disagree about. Yet here they are talking over each other, red-faced, hot and bothered, trying to differentiate themselves from the other suits with American flags on their lapels.

As I wrote earlier in the week, I am thankful for our political process. I believe in our Republic. I literally, actually, thank God I was born an American in America. Yet, the bickering and blowing, on top of the accusations and acidic banter turns me off.

I am praying through whom I will vote for. Too many servicemen and women continue to sacrifice too much for me not to exercise my right to go to the polls.

However, I can see why someone might boycott the election this year. I can be sympathetic to my fellow American who does not see a "good" or "worthy" choice for president and decides to stay home. It is hard to argue with the polls on all the networks. The constant reporting seems to reiterate the idea that one individual vote really doesn't matter that much anyway. Who would notice if Joe or Jane Registered Voter doesn't vote?

This week my middle school aged daughter started asking some pretty deep theology questions, questions I didn't ask myself until I was a young, married woman and my seminary-attending husband needed to talk some things out.

While I am thrilled she is seeking God on such a deep level, her daddy and I were quick to caution her. We encouraged her to pray through things and ask us all the questions she had, but we wanted to explain that these topics could be and have been very divisive within many churches for generations.

None of her queries had anything to do with the basic principles of Christianity, yet are scriptural interpretations that Godly, intelligent believers differ over. The most mature believers can agree to disagree over these things, but sadly and most unfortunately, others have split churches and divided families. Heated discussions turn to tearful, passionate pleas with everyone feeling that they've been wronged or that the other side is so wrong that communion among Christian brothers and sisters is severed.

Our churches and even our relationships can turn into a political debate of sorts, but yet we still scratch our heads in bewilderment as people leave our congregations or have no desire to align themselves with a church, any church. Boycotting is an understandable end result.

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth." 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 ESV

It may seem naive to quote Lennon and say "All We Need Is Love," but I fully believe it just depends on how we define the "love" we need.

Our churches, our nation and, yes even our politics NEED our God-defined "love."

It isn't a blank check kind of love that says everything and everyone is okay. The above passage clearly shows that there is "wrongdoing" and that there is "truth."

It is a love that is patient, kind, humble, and polite.

It is not bossy, prideful or grumpy.

This is the kind of love I want and need to be practicing. This kind of love is beyond my capabilities. This is the love I need the Holy Spirit to produce in me.

I don't know if a candidate that exhibited a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love is electable or not, but this is the kind of love that should fill our churches no matter what is debated.

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