This morning I sent an email to the Pastor who baptized our son. I hadn’t connected with him in a few years and just wanted to drop a note to say hello, and wish him well. Then I kept writing and out came one of the most conflicting challenges that I’d been quietly trying to unpack in my own mind for years.
Below is that excerpt:
I pray that God liberates our nation and world of the evil that divides us. I have one opinion about what that evil is. Others, sober and good and acting in good faith, have a diametrically opposed view. I believe their posture creates division and pain. They believe the same about mine. Only the light of God, it seems, can provide the clarity so many feel they so desperately need. And should it not come, how many souls will be lost to the goings-on of Caesar when we should have been campaigning for Christ the whole time? But to turn the other cheek, to walk away, to do as Mother Teresa is incorrectly quoted as saying — “If you want to make the world a better place, go home and take care of your own family” — I love that saying, but to just walk away from politics and its many social implications, and to abandon all those whom I believe to be suffering, exploited, manipulated and abused — that can’t be what God wants. I say often: He doesn’t need us to do His work, but He likes it when we try. Do I just stop trying with respect to the bigger picture components? It’s such a mystery. And while I want to swat it away and say, “Well gosh if that’s all I’m worried about in life then I’ve got it pretty good!”, it’s not that easy because to me and others for whom I care deeply it’s all very important.
The world isn’t coming to an end and if it did, that too would be part of God’s design and I’d rest easy knowing it. I know we’ll all be okay, and that He’s got us as long as we keep Him with us. Heck I even believe He’s got those who don’t, because they’re the ones who need Him the most. But I know it’ll all be okay. I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do with the gifts I think He gave me when, as is the case for so many, they’re so wrapped up in the divisive world of politics. Uniquely on “my side,” I see and understand the good intentions of those with whom I disagree. Or at least I think I do. For a time I really wanted to come at things exclusively from that angle, and help others who share so many of my views get there too. But now — I see too much ugliness, and suffocation of the single greatest gift God gave us after life itself: free will, aka Liberty. And I see the people I started fighting for lose hope, much like those on the other side no doubt do when they become convinced the sky is falling. I know it’s never that bad or even close to it. But I also know the very real hurt and fear that others feel, and they’re not very good at defending or standing up for themselves. They’ve been bullied and lied to and about for so long, and much of that behavior appears to have become sport for some of our most powerful institutions. I can look at all of that and trust — know — that everything is still just as God intends. Others lose sight of it however, and that’s what activates my urgency. I aspire to mitigate division and pain, but to do so here on earth I need in many cases to work against my fellow man. Because many of my brothers and sisters see things much differently than I do.
And truth be told, few on my side of the aisle actually see things my way either. But when I look at everyone involved I believe those on “my side” are much closer to the important truths I’m compelled by and also most victimized by the ubiquity of partisan dishonesty.
How do I pray to stop seeing things, when God has made it clear that sight is such an important part of my life?
I’m not as lost as it sounds. And I didn’t intend to share most of this. I can’t imagine the litany of hardship you’re filtering for so many.
These are the thoughts of yet another. Many more in your congregation are likely encountering similar sentiments. I don’t know how sharing any of this might help you, but obviously I’d been thinking about much of it often and it helped me to write some of it out. I’ll keep thinking. And praying. And above all else, doing right by my wife and son who I know and never forget need me before and above all else.
Best to you and yours,
It’s something I think about often, but hadn’t written about or shared until today. As with every part of my journey and everyone else’s, it’s just a bit more fuel and we’ll see where it takes us. Hopefully straight to making “All Democrats Are Racist” trend nationally.
Or do I…?
UPDATE: I plan to start publishing here again next week. Nothing yet materialized from the generous offer I mentioned, but it pushed me to write a little more — we’ll just say coherently haha — and I’ll be publishing a handful of those pieces next week. And I may continue throttling back for another several weeks just to continue giving this a shot. It requires patience and after so many years of this stuff, I have plenty at this point.
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