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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Election: United in Purpose and Effort

Did you vote?

So, this is election day.  I went to vote.  Just once.  Actually, went to the station early, picked up a sample ballot so I could review everything in case there were things on the ballot I didn't know about (a habit of mine).  When I went back in later, there weren't any new names listed on the ballot, so I had to go ahead and choose from the people listed earlier.  And I did.  And I’m not going to tell you how I chose.  Because it isn't any of your business.  And how you vote isn't mine!  However, THAT you vote is very important to me……it is a privilege for which many of our ancestors fought and died, and a privilege many around the world would give anything to have.  I might point out that, presidentially, it really doesn't matter how I voted, because my state is not one of the battleground color-changing states…..so if I vote with the state’s color, my vote makes a difference, if I don’t, then it kind of disappears in the fog.  Oh, well.  Although, I did hear on the news a report about another state that is considered blue, but a few elections back was regularly considered red, and therefore, it demonstrates that things can change, and so, my vote, your vote, DOES matter. 

However, I wanted to address an issue that I think is very troubling.  All too often I hear individuals and sometimes politicians, demonizing the people of the other party, creating deep divides and mistrust.  I would argue that Satan has effectively used both parties!  And that God has also used both parties.  The scripture reminds us in Psalm 75 and Romans 13 that, even though we vote, ultimately the lifting up of leaders is at God’s discretion.  Lots of Christians are big fans of those verses when the leaders are people they like, less excited when their candidate loses.  I find it interesting that some of Paul’s comments about our responsibility to pray for and give proper respect to our government leaders were made by Paul under a Roman government that was EXTREMELY pagan, and during significant periods of his life, very hostile to Christians and Jews.  So what does that say to us when our favorite does not win?  Certainly they all need our prayer, and, if you are like me at all, sometimes our feedback and comments. 

A good friend of mine from battleground state Wisconsin, Sandy, posted on her facebook page something I thought was well said, and so I decided to share it with you in today’s blog.  She wrote:

“I just want to tell all of you today that I love you. If you are on my friend list, you are someone whom I respect and admire. Each of us has an understanding of part of a larger truth. I have disagreement with everyone on SOMETHING, whether it be religion or politics or favorite color. I love you even when we disagree. Especially when we disagree. Today is not about us and them. No matter who wins, it is not about glorying in our win or grieving about our loss. It is about connecting with the people with whom we disagree. If we win or lose, we can’t ignore the fact that close to 50 per cent of the population disagrees with us. We need understanding of the truths that come from others. We all have SO much common ground; politics is just about the methods toward our values. Let’s focus on those values we all hold dear, and listen, without rancor, to hear the stories and learn the truths from those with whom we disagree. Republicans and Democrats are first and foremost...people. So people, I love you all.”

She then goes on to quote 1 Corinthians 12, and the way God uses a variety of people with a variety of gifts to create a beautiful and functional complete body of Christ.  Indeed, she is right.  God doesn’t desire that all of us be the same, but that we join together, unite in purpose and effort.  (Sometimes our churches need to remember that, too, it seems to me.)  And, more importantly, we are called to love our brother, neighbor AND ENEMY, because God so loved THE WORLD……right?  I wonder, if we took my friend’s ideas, and learned to love even the 50% who think differently than ourselves, what kind of a country would we have?  I think it would be pretty neat to find out, don’t you?

TL:dr   An election and its results should not be big enough to make us forget that people are important, and to treat them as if they are.The 

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