Dear conservative and progressive friends (and those of goodwill who dislike labels):
Throughout history movements for needed change are subverted by agendas contrary to the values of the initial advocates. Criminal justice and police reform, economic and educational change, ridding our souls and systems of racism – all of these and much more are worthy aims.
The well-orchestrated violence on the streets and the agendas of extremists are obscuring the legitimate (and painful) reform movements. When we stop reacting and start reflecting, there are creative ways forward that unite instead of divide.
Ethics are universal, but action begins locally. Better schools, new business opportunities, the end of banking and food deserts, and community-police cooperation…all of these require courage, wisdom, and love for neighbor, not burning buildings and refusing to listen to reason.
All of this begins with women and men who are thoughtful and refuse entrapment by ideological purity tests, Left or Right. Conservative friends unsparingly renounce racism and extreme nationalism and join with local leaders and foster conditions for flourishing. Liberal friends, renounce Antifa and other forms of violent overthrowing of government and honestly work with others for a more just world in the neighborhood.
Too many folks are paralyzed by fear of being seen as unpatriotic or unwoke. When this fear is replaced by faith in the Almighty, the courage to work toward justice, and the humility to discover pathways with others different from us, hope awakens, and communities thrive.
Everyone is offering insights on trends and possible future. I add my voice, but in a different key. The following are universals that will happen regardless of personal or political decisions. The real question is how each of us will steward each day. Here are some insights for 2018:
God’s mission will go forward, with millions coming to faith and thousands of new churches planted.
The Gospel will continue its competition with missionary and militant Islam and increasingly militant pagan-secular elites determined to eradicate Christianity as a major force in the West.
God’s people will keep finding each other and discover new ways of uniting in the face of cultural implosions.
American politics will be polarized, but small progress will be made as elected officials prepare for midterm elections in November 2018.
Global economic progress will continue, with millions more gaining access to markets and opportunities.
Serious challenges remain in American cities as the gap between those who can afford housing and those on the margins keeps growing.
Many American churches will experience significant renewal in local communities, especially those parishes that care deeply about all aspects of personal and community flourishing.
The Warriors and Celtics will meet for the NBA championship.
Many prayers for a wonderful New Year!
Privilege. A reality. Will we use it for humble service or self-aggrandizement?
Lord, help me use every gift, opportunity and resource to honor you and promote others.
We cannot be “anything we want to be.”
But we can, by God’s grace, fulfill everything the Lord’s designed for us.
Theology is art and science, poetry and prose, ecstasy and ethics, affirmation and action.
Dear conservatives and progressives:
Make a friend different than yourself. Enlightenment will follow. Friendship and common goals can help us transcend our prejudices. May I continue shedding stereotypes and learn deep listening and mutual love.
When we ask someone in greeting, “How ya doin’?” Let’s listen for their answer.
Classism, racism, sexism…lose their power through friendship and shared vision.
Shalom is possible when a vision of flourishing overtakes hatred.