are inundated with loud voices clamoring for emotional reactions. In
contrast, followers of Jesus are invited to hear the voice of the Good
Shepherd and choose loving obedience. Let’s take time to still our
hearts, listen deeply, and love wisely.
do not live in the best or worst of times…but in the most
instantaneous information moment of history. Our conflicts are not new,
but much more immediate and our responses are often unreflective. We can
shun vulgarity. We can choose intercession for those who disagree. And
we can recognize that power itself is an addiction affecting every part
of the political spectrum.
often sparks revival in persons and communities. Without pretending
about our real pain or excusing transgression, what if we let go of the
rap sheet that we keep against ourselves and others and truly forgive?
And when we bless those who frustrate us most, we are liberated, and a
new future opens to us.
antidote for our epidemic and anger: In the spirit of St. Francis of
Assisi, we can meet every insult with blessing, every denial of truth
with love and truth, arrogance with humility, and intolerance with civil
discourse. And let’s respond to emotionalism and incipient Orwellian
controls with careful thought and affirmation of liberty rooted in
virtue. Systemic issues of class, gender, and race must be exposed…and
overcome with love, relationships, and wisdom. Protest is one
step…and practical, sacrificial action for others moves our vision of
shalom forward. This is more than being nice and it is not passive.
Living in the opposite spirit of our age of insults and vulgarity is a
courageous spiritual posture.
I hate intolerance. I hate classism, racism,
intolerance, and sexism that prevents people from flourishing and making
the world a better place. This said, expressing moral and religious
convictions is not intolerance. Pointing out basic anthropology is not
intolerance. Permitting a range of lifestyles does not mean I am
compelled to promote every moral choice someone makes. I want for all
others the rights I desire for myself.
Agitators: refute the voices you despise with peaceful debate and solid ideas instead of harassment and violence. If Vice President Pence, Candace Owens, and Ben Shapiro are wrong, prove their thoughts inadequate instead of libeling and shutting down debate. By the way, will you apply your same standards to haters like Farrakhan and imams pronouncing fatwas on apostates? While you attack tradition, will you speak for the thousands of Christians, atheists, Zoroastrians, Hindus and Buddhists killed by folks that want a caliphate? (Not to mention the oppression of women and chattel slavery in these cultures). Are you going to protest outside of every halal baker and orthodox deli?
If we cannot find the character and maturity for free debate and civil discourse, our experiment on true liberty will end and Orwell’s nightmare will be upon us.
Conservative or liberal, cisgender or LGBTQIA+, religious or secular – we have a common interest in true liberty rooted in love and respect, hearty debate, and living peacefully with our deepest differences. If anarchy reigns, authoritarianism is waiting to pounce.
A critical mind is not a judgmental heart.
May we (re)learn the art of evaluating arguments and evidence, without castigation or hypocrisy. Disagreeing with another’s perspective – even on moral and political issues – does not mean hatred or intolerance.
Living peaceably with our deepest differences while we find common principles of ordered liberty requires humility and courage.
A Joyful Lament:
Lord, hear my praises and receive my tears:
Rejoicing in the goodness, love and power of Christ.
Lamenting the immature and polarizing words of people in power, from the President to celebrities.
Rejoicing in all the good work done by millions no one hears about.
Lamenting the sufferings of so many and praying for comfort in Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, Mexico City and scores of other locales.
Rejoicing in the progress of many dialogues, community outreaches and on-the-ground renewing of communities.
Lamenting the inability of so many to live with diverse views and honor one another.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Holy Spirit, come anew with purifying and transforming grace.