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.
cannot make every cause our own. We can be well-informed on issues, but
each of us must focus on the particular concerns we are equipped
for. What areas of the common good are we called to influence? For some
it is pro-life issues (yes, we must all care about this). For others, it
is education, homelessness, employment, affordable housing, personal
life-change, etc. If we each find our place, our community will
flourish. If you are not sure, begin with where God has you today and
allow your character, competencies, and charisms to bloom where you are
Pause and pray. Reflect and rejoice.
Lament and laugh. Today is a gift, tomorrow is a hope.
Bless many secretly, affirm someone openly.
And remember Kierkegaard: “Purity of heart is to will one thing.”
perspective, and subtlety are lost is our world of instant data,
reaction over reflection, and “narratives” we refuse to abandon or
adjust. The Bible informs us that we are beautiful and broken, have a
divine design and destiny, and are capable of unutterable evil and
supererogatory virtue. Let’s embrace reality with the confidence in the
One who unites eternal truth and human reality – Jesus our Lord.
Even when it is not “well with my soul” it is still well with the Lord, who perseveres in his love and pursues us with holy determination.
Today, let’s release every internal barrier to flourishing: anger and nostalgia, regret and pride, rebellion and ignorance…and choose forgiveness and hope, humility and learning, pursuit of the Triune Lord and the good of others.
Transformation comes responsive decision at a time.
In a world quick to label everything a “…phobe” I confess a “phobe” I must wrestle with:
Translated: fear of (real) thinking. This affliction is spreading as some try and silence all dissent that departs from their narratives. How about befriending people of diverse beliefs and cultures? Then any vestiges of our phobias will transform into mutual respect, genuine debate and, perhaps, principled ways of helping all flourish.
Dear anarchist, please share what your “there” looks like.
Dear traditionalist, please share how all people are included in your vision of “there.”
To all friends of conscience, let’s articulate a just and loving, safe and sustainable future.
It is hard work aiming for principled compromise and proximate justice.
Much easier to alienate, marginalize, yell epithets and delegitimize concerns of “enemies.”
Will you join me in a new era of civil dialogue?