Blood Work and Politics – post election thoughts about certitude

loving my blood

I wouldn’t normally share my blood test with you, but it’s the perfect illustration of why I’m becoming more concerned with post election pontificating than I was with pre-election vilifying and empty promises.  I received the results back from my blood test the day after the election and, as you can see, I’m grateful to be healthy.

What, you might ask, do I eat in order to enjoy the right levels of fat in my blood for optimal heart health? Most days begin with 4 slices of low sodium bacon and two eggs friend in butter or coconut oil, with perhaps a bit of sun dried tomato on top of them.  Sometime during the day I’ll have a full fat, plain yogurt smoothie, with berries and a bit of pomegranate juice thrown in.  Usually there’s some spinach as well, a few carrots, and some meat for supper, either grass fed beef, or fish, or chicken.  For dessert I’ll saute some apples and pecans in butter and toss in some Cinnamon.  There’s coffee too, and wine.  You won’t find any bread, flour, sugary sodas or cakes in the house – just healthy meats, veggies, some fruit, and full fat diary.  Good fats, mostly.  Very low carb.  It’s. That. Simple.   If you’d like to learn more, visit here.

Of course, none of this makes sense according the American Heart Association.  (Of course, I’m also not a doctor, so please remember that I’m only using the health talk as an illustration, not as medical advice.)  This group says I should consume low fat diary, take skin off my lean cut of chicken, avoid bacon altogether (!!!), and eat grains as long as they’re whole wheat.  Sodas?  “Cut back” is what the heart people say, while the others relegate soda to the realm of Satan.

Here’s the funny thing.  There are doctors on both sides of this argument, and both of them have studies and statistics to back up their recommendations.  So here I am, full of bacon, steak, eggs, and nearly void of bread, crackers, brownies, needing to decide where to put my food priorities.  AHA or the Paleo way?  Then my blood work comes back and it’s “game over” as far as decision making goes.   The Heart Association people might be on to something.  I’m surely not ready to say they’ve missed the point.  They’re system might work.  But my system IS working, at least for me.

There were two different views of America offered throughout the campaign, and like all the doctors advocating different views of heart health, both sides wanted the same thing – they want an America that’s productive, creative, safe, where people can pursue their dreams.  Both sides believe that their ways will bring about fiscal health.  Both sides believe in their way, because their way worked for them.

And that’s why we need to give each other grace just now… rather than shouting that the end of America has begun and unfriending people who voted differently than us.   We hold our political beliefs because of conviction yes, but can we surely realize that no single party represents the heart of Christ perfectly?  I don’t remember the Prince of Peace advocating for unrestricted access to assault rifles.  Nor would he favor late term abortion, or at the very least, any abortion of convenience.  I don’t know that he’d be cheering unilateral drone strikes by executive order.  Nor would he be too pleased with the notion that the super wealthy get exemption from some laws by virtue of their wealth and power.  So neither party represents Jesus perfectly.  When, then, we say that our vote is theological, while that may be true, it’s theologically selective.

1. If you’re adopted… you might place a huge value on pro-life politics, and vote that way.

2. If you run a small business… you might place a huge value on freedom to structure your business however you like, and pay your employees as much as you like or as little as the market will bear.

3. If you’re an auto worker… you might place a huge value on the government’s intervention to help stave off the loss of your company and your job.  That would seem charitable to you, and you’d vote accordingly.

4. If you love Jesus, and you’re gay, and you’ve prayed, counseled, and sought deliverance, before finally coming to a sense that perhaps this is actually the way you are, you’ll vote for those who view you charitably.

I could go on, but perhaps you get the point? I eat the way I do because it works. You can challenge me, tell me I’m wrong, tell me I’ll die early – even point to studies.  I’ll smile, and, because of the chart above, have another slice of bacon.

I won’t go into the details of every concern I have about Obama or Romney, Gay Marriage or legalized Weed.   If I did, I’d run the risk of helping you miss the point, because the point isn’t what I think.  The point is that in this big complex world, each of us who follow Christ must seek to make God’s good reign visible in lots of ways, including being good citizens and voting.  That one disciple votes one way, and another disciple votes another doesn’t inherently mean the other is deviant, blind, stupid, or hard hearted.  It may simply mean that their faith in Christ has different issues on the front burner than yours, having been shaped by their own collision of faith and life experience.  So I say, with Mitt Romney, let’s pray for our leader, give him grace, and work together to make our nation a place of safety, blessing, and opportunity.

Whether we like bacon or not.



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About Richard Dahlstrom

As Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Richard teaches with vision of "making the invisible God visible" by calling people to acts of service and blessing. It's working, as a wilderness ministry, homeless shelter, and community meals that serve those living on the margins are all pieces of Bethany's life. "We're being the presence of Christ" he says, "and inviting everyone to join the adventure." Many have, making Bethany one of the fastest growing churches in America in 2009 according to Outreach Magazine.