When This is Over…

When This is Over… September 20, 2018

At some point, this is all going to be over. Eventually, this has to end. I’m hoping that when it does, things will go back to some sort of normalcy. Our nation’s history is a series of pendulum swings from left to right and back again. The nature of our nation, thanks to our Constitution with its checks and balances, is that we are always self-correcting. When we feel ourselves shifting too far in one direction, we always reel ourselves back in until we go too far the other way and the procedure is reversed. I think–I hope–we are beginning to see such a self-correction happening now. When we talk about the Blue Wave coming, that is the self-correction to which I refer. The other option–one I hope we never see–is that we blow the whole thing up and become something different, some sort of fractured, weakened version of ourselves. I hope and pray that doesn’t happen, but I fear it could.

But for the sake of staying positive, let’s assume we pull it together and return to normalcy (or as close as we can get to it). That’s going to take some serious work on all of our parts. It’s also going to take some empathy and forgiveness. Let’s face it, relationships have been damaged in the last couple years. Those of us who are more progressive have had a difficult time understanding how our more conservative friends can possibly feel at all satisfied with our current leadership. It has us so befuddled that, if we aren’t careful, we might think the other side of the political spectrum is just evil and filled with hate and bigotry. But when we closely examine our more conservative friends, we know that just can’t be true. We sit in the same pew at church with them, we see the way they love and raise their children, we know their hearts bleed for others–that they want the best for their country, just as we do. It takes a lot of empathy to get past the fact that they continue to support a leadership that we find to be the most un-Christian-like that we can possibly imagine. It takes an understanding that, deep down, we know that they really don’t like a lot of what they see our leadership doing either, but they can’t break free of the chains that tie them to one political party. They continue to be completely sold on the idea that Christians must be politically conservative. It’s rooted deeply in their DNA–so much so that it is hopelessly entangled with their very faith. Those of us who managed to wriggle free from this trap should be able to empathize with those still caught in it.

But if we are honest with ourselves, we must be aware of what those on the right think about us. If we aren’t careful, we can come off as smug, condescending elitists. When we look at those on the other side of the debate through a stereotypical lens, we need to own the fact that we, too, have a stereotype. If we want to rise above stereotypes, we need to be exceptional and walk our talk.

So, if the Blue Wave does materialize and the pendulum does swing back to the left, I believe it is incumbent upon us–especially those of us who are on the more progressive side of Christianity–to show grace in that process. It isn’t our place to gloat or make people grovel. It is our responsibility to love. If we practice what we preach, we will keep the message positive.

It is also up to those we elect to show why the progressive message is, indeed, a Christian-like one. There is an awful lot of push back against the growing progressive movement in the Church. The way we respond to it needs to seek the high road. Stick to the message and don’t get pulled down into the muck.

No matter how the coming elections turn out, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

When this is over, the way we respond to those who are hurting will play a huge role in either returning us to normalcy or splintering us beyond repair.

May God help us all.

 

 

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