Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thoughts After the Political Conventions

I don't normally write about politics on my blog, in part because one thing I love about Christian faith, and about contemplative spirituality in particular, is that it is a journey that transcends the things that divide. I do think it's important to vote and be involved in social action and transformational ministry as a part of our Christian call, but I also believe that faithful Christians who prayerfully consider what is best will vote in different ways and believe in different views on complex issues. If we do not believe this (and claim there is only one "Christian" way to look at things), we not only do a grave disservice to the theory of the democratic process, but to the exercise of Christian ethics!

Well, both the Democratic and Republican conventions are over and the darker side of politics (i.e. mud slinging) has certainly begun. I always struggle during elections because it seems like we give into taking the low road. I see too much posturing and not enough intelligent discussion. Those of us who are committed to prayerfulness, and to the principle of practicing the presence of God as a radical alternative to "us and them" thinking, can also slip into the anxious bantering.

Not me. I invite you to join me in refraining from labeling, categorizing, and generalizing and trust the process. I want to encourage all of us prayerfully consider who we will vote for and trust that if others do the same, the outcome is probably going to be generally best for us. If not, the journey will teach us something.

As a Christian, I have thought a lot about a variety of social issues. I do not believe either major party is completely right or completely wrong. Both parties need to grow, to improve, to consider and reconsider their positions. I believe with one major party's platform about some important matters and with the other party's platform about other matters. So I vote based on what I think is best overall in terms of being faithful to what I believe is most important. And all of this is trumped by my spirituality of the kingdom of God, which I believe is not of this world but is breaking in by waves of the Spirit.

Let me add that no matter what the outcome of the election in November, this is going to be a historical, barrier breaking experience we should all be very proud of! Talk to your children about this and reflect on what this means. Either the first African American or the first woman will be elected. Either way, we are witnessing history and social change, and one important step of healing for a long history of brokenness. I have longed for this day.