Why this Book…Why Now?

My wife Susan joked about Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White.  She said I would be excommunicated.

Well maybe, if I was a Catholic but I am Methodist.

I may just be asked to leave our church…in a loving manner.

Seriously though, why this book? Why now?

My first use of Seeing Gray was several years ago.  It was published in 2008 and we had a speaker series loosely based on parts of the book as a Wednesday night program.  I think that was around 2012 as President Obama was running for his second term.

Things were tense in church. People did not see eye to eye on politics at all.  Politics had invaded the four walls as people expressed very angry feelings in response to some of the presenters.  I even did one program myself and I found myself confronted by people who refused to understand any point of view other than their own and they told me so.

Things are worse now.

I feel pretty justified in saying that. Our country is divided more than ever. Even our political parties are divided among themselves.  The Democrat party has two very different people running for president, one an independent senator and the other a former Secretary of State who is under federal investigation.  The Republican party front runners are embroiled today in a spat of disrespect for each other’s wives.  A third candidate is trying to stay above that.  That is today.  Who knows what will be happening tomorrow.  It has been that kind of election.

We are living in a wild, wild election world folks.

And I don’t know about you, but I have a very serious question about all this…

As a Christian, where do I fit in?

I am confused because I buy into the idea of voting as important. I try to stay informed about domestic and world events as much as I can.  I am aware of the “slant” of the 24 hours “news” networks and I try to sample all of them with my “bias detector” on as I watch.  This country was based on freedom and I don’t want to live anywhere else but how do I choose among the candidates?  When I take my Bible and what I have learned about God and Jesus Christ and apply it to politics where does it apply?

At times, it seems it does not apply at all.

And then I hear that “the evangelical vote” is important.

That would be me. If you have read my blog, you know I am a “born-again Christian.”  I was 45 before Jesus became number one in my life.  I know the politicians think my evangelical vote is important because I am always hearing that the Republicans are depending on that evangelical vote.  They are working hard to get it.

Am I being used? If they really want me to vote for them, why don’t they act like they know Jesus.  Jesus was asked the greatest commandment and he said “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  It would be so much easier if I saw a little of that.

I have spent my whole adult life trying to get people to talk. I love talking [ask my wife].  It is the art of exchanging ideas; having a dialogue.  Too much of politics today is monologue.  Too much of politics today is heated rhetoric.  Too much of politics today is lack of cooperation and lack of understanding.

All this is the opposite of what I have spent my whole life trying to get people to do.

St. John Studies has a small readership. That’s ok.  I appreciate everyone who logs on.  I really do.  In this first post, I want to pledge to my readers that I want to stimulate dialogue, not pour gasoline on a hot monologue, fan heated rhetoric or encourage lack of cooperation and lack of understanding.  My position in this blog will be to have a productive conversation about religion, morality and politics, all in a Christian context.

That is my context. I look at the world with a Christian lens.  I understand the world from a Christian perspective.  When a person runs for office and expects me to vote for them, I look for a person who shows me some Christian values.

I hope when we are through with Pastor Hamilton’s book, e know where we fit into the political process.  As we begin the book, politics seems today as unseemly and unsavory as ever.

Can we find a way to converse about politics in a civil way?

That is my hope; that is my prayer.

 

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