Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Post-Election Prayer for a Christian? Nation

The election is over, and we know the results.  This is good news even if for only one reason ~ that we won't be inundated with political advertising until at least after the inauguration.

Like many of you, my seven readers, I've been sickened by the amount of partisan bickering that we've been exposed to over the course of this election cycle.

More than that, I've been sickened by the amount of money that has been spent on advertising.  What if only 10% ... or even just 1% ... of that money had been set aside for the poor and vulnerable instead of going to line the pockets of executives and investors?

Now that the campaign and election are over, I suppose that my prayer would be this:
  • that no matter what laws are passed or repealed; 
  • that no matter what policies are implemented or what compromises are struck; 
  • that no matter which person or party is seen as the winner or loser on any particular issue 
  • that, above all, the priority of the government, and of our nation, would be to care for the poorest and most vulnerable populations.  
This alone, in my opinion, would make us a Christian Nation.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunday Lunch at the Deli

I snuck in for a quick sandwich
in between Sunday obligations
they occupied a few tables,
family groups pushed together,
community spilling over
after morning worship
occupying physical and social space

their clothes, their look
gave them away ~ different from
how the collar gave me away

teenage boys with belts at their
waists (instead of knees), &
girls more fully vested than
at last night's dance club
dads in uncomfortable suits
and ugly sweaters, moms in
(sorry to say) really big hair

as I finished my sandwich
and they lingered over desert,
I knew I'd have been welcome
with them at worship
but it looked like there was
no room at the dinner table

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Simple Plea

For a few days after Super-Storm Sandy, the presidential campaigns were put on hold. Governmental officials, candidates, and campaigns paused their campaigning to deal with the storm. There was no aggressive political maneuvering, no name-calling, no partisan bickering.

I don't wish natural disasters on anyone, but that was a pleasant time in our national political life. It's a shame that it took a natural disaster to scale back the bitterness in the presidential campaign.

But what if the candidates structured their campaigns as if there were a disaster looming? What if they decided to work together, and to treat each other well all of the time?

It seems to me that there's a basic and fundamental difference between the two parties, and between the two candidates. And, as we witnessed in the third debate, there are some substantial similarities.

What would the campaign season be like if the candidates and the parties began the campaigns by celebrating their similarities?

And then, what would the campaign season be like if the candidates each remembered that the other is a beloved child of G-d and treated them as such?

And after that, what would the campaign season be like if the candidates and parties respectfully articulated their differences?

Right now, the candidates seem to be focused on making their opponent look bad rather than articulating what's good about their own positions and philosophies.

It seems to me that one side wants to paint the other as a greedy, self-serving, uncaring, out-of-touch rich person who has no idea what regular people are like. And it seems to me that the other side wants to paint their opponent as an un-american socialist who only wants to destroy our nation.

Neither of these is a true portrait of either individual, but these are the messages we're sending. What if we, as a people, decided to send a different message?

Right now, the message from politics is that it's perfectly acceptable, even encouraged, to denigrate someone else, to paint them as the embodiment of evil with no redeeming qualities. I'm not sure that's a message I want to hear, and I'm sure it's not what I want to teach my children.

What would the campaign season, and our national life together, be like if we did less tearing each other down and more building up of us as a whole?

What if the candidates structured their campaigns as if there were a disaster looming? I believe they ought to, because I believe that if we don't change the tenor of our national political conversation, a disaster is looming.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

On the Road

On the Road
Kerouac wrote compellingly
linguistic paintings
of the places they travelled
liturgical articulations of a
generation's ethos

On the Road
Willie sings a familiar
nomadic melody of
musicians travelling highways
where rhythm and life and
rhyme collide

many roads define culture, and the
borders of nostalgia
while Jesus' road
leads to suffering
   to death
      and then (& now)
to fullness of life