Wednesday, December 17, 2008

His Shoulders

When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as child: but when I became a man I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face-to-face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. I Corinthians 13:11-12

I am an untamed conservative; quiet in my resolve and certainly not a political evangelist. I got this from my dad. His perspective had a great deal to do with unions, coalmines, the production of steel and a paycheck. I am also a believer in the radical concepts put forth by Jesus Christ. I got this from my mom. Her perspective had a great deal to do with growing up poor, close proximity to alcohol abuse, tough times and human dignity. There are those who theorize that these two world-views cannot coexist; that, in fact, they are antithetical. To these folks I say…very little.
Now that we have come through almost two years of intense presidential campaigning I have a sense of calm and relief – yes, even hope. Although I was not among the millions of celebrants dancing in the streets last month I am most prepared to support President-Elect Obama in his efforts to lead our country in new directions. During the next four years it is inevitable that conservative perspectives will be challenged and, in many cases, silenced. Although my personal feathers may be ruffled by those events I have matured to the point where I realize that the cycle of politics has landed us here at this moment – and probably for good reason. During my lifetime the average margin of difference in the popular vote between the two-party presidential candidates has been 7.3 million ballots. Some races were astonishingly tight, others defined as landslides and one time (you may recall) the candidate with fewer votes was declared the winner. This year Senator Obama won by 7.2 million votes – a number both significant and…typical. (7 million citizens seems a staggering number until one appreciates the fact that 56 million Americans cast a vote for Senator McCain.) Of the 15 presidential cycles dating back to 1952 Republicans were awarded 9 terms and Democrats 6. This is all to remind us that we are a nation divided by perspective, definition, priorities and parties. But we are, indeed, one nation and I’ve seen little in my lifetime that would suggest we will not recover from the bitterness of this campaign and, once again, become a nation United. 
Oh, and then there’s this: Unless I have misunderstood Christ’s words it seems He Himself had very little to say about politics or government. His was a message of reconciliation, forgiveness, salvation and caring for ‘the least of these.’ Indeed, we may differ on how we engage in these actions but may we remain united in our devotion to Him. After all, ‘…the government shall be upon his shoulders.’ 


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