and so this is Election Day

 

Today is Election Day in the United States.

This is a day, like any day and every day, that I seek to declare to myself, and to all, that:

* God rules the world, not the United States.

* Jesus is Lord, not the President of the United States.

* And the Spirit who is Holy does what he will; it is our humble task to discern and do his will.

It is a day we Christians say to all, whether we vote or abstain from voting, that:

* We love God and love people with the love of God, in that order and so, work with God toward the blessing of all the people of the world, regardless of nationality.

* We are all about helping usher in the kingdom and rule of God, not selfishly attempting to promote and establish our own way or comfort.

* We refuse to reinforce the walls erected in this world between people – the walls of discord, denigration, distance, and destruction; rather, we work to tear those walls down by the way we treat each other – especially those with whom we sense we have experienced, or have given, discord, denigration, distance, and destruction.

May God help us all:

* To be people truly humble and respectful of God and others; thinking of, and actively putting, others first before ourselves.

* To use our tongue and actions wisely, knowing that by our own words and deeds, we will be judged.

* To aim at nothing less than being humanity as God intended, right here, right now, by the grace of God; not segregated by our color or the color we vote.

this went thru my mind

 

Conscience: Conscience: What Does It Tell Us?

“What does the argument for conscience do for you?”

Elections, government & powers: Jesus vs. the Powers by Dan Bouchelle

” I hope you sleep well Tuesday night regardless of wins since God is in his heaven, Jesus is Lord, and the future rests in their hands, not any earthly power. Psalm 2 tells us God sits in heaven and laughs at the plans of kings and nations to oppose his appointed Christ and Son.”

Feuds & United States history: The True Story of the Hatfields & McCoys by Patrick Mead [and 11-part series; #1; #11]

“There was no one cause for the feud. There was no one bad guy. This feud arose from complex causes rooted in culture, war, lust, greed, and an innate sense of inferiority that manifested itself in outsized, overreaching self-righteousness.”

Grief: The Six R’s of Grief Work by Caleb Wilde

“The following model of grief work — developed by Therese Rando – proposes linear stages of grief work … something that I don’t like.  Nevertheless, I think it can still be helpful to see these ‘Six R’s’ and find a way we can relate to them.”

this went thru my mind

 

Election, politics & reality: An Election for An Elect Nation by Mike Yeates

“Most Christians across the entire political spectrum readily admit that they will vote for their respective candidate in an effort to choose the lesser of two evils. Using such a philosophy is a tacit admission that they will indeed choose an evil. As in every one that has preceded it, this election viewed as more pivotal than all others. The truth is that it doesn’t matter who is elected in November. Next year, when January turns into February, and the President sits comfortably in the White House, nothing will have changed.”

Grace & sin: Christians Struggling with Sin and 4 Lies We Believe by Wayne Stiles

” … Christians struggling with sin tend to believe four lies.”

Hurricane Sandy disaster relief: Helping Hurricane Sandy Victims

“The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort immediately responds to any major disaster in the continental United States by sending truckloads of emergency food, water, cleaning, and other supplies to disaster victims. … The best way to help Disaster Relief aid those in need is to donate money. Disaster Relief is able to purchase appropriate supplies in bulk at an extreme discount.”

Parenting: 60 Life Lessons I Learned from my Parents by Joshua Becker

“My mother and father have been wonderful parents to me. They have worked hard to provide a stable foundation for my life and future. They have taught me invaluable lessons about work, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. … I thought I would use this public forum to give them the praise they deserve.”

reflection on the dissection of the election

 

As we here in the U.S. move daily deeper into the election season, may we all pause and carefully consider …

1. That all of the candidates need our sincere, earnest, and consistent prayers.

2. That the people we speak about, we do not know. We know a little – a very little – about them, but we do not know them. As we daily bank on others who do not know us to give us great grace, may we gladly extend to others what we yearn for ourselves.

3. That the people we talk about and of whom we so easily opine, have families and friends who are deeply affected by what we say and how we say it. How would you have your children, your mother, or dearest friends hear others speak of you? And so, how do you speak of the candidates? Would you dare say what you do the face of their smallest children? For whether or not you realize it, you do.

4. That it is infinitely easier for us to act as if we are very much in-the-know about what should and shouldn’t be done in governing our nation than to actually do it. It’s something akin to being a know-it-all Monday morning armchair quarterback rather than being a Sunday afternoon quarterback in the real game, no?

5. That the way we judge others is the way we will be judged.

this went thru my mind

 

Election: What Election? by Ted Gossard

“… the politics with which I’m concerned and want to be about is that of the kingdom of God come in Jesus.”

Health care: * Romney’s Sick Joke; * 5 Things to Know About Health Care Post-Debate

* “‘No. 1,’ declared Mitt Romney in Wednesday’s debate, ‘pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.’ No, they aren’t — as Mr. Romney’s own advisers have conceded in the past, and did again after the debate. … What Mr. Romney actually proposes is that Americans with pre-existing conditions who already have health coverage be allowed to keep that coverage even if they lose their job — as long as they keep paying the premiums. As it happens, this is already the law of the land. But it’s not what anyone in real life means by having a health plan that covers pre-existing conditions, because it applies only to those who manage to land a job with health insurance in the first place (and are able to maintain their payments despite losing that job). Did I mention that the number of jobs that come with health insurance has been steadily declining over the past decade?”

* “In the debate, Romney said 10 times that Obama was paying for his health care package by taking the money from Medicare recipients’ pockets, cutting $716 billion out of the program. … Dozens of bipartisan fact-checkers say that number, often repeated by the Romney/Ryan campaign, is misleading. … Obama’s health legislation does not mean people will see cuts to their benefits. Hospitals and health care providers will, but that’s what they agreed to in exchange for the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that people have health insurance. If more people have health insurance, hospitals will have to care for fewer of the uninsured. Uninsured patients cost significantly more to care for than patients who are insured.”

Homelessness: Homeless Are Fighting Back Against Panhandling Bans

“According to a report by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty that examined 188 cities, there was a 7 percent increase in prohibitions on begging or panhandling between 2009 and 2011. ‘Our sense is that cities are responding to the increasing number of chronically or visibly homeless people due to the economic crisis,’ said Heather Maria Johnson, a civil rights lawyer for the group. ‘Rather than addressing the issue of homelessness, they are adapting measures that move homeless people out of downtowns, tourist areas or even out of a city.'”

Hospital visitation: Hospital Visits by Ben Siburt [required reading]

“Always remember we are there as vessels of God’s Presence and not to justify our own. Our justification and calling comes from God and from the power of the gospel working through our gifts as well as our weakness. The hospital room is not about you.”

Reading: Want to Read Faster? Stop Saying The Words in Your Head As You Read by Melanie Pinola

“When you read, do you hear the words in your mind or even subconsciously say them under your breath? Break this one habit, called subvocalization, and you can double or even triple your reading speed. … One simple way is to preoccupy your mouth. … So chew some gum, hum, or eat lunch while reading and you may find yourself going through a ton of reading material like never before.”

the presidential election, prayer & Miroslav Volf

 

Miroslav Volf has been posting a series of status updates on his Facebook page laying out  (1) “a concern,” (2) a “value,” (3) a “rationale,” (4) the “debate,” and (5) “a question” for this year’s U.S. presidential candidates. If you plan to vote, you should read these posts. If you don’t plan to vote, you should read them to help you as you pray for the leaders of the world’s nations.

These same posts will likely appear in the (free) fall issue of Yale Divinity School’s publication Reflections.

If you’re unfamiliar with Volf, here’s a link to a fine interview of Volf conducted by Krista Tippett back in 2004 that will help you appreciate the man. His thoughts on enemies, forgiveness, nonviolence, and pacifism are particularly insightful and powerful.