I am puzzled by our ability to magnify that which is not crucial to our futures while neglecting to face the obvious. I am saddened, if not dismayed, by the energy people put into imagining national conspiracies and failing to see the non-fictional trends that hinder our progress as a nation and people.
I am also bothered by my political choices, given to us by the extremes of both parties, leaving me to wish I had the "line item veto" over the positions of both major candidates so I could craft something that would seem to me to be more just.
I suppose I am responding both to some of the comments I read on Facebook and from what I see in the media. On Facebook I have "friends" who post some really hysterical and histrionic comments and articles from even more histrionic individuals. This spans the spectrum of radical lesbian feminists, socialists, to the right wing individuals who find us being sucked down into socialist totalitarianism. What is confusing is that both of these views can't be correct, as both see the other side as on the ascendency and society bordering on the apocalypse.
It is a political tendency to demonize the other side, this gets rid of the middle roaders who are too quick to compromise and give away the farm as it where. We become traitors by simply standing where we were, which in my opinion usually means the island of common sense.
We have recently seen in America that we have real problems, such as White Supremicists who kill people due to their supposed religion, and crazy people who kill people for no apparent sane reason at all. We have poor people and poor children who don't get medical care, and put off medical procedures that they can't afford, and get punished when they do by being hounded by collection agencies that the medical profession too quickly unleashes on those who are slow to pay, driving far too many people into bankruptcy. At the same time we have people claiming that if the government gets too involved in health care our health care choices will be rationed, as if poverty didn't already do that.
Where I might appreciate and strongly desire the reality that as a nation we must pay our bills and balance our budget, while believing strongly that many of our economic policies hurt the working poor and lower middle class and favor the upper classes, and thinking both parties seem to be out of their minds in their absolutist approaches to solving our national economic dilemna I am also dismayed at the abysmal moral choices of our current president.
I can't begin to tell you how proud I am that we have a president of color in the White House. What a wonderful achievement for him personally, but more important for all of us as a nation. I don't think anyone should demean that step for America. I appreciate President Obama's desire to help the poor, though it can be debated whether all or some of his policies will effectively do so. I love the personal model of his own family life. What takes away his glory and brings shame to us is his political commitment to gender identity politics in a mistaken concept of justice that is in fact a commitment to immorality. Not only is his commitment destructive to marriage, family, the Armed Forces, and the freedom of religion but has become a bully stick to other nations who do not accept his faulty view of justice and freedom. His elevation of these commitments to ultimate descriptors of democracy is in fact shaping him into a thief of our freedoms.
What seems to be hard for many is to be able to critically assess the views of politicians without whole hog acceptance of the political views of the party we seem to be most aligned with. As a Christian I have some fundamental principles when it comes to politics. One is that I don't want fear to drive my choices. I want to fear God and nothing else. I don't want to shape my choices because I am afraid of the government or homosexuals, or feminists, or socialists, or undocumented aliens. I don't want to shape my choices because I am afraid of the police, or banks, or millionares, or the United Nations. I want to shape my choices based on hope, based on realistic appraisal of what is and what challenges are presently before us, on a vision of what could be if we lived in common care for each other.
As a Christian I have an innate sense of distrust for what is in people. Love doesn't mean we forget how screwed up human beings are. So, no matter who comes along or what party seems to finally fulfill our desires for utopia the reality is that no candidate is Jesus, and no party will bring us to the Kingdom. We must judge which will better deliver justice, equity, peace and if they will do it with honesty.
I do want to look straight into the face of evil and call it for what it is and stand up against it, but I want to do it with faith in an all powerful God. I want to do it with love for people, I want to do it with graciousness towards those on the other side who may yet hear reason. I want to do it with uncompromising truth on all sides, and I want to do it with courage.
Recently my wife and I visited the Imperial War Museum in London. We went through their Holocaust exhibit. It is good for that exhibit to be in a war museum lest anyone think that all war is wrong or that all wars are nonsense. There are things worth fighting for, living for, and for which to die. We don't need fairy tales or boogey men, conspiracies, or demonization of well meaning folks as there is enough real danger in the world. I hope America will get its act together and work together for all of its people, without destroying our bedrock blood bought freedoms, so we will be ready to meet the real dangers which can all too quickly engulf us.
Randy Nabors is the pastor emeritus of New City Fellowship in Chattanooga. Randy was the organizing pastor in 1976 until his retirement in June of 2012. and the congregation continues its commitment to being centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ, living out the call of the gospel in racial reconciliation, mercy and development ministry to the poor, with a commitment to the city. Mr. Nabors is now Senior Staff with Mission to North America. He and his wife Joan are serving together to encourage the works of mercy in churches, and to develop the planting of churches within poor communities, especially the inner cities of America. To this end, he is seeking to build and establish the New City Network and the Ten Million Dollar Fund.