Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Live Presidents (and the people who hate them)

Kathy Griffin's photo essay should give every American pause and cause us to do some serious reflection.  Her act and others akin to it, really aren't "left" or "right" issues. They reflect the development of a society where less people understand the concept of respect for themselves and for those who hold public office.

It seems that while everyone and their brothers,  sisters and cousins evokes Dr. King's name at the end of every cry for liberty and justice, they fail to incorporate the iron grasp he and other leaders in the movement had on the need to walk righteously and with dignity regardless of what one's adversary might be doing. It seems people want to lay claim to the premise of the message of justice without the substance of the power of the method of righteousness. Can you imagine an icon like Rosa Parks walking about with a representation of some prominent segregationist's bloodied head in her hands?

Would my classmates and I have refused to take a photo with an elected public official that we fully knew did not appreciate our presence in school during my early years of elementary education? Of course not.  She and we possessed too much dignity and respect for the cause and ourselves to stoop to such a level, understanding well the power of dignified, stubborn presence and intelligent engagement over the cloaked ignorance of those who would oppress.

Nevertheless, the disrespect we see now has been brewing for a while on both sides of the aisle.   President Bush had someone impale a likeness of his head on a spear and had someone else write a fictitious dramatization of him being assassinated.  President Obama had a picture of him over which was superimposed a sniper's sight, and had someone bellow "Liar!" during one of his State of the Union addresses. Talk show personalities all along the political spectrum feigned victimhood while out performing their victimizers in vitriolic tone and ugliness.

Dignity in our discourse is fading and respect is waning on many societal levels. Ms. K. Griffin's stunt is merely a pitiful demonstration of what appears to be our new normal.  For the last few administrations,  some Americans have been eager to declare where their loyalty isn't.  We'd better figure out for the sake of the stability of our Republic, where our dignity is.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Whose Side Are You Leaning On?

There are numerous Christians on most any point along the political spectrum who will confidently claim that their particular stance or perspective represents the voice of God.  I believe we need to proceed with caution before placing Jesus' agenda under ANY contemporary political banner. 

John 1:14 describes Jesus like this: "The Word became flesh and made his home among us. We have seen his glory, glory like that of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth." "...grace and truth..." During his earthly sojourn, Jesus had the grace to approach the woman at the well, with the truth to gently, yet directly discuss her lifestyle that needed to change. He joyfully extended grace by dining with a greedy political henchman who collected taxes for "The Man" named Zacchaeus, yet His truth penetrated Zack's heart and caused him to repent and return all he had collected that was ill-gotten. Jesus called leaders of all stripes on the carpet, yet extended compassion to those who would repent. Brutal soldiers - the muscle of the state? Forgivable. Murderers and thieves? Forgivable. Terrorists - as in Saul of Tarsus - Forgivable. Sex offenders? They too, forgivable. 

No one who approached Jesus for forgiveness was rejected, but none remained as they were before. Jesus' agenda is both generous and demanding. It forgives all but demands all too. No one who truly encounters Him will remain unchanged, and whatever one's political agenda might be, a true encounter with Jesus will cause one to be less easily labeled but certainly more easily targeted - by every side,both "liberal" and "conservative"!

May we all embrace the humility to recognize our need for God's grace for ourselves as well as others and pray for the courage to apply His truth to our own lives.