Grandson Ayden, Having a Moment. 2007.
Here we are in Eastertide, ticking off the Sundays until Pentecost. We’ve just celebrated the Resurrection–the miracle of all miracles, the day that changed everything.
So I’m wondering, while we’re feeling all holy and justified and sanctified, could we make a commitment to resurrect civility?
Because last time I checked the vital signs of civil discourse, I couldn’t find a pulse.
Here’s the thing: We’re creeping up on that curious exercise in civics, the presidential elections, whereby the people go to the polls and select their leader for the next four years. We’ve got a 200-year tradition of peaceful transfers of power. That’s something.
The presidential candidates have started making their formal proclamations. We’ve got Rand Paul and Ted Cruz confirmed, and a big long list of likelies. And while the election is still about a year and a half away, the New York Times has already launched its interactive candidate-tracker thingamabob.
But here’s the thing: Between the pundits and the muckrakers and those misguided patriots who believe winning is the only thing that counts, I expect things will get ugly.
In a nation where outrage has become something of a cottage industry and polarization is a pastime, I anticipate an ugly cacophonic din rising over our land.
What do we gain when instead of discussing and listening, we bleat buzzwords at each other? We might as well throw rocks.
A good baseball game would be so much better.
Friends, we have a job to do here. We are called to do better.
Aren’t we? Consider:
The fruits of the Spirit include peace, gentleness, and self-control.
We’ve been called to turn away wrath and avoid arguments with fools.
We are to be shining lights in a crooked world.
Brothers, Sisters: We can’t shine while we’re exchanging insults with people whose bumper stickers don’t match our own.
Can we all do a big old gut-check before things really heat up? Can we pray for calm hearts and cool heads and that peace that surpasses all understanding?
Can we memorize responses like thanks for sharing your thoughts and I can see you have very strong feelings about this or even, in desperate circumstances, a wordless nod of the head that says I heard you.
Can we all wear that slicker of His goodness, His mercy, His peace that shields us from the sputtering snot of passionate partisans?
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-20 (ESV)
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