Searching For Relevance
November 10, 2016
I don’t ever think I have experienced a more bitter and vitriolic presidential campaign than the one that has just concluded. In so many ways it was heated, offensive, and absurd. But now it is done. And whether the candidate of your choice won or lost, we are now called to a higher ideal, that of setting aside personal differences — which does not mean agreeing on specific issues — in order to return civility to our society. Remember, democracy is based upon expressing difference, believing that in doing so the truth is revealed. But that doesn’t entail being mean or demeaning. I have heard many say that these particular candidates were way out-of-line, but lest we forget, they are the product and reflection of where we are, and who we have become as a nation. And if we are dissatisfied with them and wish for representatives who are different, then we must look and work for that “difference” in ourselves.
It always seems ironic to me when individuals complain about the salaries of professional athletes, but then purchase tickets at outrageous prices and attend the game in all kinds of over-priced fan gear. All of which makes possible the very salaries they have been complaining about. Therefore, no one is to blame except ourselves.
If this election was conducted in a manner that you saw as extremely inappropriate, then we can’t complain about the candidates until we examine their appeal, because it is directly related to something in us. And if we want something more, then we must expect more from ourselves, raising the bar and challenging each another to be kinder, more understanding and compassionate, as well as better vested in improving “our” communities. We must cease expecting someone else to do the hard work for us and employ a greater investment of ourselves.
I do not know what the future holds and pray for the very best. What I do know is that if we expect things to improve, the change must begin with each of us, and in my mind that includes the church. After all, the church is called to be a new creation within the old creation — a living example of individuals existing in community despite their differences.
Therefore . . .
. . . be kind and respectful of one another.
. . . watch what you post on social media — watch how you respond to something posted on social media.
. . . work for what you believe to be right without attacking those you believe are wrong. “Fighting fire with fire,” as James C. Fremont said, “only produces more
ashes”. Or, as the book of Ephesians states, “ . . . walk as children of the light . . .” (Eph. 5:14)
It’s time for all of us to do better, beginning today.
Rev. Dr. Keith A. Haemmelmann