Posted tagged ‘political candidates’

Afraid To Answer My (i)Phone

June 12, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                   June 12, 2018

 

The heat is on! Not the Colorado summer heat, but the political primaries…that kind of heat! 

Last night I flipped between three local TV stations at 5:30 to see the local news. Each station was airing a political advertisement at the same time, but for three different candidates!

When I went outside and got the mail out of the mailbox I had to search between all the political postcards and propaganda to find the car insurance bill. I wonder if State Farm would see that as a valid excuse for not paying my monthly premium- that I couldn’t find it in the midst of all the campaigning candidates’ mail? 

But the worst so far has been the unbelievable number of calls I’m getting on my iPhone. Now, I have to admit that I’m assuming they are political calls, but why else would I be getting calls from Shoreline, Washington; Jamesburg, New Jersey; Pueblo, Colorado; Oklahoma City; East Tawas, Michigan; Newton, Massachusetts; Leota, Minnesota; Portland, Maine; and Oyster Bay, New York.

“No!” to all the questions that are being asked right now by moms! I do not answer the incoming call if I do not recognize the number. 

I’m listening to Amazon Prime Music on my iPhone as I do my morning run and Mercy Me’s song I Can Only Imagine is interrupted by an incoming call from Boynton Beach, Florida!

I’m at my writing spot at the public library, deep into my book rewrite, and someone from Waltham, Massachusetts is trying to get my ear!

And so now I have this fear that an important call is going to be ignored simply because someone wants to convince me of the evils of a certain candidate for office. 

Political callers are the new telemarketers! In the last week out of 27 incoming calls to my phone 3 OF THEM were from people I knew…two from Carol, my wife, and the other from Amy Teten, who we financially support with The Navigators ministry! The other 24 calls were from phone numbers I did not recognize. None of those callers left a message! Perplexing, isn’t it?

I realize the importance of electing the best officials. In fact, I’ll probably take my ballots to the drop-off box at the library today. (Colorado’s primary is June 26!) My voting decisions are based on summaries from neutral publications on the political positions of each of the candidates. 

In the mean time I’ll hear my iPhone ringing in a few calls this morning as I’m running my four miles. They will come just as my pace has increased listening to the song “The Greatest Show” from The Greatest Showman. Suddenly I’ll slow down to a turtle’s pace!

Ugh!

The Dangers of Freely Thinking

October 12, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     October 12, 2016

                

With four weeks until the election it seems that more stuff is being thrown back and forth than a high school cafeteria food fight. Social media, such as I’m using, spreads the drama quickly. Every day we are bombarded by new revelations about the past. Accusations meant to discredit and humiliate are the norm. How candidates deal with health care, foreign policy, education, and all the other issues has been pushed back to the end of the program guide. I have a hard time remembering where each candidate stands on such issues in the midst of email scandals and locker room comments.

There are Trump supporters, Clinton supporters, Johnson supporters, Stein supporters, a growing number of people who keep hoping that a knight in shining armor will ride on to the scene in the nick of time, and still others who are praying that Jesus returns before November 8!

This may be an election where there are more people a little embarrassed about who they finally choose to vote for than those who proudly proclaim who it is they support.

What I’ve also noticed is the danger of freely thinking. In the past few days my college alma mater, a small Christian college in Elgin, Illinois called Judson University, has had people throwing Facebook comments back and forth about the fact that Dr, Ben Carson is scheduled to speak on campus in the spring. Some of the words written had the commentator reaching down into the gutter and getting a handful of that really disgusting and foul-smelling mud and flinging it towards the school’s administration. How could an educational institution allow someone to come and speak who has been supportive of Donald Trump?

I remember a number of years ago when colleges fought the fights of being places of free thinking. There is great danger that the winds have changed directions in regards to that. It seems our culture is enamored with hearing what we agree with more than different ideas, and throwing sharp verbal jabs at those who hold other viewpoints.

The election is just the latest of these contentious battlefields. I wish I could say that the followers of Jesus have been different, but alas…

Christians are often the worst! Many of us have mastered “sanctimonious spiritual language” to belittle those who we disagree with. “How can you call yourself a Christian and…” It used to be that you finished the phrase with things like “…drink a Budweiser?” or “…wear a skirt that short?”  Then things changed a little bit and we ended the sentence with issues or life situations like “…say that abortion is okay?” or “say that divorce people can get remarried?”

In recent years it has changed again. Now the accusing question gets completed with words like “…say that you are voting for ______?” or “be willing to even listen to what he/she is saying?”

In a time when the church could be a safe place to express different opinions it has taken on the appearance of political preferences. There’s more free thinking happening at Starbucks than the coffee fellowship time in most churches.

What would Jesus do? I’m not sure, but many of us are hoping that he will come back and tell us real, real, real soon!

What Would Jesus Say To ______?

September 10, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                September 10, 2016

                     

Since I’ve been a pastor for a majority of my life people have often looked to me for guidance on a variety of issues and life situations. I’ve been asked what version of the Bible I would recommend, what to say to a child that has begun to wander spiritually, how to deal with mother-in-laws that make life torture, and what to say to someone who scoffs at the Christian faith?

All are relevant questions that trouble people’s minds.

There is one area, however, where I refuse to give people that I’ve been the pastor to any guidance, and that is the problem of politics. It’s interesting how in the blessedness of our liberty we’ve made the political arena a problem. People have become snippy! If I was able to measure on a scale the weight of political venom expressed versus mercy for the impoverished the scale would topple over under the weight of the vicious.

About 25 years ago I made a political comment during a Sunday sermon and I still remember a woman in my congregation getting up and walking out. My conversation with her the following week was eye-opening for me. She respected me as her pastor, but not as her political commentator. Our deep dialogue made me realize how powerful the pulpit can be…for good or for bad. Although I have my personal view on politics since that episode I have never used my position as pastor to influence how people should vote.

On the other hand I have used my position as pastor to influence how people respond to poverty, community needs, supporting missions, responding to catastrophic events around the world, and the church’s tendency to become insulated and isolated.

It’s interesting how those issues get pushed to the side in the midst of the daily political jabs and low blows. It seems that people are more interested in what Jesus would say about someone or to someone. What would he say to Trump, or Clinton, or Johnson, or Stein? There is a weird thirst amongst a number of religious people to dress Jesus in the coat of their political preference. The funny thing is that Jesus was always a bit wary of politics and people in power, or looking to be in power. The politics of the Kingdom of God are usually printed in a different section of the newspaper than the news of current political campaigns.

Jesus said a lot about issues. His words would not fit neatly into any one of the political parties’ platforms. People would be trying in a variety of ways to reword his views to fall within their boundaries. In effect, there would be a lot of “trying to straighten out Jesus” moments!

And thus the tension with where we are today! My family and relatives include avid Trump supporters, committed Democrats, confused Republicans, and some who will vote Libertarian for the first time in their lives…and we’re all still one family! Most of us are followers of Jesus, and most of us understand that it’s okay to disagree with one another. That we can vote for different people and still be family! Sadly, that kind of freedom seems to be lacking in many congregations of Christ-followers, and some sanctuaries this time of year simply resemble smaller versions of Cleveland and Philadelphia.