Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Danen Kane Concert Review

SS Mertens

Cup 'O Joy
August 1, 2009

Oil & Water: Politics & Christianity

Oil & Water: Politics & Christianity

Can Oil Mix with Water? Slowly poor a small amount of oil in a cup of water. What happens? The oil pools together in small droplets of varying size, floating on the body of water. Now, with spoon in hand, blend the two like there is no tomorrow. What happens? The oil pools together, albeit in smaller groupings, in the body of water. Over a small period of time the small groupings once again re-group into larger droplets. After all the spent energy of attempting to blend, the oil simply refuses to blend with the water. Nothing accomplished despite our best efforts, they will never come together. This is the story of oil and water; this is the story of politics and Christianity.

I have recently had a number of disparaging politically centered conversations, very one-sided indeed, where only one party’s opinion could be correct. Conversations where either you were on the far Christian right without any allowance or you were mislead, not having an intelligible thought, badly influenced if not evil incarnate. Each conversation focused on current politics, political leaders, and political choices.

To be fair, I have had related conversations with those on the far left where my faith and convictions were not given the time of day. Tossed away without a second thought, seen as a waste of breath in a world where anything goes, and where one lives only for today without a thought for tomorrow or its effect on your neighbor.

While I consider myself to be a liberal in thought and deed, I am also a Christian. I believe in the one and only triune God, that we are born into sin and Jesus alone is the only way to salvation from sin, and that the Bible is the word of God. Must this mixture of lifestyle and faith be an experience in polar opposites? If anything this is a typical picture of a Christian today. We are not all liberals. We are not all conservatives. We are not all the same but a mixture of backgrounds and experiences.

So, if the above is truly a picture of an American Christian, why must we disagree to the point of anger and violence? And what is its root cause? Is the media edging it’s way into out collective thoughts? Has big business bought its way into fashioning our future? Have the rich found a way to guarantee only they will be at the top of the hill? Certainly my far-right wing friends have been greatly influenced by the Rush Limbaughs of this world who are paid well by big business, caring only for big ratings and big cigars. I’m sure the same can be said for factions on the far left.

The far right and the far left. Christians being politically influenced on the far right by a party bought and paid for by big business while the far left often stretches the freedom our nation provides far beyond recognizable Christian and American values. Can we work together? Isn’t the ability to unite and work together toward a goal what America was / is built on? Or, are we in a partisan war with ourselves, destroying what our ancestors had worked so hard to pass on to their children. Indeed, some might refer to this as North America’s next civil war.

We’ve become a nation of opinionated individuals who will not work toward a new start but stand on individual principle, not working toward a shared, bipartisan solution and caring only for our selfish opinions. In a time of world wide poverty, hunger, disease, violence, pollution and discrimination, why can’t the most powerful nation in the world pave the way for peace and harmony? Can we find a middle-road to resolve our differences and ultimately those of our world? Can we lead by example?

Like all great historical empires, will the United Status of America implode under the weight of its own politics? We are unable to move forward with two opposing parties debating without reasonable bipartisan resolve for the benefit of its people. Why not rise above the selfishness, learn from history, find a place somewhere in the middle to start anew? No resolution to dispute or disagreement is ever perfect onto its original state. Settle on an initial direction and keep improving on it.

Why not work together in peace, not as separate, angry entities. Why not work in a bipartisan way to come to a working solution, shouldn’t this be our goal. Why not find a place to begin then use Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s quality principle of PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act – also know as the Shewhart cycle) to continuously improve on a process, or in this case a solution to an issue. All we have to do is find a starting place realizing that we will work together to continually change and improve what we have started. Isn’t this the American way – in a number of ways!
Shouldn’t we work together in peace to resolve current issues? Let us not forget that Jesus Christ was not only given on the cross for our salvation but was also the greatest of all teachers. Among other things, he taught love and tolerance. A great example is The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God”.

As a great nation, let us lead by example, let us work peacefully together in a moderate, bipartisan fashion, and not stall at a time when leadership is crucial or constrain by example when the world needs change. But above all, let us work together and stall no longer.

SS Mertens
September 16, 2009