Thinking Together Column 8/23/2016

I’m off to DC this morning (August 23) to participate in a Faith in Public Life workshop with a small group of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship pastors being equipped as agents of calm and civility in our increasingly polarized and hostile political climate.

No small task. The country’s political climate is charged because the stakes are so high.

As a progressive voice of faith, Highland cannot and should not play the role of referee. We have strong convictions about God’s dream for our world. Those dreams have political implications. We may aspire to be non-partisan, but we first aspire to be faithful to the gospel.

This is a delicate dance which requires careful choreography. Thanks be to God for our Beloved Dance Partner whose gentle Hand leads us onto life’s dance floor and leads us in the patterns and rhythms of the sacred dance.

Highland, in the next 80+ days before our national elections, we will focus on God’s justice, but also on God’s peace. Justice and peace must kiss, as the Psalmist said. To be faithful to Christ, justice advocates must be bearers of peace. Justice isn’t simply beating back the enemy, but expecting that the journey toward justice will transform enemies into allies, or at the least kin with whom we live in peace.

I’m going on a fast for the next 80-some days. I’m abstaining from the junk food of political snarkiness and rancor. I’m walking away from the buffet of arguments and demonizing.

You won’t hear the names of political candidates from Highland’s pulpit. They aren’t our focus as the church. Our focus is the gospel— good news to the poor, sight to the blind, deliverance to the oppressed. How each of us apply these gospel truths to how we work and vote is between each of us and God.  ~ Joe