I was thinking...
Wildfires in the western states. Earthquake in Haiti. Tropical storms lining up in the Atlantic basin. Drought in the Northwest. Is it climate change or just seasonal cycles? Unfortunately, the answer to that question has become too politically charged for healthy thinking.
Get vaccinated. Don’t get vaccinated. Wear a mask. Don’t wear a mask. Require vaccination proof to enter certain venues. Limit the number of persons in restaurants, bars, and other public spaces. Is it an infringement of rights or protecting our public health? Unfortunately, the answer to that question has become too politically charged for healthy thinking.
Is there a systemic race issue? Is our middle class disappearing into a deeper divide of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’? Should those who are poor and suffer from food and housing insecurity be helped from the government? Should those of us with pantries stocked full be expected to help? Unfortunately, the answers to such questions have become too politically charged for healthy thinking.
Is healthcare a right or a privilege? Is science misleading and manipulating the public? Are medical trials thorough enough? Is medical research influenced by government? Should we adjust our lifestyles to scientific and medical conclusions? Unfortunately, the answers to such questions have become too politically charged for healthy thinking.
Such questions and conversations fill the airways, email chains, and social media outlets. My observation is that we are more concerned about who said what than we are about what is being said. We have moved as a people way beyond worrying about political correctness into the arena of political bias (conscious and unconscious). We all have some element of trauma with the COVID-19 pandemic. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired! While it would be healthier for us to join together in the fight against those things that seek to minimize our world and lives, we too often choose to turn against each other…and do our turning in political packs…much like wolves on the prowl.
As I visit and revisit the Gospels, I read, hear, and see a better way of living. Unfortunately, those outside the faith, see us people in the faith fussing and fighting and say to themselves “Why would I want to add more fussing and fighting to my life? I have enough already.” So, they keep their distance with a decreasing chance that they can experience this ‘good news’ of love, forgiveness, acceptance and new life.
I hear Jesus the Christ say to the world of his day and of our day… “Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Happy are the people who grieve, because they will be made glad. Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth. Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full. Happy are people who show mercy because they will receive mercy. Happy are people who have pure hearts because they will see God. Happy are people who make peace because they will be called God’s children. Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Happy are you when people insult you and harass you and speak all kinds of false things about you, all because of me. Be full of joy and be glad, because you have great reward in heaven.…You are the salt of the earth…you are the light of the world…in the same way let your light shine before people, so they can see good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:3-16, CEB)
Are we the salt of the earth? Are we letting our light shine? Has the answer to this question become too politically charged to answer with healthy thinking?
The Rev. Dr. Terry E. Walton
Executive Assistant to the Bishop