There is this place in the movie Rounders where Worm is in lots of debt so Mike goes with him to talk to the guy who loaned him the money. Before they go in Mike says “let me do the talking” and throughout most of the conversation things are going well. They have the dude (I think his name is Gramma or something like that) ready to give Worm some grace and then Gramma begins to goad Worm. He looks at Worm and tries to make him mad.
And you know what it works.
Worm can’t handle the words and tries to start a fight. So Mike has to step in and stop Worm from getting beat up and eventually Mike has to vouch for Worm with the wonderful line “The it’s on me too” which means that Mike has to pay off Worm’s debts. When they leave Mike is frustrated and says something like, “all you had to do was keep your mouth shut.”
When it comes to this election I really feel like republicans are Mike and Donald Trump is Worm. Yesterday he comes out with some actual conservative ideals and a concrete plan and people are like, “Hey, maybe we can get behind this guy!” And then the news story today is Trump telling people that if Hillary gets elected maybe some pro second amendment people would know how to handle that situation. Even if it is a joke you can just hear the collective groan from republicans everywhere thinking “all you had to do was keep your mouth shut!”
Engaging in the political discussion and taking advantage of our privileged to vote is important for Christians. We need to add our voice to the discussion and since as Christians we know God who is the ultimate answer to the problems we face as people and as a nation we should be involved in public life.
But it is no secret that this year’s political climate has gotten a bit…well…to put it bluntly, nasty. While this isn’t a new thing, it is a new thing for me as a father. For the first time my son is listening to the news and I find myself needing to talk to him about what he is hearing and seeing.
I have to admit I would rather have “the talk” than try to explain what is happening in the presidential race this year. You see, I have a goal with him that goes beyond simply trying to get him on my side about who to vote for. I want to help him to grow up to be a person who can be a voice of reason and change so maybe the political discourse that his children see will be different.
Here are my goals:
Teach my children that God has ordained governments.
Since they are God ordained instruments governments and public officials should be respected.
While respecting the laws and governments in place we must remember that we always have a higher law to follow and that is the laws of God.
We must remember that this world is not our home and that while we will work to make our country great, ultimately our goal is to bring God glory.
We must remember that our mission is to take the love of Christ to the world. Our mission is to make disciples and to reach out with the love of Christ. We must be sure that what we say and do in defense of our political ideals will not interfere with our ultimate mission.
We disagree with ideas and actions, not with people.
We will listen to what others have to say even if we are opposed to their opinions.
Governments require compromise. When people get more concerned about winning than they do helping others they create a culture of fighting and stagnation. In order to move forward we must be willing to listen, compromise, and adapt.
On a personal note I also want to teach my children than if you are going to argue against someone make sure that you are at least arguing against facts and not false half arguments. For instance I get frustrated when I hear Christians arguing that they didn’t evolve from monkeys. No one is arguing that you evolved from a monkey. People say that you and that monkey have a common ancestor. That is different. When you make an assumption and then argue against the assumption your argument loses weight. Be truthful if you want to create a bigger impact.
If you would like some ideas on how to talk to your kids about politics. Here is a really good aritical.
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
–PRESIDENT Barak Obama
I have to say that this is one powerful little passage of a speech. I can see it being a rallying cry not only for this country, but for churches as well. As Christians we know the God who offers true freedom. We serve the God who claimed in His time here on earth that he came to set the captives free. So our mission here should be proclaiming freedom not just for our bodies, but for our very souls. Let it be said of our children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end and we took the message of Christ and His grace around the world.
(with that said, why have I heard that “In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river.” bit before? Is that a quote from somewhere or from another of his speeches)
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
–Martin Luther King Jr.
This is one of the most inspiring speeches ever given. Even reading it makes you want to take a stand to be a better man and to fight for those people who are oppressed. We have come a long way since then, but we haven’t arrived. I was born 11 years after this speech and still I grew up with surrounded by words of hate and ignorance. I grew up in a world where racism had gone underground, but it was still there. Years after this speech racism still lived strong only then it was spoken in hushed tones while you looked around to see if anyone heard.
But now, here we are, still not having arrived as a country or as a people, but on the eve of President Obama’s inauguration and I have to say that I at least have hope for our future. Racism and bigotry aren’t leaving the scene any time soon, but in working with teenagers I see a hope that I wouldn’t have imagined even in my younger years. Sure we aren’t perfect. Sure we all are afraid of someone who isn’t like us sometimes, but I think that right now I can say that I have a hope that the world that my son grows up in will be much closer to the dream that Dr. King had all those years ago.
This is a response to Surreal’s comments on the “A Dream” and the “Powerful Words” posts.
There are many things that I disagree with Obama about. I really think I am a Libertarian on economic issues so just about everything that has happened in government for the past several months has been against what I believe. On top of that I am a man who believes that the government is totally unable to help people who have real needs. Helping people who have needs is the job of churches and if we would actually step up and care about people more than we care about arguing against the other party much of this would be fixed.
With that being said, rhetoric matters. Flowery words are important because they inspire. They motivate us to rise up against injustice and to be shake off the indifference and apathy that pull us down like quicksand. Rhetoric is the cool water that wets dry throats and the fire that starts the flames of real change.
Whether or not the President of this country agrees with everything that I agree with he is inspiring people. He is helping people to feel like they have a voice in the country again. He is stirring people to be a part of making a difference. Now, I know that much of what he has said is simply rhetoric, but that is OK. He doesn’t have to change the world. He can inspire a generation of people, most of which probably know how to fix the problems they are facing much better than he does.
No matter if you agree with him or not you can’t deny that having more voices involved in the process is a good thing and having people inspired to really even better. I do believe that the Obamamania will subside. When it does I feel bad for him because I think there will be a lot of people who expect him to do things that the president really can’t do, but I also think that having more people involved in the process will be a legacy that he can be proud of.
Whether I agree with anything that President Obama says or not I can stand and say that his election is an amazing thing for our country. Electing a minority is nearly unheard of in the history of the world. Even though I was adamantly opposed to his platform and him as a candidate I can still be excited for the historical significance. Let’s remember that a little over 40 years ago black people were shot because they were registering to vote. Who would have imagined in those years that we would have an African American president who won not just the “black vote” but the hearts and minds of most of this country as well.
Time will come to have debates over policy. Our country seems to be standing on the edge of a cliff and I think many of the ideas of this new administration are going to push us over the edge. But let’s take a deep breath, stop looking for a fight, and simply be amazed at this moment. You never know if you will get a chance to experience anything like it again.
(with all of that said I do wish that Kieth Oberman and his little protege would be a little less smug. They make it hard to be excited about this moment because they want to keep reminding everyone that they won)