Posts Tagged ‘Republican

03
Nov
20

Listening to the Dogs

Today, Joan and I will be spending a lot of time with the dogs. 

Given the events of this day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020, it seems like a wise idea.

We will be walking them, yes. Also playing with them, petting them, feeding them, and quite possibly correcting them when/if they misbehave… yes, all of that too. 

But today of all days, we will also be listening to them and learning from them. 

In case you are not blessed to have dogs in your life, you might not be aware that besides fulfilling important roles as food devourers and poop producers, dogs can also be teachers of important life lessons. I hope to capture a few of those over the coming days.

Today, Rosie and Patrick seem to be eager to teach us one thing above all else. And that lesson is: PEOPLE ARE AWESOME! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!

If Joan and I go away – even for a short trip to the grocery store – and leave them here by themselves, we are almost knocked off our feet by the joyous reception we receive when we return.

And guests? If you come by for a cup of tea sometime, be prepared to be overwhelmed by excited jumping, licking, pawing, and overflowing joy at your arrival. I know, I know… we should be doing a much better job of training them not to do that. Bad dog parents!

But here is the thing: that exuberant greeting is offered to ALL who enter Chez Brown… white, black, blue, red, well-groomed, desperately needing a shower… no matter who it is. In fact, the other day our kitchen remodeling contractor left his pickup truck toolbox open and I saw – from a bumper sticker inside – that he is a supporter of the OTHER guy. i.e., not the candidate we voted for.  

AND YET! In spite of that, Rosie and Patrick jumped for joy when he showed up today, just as if he were a long-lost family member who had finally returned from the Crimean War after being presumed dead.

It is almost as if they were saying, “God made you, so we love you! Period! End of story!” 

They seem to know that with nearly eight billion people in the world today, the odds of finding anyone else that exactly fits all the human-made criteria for acceptance and lovability are vanishingly low. And so their decision (preceded, I’m sure, with much prayerful consideration) is to unconditionally love every person they meet. 

I am not sure if they read John’s gospel where Jesus tells his disciples, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…” (John 15:12, NRSV), but they somehow seem to know it by heart and live it every day.

Who knows how this election will turn out? Not me, not the experts, and not the two people at the center of it.

We know that some folks will be ecstatic about the outcome. Some will be angry. Some will be depressed. Some will begin looking at real estate ads for Costa Rica. 

But if we really do a good job of listening to what Rosie and Patrick (and, well, Jesus, too) have to teach us today, we will probably be able to face tomorrow with joy in our hearts and hope for the future. 

Abundant blessings;

25
Oct
20

Is it worth it?

It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most important presidential elections this country has ever seen.

This election is much more than a contest between two different men or two different political parties. 

It is a battle between two different visions of our common future.

I get that. 

I believe that.

But still I have to ask: Is it worth it?

That is to say, is it worth the cost of my relationship with you?

To be clear; I stand firmly in one camp. I believe in the inherent rightness of my camp’s position and platform. I have given money and time to promote the success of those in my camp.

And, for the life of me, I cannot begin to understand why anyone would choose the other one.

I have been tempted – and may have actually given in to the temptation more than once – to besmirch the intelligence and integrity of those in the other camp.

But here is the thing; when I actually stop and talk to them calmly and reasonably, I discover that the “other campers” are good people overall. 

They want some (not all) of the same things I want. 

Some (not all) love Jesus like I do. The ones that do – and those that don’t – aren’t obnoxious about it.

Some (not all) have families they cherish, just like I do. 

Their hearts beat, their eyes tear, their noses run, their knees creak, and their tastebuds tingle, just like mine. 

They drive cars, watch TV, cheer for teams, waste their time, mow their lawns, and listen to music, just like I do.

Again, make no mistake about it… I think the leaders they aspire to follow are wildly wrong… even dangerously so. Therefore, I can’t help but question their judgment when they say that they choose to follow that guy and that party.

But should I hate them?

Should I demonize them?

Should I forever trash any relationship with them because I question their political judgment?  

Maybe today is a good time to bring Paul’s words to the church at Ephesus to mind. You know, that time he said, “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”(Ephesians 6:12, NRSV).

I don’t know… What do you think?

Abundant blessings;

24
Sep
20

The Right Question…

Since we now live in a new state, Joan and I recently decided to do a little exploring.

We drove to the southwestern part of Colorado and set ourselves up in the lovely little town of Ridgway. We highly recommend it, in case you are ever looking for a picturesque, unspoiled, little mountain getaway town. 

On our third day there we asked our GPS, “How far is it to Telluride?” We had heard great things about the town of Telluride and wanted to drive over and do a little exploring.

Our GPS quite accurately told us it was 15 miles from Ridgway to Telluride…

… as the crow flies, that is.

We discovered that if you happen to be a human instead of a crow, limited to traveling in a car across paved roads – as we were – there is a completely different answer to the question, “How far is Telluride?”

That answer is thirty-nine miles

That trivial little exercise caused me to wonder; could we be in the midst of one of those times when some of us are not asking the right question?

With a major political election looming on the immediate horizon, the question seems obvious; Trump or Biden? Democrat or Republican? Liberal or conservative? 

Pick your side. Make your speech. Cast your ballot.

But what if those are not really the right questions at all?

What if the right (better) questions are somehow deeper… more fundamental and essential? And what if these better questions concern the kind of people you and I will BE from here on out instead of which political horse we choose to hitch our wagon(s) to?

Make no mistake… I am watching the current political hullabaloo like a hawk. At times it is more entertaining than an NFL game. At other times, it is more frightening than a Stephen King novel. And I definitely do have a favorite in this race.

But the more I watch this show and the more blood that is spilled, the more discouraged I get about the real benefits of ANY potential outcome. 

We can change the political circumstances in which we live. But until we fundamentally change the people we are – the way we think, the way we interact with one another, and the way we live our lives – neither of these would-be political messiahs is really going to make much difference at all.

I propose that a better question for us each to ask ourselves today might be this one: what kind of edges will my life have from here on out?

What I mean by that is…

  • Will the edges of my life be made up of a hard, impenetrable shell? Will I pour all of my energy into fortifying myself against anything that might penetrate and possibly harm me? Will I “batten down the hatches” and look upon anything unfamiliar as a dangerous threat? Will I echo Simon and Garfunkel as they sang, “I am a rock… I am an island”?
  • Or will my edges be soft and vulnerable? Will they be easily punctured by the voice, the views, or the needs of another? Will I/we dare to open ourselves to the stranger? Will I/we dare to occasionally say to someone, “I don’t know. I might be wrong about that. Let me think about it”? Will we be humble and open to the needs of our neighbors?

The temptation in unsettling, uncertain, anxious times is to try and build as strong a wall as we possibly can. To seek safety. To armor-plate the edges of our lives.

And yet, as natural an instinct as shell-building seems to be, it is the polar opposite of the model of Christlikeness. 

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28, NRSV).

And the writer of 1 Peter said, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NRSV).

Yes, it is a vitally important time in our political life as a country. But I hope we can each find a way to look past the noise and smoke, ask the right question…

… and then perform our civic duty accordingly.

Abundant blessings;




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