I'll tell you right now, I'm not quite sure where this is headed. But the thoughts and images are strong in my mind, so I really feel like this is the topic for this week. I'll do my best to get where I need to be, but it might be a bumpy ride. So I'd encourage you to take a little perspective, please and know we are all more than the sum of our parts when we want to work collaboratively.
It's election season, just in case you haven't muted enough commercials, wanted to drive through a sea of vision-polluting signs or been tempted to send back unwanted junk mail with yesterday's coffee grounds. There are few things more divisive in our country than an election. In my own state of North Carolina, we've just won the dubious honor of hosting the most expensive US Senate campaign in history. The two primary candidates and their backers have poured over $100 Million into a race for an office that lasts six years and pays $176K per year. I know, I know ... it's never about the money, but if anything screams for a little perspective, this obscene and disgusting expenditure does.
The Raleigh Rescue Mission could have served over 3.5 Million meals with that amount of money. Samaritan's Purse could dig about 250K fresh water wells. And I could go on and on with organizations such as Compassion International, Doctors Without Borders, and thousands more worthy and dedicated organizations seeking to bring relief and hope to a world so often devoid of it. Yet the $100MM spent in North Carolina for a temporary political battle is what we get. And if I look at it in perspective, it makes me angry and sad.
I realize some will tell me I've given over to a "social gospel". My response would be to say, "What is more social than the True Gospel?" Perhaps I'd quote James talking about the nature of true worship - giving to the orphans and widows in their hour of need. Perhaps I'd remind them that a full belly with clean water and sanitary sewers will be far more open to the Gospel than somebody who doesn't know where tonight's meal comes from and never thinks about tomorrow's food.
But to put it all in perspective, I'd say we've become a nation obsessed with power and control - and I don't care where your political, spiritual or ideological lines are drawn. We think getting "our man/woman" in office is the fix. We want our agenda to move forward without giving thought for the love we are commanded to have for everybody else. In other words, we've lost (or vacated) our perspective on the altar of something different. And I believe we've grieved God greatly in doing so.
I've lived over half a century now and I have many people I call "friend" who don't believe as I do on multiple fronts. The "better" friends share a common faith, albeit across a wide variety of denominations, that our Hope is only in Jesus. I don't think I mention that enough to them, so perhaps I'm the one who needs some perspective.
The Crooked Path has room for many, and the call from the Father is to invite people to travel. We won't always talk or look the same (how boring would that be?) but we should be united in the goal to further the cause of the Cross and our mutual disdain for squandered opportunities to love our fellow man. I believe that's where it starts.