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Coming Together

So, politics…. Everybody was pretty shocked last week, eh? Still not going to talk candidates—although I agree with President Obama when he said that we should all be rooting for Trump to have a great presidency. Come January 20th, Donald Trump will be our president so regardless of how one feels about the man, we definitely want the success that comes from a good president. I’ve been praying that he (and his team) will have lots and lots and lots of wisdom about who gets appointed where.

Anyway! This whole campaign has in a lot of ways emphasized the divide in our country. I was disturbed when I went on facebook the other day and various people had posted saying something along the lines of “if you’re going to vote for/voted for (insert Clinton or Trump), unfriend me because I don’t want people like you in my life.” Kinda surprised how much of that was going on. I get that everybody was passionate about their particular candidate. They have some pretty different ideas about how the country ought to be run. I don’t see how solidifying the divide is a good thing.

If there’s anything I got out of watching such a close election, it was that our country is deeply divided and we all need to come together. Everyone who voted picked the person they thought was best for the country. Nobody’s trying to ruin the country. Nobody’s trying to destroy anyone’s lives. We need our different ways of thinking to make us better people and to grow us.

See, if we really do kick all the people out of our lives who don’t agree with us, we’ll never be confronted with different ways of thinking, different ways of doing things, different approaches to problem solving. We really are better together, despite how uncomfortable our differences can make relationships.

So, now that we’ve all seen how divided our country is, rather than letting our political differences divide us in the Church, let’s become more committed to the unity Jesus calls His Church to. No president or senator or representative can save us. Only Jesus is capable of fixing the world. Having Trump elected (or Hillary if she’d been elected) isn’t going to magically cause people to love each other, isn’t going to fix poverty levels, etc., etc., etc. It’s people going out and loving by the power of the Holy Spirit (which is way more than just tolerance) that changes a society.

Christian Living

Turning Points

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We ended up going on vacation this past week, which was AMAZING. This photo is of where I was sitting doing my Bible study one morning. I got to do my Bible study on the beach twice 😀 It’s been years since I’ve been to the beach and I can’t tell you how much I missed the ocean! It’s been a little rough coming back though. On the one hand, I’m excited to get back to routine, to work on the things I’m passionate about. On the other, routine is so mundane and slow. Change takes so much work before results show up.

With the election in the USA this week, I’ve been thinking about how huge shifts can happen so suddenly. Regardless of which candidate you were rooting for, I’m not sure anyone expected the presidential race to be quite so close. It’s been interesting watching the varied responses from all parties involved.

Anyway! Thinking about how cranky I am to be thrown back into my daily grind coupled with thoughts of turning points has made me consider how important the daily grind actually is. See, turning points don’t actually happen all at once–regardless of whether we see them coming. In a lot of ways they carry the kinetic energy of thousands of tiny shifts, thousands of tiny decisions, tiny actions, tiny moments of being. It’s like how standing on shifting sand can throw you off balance despite the minuscule size of a grain of sand. The little decisions change where our turning points are and how they turn out.

Maybe some days the daily grind feels a little pointless–after all, the dishes will just need washed again tomorrow, etc., etc., etc.–but it’s actually how we move forward and make sure that our turning points turn out well.

Christian Living

Living Here

Heads up: I’m going to talk about politics. But don’t freak out yet–I ain’t gonna talk about candidates or parties or ideologies. I’m gonna talk about why we, as Christians, should care.

When I was a kid, we moved a lot. I never really set down roots–and frankly, there are some definite advantages to having lived a bunch of different places. I say this because, when I was little, I couldn’t see them. Now, after watching how my children have developed living in the same house for as long as they can remember, I find myself mourning the things they haven’t had. Hopefully, we can balance out some of that stability with a little flexibility now that they’re older.

Military brats and other people who moved a lot when they were young know that it’s hard to move past that mentality, even if you settle down someplace when you’re an adult. There’s a sort of itch to move on and a constant impermanence in your relationships. I mean, I love my friends here! I’ve been friends with a lot of them for a lot of years, and I’m sure I would stay in contact with a lot of them. But if I were to move, I think it would be easier on me than on someone who isn’t practiced in leaving people behind.

I find this mentality also spills over into my house. We’ve lived here for almost 8 years and we still haven’t put pictures on the walls in every room. It was just this year that we finally got around to doing it in our dining room. There were practical concerns like the fact that my kids played ball in that room. However, frankly, it was more a case of subconsciously not wanting to be tied down. Just the thought of living in one place for so long makes me feel gross.

What does this have to do with politics? I’m glad you asked 😉 I was recently reading this passage: Jer. 29:4-This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 

On the one hand, we aren’t in exile. But on the other, we kind of are. We live God’s kingdom even while we’re living in another country. We all long for Jesus’ return. We long for peace and deliverance. There’s a sense in which we’re all avoiding settling down because this isn’t our true home. But having the right president isn’t going to bring peace and deliverance. Jesus is the only world leader who can do that. For now, we’re here, and, since we live here, we have a responsibility to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city [or country]… [and] pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, [we] too will prosper.”

I’ve heard various people talking on Facebook and in articles about how Christians can’t vote for someone to be president in this election because of the candidates’ characters. It’s a hard decision. And if you’ve prayed about voting for our president and have prayed for our country and you believe that’s the best way to seek the prosperity of our country, do what God leads you to do. The main thing I firmly believe is the wrong thing to do in this situation is to be apathetic and ignorant. We live here. We’re granted a lot of pretty awesome benefits from living in the U.S.A. Do we wish it was more like Jesus’ kingdom? Yes. But just like the Jews wanted Jesus to rescue them from outside political influence, I think we have to realize we’re not going to get God’s kingdom on earth until God actually comes to earth to rule. True peace isn’t going to show up in a human kingdom–regardless of who is in charge.

We live here. We can’t afford to ignore the election. We can’t afford to vote party lines or whichever candidate has prettier hair. Every election, my husband and I get a copy of our ballot off the county website and then sit down and skim through the candidates’ webpages (yes, even the county treasurer–EVERYONE on the ballot). We take notes on which people align most closely with the things Scripture is clear on and the things that are just our personal preferences. And then we actually go to our polling place and vote. Not because we believe we can create an ideal world but because we live here. We want to seek the prosperity of our country because if it falls apart that will affect us.

So please, take the time to be an informed voter. Even if your conscience won’t let you vote for any of the presidential candidates then go vote for the other things on your ballot. Prayerfully do what you believe is best for where you live.