Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"Right" and "Left" are Just Directions

Just in case you haven't noticed, we are right in the middle of an election year. If you haven't been inundated by political views and election rhetoric, you either live in seclusion, or you may just not care. I must admit, I find myself falling into the second category as of late. Now before you accuse me of being un-American, please don't get me wrong.  It's not that I don't realize the importance of our political system. I believe that the US has the best system of electing government leaders in the world, and for the most part, it works:  For the most part.  However, It seems that I am becoming just a tad more disenchanted, and growing more apathetic as we hurtle toward November. And with the addition of the gay vs. straight issue, chicken vs. Oreos, or any other debate-fueled flavors of the month, I'm getting a little angry as well.  Not angry because of disagreement, but more angry at the divisions that inevitable evolve.  Divisions in our culture and divisions within the Church.
So as I sipped on my third cup of coffee this morning, I asked myself: "Why?" Why is this Presidential campaign beginning to raise more division and frustration than excitement?  It's funny, almost comical, but when you look at our current political situation from God's point of view, it doesn't seem quite as important as we make it out to be.  I often imagine God looking down upon His creation, shaking His head and thinking to Himself with a sigh, "Really?"  And regardless of political affiliations, wherever you decide to enjoy your fast food or find romance and intimacy, within the Kingdom of God there is essentially no "right" or "left".  No "We're right!" or "You're wrong"  No gay or straight.  No douche bags or hate mongers.  No homophobes and no Fundies.  To be honest, I'm sick of the whole "us" and "them" debate, and I'm beginning to see that most of us are proceeding in the "wrong" direction anyway.   Back and forth we go on a swing of insanity, desperately striving to "win" at whatever the cost.  But do we really ever win?

Despite our arrogance, scripture tells us that we tend to screw things up even when we know what's good for us.    In Proverbs 14:12, it tells us "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Just when we think we have it ALL figured out, BAM! We fall on our proverbial asses.  Sure, God picks us up, dusts us off and gives us chance after chance after chance.  Oh, sure.  We promise to do better.  Remember the members of Congress gathering on the steps of the US Capital singing God Bless American in unity?  They claimed that we were united and there existed no Republicans and no Democrats: only Americans.  How quickly we forget, right?

Well, I'm afraid that we are finding ourselves in the midst of more disunity than ever before; within our culture and the Body of Christ as well.  In fact, many older friends of mine have claimed that such disunity has not existed in their lifetimes; not even in the late 60s.  As humans, we find it difficult to find consistency, don't we?  We swing from one extreme to the other, finding it almost impossible to locate middle ground.  We don't like the hiking trails in the park as much as we do the swings. We seem to find the straight and narrow path that God has specifically designed for man to follow, but our selfishness gets in the way and we drift off in our own directions.  We run to the swings and lull ourselves into a pattern of back and forth mentality that numbs us from the true unity that Christ calls us to.  We react rather than interact.

When I think about it, I'm not really conservative and I'm not really liberal.  I hate labels.  I try not to classify myself as either, just because a particular leader, teacher or pastor tells me which way I should lean. And I surely don't think God leans one way or the other. I don't think that God considers Himself to be "American" and I don't think God endorses a particular presidential candidate. I don't think God is a member of any particular church and I don't think any one pastor or teacher is His favorite. God is neither "right" nor "left". He is.

God tells Israel through the prophet Isaiah, "Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Pretty simple. Pretty straight forward. So at least for today, I'm going to walk His path for a while and just be. I'm not going left and and not going right.  I'll choose to jump off the swing, take a deep breath and walk down His path for a while.  And if I decide to go back and sit in the swing, I'm just going rest on it.  Feel the wind against my face and listen to His creation around me; creation that exists in complete unity around us.  And I just might enjoy a Chick fil A sandwich and an Oreo for desert.  Sounds pretty good when you think about it.