Tag Archives: politics

Peacemaker President

President Obama’s second-term inauguration has come and gone. Even though I didn’t vote for him, he’s still the president of my country. He represents all Americans, including me.

peace sign

give peace a chance

Last month, my friend Amy wrote about picking a theme word for her life in 2013. Her post inspired me to think of a theme word for my hopes for President Obama’s second term. The word I chose is peace. If President Obama can usher peace into America’s contentious political environment, he’ll secure his legacy along with a place in the hearts of many Americans—maybe even those like me who didn’t vote for him.

We can argue, liberals and conservatives, about whose behavior is worse. Each side blames the other for gridlock. Mud slings year round, not just during election season. From where we regular folks sit, Washington looks like a bad episode of 90210. Vindictive. Scandalous. Popular people posing for the cameras one minute and stabbing each other in the back the next. Meanwhile, constituents wait for them to do their jobs at the Peach Pit. A ridiculous and imperfect analogy, I know, but you get the idea.

90210 formal

90210 formal

How could President Obama or anyone possibly be expected to instill  peace in the midst of infighting like this? He can’t do it alone. None of us can. But as the leader, he’s in the best position to change the tone.

Conservatives like me must own our part of the conflict. Our disagreement with President Obama’s policies, actions, and words often translate as personal attacks on him, much the way liberals’ criticism of former President George W. Bush did. I want to be more careful to clearly debate differences in belief, and I hope other conservatives and liberals will do so going forward. I also want to remember to pray for President Obama as our leader, and I hope other people of faith will, too.

Peace as a top-down change is powerful. I challenge President Obama to be the first to attempt reconciliation and bipartisan compromise. I don’t expect either side to cave on the values of those they represent. But if a solution simply cannot be reached, I hope President Obama will encourage Congress to dig deeper to come up with another option. Rather than rushing to an ill-conceived decision or executive order, go back to the drawing board and do better.

be the change

be the change

Peace in speech and countenance is healing. I challenge President Obama to visibly demonstrate willingness to work with others who believe differently than he does. Religious freedom is an issue close to my heart. I hope President Obama will deal peacefully with those whose faith beliefs are different from his and not use policy to force citizens to act against their faith or support actions they find morally reprehensible like unrestricted abortion on demand. There is room for mutual respect. We can protect the religious liberty of all Americans including Christians.

Peace can make a good leader great and create a legacy worth remembering. If he leads with peace, President Obama has a unique opportunity for greatness in his second term. By extending the olive branch in our broken country, he can transcend divisiveness and revive the civil discourse that may actually lead to solutions to the problems we face.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9 NIV

All we are saying is Give Peace a Chance, by John Lennon.

What are your hopes for Obama’s second term?

photo credit: ginnerobot via photopin cc
photo credit: alicetiara via photopin cc
photo credit: danny.hammontree via photopin cc

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Reader’s Choice ’12: The Politics of Friendship

Eric Bostic may very well take over the city of Charlotte one day.

Eric Bostic

Eric Bostic (right) with his brothers Malcolm and Derek

I went to school with Eric. One thing I remember about him is that he always—always—had a beautiful, friendly smile on his face. Still does to this day.

Eric owns a merchant services company and his wife recently opened a medical supply business. Before that, Eric served as a Ranger and Green Beret. He knows the cost of freedom firsthand. He recognizes how important it is for a self-governed people to express their viewpoints. 

Eric’s Reader’s Choice is:

 The Politics of Friendship

seesaw

click to read The Politics of Friendship

readers choice

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Filed under America, family & friends

Should Christians Vote?

If you are an American citizen, you should vote. 

washington monument

Washington Monument

I don’t care who you vote for. Well, I do care, but it’s more important that you vote, no matter what your convictions may be. That’s the way the republic works. Use it or lose it.

This post, however, is specifically for my Christian brothers and sisters in America. Not only do we have the responsibility as citizens of the United States to vote; if we follow Christ, we have the responsibility as Christians to vote.

The Bible directs us to be good stewards of all God has given us.

If you live in America, you have been given a representative form of government and a Constitution that protects your freedom to worship as you choose. This is a gift many Christians in the world do not enjoy. You demonstrate good stewardship of this gift when you fulfill your responsibility to vote.

Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in South Carolina recently wrote a post, The Church & Politics = A MESS!. Noble correctly ascertains Christians are to be about pointing people to Jesus. Our political leaders cannot save us and will ultimately disappoint us. Politics are not the answer; Jesus is.

When Christians receive statements like this from Christian leaders, I wonder if some get the idea they should shun politics all together. It doesn’t matter how they vote or even if they vote. They now have an official excuse from the pulpit not to participate in an imperfect democratic process, not to engage the carnal culture, and instead to isolate themselves in the name of Christ.

But our faith does not operate in isolation from the rest of our lives. What good is it if it did?

Our convictions as Christians will influence and inform the decisions we make, including political choices. Dr. Erwin Lutzer of the Dwight L. Moody Memorial Church in Chicago writes of the same calling to the Gospel as Noble does:

“We are to be agents of grace, mercy and forgiveness in a harsh and cruel world. We cannot let our cultural revolution obscure our primary calling. We must exercise that calling within the context of our cultural debate.” (from The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage, p. 98, 2004)

Our current presidential election raises new challenges for Christians, especially conservative evangelicals. One candidate says he follows Christ while at the same moves to restrict the religious liberty of Christians. The other candidate says he’s a Mormon, which is doctrinally quite different from an evangelical Christian. There are independent and third-party choices. But when it comes down to who will most likely be elected, what are we to do?

Are evangelical Christians to choose the lesser of two evils? 

A wise friend reminded me only God knows the hearts  of the candidates. We do not know what they believe only what they say and do. Still we have to choose.

While neither candidate is ideal (will any ever be ideal?), they do have some philosophical and policy differences. I Side With offers a comparison of their views. Think through what you value most as a Christian and choose the candidate who lines up better with that. Not perfectly, but better. And I’m not telling you who that is; it’s your decision.

American Christians are a diverse lot. We have different opinions about what the most important issues are and how best to address them. Some of us will prioritize the social welfare of the poor. Others the protection of the unborn. Others the preservation of Constitutional rights. There is Biblical evidence that all of these issues and more matter to God. Prayerfully consider the choices and vote your convictions.

One more thing.

flag Christmas ornament

flag Christmas ornament, as seen at Walmart

If we are displeased with the candidates this round, there’s nothing stopping us from raising up better candidates for the future. That’s another gift of a representative government. Involvement in politics at a local, state, or national level is an honorable service. We need Christian people to take active roles of leadership in government, same as we need them to lead in education, medicine, law, social services, the arts, business, media, and commerce.

The notion that Christians should not express political viewpoints or participate in politics is destructive. Please don’t sit out the election.

Pray. Get to the polls on November 6th. Vote your conscience fearlessly and with thanksgiving as directed by Christ. Then trust Him with the care of our country.

Therefore, let all the godly pray to You while there is still time,
that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
For You are my hiding place;
You protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory. Psalm 32:6-7 NLT

Woke Up in America by Matt Maher.

How will you exercise your calling within the context of our cultural debate?

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The Politics of Friendship

It’s mid-October. The leaves are changing. The frost is on the pumpkin. And Americans are sick of politics. 

seesaw

seesaw

That’s understandable. We’re in the heat of a presidential election. The airwaves are filled with negative ads. Conflict permeates the country.

Within this microcosm of months leading up to the 2012 election, I co-founded a public forum to discuss the issues with Lisen Stromberg, a writer who usually disagrees with me. Am I a pundit? Hardly.

I’m just an American citizen who discovered she, like every other American citizen, has a voice with which to speak about issues that matter to her.

Notice I didn’t say I discovered my opinions. I wrote about controversial topics like Food, Inc., Roe v. Wade, and Chick-fil-A before the election stage was set. My views have been formed by my beliefs, experiences, and observations. Same as yours have been. I simply began to voice my views more formally and in good faith that civil discourse would rule the day.

My sharing has been met with applause in some camps and disdain in others. There have been retweets and hate tweets. I’ve been unfriended and blocked. I’ve picked up a subscriber or two along the way.

Funny thing is, all this posting and dialoguing takes place outside the context of real life.

My closest friends see me as a person, not a 600-word opinion. We don’t hold identical beliefs. Do I love them any less? Of course not. What kind of friend would I be if I did? Two of my best friends don’t even read my blogs. Another nearly stopped reading once she realized we see things oh-so differently.

These women humble me and keep me real.

Perhaps I am the neighbor who offered a coat and waited with her for the fire truck when her preschoolers locked her out of the house in the snow. I am the postpartum disaster who fell asleep on her living room couch while she rocked my infant son. I am the wardrobe coach who commandeered the dressing room as we shopped for clothes for her to wear when she returned to work. Or the lady who lunched beside her and spoke freely of losing loved ones to disease. Or the nomad who lost her spaghetti colander in the move.

At the end of the day, at then end of the election, regardless of who wins or loses the White House, we will all be left with each other. Does that mean we stop voicing our opinions? Stop talking about issues in order to preserve the peace?

My late friend Alex would say yes. Why let politics get in the way of friendship?

Silence is certainly a strategy. But as my husband told me, your friends love you for who you are. You are free to speak with respect and without fear in their presence and they in yours.

They love you none the less.

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17 NLT

One Thing Remains by Kristian Stanfill. Reminds me of true unfailing love.

Is it better not to speak to preserve the peace or to speak trusting your friendships will hold fast?

 

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Filed under America, family & friends, women's studies

Penalties and Inferiors

FactCheck.org reports 38.4 percent of eligible American voters did not vote in the 2008 presidential election.

Not planning to vote in this one either? Don’t want to get involved with politics?

If I can’t change your mind, maybe he can.

one of the penalties

We get out of it what we put into it. We get the candidates we deserve.

Please tell me you’re registered and ready to vote. Only 20 more days until the election!

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Filed under America, humor, words to remember

Could It Be We Agree?

Since when did it become impossible to discuss politics and religion? Why is it so difficult?

American flag of handprints

one nation, under God, indivisible

Last week I told you about Finding (Un)Common Ground, the new site I’ve launched with writer Lisen Stromberg. We’re publishing side-by-side opinion posts about controversial, potentially divisive topics. We’re not experts; we’re simply moms who would really like to be able to discuss issues with civility. We believe others would like to be able to do the same.

Lisen’s the West Coast liberal and I’m the Southern/Heartland conservative. As expected, we did not agree in our first round of posts last week concerning the terrorist attacks against our embassies in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen.

This week, however, in our second round of posts, something strange happened.

We agreed. Well, sort of.

We weren’t in perfect sync with each other on the responses from Google and the Obama administration regarding the film Innocence of Muslims. That showed up in the comments. But we did agree on one thing: the freedom of speech is a right that must be upheld.

Wow.

blue field of handprints on flag

with liberty and justice for all

I’d say a liberal and a conservative agreeing on the importance of the First Amendment is reason for hope in this brutal election season. It may be rare that Lisen and I agree on anything, but what a great place to begin.

I promise not to blog here every time we post something there. I’ll try to let you know when new posts are up so you can click over to read them if you want.

Yesterday Lisen and I were thrilled that BlogHer syndicated our story. Read both sides in An Uncommon Meeting Sparks Civil Dialogue, Launches New Site.

Is civil dialogue possible? We’re game give it a fighting chance.

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 NIV

Keep Your Eyes Open, my love. By NeedtoBreathe. I know the fight is on the way when the sides have been chosen. 

Please visit the BlogHer post, share or comment if you like our concept, and have an uncommonly good weekend!

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Filed under America, blogging, writing & reading

Citizen Soldiers

Capitol gaze

Politics are distasteful. And nasty.

Make a grand motion like running for office, or a quieter foray like taking a stand on an issue, and you feel it.

When you become involved, you expose yourself to attack. You lay your values on the line and offer yourself as a sacrifice for your convictions.

I suppose if you’re a fighter, nothing’s more exciting than the battle. The mudslinging, name calling, and scandal are all part of the game.

But at times, watching it bothers me. I think it bothers a lot of us. It’s scary. Hurtful. Unsettling and dangerous.

So we shy away from stating a position. Tread water in the middle, hoping no one will ask our opinion. Justify ourselves by thinking our views are personal and no one’s business. The personal is the political, after all.

We shield ourselves with tolerance. And we NEVER ever run for public office.

A friend of mine boldly stepped out and got involved on a local level. She took a stand and instantly made enemies in her own community. In her own party. From across the miles, I watch as she and her family are maligned.

Another friend of mine needs to run for office. He has the background, reasoning, patience, and wisdom to lead well. His life’s work demonstrates a love for his community. He would serve it selflessly.

But he hesitates. Is running for public office worth the beating that comes with it when real change seems next to impossible?

It’s tempting in this heated political climate to spew at the other side. Easy to take shots at politicians. I know because I’m ashamed to admit I’ve done it.

Those who run for office or take a stand on an issue are a brave lot, even if—especially if we disagree with them. They hold the frontline of our republic.

Capitol Rotunda

Capitol Rotunda

As Americans, we are all citizen soldiers in the fight to preserve our country. We can serve with our lives like people in the military. We can serve with our work like civil servants. Or we can serve with our votes, our taxes, and our abiding by the laws of the land.

It’s an election year. Prime time for us citizen soldiers to live out our heritage. Stand brave in the face of conflict.

We disagree because we can. Thank God for that privilege. With civility and respect, with the steady voice of our convictions and the sure voice of our votes, let’s keep it that way.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with My victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NLT

The United States Marine Corps Band plays Halls of Montezuma like nobody’s business. Check your pulse if this doesn’t make you march a little prouder into the weekend. Semper Fi. God Bless America.

as seen at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.;
Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. (December 18, 1912 – July 4, 2002) was a United States Air Force general and commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen.

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