Just last night Carol and I ran into our neighbor on the street and he quite unexpectedly blurted out, “Man these are crazy times, aren’t they?  Indictments, trials, teachers carrying guns, wow, I don’t know what to think anymore…”  And he is not particularly political as far as I know.  Politics is one thing I think we have all learned not to risk discussing in public anymore for fear of triggering someone to react in a volatile way.   So we just keep it cool.  And that’s a darn shame.

Politics just comes from the Greek word politika (lit. “affairs of the cities”), often discussed by Aristotle and has to do with “activities associated with making decisions in groups.”  So it is supposed to be a deliberative, group project figuring out “where we go from here.”  But how can we figure out how to move ahead as a society when we are all siloed in our tribes and have a hard time not demonizing  “the other side?”    Ideologically-oriented media and algorithm-driven social media just exacerbate the problem. Politics is now a blood sport.

What about people like me who don’t have a “side” except for the Kingdom of God as I understand it expressed by Jesus in the Gospels?   Try fitting the Sermon on the Mount into either platform – good luck. I have no home in either political party although, if you ask me nicely, I will share which way I lean – on SOME things.  I am a pollster’s nightmare – I don’t fit into their categories.

I am hoping and praying this country survives the rest of 2024 – it is going to be an eventful year probably like no other. (Add 434 million guns in the USA into the mix and you’ve got a situation.) Thank God for the secret ballot.  Meanwhile I am keeping my head down and doing what God has called me to do in this season:  preach and sing the Gospel.  My times at the Nashville Rescue Mission (Men’s and Women’s campus) 6-7x monthly are fruitful and exhilarating.  Keeping it simple, pointing to Jesus and praying for folks is always the right thing to do.  When situations are that dire, you’ve got to pray first.  Pray and act.

The prison ministry has kind of been detoured for the moment as TN  Dept of Corrections has layered on a whole lot more training and regulations to volunteers now in light of the huge amounts of contraband making it into the prisons.  (Blaming volunteers for that is widely considered to be a distraction; most agree that the guards are bringing stuff in but they have to try everything.)  Stand by on that.

Curious, unsettling times.  If I sound rattled, I am – a little.  My advice to myself has been to pray and do the next right thing as I see it.  I may decide that speaking my mind on politics is the next right thing.  Can I – can YOU – divorce that from my status as your brother in Christ or are has a perceived political position taken the upper hand in how we see other people in the world?  If you know any Christians who live abroad, you will most likely be shocked at how little they are caught up in the culture wars that seem to dominate American Evangelicalism.  They just don’t get it.  And neither do I.

Peace. Out.