Today is Election Day, and I hope that everyone who is able to vote does.
On Sunday we were watching the end of one Football game and '60 Minutes' came on afterwards. The first segment was on social media and news (in particular with the election coming up). The case was being made that the 'news' stories that get shared more often are stories that have more 'enraging, inflammatory stuff.' Also that those who post, share and speak out are those who are on the extremes, and those who find themselves more in the middle are either exhausted or intimidated from speaking out. There was a professor from, I think, Harvard (don't quote me on that) who indicated that at the college level they have avoided controversial subjects. So, let me ask when was the last time you had an open discussion with someone about something that could be, or was controversial? I might add someone with whom you may not have agreed with.
I have heard often times that people stay away from talking about politics and religion because it can be found divisive. But, what if we allowed ourselves to be in conversation with one another. One of the things that I love about the Diner, that we host on Wednesdays, is that sometimes the conversation moves to politics like it did this past Wednesday (11/2), when someone said 'I don't care if you are a Republican or a Democrat, just that you vote.' Then a conversation ensued about some of the candidates. I received a phone call and had to step away, but what I like is the ability to know that this was, and is, a safe space where people can discuss anything in a calm, collected manner, knowing that we may not agree. I've approached ministry my whole life (even back when I was working solely in youth ministry) that there should be no topic that is off limits in the church. Not that I, or anyone for that matter, has all the answers, but shouldn't we be a safe place for people to talk, to share, to question?
I am reminded on these days that no matter who wins, that I want to be about living my life to bring about God's Kingdom here on Earth. The God I serve is a God of Hope, Love, and Grace!
(In the meantime don't forget to go vote, polls are open in Iowa until 8pm.)
Or at least it was, when I started this! We may be unsure of when All Saints Day began...but it is something that we usually celebrate on the first Sunday of November, and this year is no different. We will celebrating it in both churches by remembering those who have passed over the last year, and dedicating memorials that have been given/purchased over the last year. I also think of All Saints Day as a time to remember those who have had an impact in my spiritual journey who are no longer with us. From Sunday School teachers to my confirmation mentor, and especially my mother. Who is it that has nurtured you/impacted your faith journey?
I do think that it is good for us to think about those who came before us, but I also think it is good to think about those who are yet to come, and how/what are we doing to help shape their lives spiritually? So, what are you doing? Are you setting an example for those in your household? For those who live down the street, or those who sit in the pew next to you, or...you fill in the blank. Yes, we aren't all called to teach Sunday School, or be a helper/youth group leader etc., but we are all called to reach out in Jesus' name.
So, as we think about, remember, and give thanks for those who have come before us, let us think about how we can shape/impact others.