It’s election day eve. Every US citizen age 18 or older has the right, the privilege, and I believe the duty to be informed and to exercise their freedom to vote. In this way we help to secure the future for ourselves and coming generations, and we honor the legacy of those who have come before us. This is one way we show our patriotism, our love of our home.
Patriotism can be a good and honorable, if for people of faith it is secondary and submitted to our faith commitments. It is right and good that we love the place we live, the place that has shaped and provided for us. The United States is a great country with wonderful ideals toward which we yearn but which we have never fulfilled. We are at our best when we care for the vulnerable among us, those who for whatever reason cannot fully care for themselves.
Christianity is inconsistent with nationalism. We are called not only to love our neighbor who is like us, but the stranger who is different, and even the enemy at the gate. Followers of Jesus are to welcome the foreigner. Jesus explicitly challenged the power of the Roman Empire, as well as the power of the Jewish political and religious establishment of his day.
Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves, so when we enter the ballot box and vote for love, vote for blessing our neighbors, vote for caring for the least and the lost at least as much as we do ourselves, then we are serving the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When our vote works to privilege some while excluding others, to limit possibility and potential, then we are working for Human Empires and against the Reign of God. And we are working against our own long-term self-interest. Communities and nations are weaker when we seek our own short-term self-interest above the common good.
The wisdom, word, light and love of God call us, and the Holy Spirit compels us, to use all the opportunities and resources at our disposal to build the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. Our vote is most certainly one of those opportunities. May God grant us wisdom. May God forgive us when we are greedy for gain and motivated by fear. May God give us courage. May God bless us to be a blessing, now and always.
Following Easter we returned to an earlier rhythm of spending 30 minutes +/- in staff meeting on leadership equipping - addressing the vision and mission of Central and sharpening the skills that will help us pursue God's call with excellence.
At staff meeting yesterday we shared a conversation after watching this brief interview (https://youtu.be/nxqEye8ma5o) with Warren Bird of Leadership Network and Reggie McNeal author of Kingdom Come: Why We Must Give Up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church and What We Should Do Instead
Reggie has been a leader for over 20 years in helping congregations reach their communities, shifting from maintenance to mission. Though he does not use the same language, this is consistent with Eddie Hammett's The Gathered and Scattered Church vision. And though he doesn't address it in this video, a vibrant faith commitment to Jesus is presumed in everything he says here. He starts with that as a given, and then goes forward from there.
You can learn more about Reggie here - http://www.reggiemcneal.org/
And about Leadership Network here - http://leadnet.org/
The graphic below shows my whiteboard notes of our conversation.
Please join in the discussion.