Have the Pundits Overestimated Our Unity?
Another of God's Prophets is Called Home

The End of Civility

 It should be fairly obvious by now, even to the casual observer, that the best and the brightest no longer run for president of the United States. I should also note that civility is a thing of the past. Politicians hurling insults at one another has reached an all time high. Or an all time low would be more accurate. Why would a qualified individual submit themselves to such attacks on their character? Policy has been replaced with personality as the driving force behind a person's surge in public opinion polls.

I propose this hasn't happened overnight. My mother, God rest her soul, voted for Nixon because "he looked like a president." In retrospect that probably wasn't a good reason for choosing our commander-in-chief. Before Nixon voters were captivated with an American version of "Camelot" as Kennedy took office in the early sixties. History reveals that Americans have often elected their president for reasons other than sound policy platforms. The current occupant of the oval office was elected with an ambiguous promise to bring about "change." He certainly did that. Many, even in his same party, wonder if the changes have been beneficial or detrimental to the well being of the country.

So it's not so much the weight given to personality over policy that has me worried, but the lack of civility between the candidates. I still remember when Reagan would call his arch nemesis in congress, Tip O'Neil, to have a talk about issues that separated their parties and our country. I don't remember attacks on their character from members of their respective political caucuses because each was reaching across the aisle for the good of the country.  They were applauded by most for their willingness to set aside personal agendas for the benefit of everyone. We can't even get members of the same party to be civil to each other much less towards someone from the other side.

This all reminds of what I've been reading in First John. I was struck with the odd composition of one verse as I was beginning to share it with my congregation. The 7th verse in the first chapter reads "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." As I read that verse something struck me as profound. You would imagine if we walked in the same light as Jesus is in the light the result would be fellowship with Him. However, John says the result is fellowship  with one another.  Walking in the light refers to walking in a way that is pleasing to God and is the opposite of walking in darkness. So my take away from that verse is that our fellowship among ourselves has more to do with our relationship to God than it does with each other.   Could the same be true of our politicians. Is it possible that we as a country have gotten so far away from God that it is becoming more and more difficult to be civil with each other? Has our turning away from Him and our dependence upon government to fix our problems taken us to a place where we longer walk in the light but in darkness? In the darkness it is difficult to identify who is your friend and who is your foe so we attack everyone.

The only hope I see is the church. Not a denomination. We have a tendency to attack one another just as the politicians do. I mean "the church." The "called out ones" from every denomination. Is it possible that if we set the example by walking in the light that we could once again regain the influence we once had in this country? It may be entirely too late. The genie may already be out of the bottle, but does that justify not trying? I don't think so. Our responsibility is to be salt and light in this world of darkness. That commandment has never changed. We are charged to be the bearers of His light. I am encouraged by the truth that it is always darkest just before the dawn.        


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