Last week, the long-awaited mid-term elections were held.
Some of what happened delighted me.
Some of what happened angered, disappointed, and frightened me.
Today, I’m just tired.
We are coming out of one season in which three out of every four ads were political ones telling us how evil or incompetent somebody was; and are heading into a season in which three out of every four ads is going to tell us what we need to do with our money to make Christmas mean something to our loved ones.
Both of those seasons exhaust and exasperate me. Both of them treat something very important to me with such utter disdain and disregard for what makes of them – politics and faith – so darn significant.
But what has me most worn down isn’t those ads and the message they promote. What has me most worn down is the what was a developing and now is a full blown chasm between people on one side of an issue or argument and people on the other side.
Everyone I know both recognizes this divide and deplores it. And yet everyone who both sees it and hates it also is behaving in a way that exacerbates it – myself included.
I don’t want to act or speak in ways that threaten relationships that are important to me, but it seems I my choices are now to either stay silent on matters that I think I cannot be silent about, or to speak and act in ways I know are going the threaten important relationships.
The price we are being asked to pay for our loyalty to a faith or an idea or an issue or a candidate or a position now includes the possible loss of a friendship or a family member. We are fast approaching a time when what we think about abortion, about marriage equality, about Supreme Court nominees, about immigration, about climate change, about Israel and Palestine all become litmus tests that define whom we will love or like or even tolerate.
This can’t be good for anyone. And it, quite frankly, has me worried and weary.
My way of being church always included at least the promise that no matter who you were or where you are on life’s journey, you would be welcome.
My way of being family always carried with it an expectation that disagreements were healthy if not, at times, the source of some very entertaining conversations.
Now, I have to worry and wonder, calculate and consider whether or not the words I am about to speak or the actions I am about to take are going to create a friction and a fracture that the years it took to build trust and respect and friendship could be for naught because all of a sudden those words or that action define me as an enemy, a traitor, or an unbeliever.
What our national and global leaders do and say matters. There is a difference between a leader who sews seeds of division and one who reminds us all that in spite of our differences we love each other.
America is paying the price for having chosen one of the former, and it is exhausting me.
I am looking for unity – not uniformity, mind you, but unity. We all find ourselves in a cauldron of fear that threatens to undo generations of work we invested in building trust and respect across our differences.
I am tired, but I won’t give this up. Will you join me? As important as the articulation of your correct theology or political options might be, even more important is the ability to express it a way that keeps those who disagree with you in relationship with you. Hey, we are all going to need each other on this, our Journey into the Mystic.