It's strange to be living outside the States during a presidential election. I definitely appreciate staying clear of all the nasty ads, comments, and tainted news reports and very much enjoy sifting through articles and positions independent of the overwhelming pressure of information overload. But there's a certain political energy lacking during this exciting time in American history, and I can't help but think how different my Tuesday in America would have looked compared to my Tuesday in China.
Tonight Jessica and I joined the Brelands at the medical school for a celebration of democracy in action. There were lots of good activities: watching Obama's 2004 DNC speech, the famous "Yes, We Can" speech, and today's acceptance speech; participating in a democratic voting process to decide among four activities which two we would like to do (though they were all good activities so we did three of the following four - Pin the Lips on the Pig, Obama trivia, Youtube your favorite George W quote, and play poker/nertz); and, finally, watching the movie Recount of the 2000 Florida fiasco.
I began a new sophomore non-English major class yesterday. The students are quiet but intelligent and interested. We spent the first part of class chatting about various things. At one point, I asked them, "Does anyone know what happens in America tomorrow?" After a long pause, a boy sitting in the front row whispered, "Change." Truer words were never spoken.
Our Finer Things Book Club has been reading Jesus for President this month. Although, I'm not impressed at all with Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw's presentation of their beliefs in this book, their idea that mingling our faith with politics often leads to a compromised faith more often than a faith-filled political body is not far off. There is a problem when we depend on our worldly leaders to dictate faith. There is a problem when we think God's kingdom is dependent upon who leads a powerful earthly kingdom. I've been reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and today I read the following passage which I thought fitting:
I think that if we are going to reform the world, and make it a better place to live in, the way to do it is not with talk about relationships of a political nature, which are inevitably dualistic, full of subjects and objects and their relationship to one another; or with programs full of things for other people to do. I think that kind of approach starts it at the end and presumes the end is the beginning. Programs of a political nature are important end products of social quality that can be effective only if the underlying structure of social values is right. The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.I'm thankful to be part of a spiritual kingdom whose leader is just and righteous, where there are no term limits and no swinging political pendulum. My allegiance lies in this kingdom not made with hands. How awesome that we serve such an amazing King who loves us and pleads with us to love others. May we bless our Father with praise and service!