Friday, April 7, 2017

Grant Us Strength and Courage

We’ve got to stop focusing on nonsense. Last week, the whole social media world was atwitter because Vice President Pence apparently won’t share a meal one on one with a woman. He was mocked. The entire “Billy Graham” policy was attacked. Women who had worked for Pence wrote articles defending him. And what was the trigger for all this? One remark by Pence in an interview from 2002. 

That’s FIFTEEN years ago. 

And at the end of the day, the Republicans and President Trump continued to advance their own agenda.
In the last few months, I have dealt with my fears over President Trump in two ways. One: I have prayed for him. Two: I have focused my attention on NC state politics. I have been calling my representatives. I have been reading proposed legislation. And I’ve been involved in a group that deliberately seeks to bring harmony and healing through intellectual conversation: the Chautauqua meetup.
But this morning I woke up to news that President Trump ordered missile strikes against Syria, in a unilateral move that angered the country (Russia) that Trump has repeatedly wanted to improve relations with.
As a pacifist, I am heartbroken by the entire situation in Syria. The use of chemical weapons by Syria was deplorable, but in a world where we routinely kill people to enforce our will, I fail to see why chemical weapons are any worse than drones, smart bombs, land mines, or enhanced interrogation methods.
On the other hand, as a red blooded human, I am kind of glad that we launched missiles. I’m ready to put a stop to the violence, and overwhelming force can be effective. So my feelings are extremely mixed. Just because war and killing are wrong and against God’s will (my pacifist theology in a nutshell) doesn’t mean that sometimes war is a solution.

The answer is, as always, prayer and focus.

Every Sunday, at the end of communion, we pray a prayer that I absolutely love. It concludes with:
"Send us now into the world in peace,
And grant us strength and courage
To love and serve you
 With gladness and singleness of heart;
Through Christ our Lord. Amen."
I need strength and courage now to face my mixed feelings. I need to pray, for those killed by the airstrikes, for the US service men and women who had to participate in those airstrikes, and for the global political situation.
And I need singleness of heart. We all do. I have chosen to focus on what I can do locally to resist the policies and actions of President Trump. That means continuing to focus on Raleigh and NC politics.

What are you choosing to focus on? 

Give it singleness of heart. 

You can’t solve every problem everywhere. But you can have a huge impact on one or two issues.Take the time you need to process, to mourn, to gather information, and to choose. Then pray. I'll be praying with you.

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