Eric's Sunday Sermon; The Polarization of People
Even the sun and the clouds work in concert.
A simple issue that is not simple at all if we cannot meet in the middle.
It would be quite ironic to give a sermon condemning those who polarize people by asserting their position in a manner not considerate of another’s position. But as a preacher man I really want to do that. One of those “I hate hate” deals. So we call on the strength of love to allow us not to act in a way that would cause more polarization. Not easy to do when one calls you a pighead if you disagree with them in politics or religion or social justice.
Let us just cut right to the chase here. Social media, mass media and gross bias are causing a hurtful division within our societal structure. Let us just take an easy one. The beggar man on the medium as you pull up to a light. Does cash come out of your pocket? Do you roll down your window and yell at her to get a job? Or do you give them some food or water to ease their empty gut?
The answers are not so easy. I handed out a fully wrapped still warm hamburger after just buying it to give to the guy begging. He rejected it quickly as he could smell the pickles on it. “Man I hate pickles”. I gave one guy a fiver, and told him I did not care if he bought some booze with it. He hollered back that he don’t drink no booze – but that he would get a fix. Another time my daughter collected money from 4 of us in the car. She gave it to the beggar. She responded “bless you, I promise I will share it”. One time my young son and I bought some good shape, clean blankets and went to where homeless hang out that is reasonably safe. One dude took one in a rather gruff and rather nasty comment about us jerk do gooders. And then he directly went to another homeless and wrapped her in it.
One time in another life I worked as an advocate for a homeless shelter. Ultimately the city fathers shut it down so as not to divert money from a more influential Catholic shelter. There was once a man who basically lived under a bridge with a tent. The White river that ran by, was where he fished, and swapped fish for vegetables and brought them to a Methodist church as a contribution as they fed him a more balanced diet of stew and bread. He had a job. But rather than rent a room, he felt a need to send the money back west to support his children. During the winter it was awful cold. But he made due.
Provide money and shelter to these folks? Provide them with warm nutritious food but they got to listen to a sermon? Have provided housing for Vets?
After this song let us talk polarization in the above matters.
A view worth considering before judging.
He did not make judgments at first. He just saw wonderment in all.
If it is OK with you I think we have done great picking to candidates.
There is a wonderful instruction to juries before they go into deliberate – but first please notice that the term is deliberate. And know the word has to do with exercising discernment and judgment in a neutral way. There is a saying “Judgment before investigation is a fool’s errand”. Now that instruction has different versions but generally goes like this: “It is rarely helpful for a juror to adamantly state their opinion before deliberations as a group”. Now that takes us to politics. Contentious as a corner momma she bear protecting her young.
Sorry to disappoint but this is not about politics, this is about polarization. I have this adult son. He has made some mistakes in his life. He has done some wrong things. (nothing like me ;-) But he is a very very good man, son, brother and friend not to mention quite accomplished in his various professions. I would and actually have trusted him with my life. Sometimes hiking in the Grand Canyon like we like to do requires a saving or two. His mistakes do not define him. His good works do. There is a striving in him that is what I look for in a good person.
Check out this extremely unpopular opinion from me. I believe that persons that raise themselves up to the pinnacle of being a serious US presidential candidate are really really awesome people. Oh do not worry I keep up with the trash talking and the scandalous behavior. I also like to kind of study their positions on issues. Well I actually like to do that quite a bit. Perhaps by election time I will decide which candidate aligns with my values closer than the other. The biggest challenge to deciding is trying to figure out what they can really do, in charge of the vast governmental, industrial complex, military complex and entrenched legislatures.
So let us listen to a protest song before going further.
Now I did not put this in to bring you down. I want us to remember that we citizens stood up and changed something for the better - I know, I was here participa
Vietnam is not a war -- it is a wonderful country
We do not get to get rid of the world. This is a precious balancing act better if we do it together.
There was a time when this preacher man worked in a less than developed country. He maneuvered around what we call physical commodities. The ones he worked on were what we would call strategic commodities. They sound innocuous – Aluminum, Diesel #2 and a fertilizer called Urea. And they can be used for very good purposes. From hospital machines to energy cleaner than coal and helping grow plants for food. But the problem is that they can also be used to build bombs, fighter jets and fuel to supply warships. You see you can rush to judgment and decide if I did good or bad by getting these things to a hostile (at the time) communist country. Oh for sure some of it provided heat and fuel for cooking. Some provided food so some would not starve and some provided shovels and plows and safer food storage.
Should you and I be polarized by the negotiations I made? Should you condemn me? Move quickly on to police on the beat. Move faster to the medical provider situation. And move even faster into immigration and ISIS. Is it best that we shout out our position and hate the opposition to our view?
Do not worry – we are not done but how about a peace song first.
First things first -- lighten up!
We are really doing great - please take the time to see it.
Religion and politics? Really must we shout and fight? Is her way so much better than my daughter’s. Is that father so much better than that father. Is it my role to crusade or my role to render aid? Can I hate you because we differ? Shall I stand on a box and condemn those who see life different than I? There was a great war, meaning very destructive. In this war it was very clear that it was brother against brother and even father against son. I am so sorry to say in that case it was something that had to be done. I get the idea of freeing the slaves of America (other issues aside). We get that polarization.
But is there today an issue or issues that should make sister hate brother and mother hate son? We must stop the two way hate speech. If we can stop the polarization then those who can truly move mountains with love will lead us all onto a peace train.
Today it is not your responsibility to do better, it is your privilege, please take me with you!