Tuesday, November 02, 2004

dreams and politics

on this election day i'm thinking about the dreams of this country. At it’s best (and worst) democracy is essentially the articulation of dreams and then we vote for the dream we like best.(There's More) George and John each have a dream. As Sherry, Isaac and I walked across our neighborhood to vote (well, Sherry votes, I’m not eligible, being a foreigner and all – makes me think seriously about citizenship in this land I have fallen in love with), I wondered about the dreams of our neighbors……good health, steady job, dignity, affordable/safe/warm housing, better hope for their kids, safety, return of loved ones from combat….

Jesus had his dream and he set about voting for it with all he had, every day. To the edge of a cliff, across Palestine, into the religious headquarters, and to a cross.

“God’s Spirit is on me,
Because he has anointed me
To bring good news to the poor he has sent me:
to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”
then he said…

“Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing”

and they really liked his stump speech.
But then he explained what it means in real life.
And they really didn’t like the policy that accompanied the stump speech.
And they formed a violent mob to kill him.


Blue November said...

Recently here at work, I came across the comment, "I think Jesus would vote, if he were a 21 century American." I started me to thinking, and I guess I'm coming to the conclusion the I disagree. I don't think we'd find him at the polls today.

Some of us would encourage him to step back in line and to express his voice as a member of the democracy. We'd cite for him our corporate responsibility as citizens to direct the state policy. We'd need to remind him that the moral vision of the nation is at stake.

Others of us would be disappointed when he didn't enter with a third party run of his own, or at least overturn the voting booths in a radical statement against the injustices of the system. We might have to help him along in recognizing that in order to effect the social justice for which he's calling, we need to change the political structures as they stand.

I think instead today we might run across him making a Moveable Feast delivery, and so bringing a meal and healing into the home of a man with HIV. We might find him in a ragtag group escorted from a flag decorated church sanctuary, asking where they could find "Room at the Inn" and being directed instead to the Hope Center. I think we might see him staying clear of the rain at the Transit Center, speaking to the folks waiting on the busses, telling a story and ending with "if you want to really hear, just listen." Perhaps on this day where we as Americans vote on our leadership, we would find Jesus eating, working, and resting with the refugees and immigrants who don't share that opportunity.

I guess I'm not sure that Jesus would find the time to vote, as I imagine that he might be too busy living out a different Kingdom.

james said...

ah, clinton, I think Jesus would execute better time managment, after all his Dad found a whole day to rest. He'd do all those things and hang out with the senior citizens at the polls

geoff said...

thanks for your reflections. i've been thinking a lot about this too....what would JC do? but i guess i am settling with a more relevant question - what would a faithful follwer of JC do? we met many friends in the new monasticism network who are considering not voting. this is a protest and a preference to be doing the kinds of things you imagined JC would be up to in your post. but it seems to me that a person claiming to be a disciple of JC might use their vote as a voice for the voiceless. in fact, i heard that some Christian Anarchists in this country were pairing up with tax-paying residents, who couldn't vote for various reasons, and casting a ballot for them. i like this kind of advocacy and i think it might be a redemptive use for a North American Christian's privelage.
by the way...did you find a machine that worked so you could vote?

lisa g said...

Thank you guys for these writings. I am really appreciating the thoughts at this time. As I was working out at the Y this afternoon, I happened to glance at the TV. Although an enormous amount of jobs were lost in Ohio during Bush's term, people that were interviewed said that what swayed their decision was Bush's stance on values. But, these values are not the same ones that Jesus claims in the passage Geoff has shared. Jesus values the poor, oppressed,and marginalized in our society. He values love, peace and justice.

As I thought about this, I found myself getting angry and frustrated with our country, that so many would support someone with such different values. But, then I began to realize that my anger at those who would vote for Bush was also living against the values of peace and love. I remembered reading Clinton's words from the blog, and I agreed with him even more. I don't think Jesus would have been voting. I have a hard time seeing him participating in something so devisive when neither side stands for the values of the Kingdom of God. I'm challenged by thinking that maybe he really would have been busy living out his values instead of criticizing those of others.

billy said...

Well, whatever else he may or may not be doing...I think Jesus is working yet another miracle in the election aftermath....and that miracle is the fact that we're talking about this stuff and gradually learning to disagree in love...? And that is my least favorite spiritual discipline.

james said...

The popular misguided opinion that this election was wone on a platform of "value" and "morality" does not mean that George Bush and those that voted for him therefore do not care for the poor and oppressed. To the contrary, he and others in his party have often expressed concern and compassion for the poor. There approach is vastly different from those accross the aisle however. But I think that is the primary question as far as the political sphere goes, what and how should the government do to alleviate the suffering of the poor.
It's dangerous for our community, myself especially, to fall into the two party game of pointing fingers and vilifing others (never a New Testament value). This usually ends in alienating our brothers and sisters who may differ with us on the governments role in such matters.