Search PNC News for stories of people and churches in our UCC Conference:

Coming election season will bring heated days

As I wrote this article, I was preparing for the start of Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C.  This yearly event is an opportunity for folks across the spectrum of Christianity to gather, learn from each other, worship together and advocate for the values we share.

Mike Denton

Mike Denton
Pacific Northwest United Church of Christ Conference Minister

This year, in particular, the call is to encourage our legislators to make sure that our federal budget has room in it to protect some of our most vulnerable fellow citizens.  This meeting came just a couple of days after new budget proposals have been presented that would significantly cut many social, educational and community renewal programs. 

The rhetoric being shared on the news is already hot and, in many cases, cutting.  As the sound bites are already collecting like leaves in a roof gutter, its clear that, instead of looking for ways to negotiate a constructive way through this, many are seeking ways to politically benefit from an already anticipated impasse. 

In the meantime, our hopes for effective government get trampled beneath the shoes of those jockeying for position.

Ugh!  This is script we’re becoming increasing familiar with.  No wonder approval of our leadership is as low as it is.  We are stuck in an awful, awful cycle with little hope for a successful solution.  I confess that, even as I prepared for these days of advocacy, part of me felt like an actor in a pre-scripted play more than anything else. 

The impasses, the public posturing and the strategic efforts to win scant public approval have become bigger stories than the important issues and people that are pushed off the table to make room for an increasing large pile of distractions.

Please, God, make it stop.  These are days I really want there to be that clear involvement of a deity that burns bushes and parts seas and wags a finger in a way that makes people really listen.  I want to hear that clear, theatrical voice of God booming down from the heavens saying, “Stop it.”

I’ve also learned that every time I wish for this kind of action on God’s part, what it usually means is that I need to listen more closely; that the voice of God is present but speaking to my heart. 

Its not nearly as clear or theatrical and that finger might be waving far more subtly and asking “What are you doing to change this?”

Those of us involved in church life can become stuck in the same sort of traps that those in the political world do.  We get stuck in the realm of sound bites and posturing, too.  We, too, get stuck in self-righteous cul-de-sacs and ignore one of those calls that’s central to who we are; being in right community.

These coming days are going to be heated ones.  As election politics ratchet up and controversial conversations about how we use our money and marriage equality add heat to the already boiling caldron, it’s going to become increasingly important that we unite our voices around one particular call: a call to civility. 

Although it seems like an increasingly quaint idea, the call “disagree without being disagreeable” is becoming increasingly important.  We’ve moved so far in to strategizing our fights that we’ve forgotten how to solve our problems strategically.  This dissonance is killing relationships, community and the hopeful promises we’ve made to ourselves.

Please God, make it stop.  Please God, help us make it stop.


Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference News © April-May 2012





Share this article on your favorite social media Bookmark and Share