30.11.12

Advent For Kids

candle

A few days ago a friend messaged me and asked, "Didn't you write an advent meditation for children at some point? I was looking for it, and didn't find it."

The truth is, I had planned to write one, but never got around to it.

So I'm going to try and get it done this month. In addition to all the other things, like packing for an international move, 2 birthdays and overseeing the transfer of many of my responsibilities with The Charis Project here in the US to other volunteers. But this will be my fun thing to do.

There won't be any pictures I don't think. Just words. I suggest you have your kids draw pictures while they listen that you can put up for each day of advent. Make their pieces of paper small in size and you can make a border around a room or along one wall that would be fun to look at.

Most advent meditations focus on the lineage of Jesus, all the people leading up to him. I love these and we have used them, and will again. I wanted to come at it from a different angle, perhaps a more cosmic approach, that highlights the significance of his coming, and the larger context of Light to the World.

As always. Take the time to slow down with these. Talk about them. Leave time for the kids to think and engage. Please don't tell them what to think, let them come to their own conclusions. Ask questions rather than give answers to give them another way of looking at it if you like.

Thank you for reading along.

29.11.12

I'm not looking forward to this

Dear Bam Bam,

It's time to wean you. And not only because twice in the last 2 days you have clamped down tight on my nipple with your full set of teeth, just as you were entering dreamland, and bit me so hard it made me cry. It's not because my extremely sensitive pregnant nipples feel like they've been through a meat grinder every morning after you nurse half the night, just to go back to sleep, either. Though those are compelling and urgent reasons these days.

I was going to wait until you could talk to wean you. Experience tells me it's easier that way, when we can have a conversation about it, and you can tell me what your other needs are. I didn't wean your sister until she was 3, and then we had a milk and cookies party where I explained that she was big enough to drink from a cup and dip cookies in her milk and she didn't need breast milk anymore. We had to have 3 of those parties over the next few months when she remembered and got sad and needed to be reminded that being a big kid is a good thing.

You seem so young compared to her then. I don't think that is going to work.

But I have to wean you, and teach you sleep on your own. You have a baby brother or sister coming in 6 short months. I need you to not think the milk belongs to you by the time the baby shows up. I don't want to do tandem nursing. I don't think you need it.

But this is going to be hard. Probably more for me than for you. How do I wean a child who chortles with delight and yells "Wheee", as he throws himself into bed in anticipation of me laying down next to him and finally getting to nurse again. (I don't nurse you during the day now, only naptime and bedtime, and when you wake in the middle of the night, and the time after that, and the time after that.)

Your delight is what makes it so hard. (You were going to be my last, I thought. I was going to take this whole thing very slowly. But plans change.)

That and the knowledge of how sleepless we will both be for the first little while when this starts, and the memory of how much time it takes to soothe a toddler to sleep without the breast. I keep putting it off until a more opportune time, which, let's face it, is never going to arrive.

So we begin.

This hurts me more than you. You should know that. And I will give you cookies, just not at bedtime.

Love,
Mama

19.11.12

A Hobbit Party For the Boy

I have been wanting to tell you all about the Boy's Hobbit party. However, since I forgot to take many photos, given all the other things going on, I was waiting until people, like my talented sister in law, got me some of the photos they took of the party so I could show you, as well as tell you. (Assume if it's a great shot and isn't in my instagram feed that she took it.)

All great parties start days before with the baking. Especially Hobbit parties. Hobbits love their food.

This is the menu we chose, out of all the things hobbits would enjoy. We feel it got the basic elements.

For afternoon refreshments

Lemonade
Pretzels
Water

For the Birthday Feast

Pork pies
Potato Soup - with bacon and cheese on top of course
Rustic loaves of fresh baked bread.
Sauteed mushrooms
Roasted vegetables, tubers, brussel sprouts, carrots, yams, etc.
Home made ginger beer. (The Boy made it himself)

For Dessert

Tiny apple and pumpkin tarts
Seed Cake - (I found an old Victorian recipe that was probably close to what Tolkien had in mind on the internet. It has caraway seeds in it, and definitely improves over a day or two in flavor.)
Mounds of fresh whipped cream
Fresh Blackberries and strawberries
Hot Spiced Apple Cider

Food for the Journey (The Road goes ever on and on...)

Mini seed cakes
Fruit flavored gummies. (Trader Joe's)
Lollipops (Trader Joe's)

This was arranged as a little candy bar for guests to fill bags from as they left.

For pork pies I just used a turnover method that my mom used to make when I was little and packed in lunches. Pastry, cut in circles, filled, and then folded in half and pressed together with egg white.

It was a team effort.


The Boy's Auntie Haven made the fruit tarts. (He has the best aunties.)

She took this picture.
The mini seed cakes.
I used the basic recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day, and just made all the loaves at once the day of. the best part about this recipe is that there is absolutely no kneading. Just stir, rise, shape, let rest, and bake.

I was a dolt and didn't even think of taking pictures of the food when it was all ready. So this photo of my friend Suzy, in her awesome costume, with some of the table behind it is the best shot I have.

Isn't she marvelous?
My in-laws went all out with the decorating of their property to be the shire.

It was a warmish day so my MIL set up shady places to rest. (He has the best Beema too.)




As with the food, the party was in 3 stages.

2pm - Lawn Games and Tournament

Lawn bowling, with no lawn.

Croquet
Me as an elf. Don't laugh too loud please.
Smallish hobbit receives his ball from a man of Gondor.
My son has the best uncles ever, seriously.
Small hobbit girl sounds the horn for the start of the tournament.
An easterling looks on.
Indiana Jones discovers he's on the wrong set. (My FIL pretended to read the invitation wrong.)
This magical container dispenses lemonade on command!
Seriously. The BEST uncles.
The Boy fashioned 8 swords as gifts to his friends out of spindles from a broken chair, cardboard, and duct tape. (Hobbits give gifts on their birthdays, rather than receive them.) I failed to get a picture of them close up. They are awesome.





5pm - Feasting

The setting.
Grandma Sue, check out her etsy shop Ladybug SueBee's, lent me all this bunting. She says she can't sell these because they aren't uniform sizes and she made them for Brenda's green party. It was so kind, and it made this part of the party look so cool. And I only had to scold one boy for attacking them with a sword.

Kid sized seating arrangements under the trees.

 6pm - Dancing followed by a Bonfire and the sharing of songs, riddle and poems. To coincide with dessert.

What can I say? My kid is a careful reader, and wanted all the hobbitish details.




Most of the kids really got into the dancing. Even the boys. My favorite part of the whole evening was watching the Boy dance with Little, who only wanted him, for 3 whole songs. He was a very attentive partner. My mama heart just soaked it all in, squeezed hard once or twice and maybe teared up just a tiny bit taking in that scene.

I have no photos of dessert, because it was after dark, just imagine mounds of whipped cream, berries, cake and those tarts from up above.


And then there was fire, and lots of riddles, and some poems, and one song. Then we sent our guests on their way with food for the journey.

The Boy is so blessed to have family and friends who will cook and decorate, and sword fight, and dress up all to honor him on his birthday. Well, and to have a jolly good time as well.

The hardest thing about throwing this party was that it was so cool I wanted to invite all my friends too. We will have to have another one day, and do just that.

16.11.12

Only You Can Renounce Your Right to Do Good

 
You can tell you’ve hit some sort of nerve when a post gets responses ranging from, “Now this looks more like what one would expect of someone who claims to love God and imitate Jesus” to, “Woe to them who call evil good and good evil." You can imagine the spectrum in between. There have been so many conversations, in so many places.

We have been accused of taking our theology too seriously because we have asserted that for Christians, politics is simply one small aspect of how we fight for justice and good and to bring the kingdom of God, and that there are other more powerfully fundamental means of transformation at our disposal. This leaves us wondering if some of the people who take politics so desperately seriously, some of the people who believe it a sin to disentangle their political involvement from their faith long enough to ask if the way they are going about their politics is harming or helping the goals of their faith, don’t take their theology seriously enough. Or maybe they just have a screwy theology that they take too seriously.

Imagine for a moment if we all actually believed that the gospel was the power of God. You know, unto salvation, the salvation of lives and communities from broken futility at their deepest roots. What if we actually believed that we are the fully adopted heirs of the Most High God, that our action in this world actually is in the power of our Father and is taking possession of our rightful inheritance. We are not on enemy territory, there is no enemy territory, we are in our own backyard. The life of faith, service to others, love for our neighbor, compassion and mercy, etc. is participating in the complete redemption and completion of creation. If we all believed that, what would we do?

Would we elevate our political ideology above the real human beings around us? Which is more valuable, our doctrines or the people we assault with them?

Would we pay lip service to the power of prayer and the testimony of our lives and then spend money and energy grasping at manufactured power in a man made arena? Look at where you put your money and time to see what you in fact love.

Would we spend more time fighting for laws in order to punish behavior or would we fight to do something directly helpful and loving that will change people?

Would we claw at our friends and family on facebook when we disagree with their political positions?

Would we yell at people we don’t know on their blogs because we disagree with their political positions. (We’re not talking about discussion or expressing an opinion in a respectful and well thought out manner. We’re talking about that other thing I know you all have seen people doing.) What is more important, to win the argument, or to transform the person?

Would we make dire predictions about the coming apocalypse and God’s judgement on a sinful nation, or would we get on our knees and pray to be shown what we can do to heal the brokenness all around us? Is it better to yell and scream about some coming judgement or is it better to repent and work to bring wholeness to broken people in order to avert the judgement?

It isn't people we are really opposing anyway. Our fight is against the evil and destructive chaos that tears at the heart, chaos that deforms and stunts human life and community, destroying our capacity to thrive. Unable to remedy this chaos, external legislation lays a blanket of judgement over a festering infection, pushing it out of sight so it can kill us in the shadows. This truth shapes how we raise our kids now. “How much pain must that person be in to act like that. I wonder if he has anyone who really loves him at home. Let’s pray for him that he will know Jesus love. Let’s be as kind as we can to him when possible. Don’t let him be mean to you, but don’t be mean back. Choose to be kind.” Not, “They are bad and need to be punished for that. Their mom and dad are stupid failures of parents. They need to be cut from assistance so that they get their act together.” The actual ways that we are given to fight evil are so much more effective at healing the infection than the ways we fight with each other, in the name of fighting evil.

It is life changing to listen to someone, to see them clearly, and to honor their humanity. For both of you.

No matter who is president, we are never powerless.

No matter what happens, only you can renounce your right to do good.

If you want to do something to prevent abortion, do something to prevent abortion. Listen to a teenager. Care about them. Talk to the girls about their value as women. Talk to the guys about their value as men, as someone who cares enough about them to listen and invest time in them. Try and figure out how you can do this in the communities where the demographics show the incidences of unwanted pregnancies are especially high. These are easy to find because they are usually the poorer neighborhoods. Take care of a mother who wasn’t planning on being pregnant. Give her somewhere to stay if she needs it. I have friends who did exactly that with a little suite on their house. Do something to help your local economy. Start a business that creates jobs. Offer to help pay for health insurance for an impoverished mother. Go through the process to adopt a child. And don’t be picky about the race. Or something else. How could you make a difference in the situation of an actual woman who might be considering abortion? Start there.

If you don’t like the way Planned Parenthood does it’s sex education, do something better. Make a video, or 10. Talk to the kids you know, starting with your own. And make sure your talk isn’t, sex is bad, and kissing on the mouth causes babies. Because that’s not educating. (Though it’s very cute when my 5 year old thinks it. “That’s what you and daddy do and now you have babies!”)

Organize your city to care for aids patients in Lesotho. Live your family life such that it is a beacon of hope to many who are hungry and lonely.

This is the last post we intend to write on the subject of Christianity and politics, and least, for now. It’s time for us to get back to the real work now of actually working to bring justice and mercy, rather than just talking about it.

I believe that we can make a difference, and that there is nothing stopping us from doing so.

What is in front of you to do?

It doesn't have to be big. Mother Theresa said if you want world peace, go home and learn to love your family.

Your home, your life, your family, your conduct is a witness. Start today by doing your best with what you already have to do, and loving well the people you are already given to love, and leave your heart prayerfully wide open to accept more people into it. You have no idea where that might take you

Aaron and Carrien (Look, we write stuff together too!)

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A note about Candyland

I thought, when I wrote the first post, that, because I was writing to Christians there would be some common ground for my analogies and I wouldn't have to explain them. That was a bad assumption because, while I am sure that we are all familiar with the parts of the bible that say things like, "For though we live as human beings we do not wage war according to human standards, for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down of strongholds." (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NET Bible) and that we all had to memorize Ephesians 6:12 in Sunday school. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens." I did not directly reference this line of thought in my post. Which led to some confusion. (For all you non-Christians following who think that this sounds totally weird out of context, which it probably does, it just means what we have been saying. People aren't the enemy. Evil is the enemy. We don't fight evil by fighting people with human weapons.) It was these kind of verses I had in mind when I compared politics to CandyLand. Because on a cosmic scale, I believe it's a fair comparison. The politics of America are nothing in light of eternity. It is our conduct, and our treatment of people in this season that will matter, and I think that anyone playing at politics without understanding that politics is not the real battle, simply an avenue by which we participate in it, is like a person playing child's games on a front line convinced that their efforts in the game are making a difference.

This was not intended to insult those who care about and participate in politics, simply to remind us all to keep them in their proper perspective. It was a rhetorical overstatement of the case as well, and an analogy that breaks down in the end since a child's game is always useless and I don't, obviously, believe that participation in politics is useless, just simply not the final objective. All that to say that I apologize if the title offended you.

*******************
You might find this post written today by Aaron's brother interesting as well. It comes at this topic from yet another perspective.  

The Immorality of Mass Charity  "We have the same opportunity we have always had. Will we love God and our neighbors, thereby making government irrelevant, or will we find peace in statements of "should" and the justification of intent? Will we be known by the way we love, or by our ideology? Neither is wrong, but one is useless without the other."

12.11.12

When winning at politics means losing something better.

The response to my last post has shown that there are a few things I should probably clarify, in terms of what it is I'm trying to say. I have done plenty of that already in the comments section, but decided to do a followup post that addressed everything together.

Only, when I told Aaron I needed to do it he said he'd write it for me, since he'd already been working out a response to these things.

So, I give you a guest post by my husband. I think the first. This is how my philosophically trained theologian husband writes. It's pretty dense. Read carefully.

Also he's a goof.
Enjoy.

*********

Political discourse and action are important, they just are not the ultimate point.

Ends do justify the means only if the means are fully in line with, might I say derived from, the end. Carrien's and my criticism of the current political discourse comes from the observation that the means employed are not consistent with the proper end.

The end we have in mind is the full manifestation of the Kingdom of God in this world. "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."

Yes, strive for righteousness in government. At the same time, do not fall into unrighteousness in your interactions with others who bear the image of the Most High God.

I hold that the high purpose of government is to limit the evil actions of broken people in a broken society. This is a very conservative position, as I understand conservatism. What I see on the Right is something that the Right has accused the Left of for some time. That is the shifting of the role of government from a role of limiting evil to the role of producing righteousness. This seems to me a significant shift in conservative ideology. The shift is from, "The power should be limited to the basic enforcement of laws to protect the people" to "If we can get the power we should use it. Now we must get the power so that we can use it to make the people righteous (in the way that we define righteousness.)" This is the very thing that the Right has criticized the Left for. This, in my mind, lays too much power in the hands of government.

I do not believe that there is a political solution for the problem of the brokenness of people. I do believe that the government has the responsibility to limit the negative effects of the real brokenness  of the people upon one another.

Yes, get the best people into the government so that we have better policies and laws for the protection of the populace. But our more fundamental goal is to heal the brokenness of the people. The current method of political discourse and action does not move in this direction. Moreover, given the more fundamental goal of healing the brokenness of people our considerations ought to be more circumspect and pragmatic. (Carrien's note: Since what we are trying to do is heal people we should look at what we're doing in politics, and evaluate whether it is actually working. Not how we want it to work, but what has actually been accomplished so far.)

For example:

African Americans in inner cities and projects do live in a country where it is possible to rise from there to greatness. And some do. At the same time there are real structural social and psychological hindrances that really do apply to those African Americans. They were slaves of white people. The Democrat party fought to maintain that slavery. The Republican party fought to abolish it. The Republicans won. Then white America utterly failed to treat black folk as fellow humans, shunned them, and relegated the majority to the margins. Living in poverty and on the margin affects cultural horizons. That is, if a group of people get beat down long enough they loose the cultural ability to get back up. The beat-down moves into the psychology of the people and folks loose the ability to think long term and with a sense of self-agency (this is endemic in impoverished cultures globally.) Now, it is true that the larger American culture is built around taking initiative and making something of yourself, but here you have a subculture where the psychological structures that enable that have been abused into regression.

Please, do not misunderstand me. I am in no way asserting any inferiority in African Americans or inability. I am recognizing the reality and the effects of cultural abuse.

That is the situation now. What is done is done. What do we do from here? The dominant position from the Left is to establish social support in the form of handouts while the Right mainly reiterates the refrain of opportunity. The first perpetuates dependance. The second neglects the effects of abuse. Both fail to recognize the complexity of reality.

Our goal should be to maximize the ability of everyone to achieve greatness so that we can together become ever greater. In this case neither the hand-out nor the reiteration of ideals achieves this goal. The actual solution lies elsewhere. The situation calls for a more circumspect and pragmatic solution.

This situation, mutatis mutandis, holds for many sectors of American society and the polarization between the Left and the Right oversimplify the issue.

To hit another hot-button issue, look at abortion. Abortion is horrible. I don't think that anyone except the most callous will disagree with that. Our fundamental goal regards abortion should be to reduce the incidence of abortion. Let us look at it pragmatically. How well have the current tactics of the Right worked to achieve that goal? By analogy, how well did criminalizing alcohol work to limit its damaging effects on society? As horrible as abortion is, in the real world it is in fact a complex issue. It is good and right to be saddened and even angered by the incidence of abortion in America, or anywhere for that matter. We must ask the question, how do we actually, in the real complexity of this real world achieve the goal of ending abortion? I have no confidence that legislation criminalizing abortion alone will have the desired effect. What is required is a deeper cultural shift, and I'll bet the effective solution to this does not include screaming "baby killer" at people.

The Left defends the rights of the woman. The Right defends the rights of the unborn baby. Both of these are right things when taken together. The real solution is much more along the lines of healing the complexity of the broken situation that results in the opposition of mother to child.

Most issues in the political arena are of this sort.

This rhetorical oversimplification in the hands of, and to the service of, ideology is pervasive in the political arena across many issues. It is a poison that taints the discourse. It is a poison that is strengthened by ideology on all sides. When we swallow and spread this poison we do violence to our fellow humans, all of whom bear the image of God. Any victory won this way is only a Pyrrhic* victory.


(A sideline on Biblical values: Christians on both sides pick and choose what Biblical values they want to stand for and then attack the others for not standing up for the ones they have chosen. Yes, life is sacred and the protection of the weakest is of highest import in Biblical ethics. This applies to unborn babies. It also applies to the widow, orphan, and alien. The Left chooses to not defend the unborn babies while the Right chooses to not defend the widow, orphan, and alien. Everyone should just drop their bloody-minded self-righteousness. )

When we fight for our ideology we fight against those we disagree with. We subsume them within the ideology we oppose. We dehumanize them. Our fight ought to be for their humanity. Show a little humility and strive first and always to heal the brokenness around you. Strive to win those who you disagree with, recognize that they may have something of value to say to you and that yelling at someone really does not bring any sort of healing but rather tears the rift further and sets both of you on your heels. We are doing a good job of working hard at increasing the brokenness of our society. Is that damage worth getting the power into the hands of someone who has told us what we want to hear?

*A Pyrrhic Victory is when you win a battle at such a high cost that you destroy your ability to achieve your ultimate goal.

******
We both wrote a final post on this topic together. To try and wrap up the discussion somewhat. Check it out. Only You Can Renounce Your Right to Do Good

7.11.12

So You Think Winning at Candyland Actually Matters

A Plea For Perspective


Dear friends on the religious right. Some of whom are beloved readers here. (Yes, I have conservative friends. They are dear sincere people who care deeply about others, their families, this country, and the world. Just as many of my friends who would define themselves as more moderate or liberal care deeply about others, their families, this country, and the world.)

Totally borrowed this from Fox news. They won't mind.
All day today I have seen you in various shades of despair as Obama prepares to serve as president for another 4 years. Your predictions are dire. America as you know and love it is no longer. Obama's administration is going to destroy all that you love and hold dear. Obama is a baby killer. Obama is destroying the traditional family. God help us because the end is near. You wish this was all just a dream, and I've seen more than one reference to arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

First, please just stop watching Fox news and all of it's affiliates for a couple of days, ok? Don't tell me that they are the only station reporting the truth anymore. They are a multimillion dollar conglomerate whose business it is to make money. If they can get more of you to tune in and watch everyday by making you paranoid and expressing such polarizing views that you can't help but be sucked in through fear, they will. Because then they make more money. It's all about money. Just like all of the other news networks.

At least do me a favor and give equal time to different stations and perspectives, so that you can begin to see through the hype and understand that the fear is the same, from all of them. It's just different things they tell you to be afraid of. You do know that they are selling fear on the other side too, right? "Be terrified of what will happen if the religious right get their way. We will go back to the dark ages. Women will have no right to say what happens to their bodies anymore. You won't have healthcare when you're sick. They will cut all programs that care for the poor and destitute. There is a war on women. The GOP has no compassion."

Please step away from the fear mongering, all of you, on both sides. Please recognize that the truth lies somewhere on a completely different spectrum.

There, ok. Deep breaths. Let go of the fear.

Now, what is left?

You don't like the president. Ok.

You disagree with his fiscal policies. All right then.

Is the world going to end in the next 4 years? Probably not.

Is there a chance that you won't like what this country looks like at the end of it? Maybe. Just remember the legislative process is remarkably slow. Which is kind of on purpose, to keep things from getting out of hand.

Is your security supposed to come from the fact that the party you prefer wields the political power in the country you live in? Not even remotely!

You want abortion to be illegal again. Let's think about this. When has an antiabortion president in the Whitehouse actually accomplished anything in terms of reducing the number of abortions? Since Roe vs. Wade I mean. What do you actually expect to happen if your candidate was elected? I mean, there is still an entire legislative process to go through. What are the odds you are actually going to get the legislation you want? Remember that this country just elected, by what appears to be clear majority, a pro abortion, pro gay marriage president. How do you expect an ever shrinking minority to get such a bill to pass?

Perhaps I shouldn't have picked such a hot button issue as an example, but here's my point. If you are playing at politics, and believing that victory in the political arena = victory for the kingdom of God you are sorely mistaken. 

Do you remember Jesus? He refused to play any of the games that everyone else was playing. He played an entirely different game, and by an entirely different set of rules. You are called to do the same.

You see, making abortion illegal again isn't going to stop women from having abortions. It didn't before it was legal. You aren't going to change people by changing laws.

Do I believe that every abortion is a tragedy? Absolutely!

But I've learned a few things over the years. One of those is that trying to control people is a mistake. God gave people freedom, therefore they are free, and the choices they make are theirs, and they are responsible for them. Trying to legislate this country back toward the way it used to, or ought to, be is a futile effort. That is trying to use laws to control behavior, to control people.

The religious right has become so obsessed with controlling behavior through legislation in the claim to fight for freedom that they have forgotten what their real mission is. (Both sides do that exact same thing, claim to fight for freedom by limiting people's choices through legislation.)

You see, the kingdom of God is not red states vs. blue states. It's not fiscal conservatives vs. big government spending. It's not even prolife vs. prochoice.

The kingdom of God is the followers of Jesus vs. no one. It's loving everyone. It's never dismissing a woman who's situation is so complicated that abortion seems like a viable option as a baby killer. It's loving her enough to walk through the pain she is feeling with her. To love her no matter her choice, even if it's not the one you wanted her to make. And to give her all the support you are able, to help her actually feel free to choose without fear.

It's loving the friend who voted for Obama, and honoring the ways that they are moved by the democratic rhetoric of caring for all of those who struggle. Even if you think it's total BS and that the actual policies will do the opposite. It's realizing that you have more in common with people on the other side of the polls than not, and choosing to care about them as people.

It's loving that gay couple with the giant happy smiles on their faces as they come down the courthouse steps, and remembering that God loves them just as much as He loves you.

It's letting go of hate and fear and winning the hearts and minds of people through loving them.

It's rolling up your sleeves and personally attending to the needs you see, rather than waiting for the government to do it for you. It's caring for those in need. It's loving those who are alone. It's the opposite of the polarizing fundamentalist positions that drive a wedge through this nation on both sides of the aisle.

The culture wars are over. You lost. Now how about we get back to what is really important, loving our neighbor as ourselves. How about we stop villainizing people and start treating them as individuals who are worthy of love and respect? Even if we disagree with them.

How about we start listening to opinions other than our own and actually having a dialogue rather than a shouting match? Every time someone does that they eventually discover common ground.

How about, and here is the kicker, we stop believing that politics is a war between good and evil and all that disagree with us are on the side of evil?

How about we step back and stop playing the game, and do the real work of the kingdom instead?

Who's with me?

***************
This post caused a lot of discussion and I found a few things needed clarification. Please see the follow up post When Winning at Politics Means Losing Something Better

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