The heat of the political campaign has me thinking of an early "Distilled Spirit" discussion we had with Dr. Ven Walter. Dr. Walter addressed our perennial question, "How my mind has changed" by talking about opposites. He challenged us to consider that maybe, just maybe, opposites do not tell the whole story...or are not really opposite at all. The liberal-conservative, Democratic-Republican debate has some special twists this year, but nonetheless leaves me feeling like Brian McLaren, who in A Generous Orthodoxy demanded to be considered liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, charismatic/contemplative, (ana)baptist/Anglican and so on. One can care deeply about the issues without wanting to sign on to anyone's party line. Musician Stephen Stills famously noted the ongoing irony in the song For What It's Worth, "What a field day for the heat, a thousand people in the street, singing songs and carrying signs, mostly saying hooray for our side."
Now, I have been with the thousand people in the street. I know the exhilaration of a good cause, and there are certainly stands worth taking these days. However, constant anger, fueled by inflammatory news feeds, is simply not healthy - spiritually or otherwise. Yes, Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers in the Temple. I am glad he did. But I am also glad he didn't do it every day. Think of what would be missing from his teaching if that was the whole picture.
So, choose your battles. Stick with it. Collect allies, not enemies. Get the facts, not just your feelings. Go outside and walk, run, ride among rocks and trees. Plant a garden and get your hands dirty. Remember that peace abides. Sit still and note how much of the noise is us.