Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Week of November 6, 2016

A surreal day in the books yesterday, waking today was just as surreal.  Thanks be to God we no longer have to endure this election.  Yet America has chosen.  Soon the electoral college will elect our next President.  Come January, then what?  Well, that's the great unknown, isn't it?

Honestly, I had determined not to vote yesterday.  That seemed, to my conscience, the way to get through it.  But logic ate away at my instincts until, for me, it seemed not voting, or voting for a candidate who is not Clinton or Trump, was indeed voting for one of the two front-runners.  As far as patriotic duty goes, it seems to me that lives were sacrificed so that I may at all times exercise my own freedom of conscience, as far as it doesn't infringe upon another's right to exercise their own freedom of conscience.  Not voting is absolutely within the realm of one's freedom of conscience.  

But my conscience led elsewhere yesterday, so I drove to the poll, held my nose, and voted.  If I might make a suggestion to those designing our voting processes--it would've been much easier to cast a vote were there two options beside each candidates name: "___ For" and "___ Against."  Sure, it'd complicate things a bit, but Against's could count as a negative vote and For's a positive.  Tally up the results.  It'd definitely bring the other parties into play.  Most importantly, the process would do less damage to our mental health than forcing us to be For a particular candidate were we to choose to vote.

All that's over now.  Donald Trump is our president-elect.  Also, power in both The House and The Senate has shifted.  Over a year of polling data has proven that polling is a pseudo-science and should never be trusted (especially as various groups tend to weaponize it).  Given that fact, I don't feel so bad now about making a "C" in my undergraduate Research Methods class.

I'm hearing lots of talk about fear and lots of talk about unity today.  Again, all of that is the great unknown.  What remains known is that WISDOM had better be the boon.  

To demonstrate this, consider a story from 1 Kings 12.  Solomon dies; and his son, Rehoboam, becomes king.  David was a man after God's own heart.  Solomon was the wisest of kings who hired Hiram to build God a temple.  What would be Rehoboam's legacy?  Let's see:

Rehoboam went to Schechem where all Israel had come to make him king.  When Jeroboam, Nebat's son, heard the news, he returned from Egypt where he had fled from King Solomon.  The people sent and called for Jeroboam, who along with the entire Israelite assembly went and said to Rehoboam, "Your father made our workload very hard for us.  If you will lessen the demands your father made of us and lighten the heavy workload he demands from us, then we will serve you."
He answered them, "Come back in three days."  So the people left.

Sounds reasonable, right?  It's not like Solomon's kingdom, inherited by Rehoboam, lacked anything.  This was an old hangover from David's reign.  Seems like an opportunity to work towards unity.

Rehoboam consulted two groups: the old school'rs and the newbies.  The old school'rs replied,

"If you will be a servant to this people by answering them and speaking good words today...then they will be your servants forever."

While I'm sure we're dealing in ancient idioms here, still I like the concept: TO BE SERVED YOU MUST FIRST BE A SERVANT.  Sound like any NT characters you know (Mark 10.45)?

Rehoboam considered their words, then he consulted the newbies.  The newbies said,

"Now this is what you should say to them: 'My baby finger is thicker than my father's entire waist!  So if my father made your workload heavy, I'll make it even heavier!  If my father disciplined you with whips, I'll do it with scorpions!"

Jeroboam returns for an answer.  Rehoboam ignores the advice of the old school'rs and repeats verbatim to Jeroboam what the newbies told him to say.  I bet you can guess what happened next:

When all Israel saw that the king wouldn't listen to them, the people answered the king:
"Why should we care about David?  We have no stake in Jesse's son!  Go back to your homes, Israel!  You better look after your own house now, David!"
Then the Israelites went back to their homes, and Rehoboam ruled over only the Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah.

The kingdom was divided, and it would remain so until the Assyrians conquered the Israelites to the North in 732 B.C. and the Babylonians all Israel, both the North and South, in 586 B.C.

Whichever candidate won the race was always going to be faced with this moment.  We the people elect our representatives, which means we the people are ultimately responsible for this moment.  Of course, we imagine Donald Trump, our Senators, and our Congress-folk will legislate and execute wisely.  But there's a moment-by-moment choice always before us: 

Will we elect to demand to be served?  Or will we heed the WISDOM of the Son of Man, who "didn't come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people"?

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