“Honest Patriotism”

Appeals and Investments

My phone is getting overloaded with texts and emails. It’s political season and the fundraising has kicked in. Do you respond to some? Do candidates or their messages inspire you to invest your hard-earned cash into their campaign for authority and power to manage the republic? What does it take to move you from irritated and annoyed to committed voter and funder?

Deciding Considerations

For some time, I have been thinking about how I want to use money when I am supporting something I think of as the greater good. This has made me consider my value system. I have to take time to process what an appeal includes that is in line with the things I believe. This means moving beyond bumper sticker campaign slogans and posts on social media.
I cannot dismiss one party’s candidates in favor of the other with a quick swipe across my Instagram page. I have to pay attention to details about their policies. When I do, I can begin to see how a common ground may emerge, a starting point for connections that otherwise are dismissed by our political divides and 30-second ugly marketing strategies. (There’s a link below for some starting points.)

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God,

and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. (Rom. 13:1)

My Ever-emerging Decision Process

My strategy is based on character, community, and commandments.

Character: how closely do they mirror the life of my inspiration, Jesus.

     Key aspects-
  • a broadening welcome of people no matter where they come from or who they are,
  • invitational in that options open up for overcoming histories of personal and societal failures
  • interdependent, able to articulate personal positions without diminishing those who differ (unless they’re pharisaical ways lead to murder plots!).
  • truth seeker and truth teller

Community:  what kind of society did Jesus build with his disciples, what is the nature of the promised land of Israel’s hope.

     Key aspects:
  • become more clear in what I think “on earth as in heaven,” means and discern the ways a platform seeks that outcome,
  • Diminishing poverty, ending hunger and lack of clean water, and provision of shelter at the least,
  • shared wealth that builds prosperity for all,
  • promotion of non-violent settlement of conflicts,
  • exhaustive pursuit of forgiveness and cooperation.
Commandments: The three uses of the law are to show us
  • how far we need to go toward building a heavenly peace,
  • to restrain our tendencies toward apathy for the well-being of others, and
  • to cast the vision of God’s intention for a whole and holy creation.

The 10 Commandments lay it out pretty well. The 2 Great Commandments make it even more clear: love the Divine Creator of all that is and love the creatures, including ourselves, that Creator makes.

How will you decide?

I invite you to have a conversation with your trusted friends about the actual values that drive your vote, your contributions, your investments in our political process.
If you want to read about the Presbyterian understanding of our duty as citizens in the public arena, here’s a link to “Honest Patriotism.”  It is a beginning conversation on the importance of truth and what being patriotic is from a Scriptural and Reformed theology point of view. https://www.presbyterianmission.org/resource/honest-patriotism/