In my classic driven-to-distraction style, just zipped through the church directory to inventory who's missing among our membership. Too many. We ought to be convicted. We need to do better.
Something in this day feels like anticipation. The war which may come, I assume. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not pinned down into a single camp regarding our nation's foreign policy. I find the cultural pressure for me to have an opinion on such complex issues frankly ridiculous— we all choose to be exposed to some sources of information and blind to others, most often in ways that simply affirm our predispositions and help us feel well-informed and intelligent (while hoping others will think the same of us). The amount of research necessary for me to develop what I'd consider a truly informed opinion on Iraq alone would take years of full-time devotion and cause me to be absent from the life and lives to which I have responsibility. This is a life to which some may be called, but not me, not today.
So rather than attaching my predispositions to selected bits of information, I'll just lay some out "as is," as they fire through my head:
- I value peace and life, yet accept the reality and necessity of war and death without fear.
- Moral depravity, institutionally magnified, plays through social, political, and economic systems in more ways than I even imagine, on every side.
- If I spend more time lobbying or grousing about a leader (foreign or domestic) than praying for him/her, I'm a disobedient fool trying to place myself before God. I have specific responsibility to pray for those God has allowed/placed in authority over me.
- Evil exists, and education and understanding, while good things, don't fix everything (and indeed become evil themselves when they are made to be idols).
- Dead people, no matter how noble or inspirational, have even less opportunity to develop well-informed positions on current affairs than I. For this reason, their thoughts and images should be invoked sparingly if at all, and should always be taken with a grain of salt (if not a block of it).
- Greed is everywhere, even when it just looks like convenience. If I spout slogans like "no war for oil" yet don't walk, bicycle, or use public transportation when possible (not just when convenient), I'm a hypocrite. I need to manage my own life.
- Through Scripture, taught by the Spirit, I am graced to know God's law. That doesn't mean that I know all that it means for another person to be faithful to it.
- God is sovereign and He is good. If I make myself available to Him, He will call me to faithfulness with the life He's given me, which in some measure will involve doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with Him.