Showing posts with label United Church of Christ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label United Church of Christ. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shoved outside the Republican tent

It's getting really ugly in the American election.

I come from a loooong line of Republicans; both of my parents were Republican elected officials and I served as the county chairman for a Republican candidate for President in the Iowa caucuses and the presidential election during the 1990s.

This season, I have been told repeatedly that I don't fit the profile of the people Republicans "approve of" to be pro-American and support their candidate. I"m not from a small town, I'm not from what they consider a "pro-American" part of the country, and this morning on CNN GLOBAL television, there was a Republican pastor attacking the 1.2 million members of my faith, the United Church of Christ, as not "biblical" or "Christian enough" because the denomination supports gay marriage (really, news to me? I've never heard it discussed even once in my church). The reason he singled out my denomination is cause it's the same denomination as Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's former pastor.

I can't tell you what it feels like to hear your faith attacked as not "good enough." It's hate speech. And if he would take a look at our congregations, he would see that there's probably a ton of potential Republican voters there. Our congregations actually skew older which is the natural demographic to support the Republican platform. Why alienate us?

I watched the VP debate with six people, who discovered when we all started chatting about our political history, had all left the Republican party cause we no longer felt welcome. Two of them were once elected Republicans. This is exactly what Colin Powell described as the "narrowing" of the party. We have literally been shoved out of the tent.

It reminds me of that poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

I hope when this election is over, the far right will see that the broad middle are not evil people. We're just people that think everyone in America deserves a voice, regardless of their faith, not just our own folks.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

SHED Your Commitments

I once took a week-long jazz appreciation class with an older gentleman who celebrated out loud at the start of our class how exciting it was for our class of jazz lovers to have gathered from all different places to enjoy a week of great music together. His enthusiasm and making the most of each moment is an example I have identified with my whole life.

So when Julie Morgenstern asked her readers in "When Organizing Isn't Enough" to look for schedule commitments that are dragging you down and keeping you from moving forward to the next exciting theme in one's life, I didn't have these. Every single commitment I have is one I thoroughly enjoy. It wasn't always so.

This week I resigned from the board of my local children's museum (#4 in the nation, thank you very much). I have served just shy of six years and loved every minute of it. We are about to start a multi-million addition to the museum and the people on my board are of such terrific good will and wisdom, it was a pleasure to serve. I was on the facility committee and I do wistfully admit I hate missing the upcoming good part because I would have learned sooo much. There are very experienced construction minds on that board. I am very proud of my board work there.

Yesterday, I went and told my pastor that I was moving. My church is AWESOME. My church family is so loving and welcoming and they all get along. The music program is incredible. I love my church because my church never shies away from combining the intellectual and the spiritual. That doesn't seem to be a popular combination in America, because mainline churches are struggling with membership.

One insight I learned from my minister gave me enormous pause at the time he said it. In the context of a discussion about if good manners include how you left the world and the state of your government for the next generation, he said that 100 years from now, future generations will look back at how we used up all the oil and left so much public debt for our children and grandchildren to pay off that they will ask of us with the same spiritually questioning we ask looking at slaveowners from 100 years ago: "What were they thinking?"

Tomorrow I go to my last church service and it's going to be a giant celebration of all the downtown churches getting together to form a redevelopment corporation to uplift our neighborhood. The music program will be incredible as usual, only supersized, as all the choirs from all the churches will sing together outside in celebration. This church commitment has been a gift.
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