I read a lot of political commentary and am often amazed by how differently people can interpret the same events. Depending on whom you read, recent events in Washington are (a) an outrageous sellout of all but the rich; (b) weak leadership being pushed around by a determined minority; (c) the best that could be gotten; (d) a pivotal battle in a larger war to reduce the size of government; (e) a drastic mistake that will sink the US economy; (f) a bad joke.

Or some or all of the above. No one seems to think this has been America’s finest hour.

So what do we do? First, I think it is essential that we be thoroughly informed. Pick your media, but let’s dive in and get engaged. Second, I think we need to talk and listen. Many are frustrated, infuriated, fearful, already wounded. We in the Christian community have a fundamental obligation to stand for justice, healing and hope. The welfare of millions is on the line. So is our ability to function in a civil manner on the many matters that divide us.

We need to honor the concerns and insights of others.

What do you think?

FAITH Q & A

Q: How does the church differ from Little League Baseball, a running club, a bicycling club, a trout fishing club, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, or many other groups?

A: At the level of functionality, many human assemblies appear similar. They meet, often in owned facilities, they have leaders, stated purposes and usually rules, and they tend to reward constituents with a sense of belonging and involvement in something important.

At that same level of functionality, most human assemblies are marked by predictable flaws, such as power struggles, uneven distribution of benefits, and inconsistent application of principles.

A person could go to a school PTO, a fishing club, a church or a Rotary Club and know how to function.

Many churches are no different from other groups, and that usually leads to their downfall. What God intended, and many congregations achieve, lies in their reason for being (purpose) and character of belonging. In a church, the entity and its constituents exist for the good of others, not self, and are concerned with higher values such as goodness, love, justice, healing, hope and tolerance. Their character is marked by self-sacrifice, not profit or personal gain. They do so because they believe that is what God wants.

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