Vote For…

I have been spending the last too long starting and re-starting this post, searching for the right words and tone. But there isn’t a right tone. We’re in the middle of election season. This is the wondrous season of junk mail, unknown phone numbers on the caller ID, so many radio/print/internet/television advertisements (so many!!!), and very self-righteous social media posts.
Like everyone else, I love it! It’s so great to have the opportunity to choose between the two most qualified candidates in the nation, to look honestly at the issues and respectfully discuss their merits… See, there isn’t a proper tone, that sarcasm sure won’t do, and honesty sounds like despair. But there is a more important conversation to be had in this depressing climate.
The last two pieces of junk mail I received had these 2 large, bold-faced, primary messages:
“Vote Against Katie McGinty.” And “I Just Can’t Do It. I Don’t Know What I’ll Do Instead, But I Can’t Do That.”
The anti-Katie ad had no alternative offered on their propaganda, “paid for by Americans For Prosperity, not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.”
The other was an anti-Trump message, but it was paid for by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Again, no alternative, even though they, ostensibly, have one. But there was NO MENTION of their candidate. Only an announcement that they have no idea what to do instead. What? Really? No Vote Hilary? No Vote 4 Clinton?
No Yes, just two No’s.
This is no surprise, we’ve been fed this type of negative press for so long now, it’s expected.
But it leads us straight into a far more interesting (and damaging) space.
Religion has been exactly like these political machines.
Following God appears to be no more than an endless list of rules, regulations, and Don’t’s. One hoop after another of things we have to do, or more accurately, things we shall not do. The story clearly begins in Genesis 3 (cleverly omitting the first 2 chapters and the ‘made in the image’ obstacle) and labels us, first and foremost, sinners. The story is about what we must not do (sin management) and avoiding eternal damnation. The story’s theme is fear.
It’s an anti message, delivered from behind an imposing pulpit, arms folded in an entirely negative posture. There is no point to look to, no arms to run into, just a super scary scene to run from.
And the outcome remains the same, superficiality, image over depth, whitewashed tombs, and it has to – a negative motivation rarely changes anyone’s life.
The thing is, the Book (and, certainly, the God) that inspires this kind of faulty theology never stood on a negative platform. There are things not to do (sometimes, you have to tell your 4 year old not to touch the stove), but there is always something to do instead (paint, build, create).
Don’t just not take their stuff, but be generous with yours. Don’t just not hate them, but love them instead.
Living into a Yes is the kind of thing that can really lead to authentic transformation, where you used to be one thing and now you are something else, a New Creation.
I’m tired of this election season, and I’m tired of the old, misguided, religion. We’re part of a culture that is rejecting it because we want a Yes, we want a new Story to live into.
Thankfully, that Story has been there all along, we just have to step into it.

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