The Politico

It is no secret the political climate is heating up as we find ourselves in another election year. There has already been significant turnover within the primary season as many incumbents are finding their constituents less than impressed with their legislative efforts and voting record. One of the first major upsets of the primary season is Senator Richard Lugar’s loss in the Indiana senate primary.

Senator Lugar penned an extremely interesting good-bye letter which I have included here. It is certainly long, but I think it is worth the read.  I consider it a safe bet a politician’s last words in office would hold much more objective truth than their opening statements. Lugar goes to great lengths to summarize his impressions of the significant poisonous partisanship defining Washington these days.

I understand that Mr. Lugar’s remarks reflect only one voice and one opinion in the vast political landscape. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I didn’t know much at all about Lugar before reading his letter. However, I think you will sense a sincere concern for the integrity of the political process and the necessity of compromise to achieve forward progress.

What I consider most interesting is the general historical context of how societal religious shifts frequently mirror political trends.  Is it too much of a stretch then, to consider Lugar’s mea culpa as a warning to the church about the effectiveness of drawing battle lines in an effort to influence culture?

I know there is always a tendency to reinvent history, and each generation has a penchant for declaring how different things “used to be”. However, it does seem like the lack of respect exhibited towards those with a different ideology permeates not only our politics, but every single discipline in our society.

Imagine for a moment if it was still considered appropriate to settle a dispute by a duel. How often in this day and age do you think both parties would take the full twenty paces? 19 steps and a turn would be justified simply by declaring “I won”. Winning has become more important than how one wins. It is exhibited in football players targeting a player with a damaged anterior cruciate ligament or multiple concussions.  Sport used to be defined by the best athletes beating the best athletes at their best. There is supposed to be a mutual respect in the achievement of competing at the highest level against an opponent worthy of your best.

A collective community of believers always carries an identity, purposefully or not. God clearly defines that identity is to be founded in a type of love always respectful of those with whom we don’t see eye-to-eye. The hope is that a collection of believers would represent a church that is a light in the broader community because it stands apart as different. Wouldn’t it be reasonable in our current culture to consider it as “different” to be willing to eat with the tax collector, care for the harlot and give to the poor?

I want to be sure that my circle of acquaintances always includes an ample supply of those with whom I can respectfully disagree on a multitude of relevant issues. The moment I find I’m surrounded by people who think just like I do is the moment my light just went out.

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