For the longest time a house just down the block and around the corner had a “Let’s Go Brandon” banner hanging from the eaves of their porch roof—it has since been removed. A couple of other houses in the neighborhood have equally offensive pennants draped near the entrances of their homes.
At one point in time, I felt quite angry about these objectionable displays of ignorance and imagined a midnight mission of mangling said malevolent manifestations. Thankfully, I did not follow through.
Some anger, still, mixed with sorrow and a healthy dose of not knowing.
Not knowing what to say, not knowing what to do, simply not knowing.
On an early morning walk as I rounded the block with my congenial canine companion, Polly girl, a young man of early to mid 20’s was exiting the house where once the streamer hung. Dressed in fatigues, army or national guard—I know not, I greeted him with a cheerful ‘Good Morning’ which he returned in kind. Respectfully, I then said, “Thank you for your service.” He replied, “Thank you, I really appreciate it.”
Neither of us stopped, it was a brief interlude on the move, yet I could tell by the tone of his response that he was sincerely touched by my words of regard.
I know nothing about his household or the reason for the decision to hang the banner and its withdrawal. He knows nothing about me either. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time we ever had any kind of interaction.
That’s the thing, isn’t it?
We never know what is just around the corner.
Two things I read every morning are Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation and Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters From An American. I subscribe to both online and devour them on my iPad, sometimes before my feet even hit the floor, much to my Polly Ann’s chagrin.
Professor Heather Cox Richardson is an author and “political historian who uses facts and history to put the news in context.” She has a B.A. and PhD from Harvard and “teaches nineteenth-century American history at both the undergraduate and the graduate level” at Boston College.
Father Richard Rohr is “American Franciscan priest and writer on spirituality.”
Recently, in discussing the radicalization of the Republican party, Professor Richardson said:
“Democracy is a moral position. Defending the right of human beings to control their own lives is a moral position. Treating everyone equally before the law is a moral position. Insisting that everyone has a right to have a say in their government is a moral position.” HCR
On the same morning Father Rohr wrote this:
“Love is the lesson, and God’s love is so great that God will finally teach it to all of us. We’ll finally surrender, and God will win in the end. That will be God’s “justice,” which will swallow up our lesser versions. God—Love—does not lose!” RR
I have no idea in what direction HCR’s faith compass points, nor am I aware of RR’s political affiliations, yet these two profound statements seem to synchronize perfectly.
One idea both quotes highlight is the concept of free will or what Martin Luther called “free choice.”
Free will is the capacity of agents to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded. Wikipedia
Back in the garden, when Eve and Adam ate the fruit from the tree of “knowledge of good and evil,” they exercised their free choice which had been given to them from their birth.
A Bible I was given as a child has an illustration of the scene where God “drives” them out of the Eden. In the picture, God looks REALLY angry!
There were times when I was raising my three sons that they did things which I felt angry about, but my true underlying feeling was disappointment. Because I loved them so much, I was disappointed that they would choose to do something that potentially could have been harmful to themselves or someone else; or chose to disobey because they did not trust me.
This is what is so glaringly obvious within our current culture. We seem to have taken extreme sides over free choice and how to control the way choices are made.
Wearing a mask takes away one’s freedom, but banning abortion does not? Social media sites have been abuzz with all sorts of memes and opinions comparing and contrasting these two issues.
What is THE determining factor when “defending the right of human beings to control their own lives?”
He said to him (a lawyer), “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40
While neither political party is perfect, the truth of this Love and its awareness is what is most clearly coming through the current Democratic party into our culture and world at large. People are surrendering to the knowledge that “Love is the lesson, and God’s love is so great that God will finally teach it to all of us.”
NO, I am NOT saying God loves Democrats more than Republicans. NO, I am NOT saying God is a Democrat.
I am saying God is Love and God will use whatever means necessary to bring forth the awareness of Love.
I had a choice when I encountered the young man the other morning. I could have judged him based on the banner that once hung on his house, or I could have acted in and through Love.
Thankfully, I chose the latter.
Who knows what the effects of that choice will be down the road and around the corner.