For the last few weeks thoughts of disagreement and fraction have been pouring out of my cells and literally fizzing the connections in my brain. So I’m digressing today, pulling deep from my backgrounds in history, political history and Presbyterian polity. Yet that is where my spirit is calling me to write. May it be inspired by the Holy Spirit, and not just my inner yearnings and wanderings.
In the 1600’s my ancestors left England to start a new life. Some of them ended up in the wilderness of what is now Massachusetts. In search of being able to determine their own fates rather, than being limited by others. To live and work together, they needed to compromise, but there are limits. As time progressed, the original leaders aged, and their children, now adults, wanted their say. Many of the first generation (those who were adult founders) would not include the next generation (those who were children when they arrived or born there). So my ancestors, along with many of the next generation, left all that they had to start over again.
Deep in my bones lies that spirit. I can’t help but seek justice and praise anyone who stands up in the midst of adversity, to share their voice.
When it comes down to it, unless it is completely depraved, I will stand with anyone who insists on being heard. I don’t have to agree, and no one else does either, but I want the voices heard.
It’s simple. I’m Presbyterian and I’m democratic. It works for me.
While I will be the first to admit that the US Government is flawed, I feel blessed to be able to raise my children here. The fact that they have an option to vote, an option to raise their voice, an option to speak – is all I can really ask for.
As long as people listen, I know that my ancestors achieved what they dream of.
Yet I also worry, because our democracy is so fragile. Our 237 year old experiment has no guarantees. Thankfully our elected representatives have not started punching each other, but how many have thought of doing it? As soon as we stop coming to the table, as soon as we stop listening, this experiment will have an unfortunate outcome.
I just pray that we keep listening.
I’m also thankful that I can raise my children in a denomination that values their voice. The PC(USA) polity is based on allowing all voices to be heard. Just like with US democracy, in the end there is a vote. We may get rather complicated in our processes, but we strive to work together in community to understand God’s Word.
We all deserve a vote.
In both systems – political or religious – the individual is valued. We each have unique and significant journeys in this world, and who knows when one person’s story or understanding is going to be just what we need?
Yet, this is so fragile! We easily slip into not wanting to listen to others – either because we don’t like what they say or because we see them flawed. We need to listen – and always question ourselves if we are listening.
Gracious God, help us come to the table, with the courage to speak and the courage to listen. When we base our lives on a system of government that insists that we are all equal, that insists that we are all Your children, help us have the strength and determination to ensure that we, ourselves, are equal with others. Amen.