Friday, November 07, 2008

A Hand for Richard Land

I want to thank Richard Land for graciously congratulating Barack Obama on his election and for his spot-on comments about how more proactive pro-life policymaking can help create create common ground among the Left and Right.

Here is the link.

Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, calls for President-Elect Obama to support the Democrats for Life initiative known as the Pregnant Women Support Act which, if passed, would offer pregnant and parenting women increased assistance for things like child care and health insurance to low-income and student parents, and tax credits for adoptive parents.

I don't know if Senator Obama already supports this legislation. It seems like this is the kind of legislation that would be in keeping with his post-divisive political promise.

Personally, I think we need to make every effort to make choosing life a real option. That's why I am proud that my church works with Christian ministries like Carenet Pregnancy Center here in Burlington.

Women - and men - facing unexpected pregnancies need all the help they can get. That help comes not only at the point of making a decision about whether or not to terminate the pregnancy; but also long-term help.

In essence, they need community.

Legislation out of Washington can't provide that (churches and synagogues and families can). Nevertheless, this bill is a start. It has us thinking in practical terms about a matter of ultimate importance - how to help make life more livable.

I do hope Senator Obama will support it when he becomes president.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Prayers for President-Elect Obama

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

A black American has been elected president.

Tonight I sat with my daughter asleep in my arms and listened to John Lewis, that great American civil rights leader and Georgian congressman. Congressman Lewis said that what we have witnessed tonight is another page in the nonviolent revolution that began in Montgomery in 1955.

Whatever your political leanings, let us all tonight rejoice that America is a better place than it was a half century ago. And for that we give thanks to all those who learned to turn the other cheek from Congressman Lewis who learned it from Rev. James Lawson, who learned it from Martin Luther King, Jr., who learned it from Ghandi, who learned it from Jesus.

Tavis Smiley was on NBC tonight. His prayer for Barack Obama is my prayer also. May President-elect Obama deal effectively with the pressures of now being a global icon and may he never lose his soul.

Congratulations Senator Obama.

Monday, November 03, 2008

An Election Day Story

On this election day it is reasonable to expect a pastor would say something about the presidential election. Probably a short homily about how it is important to do our civic duty and not get too out of shape if our candidate doesn't win because in the end Christ is Lord!

Words of wisdom for sure.

If you are looking for something like that I suggest you visit Jim Somerville's blog entry How Would Jesus Vote? Jim is pastor of First Baptist Richmond, VA and his pastoral sensibilities and thought-provoking words far outdo anything I could offer. So, rather than cribbing from Jim I say just go read his blog.

Instead, I offer you a brief picture of the kingdom of God:

Today, while millions of Americans were lining up to vote in this historic election, I went to see a dear friend in a nursing home.

When I arrived I discovered she wasn't in her room. She was in the community room, watching TV. I walked in and could see her from behind. Beyond her were the faces of Fred and LaMonte Sanford who were duking it out about something on the rerun channel.

I pulled up a chair next to my friend, set down and said hi. My movement stirred a number of the other residents from slumber. One smiled. Another frowned. One asked for help. Then they all fell back to sleep.

It didn't take me long to realize that my friend did not have her hearing aides in. Perhaps it was best as Fred was saying some pretty terrible things about LeMonte and his friend from Puerto Rico. So instead of talking, we just sat there. Me caressing my friends arm which was dressed in an old red sweater and perched on the arm of her wheelchair.

A few minutes went by and then I reached down and lifted a couple of items out of bag that I had sitting between my feet.

"The body of Jesus," my friend said.

"Yes," I said with unexpected tears rushing up to my eyes, "the body of Jesus."

So right there, in the midst of all her sleeping neighbors and with the pugilism of Sanford and son going at one another's throats, my friend and I shared the Lord's Supper.

St. Luke begins his account of the kingdom of God movement with a litany of titles and reigns: "In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar - when Pontius Pilate was govrenor of Judea, Herod tetrach of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrach of Iturea and Troconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene - during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas. . ." In the midst of all these governments, and figures, and actors on the center stage of history, then Luke says. . .

"The word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert."

And so it is, in the midst of this historic election and all its stars and mega-stars, the word of God still comes in the desert - in nursing homes, and orphanages, and little hole in the wall community centers. The word still comes and gives life.

And no matter who wins this election today, the word of God will do the same thing tomorrow.

I pray.