Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election day

On the eve of our current election, I guess I am waxing political again. Please don't hold it against me. After reading a bunch of political commentaries and insights from both the wise and the foolish, I was left with this observation:

for ten years of my adult life, I lived in one of the most politically conservative, academically enriched, and economically privileged counties in the entire country. living there sort of gives you an entitlement to knowing what is best for everybody. political, economic, and religious know-it-alls are everywhere.

at the conclusion of those ten years, we packed up our little family (very young at that time) and left for a land of total opposites. we moved from our suburban cocoon, to the very raw and chaotic urban world of one of our nations major inner cities. our move was all about starting a church in an urban community...an adventure we were passionate, but more than a little naive about!

I could write for days about the lessons that God taught us during our years on this part of our family journey, but for today, let me pass on this perspective...

the philosophical and theological foundation for our ministry there was built on living with the people of our community. understanding their point of view. feeling their pain. listening to their perspective. honoring their priorities. responding to what they needed. and, most importantly, moving from they to us.

the greatest thing that happened to me was a re-educating of my belief that I could know something about somebody else before I walked beside them. by joining with our new friends...at school, at the ball field, at community meetings, at church, at the market... I began to see life...and politics...from their point of view. things that seemed so politically reasonable from the safe confines of my former neighborhood now looked a lot different.

it's kind of like this: imagine that there is a car wreck at a busy intersection. there are people standing on all four corners who witness the wreck. they all see the same wreck, but when the police come to get their account, they all give different stories...based on where they were standing.

to me, politics are a lot like looking at the wreck. same wreck, but it looks totally different from a variety of locations. maybe we would all be a little better off if we tried to see things from different perspectives...without assuming we already know what is best.

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