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Pastor’s Pen

Pastor’s Pen “Opening Up the Shut Down”
January 23rd

Since our government leaders seem unable to solve the nation’s current crisis, perhaps we ought to look to scripture to help us discern how they, and we, ought to respond.

The U.S. government shutdown over lack of funding has now entered its second month; and the nasty, vitriolic war of words between President Trump and leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives has continued. The latest point of contention is over differing ideologies regarding national security.   President Trump and most Republican senators and representatives argue that building a wall between the U.S. southern border and Mexico is essential to secure our nation from threats from the south while Democratic leaders argue a border wall sends the wrong message to the rest of the world and that the impact of the wall would have minimal effect on our overall national security.   As for public opinion, no one seems to be winning. At this point, the president, the Senate and the House all have approval ratings lower than 50 percent.   While there are no winners at the moment in this conflict, the American public overwhelmingly, and rightfully, believes that it is the loser as politicians continue to bicker and refuse to reasonably meet to discuss solutions to the crisis. The shutdown of nonessential government programs has led to widespread frustration across all political ideologies.
During the last federal government shutdown in 2013, George Friedman, founder and chairman of Stratfor, astutely noted; “Each faction is deeply committed to its beliefs, and feels it would be corrupt to abandon them.  Even if it means closing the government, even if it means defaulting on debt, ideology is a demanding mistress who permits no other lovers.”
As ancient Israel departed from God’s way, God inspired the prophet Isaiah to write: “They don’t know the way of peace; there’s no justice in their paths. They make their roads crooked; no one who walks in them knows peace.” (Isaiah 59:8). The “something” that Friedman refers to that could be done to help the U.S. is for its politicians to practice “the way of peace.”   The first step would be for them to begin leading the nation by their example and begin showing respect for each other—despite their differing ideologies. The Bible teaches it is each person’s individual responsibility to pursue peaceful relations with others (Romans 12:18).   
Perhaps we ought to contact our senators, representatives, and even the president and let them know that we expect and insist on a certain level of respect and peace in the way they treat one another as they debate their ideologies.
Perhaps we can set the example for them!  Perhaps we can treat others, particularly those with whom we disagree with respect and peace.  Who knows, doing so may just open them up to listening to our perspective as well.

In Christ, Pastor Scott If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people.”    (Romans 12:18, CEB)