An election campaign is in full force in the US, and I am interested. Even if I were not, FB allows a steady feeding of opinions, posters, videos, etc., and because my friends have a variety of perspectives, the slants running across the stream are quite diverse.
A few months ago some university students and I discussed “politics.” The sentiment of “I’m not really into politics” was expressed, and I jumped like a dog on a bone. My opinions went along the lines of: Politics impacts daily life, society, the weak and the strong, so people who care about others will be responsible voters. No need to think like or vote like me, but vote thoughtfully; engage responsibly. Many people who care profoundly about the poor vote quite differently. I know lots of people who love God deeply who vote quite differently. Those impassioned by educational policy vote diversely. Become informed, consider the implications, and vote.
But as I watch anger and malice float around the e-world, I have been surprised. It’s not surprising that I have opinionated friends, but I also have kind friends, so the tone has at times troubled me. Craig came marching through just after I read some of the propaganda, and I asked rhetorically, “Why does the political arena permit meanness from usually respectful people?”
Well to my amusement he quipped out “The five P’s.”
After a quizzical stare, he responded,
These five P’s passively form us unless we purposefully seek to have the Bible transform our thinking and acting. I started to write it down, and he was quick to say these 5 p’s aren’t original to him, but he can’t remember and I couldn’t find on-line who did originate the wisdom. (Possibly Dallas Willard) And then the kicker, “When someone talks about or disagrees with some of the derivatives of these five, the hearer will feel diminished by the disagreement unless the character is being formed by Christ.” When we feel diminished, we can be mean.
I have been blessed with godly, wise parents, interesting, thoughtful, kind friends, fascinating, intentional professors, politically responsible family and friends that encourage thoughtful political engagement, and enough pain to foster compassion for others’ pain, so I do not want to undermine the value of these influences. Hopefully, God’s Spirit will patiently continue to shape Christ into me.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”