Monday, August 4, 2014

Both Worlds

"You know he's a Grit, Miss Cornelia."

"Yes, he IS," admitted Miss Cornelia rather sadly. "And of course there is no hope of making a Conservative of him. But at least he is a Presbyterian. So I suppose I shall have to be satisfied with that."

"Would you marry him if he were a Methodist, Miss Cornelia?"

"No, I would not. Politics is for this world, but religion is for both."

         —Anne's House of Dreams

I rather laughed throughout Anne's House of Dreams at Miss Cornelia's opinionated ideas about denomination, even though I sympathized. Doctrine matters, right? But I was just about bewildered at the ease with which she dismisses the politics that (indirectly) kept her from marrying for so many years.

It seems to go the opposite way today. Many people easily dismiss religious differences among friends and lovers—but if their politics is on the wrong side, they are anathema. It's a shame, really. Politics is so polarized today, by which I mean two things:  the narrowness of the possibilities as well as the extremity of their opposition to each other. It's choking. 

I have become pretty thoroughly disillusioned with both parties in our country. I do believe that there are politicians on both sides that are good, sincere advocates of worthy principles, but I think the machines that are their respective parties too often work against them.

Ben Conroy's post about a Christian Left is hopeful, and encapsulates my thought on the attitude adjustment this world needs when it comes to addressing issues that matter and setting policies:

Sometimes those questions of means will put Christians sincerely trying to live the Gospel on opposite sides of political battles. If I think that a Universal Basic Income would virtually wipe out poverty overnight, and my friend thinks that it would be a dependency-creating disaster, one of us has to lose. In a culture that invested ordinary political disputes with slightly less life-or-death significance, this wouldn’t really be a problem.
I'd argue that the reason the questions are so life-and-death is that people have increasingly lost sight of the eternal, through either a loss of faith or a conflation of the kingdom of God with this temporal world. And the answers to this (to everything) are personal holiness and evangelization. Because this world matters, but not as much as the world to come.

That's what we need to agree on.

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