Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Politics of Internship

The Democratic National Convention is in full swing, and the Republicans come on the stage next week. I’m mostly drooling over all of this, as my political science self kicks into high gear.

And then I remember where I am, and what I’m doing this year. Most of this identity comes in the negative format: I’m not in Chicago anymore, and I’m not a student anymore. I’m an intern, working with people at this church – and as I drive to work each day, I pass home after home with a simple sign displaying proudly in their green lawn: John McCain, 2008. Obama is nowhere to be found.

Here I am, trying to minister to – and, simply, love – the people who have accepted me so fully and graciously into their midst as vicar, and I am coming to the realization that many of them do not share my own political views…at all. It begs the question – how do I stay committed and authentic to the worldview to which I subscribe, while at the same time affirming these people as wonderful and beloved children of God?

There’s an “easy” answer, of course: Don’t talk politics. Obvious enough, it seems.

But what about the alternative? Is there one? A way to be honest about how I feel, and how much I’m passionate about this issue, especially as we inch our way toward the first Tuesday in November? Is there a way I can refrain from hiding the fact that my entire being is wholeheartedly connected to the intense hope that McCain is not elected in the fall?

The truth is, this passion is most likely shared on the other side of the aisle by many folks in my congregation – by many people with whom I worship, to whom I serve communion, from whom I have received so much already. “God is NOT a Republican,” the bumper sticker on my car shouts, “…or a Democrat.” But I am most certainly driven by a certain way of viewing the world, and it is a deep and sincere part of my very identity.

At the same time, my identity is also tied into that radical notion: I’m a child of God, made in God’s image. As are the rest of the people in this congregation.

So, what’s the answer? Luckily, I’m Lutheran. We don’t have answers – we have paradoxes. I love these people, even when I vehemently disagree with them.

And I pray for the same from them.

2 Comments:

At 9:35 AM , Blogger Eric Oakland said...

I was in this situation this weekend with my family. The surface conversation was about if we saw the DNC or if we were planning on watching the RNC. More to the point I told both my bro that I was for Obama, and told my mom simply that I'd pretty much made up my mind.

I have never been more excited for a candidate in my life...and I couldn't share that with them, i couldn't share that piece of me.

Later after dinner one night, it came up that one of my mom's cousins is gay and that his mom and her twin are no longer speaking because the mom chose to love him. While my mom echoed that she did not agree with the 'lifestyle' of homosexuality, her heart was crushed that there are whole communities of men out there who are severed from their families because of their orientation.

It isn't much. I want to shout and scream and express vehemently that I think they are wrong.

But they are not without love. Despite the premise their actions are in faith.

My family doesn't trust government. They think homosexuality is wrong.

And with everything they have they want people to be safe and loved and happy.

 
At 11:26 PM , Anonymous Jonathan said...

Jason,

I just wanted to stop by and say that I thought what you wrote here was great. The one thing that makes me respect you so much is how passionate you are about your faith and views. I know we disagree on more issues than we agree on, but I still love you.

Luckily for me, I work for a boss that agrees with me on everything and even has Fox News playing while we work. She wears her McCain shirt ALL the time and has donated a lot of money to him. If you'd like, I could ask her if there's an opening in our office for you. I know you want to work for the oil companies like I do and work in the office that I work in. Haha.

Lastly, I just want to say that you are to me what Lieberman is to McCain. I miss you buddy and pray for you daily and wish you all the best.

 

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