Like most people I am glad the latest election cycle is over. I live in Colorado; we happen to be a swing state. From what I can tell, the primary benefit of this honor is to be inundated with political ads. I mean one right after the other. First candidate A says you shouldn’t vote for candidate B, followed by an ad from candidate B saying you shouldn’t vote for candidate A  Every ad had the same basic message – the other person was always evil, wrong, or sinful. Truth be told, these political candidates were simply reflecting an emerging way of being together as humans. It goes something like this, “you either agree with me or you are wrong.” And the political world isn’t unique in holding this perspective. People of faith tend to only connect, gather, and worship with others who affirm their particular assumptions and prejudices. This way of living, thinking, and being is dangerous, corrosive, and boring. We need to find new ways to be together. Does it really make us better people if we focus our interactions on those with whom we agree?

It is our differences that make us unique. It is imperative that we find the courage to embrace and even accept those whose world view is unusual. Leaning to celebrate how we are different will make us better people, Christians, and politicians.

I do not know how to fix or change the political world. But I do have hope for the church. Can you imagine attending a church where political, social, and theological differences are embraced? Where a person’s stand on any of the “controversial” issues isn’t a litmus test, but rather a reason to have a voice?

Faith and risk taking are ideas that go hand-in-hand. When people of faith only gather with others who look, believe, and think the same, the gathering becomes something less than church. When Christians divide from each other over theological or social differences it becomes less Christian. As people of faith we are called to become highly comfortable with being highly uncomfortable. This is what it means to be salt and light!

Here in America

The speaker began with these words, “Regardless about your political leanings regarding health care, here in America we privatize profits and socialize risk.”  He was referring to the recent government bailout of banks that are “too big to fail.” His comment has been rolling around in my head ever since.

It is interesting to think of socialism as a system designed to keep the rich wealthy.  Many people see socialism as a system designed to give lazy people a free ride.  Come to think of it, that may be true.  Wealth is no more an indicator of hard work than poverty is an indicator of laziness.

I suspect that when we get to heaven folks will not be debating the merits of capitalism verses socialism.  I find it hard to believe that Jesus would even have an opinion on which is the better system.  From what I can tell, the only question that will matter is, “How did you treat the least of these?”

When we create systems that exclude and devalue our fellow human beings, we are crossing to a place that is in opposition to the Christian faith.

Laws that deny strangers and immigrants hospitality are at best wrong and at worst evil.

In the parable of the sheep and the goats, those who gain access to heaven are the ones who included the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the prisoner.  I am not sure that this is easy to do.  Occasionally, people in lists like this can be scary and dangerous.  They might even threaten our security and personal safety.

In spite of all the potential pitfalls, we are not call to build walls of protection around ourselves.  We are called to step out in faith and do the difficult and uncomfortable thing.  We are called to welcome, to feel, to create a space at the table and to be hospitable event if the intention of the other is evil.


My alarm went off at 5:45 AM. I was not ready for Monday. One more day to sleep in would have been nice. To make matters worse, I couldn’t find the snooze button. There I was, stuck listening to the news at 5:45 AM. The lead story was about President Obama’s new health care initiative. As the fog slowly cleared from my mind, I began to recall why I had set the alarm so early. This was my morning to run. As I rolled out of bed, the weather guy mentioned that it was 12 degrees outside.

This was going to be a cold run.

It took about 10 minutes to get dressed and ready to enter the great outdoors.

When it is 12 degrees outside, the only way I can ignore the cold is to intentionally choose to think about other things.

Two things came to mind. What was I going to write about for my blog and the news story I had just heard. Before long I decided to combine the two. When it’s 12 degrees, you simplify!

Why are we so afraid of socialized health reform? If I understand our politicians correctly, “socialized” is anything that is controlled by the government. Using this definition our military is socialized. I don’t hear anyone complaining about supporting a socialized military. I have heard both Democrats and Republicans claim that we have the best military on planet earth. Socialism seems to have worked in this case.

Everyone seems to agree that the current system is broken. What is so wrong with trying a Socialist experiment with health care? The worst it can do is fail. That just puts us back to where we are now.