As I wrote here recently, people I know in my church and elsewhere are struggling in this new political era to figure out how to respond to new policies and new directions.
But this is a frenetic time. In the first week of Donald Trump's presidency he issued lots of executive orders and made speeches and gave interviews -- and it was hard to keep up with all of it, though over the weekend most of the attention fell on his misguided travel ban affecting some predominantly Muslim countries.
Even if you liked everything you saw (and if you did, I'd say you were being foolishly consistent) you probably had a hard time keeping up with all the fast-breaking developments, all the news, all the facts and alternative facts.
And if you disliked everything (again, perhaps, foolish consistency), you might have spent all your energy by this past Wednesday before falling, exhausted, to the ground.
I am trying to be discerning about where to spend my energy, about when to use my prophetic voice here, in other publishing venues and in person. So over the weekend here on the blog I focused on the big question of whether the new administration will adopt a new and repugnant policy approving the use of torture in some cases.
As I think about how to proceed in this new time, this Patheos.com blog entry (unfortunately the author is anonymous, and I dislike that) has been helpful and maybe it will be helpful to you, too.
The author, who identifies as an African-American pastor, writes this: "My enthusiasm about the Trump presidency is admittedly non-existent. But I recognize there are those who feel quite differently than I do."
That's the first and perhaps most important step: for all sides to display some humility and to recognize that we may not be right in our assessment of things. Civility and humility are in short supply in our country at the moment, and, in my judgment, the new president is not encouraging either of those necessary characteristics. But that doesn't mean we need to engage in binary thinking that reduces complexity to two colors.
One of the necessary things prophetic voices need to say today is that we must not engage in simplistic bumper-sticker politics. Life is way more complicated than that. Let's remind our politicians of the need for nuance and fairness.
* * *
WATCHING NUNS AND PRIESTS DEPART
The continued loss of priests and nuns is hurting the Catholic Church, Pope Francis says. My guess is the church's ban on female priests and its insistence on keeping a celibate priesthood won't change until things get much, much worse. But whatever actions the church is taking now to stop what Francis calls the “hemorrhage” of priests and nuns from the church isn't working, so it's likely that things will, in fact, get worse.
* * *
P.S.: Here is my latest Flatland column, in which I offer an update on Steve Israelite after his terrible accident last fall.