Our Work Has Just Begun

After one of the longest and most negative campaigns in US history, many hoped that our lives would go back to normal come November 9th: no more ads on tv, no more divisive Facebook posts, no more talking about politics in everyday life.

And certainly no posts on Breaking in the Habit about politics.

Unfortunately (and my deepest apologies about that last one), that is not where we are. In some ways, the political talk has increased in number and severity. Protests have begun. Arguments have flared up even more on Facebook. People are retreating to their corners—proudly victorious or ashamedly crushed—to remain as far apart as ever.

There exists a great divide in our society and in our Church.

And as much as we can point to the outcome of the presidential election as the direct cause of this added division and turmoil, that, had it have gone differently—had our candidate won, or had “X” won the primary instead—there would not likely be the crazy turmoil we face now—numerous protests, spike in hate crimes and planned KKK rally—the fact of the matter is this election did not cause our problems… it simply brought them to light. 

The problems of hatred and divisiveness we feel in our society and Church today existed long before these candidates ran for office. And they will exist after them too.

No matter how one feels about either candidate (and Lord knows there are some strong and diverse opinions among BitH readers) neither one is ultimately responsible for situation we are in. Donald Trump did not create racism, sexism, or xenophobia; the fact that he exhibits such behavior and has emboldened people to express such sentiments more publicly in recent months is disappointing, but those things existed, silently and not-so-silently, long before him. Hillary Clinton did not create abortion; the fact that she supports it as a policy is disappointing, but people were getting abortions long before Hillary voiced her support of it.

In many ways, what we see in these candidates (both the things we love and hate) is not so much something new or transformative, an attempt to convince people to adopt an altogether new opinion. No, what we see in these candidates is a reflection of the world we live in and how we treat each other. As radical as one may find either’s policies or rhetoric, what they have presented is merely the calculated sum of opinions that were held before them and will be held after them.

I point this out, not to downplay the effect that this election has had on the nation or to somehow diminish the power that the president can have on shaping its future (as Mr. Trump’s formidable 100 day plan indicates.) I point this out to say that, no matter who was elected on November 8th, the destructive opinions of the losing party were not simply going to go away, and the constructive opinions of the winning party were not going to solve everything.

As Christians, those who only have one King (and He’s in heaven), we knew from the start that the winner of this election would not be able to bring us the Kingdom we await. No matter who won and no matter what positive policies were put into place, we knew that there were gaps that needed to be filled and areas of justice needing defending. We knew, no matter how much we liked one candidate over the other, that it was not up to him/her to be our savior, and that, in some ways, they would even bring trouble. We knew that.

And so, as much as we were all hoping to our lives would go back to normal, that we could check out and let others take care of our problems, we’ve always known that that could never be the case. Voting for and electing officials is an important part of our life as Christians, but it is never the end in itself; we vote for and elect officials as means to a greater end, a just and peaceful society for all to authentically develop. Let’s never stop short of that end, and never forget that our work has just begun.

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6 Comments on “Our Work Has Just Begun

  1. Thank you for this…. so many of us will need to hear this blessing of a message

  2. Thanks Casey, I think we need some rational discussion and reminders. Many people who were friends 5 days ago are not talking to each other over this…we need to work together more than ever!

  3. Thank you for your message Friar Casey. It is a message I needed to hear in the wake of the election that has taken place. I have to think that we need to discern how our Lord would respond, and how He would have us respond to the situation in which we may find ourselves. Also, in the light of the Gospel of Jesus, how can we respond in a Franciscan manner. I see violence in protests, and I know that is not the way. I am committed to find ways to stand in solidarity with all who are now marginalized in our society. This is our calling as people of God, as people of the Church. I would like to share a link with you to a message that recently appeared in “Living Lutheran” the magazine of the ELCA, entitled “Courage to be the Church”. by Martin Zimmann, Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Mechanicsburg, PA. Blessings from a Lutheran and a Franciscan brother (without orders).

  4. Br. Casey,

    Peace!

    Hey… do you have an appropriate email addy that I might use to be in contact with you?
    If so, and your willing to share… thanks, and just send it to me at my email from here.
    (Strictly for personal/private/individual use and never to be shared in any form or fashion.)

    As always, I hope you are well and blessed in abundance!

    Peace,
    Liam
    Num 6: 24-26

    • Hi Liam, I actually don’t give that out online but would be happy to communicate with you through Facebook or YouTube messenger.

  5. The elections in the USA have highlighted the fact that not only in the middle east are hurting but, there are many people in developed countries who are hurting as well. We as Christian communities need to really find away to help uplift these people. We are supposed to be a church of doers not only prayers. In the small New Zealand city in which I live, a few months ago on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month we have a community meal. The food is cooked by voluntary help and St Vincent De Paul society members from our Parish. We now do this 3 Thursdays each month and from feeding 8 people to 50 each Thursday. A small number but its a start.There are also other christian denominations who are doing this as well. There are many people affected by manufacturing going offshore where wagers are a lot less. I think you know what I am getting at.

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