Thanks for the Dialogue

Posted by Melvin Bray on November 7th, 2008 filed in Useful Perhaps

Aerin, thanks for the dialogue. I wrote this last week about today…

The Day After

As the 2008 Presidential campaign draws to a close, I’ve become increasingly less concerned about the specific outcomes of election night and more concerned by what we will have positioned ourselves to accomplish the day after. What are our prospects for success in meeting the tremendous challenges we as a country now face, when we’ve painted our countrymen and neighbors out to be devils and villains? How do we commit ourselves to meaningful action for the good of all God’s creation and not become immobilized in our bickering over who is most right? I’m almost afraid that too much damage has been done: the fear mongering and race-baiting and name-calling and prejudice rationalizing. How do we begin to engage one another and work together if indeed I am (by your definition or my own) a tree-hugging, homo-loving, abortion-permitting, other-embracing, terrorist-empathizing, socialist-leaning un-real black man, whom you’ve been socialized to resist at all costs?

As I write, a song invades my consciousness, refusing not to be heard. I believe it echoes a way forward through this mess we’ve made for ourselves. The song is “Belfast to Boston,” by James Taylor (listen). It’s been my prayer for peace for about two years now…

There are rifles buried in the countryside by the rising of the moon.
May they lie there long forgotten, ’til they rust away into the ground.

It’s a song of grace: blood bought, divinely inspired, blessed assurance that as followers in the way of Jesus we are not condemned to give as good (or as poorly) as we get. We can give better. Yes…

Who will bend this ancient hatred: will the killing to an end?
Who will swallow long injustice: take the devil for a countryman?

We can. This is the grace that is ours. “Freely you have received; freely give,” Jesus says.

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