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Saturday, September 25, 2010

What I'm Reading Today: Genesis 18-20

Over the course of the next 37 days, we will live through what I consider to be the most difficult days of the year.

"And what exactly is it that makes these next 37 days so difficult to live through?" you might wonder.

Well, the next 37 days stand between us and the General Election here in the United States. That means that between now and November 2 we will be bombarded with messages that will appeal to two things: (1) our fears, and (2) our self-interest.

Our airwaves and mailboxes will be stuffed with campaign literature that suggests that life as we know it will surely end if such-and-such a candidate wins the election, or if such-and-such political party has the majority of seats in the legislature. We'll also absorb campaign messages predicated upon the belief that the only way a candidate can win your vote is to appeal to your raw self-interest. "Vote for me and I'll lower your taxes!" "Vote for me and I'll help protect your job!" "Vote for me, and I'll protect your freedom from (and you can fill in the blank here with any group you might feel is a threat). The days between now and the General Election will be full of things that degrade our common humanity.

"So what's the alternative?" you might wonder. "Doesn't our system represent the very best of what's available to us?"

Absolutely not! In fact, there is another way that was spelled out in today's reading from Genesis that is far superior to anything we could create. As Abraham was getting ready to say goodbye to his visitors, we are told that God reassured Abraham about his role in the future with these words: "I've settled on [Abraham] as the one to train his children and future family to observe God's way of life…"

And what exactly is meant by the phrase "God's way of life"?

The author(s) of the passage tells us very clearly. God's way of life means we "live kindly and generously and fairly." What amazing words to describe the kind of lives to which God calls us - "kindness", "generosity", and "fairness"!

As we live through the next 37 days of incessant mudslinging and accusations, I would invite you to recommit yourself to living not by a nation's or a political system's way of life – but rather by God's way of life.

Til next time …

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