Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I pledge to protect and defend vulnerable people in the name of Jesus.

Rescue the weak and the poor; deliver them from the power of the wicked. Psalm 82:4

Jesus taught us, saying: “You have heard how it was said, You will love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for He causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike.” Matthew 5:43–45

We do believe that certain basic principles can and should be the standards of order and conduct. Among these principles must be included the equal dignity of all men, acknowledgement of the solidarity for good and evil of all nations and races of the earth,respect for the plighted word,and the recognition that power of any kind, political or economic, must be coexistentive with responsibility. It is true that the proclamation and the acknowledgment of these principles does not as such solve any one single concrete political problem. Nevertheless these principles, if Christians are resolved to make them the basis of their political action, may have much effect and meaning in the present chaotic situation where all such standards are being abandoned. -Emil Bruner, 1941

So I have turned into one of those crazy frizzy-haired white ladies who has plastered her car with political bumper stickers. What's the point? Besides embarrassing friends and families alike? And ticking off the guy tailgating behind you? And maybe it will encourage me to be a hyper-considerate driver, like when I used to have one of those "half of the people who enter an abortion clinic don't come out alive" bumper stickers. I didn't want anyone to associate the pro-life movement with that little Volkswagen that turned without signaling or who cut them off at the light. That bumper sticker got me excused from jury duty. I guess it made the lawyers question my emotional or mental stability

Last Friday night I went to the Community Home Repair Projects of Arizona annual dinner, held at a small Mennonite church tucked away in a Tucson residential backwater, where they celebrated the day in and day out faithfulness of skilled, hardworking folk who send rain down on the just and unjust alike.

And it doesn't matter how those folks that live in tattered broken crunched cracked ​rusty rotted old trailers got there. It is about equal dignity of all men, no matter what. We are Christ followers who follow the One who forgave those spitters and mockers even in the moment when they had not even the slightest inclination towards understanding. 

On my way out of the happiest celebration of the year, I mean how often does one get to see Dustin Schaber do the Julia Child thing, I noticed the stacks of bumper stickers on the same little table by the door with bulletins and announcement flyers. 

Support Sacred Oak Flats. That is where the Apaches are fighting a multinational copper mining industry from destroying their sacred lands. Hmmmm. I betcha my Apache student with the kind respectfulness permeating everything he does would appreciate me voicing my support for his tribe. I reached over to pick it up when I noticed the Black Lives Matter sticker. Yep. And while All Lives Matter, there are some strongholds in our country that just don't live like they believe that in real life. Stop Deportations. I know some of my kids don't know if mom or dad will make it home this evening. Or mom or dad didn't make it home. I love my Muslim neighbor. And mixed in with the blaring headlines these days there have been sweetness, like this morning a Muslim community was raising funds to restore a vandalized Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.

And in my belly I decided I don't want to be unobtrusive. I want to speak up for those without a voice, for those who sometimes live in the quiet shadows, away from the push and shove of political or economic power. 

And maybe it is a little goofy, even if the stickers are nice and straight with balanced whitespace. But maybe it will cheer a voiceless a bit. Make someone feel seen and noticed. Something to do with proclamation and affirmation of these basic principles, that really doesn't solve one single concrete problem. 

Except at least I will be very careful to use my turn signal and wave ahead someone who wants to merge ahead in my lane. 

Which is a good thing.