Baptism changed me.
I was baptized in a Lutheran Church, in the West side suburbs of Cleveland in 1989 with my two brothers. I was six years old and I wasn't quite tall enough to reach the font, but too big for the pastor to pick me up. It was awkward being half picked up, and feeling as if I would just fall over. It was awkward. And that is my faith story - awkward.
Baptism calls us all to stand in the awkwardness of life. Too often, we want to avoid difficult conversations, or try and rise above the awkwardness of political discourse. Our baptisms call us to serve and love our neighbor and our baptisms call us to vote and engage policymakers in a persistent fashion.
Building a better world is messy…
When Amos, Micah or Jesus spoke about a better world, they were rejected. People would critique them, challenge them, or ignore them. Jesus was accused of violating the law and therefore they dismissed his entire message. Jesus was surrounded by followers and supporters, until things got complicated, then nearly everyone disappeared.
We have hard work to do and our baptism calls us to it. Dealing with race, class, discrimination, environmental degradation, corruption, and many other issues are hard in 2018. This work requires difficult conversations and tense moments. I have shed many tears and felt the anger at the world build in the pit of my stomach. There are days that I want to hide under a blanket, ignore the news, but my baptism doesn’t allow me to do that.
Too often, we focus only on the flaws of every candidate and every policy, instead of the potential good they can do. We must be honest with the pro’s and con’s of candidates and legislative proposals and approach governance from a position of rational thought. But we do not sacrifice the moral high ground in life when we recognize that good can come in imperfect packages.
Because we are all imperfect packages that can do good.
When I walk into the voting booth next Tuesday, I will walk in as baptized child of God - called to justice, mercy and compassion in all that I do. I must vote as a person of faith - caring for the homeless, the sick and the prisoner. I must vote to welcome the stranger, and build a brighter world for my neighbors.
The United States will constantly be adapting and evolving. As a baptized child of God, I am called to stand in difficult moments regardless of party or issue and engage to proclaim justice for all of God’s children.
4 Steps for the Faithful voter
Learn about the candidates and issues
Pray about who will improve policies and opportunities for the marginalized, the sick, the widow, and the stranger (our neighbors) who we are called to serve.
Engage whoever wins and assist them in being an effective public SERVANT to advance the call of justice in our communities.