Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Campaign

This is the first presidential election I am able to vote in.

Consequently, this election will go down in history.

I'm excited to be a part of it.

But along with an eligibility to vote, has come a lot of thoughts of my own.

And I'm not even sure I should share them with you.

They're slightly complicated.

And I don't think you'll like what I have to say.

Oh well.

Barak Obama just won the Democratic Primary.

And a lot of you are mad about it.

Next year, Bush will leave the White House.

And a lot of you are happy about it.

In the near future we will see lots of social and economic changes such as universal healthcare, pulling troops out of Iraq, laws about gay marriage, and where you can send your child to school (and how much that will take out of your paycheck).

You have a lot to say about that.

These issues will affect your vote.

But I've been doing a lot of thinking.

And I've been talking it out, writing it out (using prepositions at the ends of my sentences and conjunctions at the beginning... you know, like a pro).

I'm a little frustrated.

Suddenly, I've found myself a little passionate about all of this.

I think something has to change.

Not "should", or "ought to".

It's not just a good idea.

Something has to change. Or else.

What is it that has to change, you ask me.


You do.

I do.

What? You didn't sign up for this by opening this blog, I know. It's risky enough talking about politics openly like this. But to challenge you to a change of attitude, belief, or action... I should probably go crawl in a hole and await the wrath.

But it's true.

Or... at least I think it is.

Reagan was president when I was born. That fall, when I was six months old, Bush Sr. was elected. Since then, either a Bush or a Clinton has been in office. We've had a fluctuating economy, we've missed chances at "redemptive violence", we've declared war, there's been adultery and lying...

We elect these men.

It's been twenty years of Bush's and Clintons. And today, our economy is on the decline, we are in a war with an unknown purpose, and our dependence on foreign goods and oil is only increasing. Daily, we have people dying because they don't have healthcare and our jails are filled with kids charged with possession while our streets are filled with rapists.

We have guards at the borders of our country.

And hijackers on our planes.

We are fighting for pro-life laws, but our foster care system is horrendous.

We've told you that you have a right to vote.

You also have the right not to.

"We want you to be our president!" The majority of our polls say.

And they become the greatest thing since sliced bread...

Until they do something wrong.

Then it was our neighbor who voted for them.

And we put nasty bumper stickers on our cars.

They're not our president anymore.

Presidents go down in history as responsible for the bad things that happened, or renowned for the good that was done in their term.

That's not democracy at all.

You may think it is. It may be all you know. It may be what we teach our children in school.

But it's not right.

So I've come up with my own campaign.

I'm considering writing Obama... knowing full well he may never even get the letter (but no one could tell me I didn't try).

And letting him know what I think.

My campaign?

May be slightly reminiscent of the 1970s.

(That'd be okay with me.)

A president should be the voice of the people.

We should elect a president because he best represents our belief system, our political view, and addresses our societal issues in the best way feasible.

To have a president get up at a podium and "campaign"... to propose a solution, to promise change, to guarantee success... is a bunch of crap.

For us to solely blame a man for the action of a cabinet and a country is diffusion of responsibility.

The greatest achievements, the greatest change, has NEVER been caused by a president.

Think of Gandhi and MLK Jr. and Mother Teresa.

My campaign is for us to take back our government.

To get off our lazy... tails and to act.

Elect a president who will represent you, not lead you.

If you want something changed, change it.

If you don't like what you are seeing, do something about it.

You want to see this war end? Think about the America you want your sons and daughters to come home to.

Think about the America you want to raise your children and grandchildren in.

We've become apathetic.

We lay blame.

We accuse.

We judge.

But it's our fault.

We use the excuse all the time that one vote doesn't count.

One voice can't be heard.

You're definitely right.

But as cliche as it is, if many people, each with one voice and one vote come together...that is when change occurs.

Gandhi encouraged us to be the change we wished to see.

Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Take back your government.

When you go to the voting booth in November, elect the man or woman who you want to represent you.

Who will have a loud voice, but speak our words.

Who will, because we elected them, have influence.

It won't be changed in a term.

Or even in two.

We've screwed it all up too badly.

And there's a lot of other issues we have to face.

More that you won't like. Not one little bit.

But take responsibility.

This is your home.

And mine.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


What are you ambitious about?

Or should I say, "for"?

What is it that gets you going... lights your fire... makes "your clock tick"?

We all go through seasons. Every season looks different. You never repeat the same one twice.

As a people, we have fallen into the misconception that we are supposed to have things figured out. That we have a purpose and it should be found and we should succeed at whatever it is by the time we're 22. (This is the cause of a midlife crisis.)

What if we raised our children in a different way? To view the world as a blessing. To live sustainably. To conserve. To reuse. To create. To appreciate. To sweat. To laugh until their bellies hurt.

As a people, we expect children to be children. We expect college students to be loud and irresponsible and drunk. We expect the middle aged to be conservative and quiet. We expect the elderly to be wise.

When did we forget this is a journey? When did we forget that in their few years, children have wisdom? Or that in their feverish energy, the college age community has a voice? Or that the middle aged are spontaneous and creative? Or that the elderly are spunky and sometimes foolish?

We begin to lose our souls when we define ourselves and each other by social status and the number of years we've been breathing and eating.

Too often we set off to figure out who we are... we end relationships because "who we are" is stifled... we get into a relationship because they help us understand.

I told Larry the other night that I had no idea what was coming next. He shrugged. "It'd be horrible to know what's next, don't you think?"

The other night he asked a question about ambition.

And I rambled... wishing I had an answer... knowing he saw right through my words and my frantic hand gestures.

What does it mean to have ambition?

What does it mean to know who you are?

What does it mean to know what you believe, what you think, and to act on that?

It is when we lose our ambition, when we believe we have finally "arrived", that we grow old.

Because, in reality, we never arrive.

Until you breathe your last breath, you are changing and evolving.

What is your ambition?

Don't think it has to be a fanatastic agenda, or a lengthy project, or anything profound.

Life is profound enugh without us over-thinking it.

Walk a little farther today.

Carry your groceries home.

Learn something new.

Get your hands dirty.

Shakespeare once said, "The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream."

Use everything you have today.

Whatever that looks like.

My ambition today is to see with new eyes. To take in new words. To recycle what I see and hear and feel and turn it into art.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

What I Think

Whenever I start a sentence, let alone a blog, with the sentence "what I think...", you're in for a ride.
I'll go ahead and tell you I'm probably wrong.
You can count on the fact I don't have all my thoughts together, or that I haven't looked at every perspective.
But I am a woman who thinks a lot.
And if I save up all my thoughts, eventually the proverbial levee will break...
That would be a mess.
Just take my word for it.

I've been reading a book.
I used to do that a lot.
When I was younger, you would have had to pay me to go outside. Most often you'd find me laying on my stomach on my bed reading a fiction novel.
These days, all I want to do is be outside.
And I rarely have time for books.
But I've been reading this one.

A few years ago a guy named Shane wrote a book called Irresistable Revolution. It was a book that changed my life when I read it, ended up being common ground between me and Caleb, and has given me food for thought ever since.

Just recently Shane wrote another book.

In lieu of the presidential election, it is called Jesus For President.

Caleb bought me the book for my birthday.

And it has been an amazing birthday present... made me think more than anything in a long time.

What I've been thinking? (There you go... get ready to disregard anything Im about to say)

I've been thinking about how, for a couple of guys who dislike the government so much, they should be thankful they have freedom of speech. They just used the government and popularity and society to promote a book... get it published and on the shelves... without getting thrown in jail or executed.

The two authors of this book talk a lot about the culture in Jesus' time. They talk about translation of words (aramaic, hebrew, greek) and what they really mean. And the phrase "this is what Jesus meant" occurs over and over again.

And so I started wondering.

If Jesus came today... would he be wearing camel skin and walking barefoot? Would he be Jewish? Would he be Jewish? Would he be crucified?

I don't think so.

I don't think that the Christian faith should be based on relativism, but I also don't think that Jesus' message of salvation had anything to do with his culture or the shoes he wore or the way he was killed. Today, he'd be the guy sitting at the corner booth at Waffle House with another friend or two, drinking black coffee.

There was nothing about Jesus, his everyday living, or his appearance that made him stand out. Just the way he loved. The way he was pure and blameless.

I think we should keep that in mind when reading the Bible.

Also keep in mind that the Bible was put together by imperfect people.

That the first church in Acts was made up of sinners.

That there are almost 30 years of Jesus' life that are pratically unaccounted for.

That the rich need Jesus just as much as the poor.

That MONEY is not the root of all evil... but the LOVE of money is.

That most of our faith, most of what is required of us, is willingness.

Not what you do. It is what you are willing to do. Stepping up to the plate with arms open wide, saying, "Whatever you say, my love."

We need to remember not to seclude ourselves.

To be in the world... surrounded by people who need grace and crave love. But not to be "of" it, in the sense that our love sets us apart.

Not the way we dress. Or where we live. But simply how we love.

Derek Webb sings about how "people love us the most for what we hate."

How can we HATE anything in the name of Jesus?

What I think is that we've gotten full of ourselves.

We've come to believe we are right and they are wrong.

How dangerous...

What I think, is that we need to remember that none of this has anything to do with us.

And that Jesus is the only way...

And he was pretty normal.

And that the evil of this world that we are fighting is not politics, presidents, money, or power.

It's a spiritual war we're fighting.

A fight for our lives and the lives of our neighbors.


All that to say it's a great bok. One you should read and mark up and get mad about and nod your head with and question the entire time.

Because that's what he thinks.

And this is what I think.

And the wisest thing he had to say was, "We need to learn how to disagree well".

Love. At the end of the day, just love.

Let Jesus (the carpenter, the fisherman, the one with the corny jokes and the obscure analogies, the one with the dirty feet and scraggly beard) show you the rest.