“Faithfully Political: Christian Civic Engagement in a Divided Age” Presented by Church of the Heavenly Rest
Editor’s Note: The Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, 602 Meander St., is hosting Wednesday night sessions every two weeks on being “faithly political” as a lead up to the Nov. 3 general election. All presentations will be streamed via Facebook Live. All but one, on Sept. 30, also will be held on-site in the church courtyard. People who plan to attend in person are asked to register at heavenlyrestabilene.org/registration. All sessions are free and open to the public. Bring a chair or a blanket to sit on. Masks are encouraged.Upcoming schedule
Discovering God’s Economy
Steven Tomlinson, Associate Professor of Leadership and Administration at the Seminary of the Southwest. Online only
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Dr. Dan Stiver and Dr. Tom Copeland, professors at Hardin-Simmons University
“God has so arranged the Body”: Saint Paul and the Gift of Disagreement
The Rev. David Romanik
By LORETTA FULTON
As least as far back as the Old Testament, people have been warned about following the leadership of another human.
Samuel, the last of the Old Testament judges, warned against the people’s call for a king to lead them.
“You’re trying to replace God with a king,” he tells them.
In more recent history–but still the distant past, America’s first president, George Washington, was uncomfortable with the adoration being heaped upon him as he moved toward the presidency. A warning from James McHenry, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention from Maryland, didn’t help.
“You are now a king under a different name,” McHenry warned.
The history lesson and some recommendations for being “polically faithful” as the Nov. 3 election approaches, came Sept. 16 from the Rev. David Romanik, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest. Every two weeks through Oct. 28, the church will host Wednesday evening talks under the umbrella of, “Faithfully Political: Christian Civic Engagement in a Divided Age.”
All sessions will be streamed on the church’s Facebook Live page and are free and open to anyone. All but one session, on Sept. 30, also will be presented on-site in the church courtyard. Bring a chair and a mask and register online at heavenlyrestabilene.org/registration Registration is free but necessary to ensure that the courtyard isn’t crowded.
Next up, on Sept. 30, will be “Discovering God’s Economy,” presented online only by Steven Tomlinson, associate professor of leadership and administration at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin.
The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is filled with warnings about following mere mortals. To some, that means withdrawing totally from political involvement and discussion, but that is not the example set by Jesus.
“Jesus doesn’t eschew political engagement,” Romanik noted, citing such familiar words as “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.”
With the Nov. 3 general election growing nearer, and the political rhetoric ramping up, Romanik made a request. Friday, Sept. 25, will begin the 40-day period leading to the election. Romanik, whose favorite season of the church year is Lent, suggested making the upcoming 40-day period a kind of Lent, “an electoral spiritual preparation.”
The spiritual practices will sound familiar to those who observe a traditional Lent:
- Fasting–perhaps from your favorite news channel or social media platform
- Abstinence–from adding your voice to those you agree with. Instead, when you hear a comment you disagree with, engage that person in conversation, not to persuade but to acknowledge that the speaker has value. “Give that person the benefit of the doubt,” Romanik suggested.
- Empathy–try to see the world from another person’s perspective
- Prayer–for the candidates by name
Romanik recommended an even more encompassing, and perhaps tougher, prayer for every American:
“Pray that we can remember that no matter what happens on Nov. 3, we belong to God.”
Loretta Fulton is creator and editor of Spirit of Abilene