Recently I took a plunge and applied to do a book review for The OOZE I didn’t get my first choice of books. I was a little disappointed…and that is an understatement. Instead I received a copy of Tony Campolo’s “Stories that Feed Your Soul“. Now I love stories and fancy myself somewhat of a storyteller myself so I cajoled my self that it would be okay. Then I read the introduction and discovered what I had feared…Tony and I have a somewhat different take on theology. Which is not surprising considering that my theology has morphed through some pretty incredible dark places and discoveries on this journey we call life. But a promise is a promise and I plowed through.
What surprised me is that most of the stories spoke to my soul…even my quirky faith was bolstered and to prove my point I will share just one of those stories. Because here in Canada we are immersed in a contentious election and most of us feel we are fighting for our lives and the future of democracy in our country. I hope Tony won’t mind…he actually urges the reader to share the stories…and if it encourages someone else to stretch the wings of their own faith, it will all be worth it. (My “coming out” I mean.)
Politics as Love in Action
We are all aware of the parable of the good Samaritan in which Jesus tells about the man who fell among thieves on the road to Jericho, and how a Samaritan rescued him, took him to an inn, and then provided money for his care and sustenance. But suppose the story had continued. Suppose the good Samaritan had formed a committee called “The Committee for Making the Jericho Road Safe.” Suppose the committee had conducted marches, raised public awareness, and forced city hall to put decent lighting along the Jericho road, remove the bushes in which thieves could hide, and make sure that there would be police(men) officers (my 2cents worth) to patrol that highway? Would this not also be a way to express love? And if the city hall, policemen and politicans had been found to be accepting bribes in return for not interfering with the robbers, would it not also be an act of love to organize people to vote the corrupt politicians out of office at the next election? Doesn’t God call us to set things right?
I guess that story hit me so hard for two reasons. First, I spent most of my adult life working as a community developer, a health promoter, a resettlement worker and an ESL teacher. I defined it as ministry and I was turned down for ordination or even diaconal ministry because … well, we’ll really never know the real because and it really doesn’t matter. But from this story I am affirmed that indeed I was actively involved in ministry. We all can be ministers. Everything we do and say can be a ministry…or not. We have that choice.
The second reason this story spoke so loudly to my heart was that I am involved in this election in a big way. I work as the Office Manager for Kimberley Love, our riding’s Liberal Candidate and in my heartfelt opinion the only candidate who has the leadership, experience, and communication/people skills to effectively work for the greater good in Ottawa. I thought this through long and hard waaaay before the Writ dropped. It’s not my first campaign…I worked for another candidate in the previous federal election because I was convinced that he was the only candidate who had the leadership, experience and communication/people skills to get the job done in Ottawa. He was not and is not a Liberal Party member. I have been snubbed by former “friends” which has hurt since I am new (3 years here) to this community and don’t have a swarm of friends so that I can afford to lose even one. (as if any of us can afford to lose friends) But this story comforts me. It says that ministry is hard work, that ministry goes on long before an election is called and will go on long after the election day and all the campaigning hoopla and silliness is over. And we will all go back to working together for the common good. Some won’t call it ministry. I don’t care what people choose to call it as long as we can roll up our sleeves and make this community, this place, these people’s lives better.
These children are now grown, some of them have their own children. I want a bright future for them and their little ones. I also want a bright future for all the candidates who are running. I know them, they are my neighbours, colleagues; I don’t doubt that they are good people with good intentions and I look forward to continuing to work with them to see that our environment, our economy, our education system, and our neighbourhoods thrive and blossom.
I understand now why the Haudenosaunee people who are my ancestors adopted the Great Law of Peace and chose the governing process of consensus instead of elections for their democracy. It is far less divisive and rancorous. It works in small communities where there is homogenity and unanimous adherence to a single vision. Sadly, it seems not to work in this huge country called Canada which makes elections necessary. Let us pray on this Easter Sunday, during this season of Passover, and in this time of Spring when new life is resurrected that people will rise up and have their say, then rise together to work together to make life bloom and blossom as it will without us if/when we manage to make ourselves extinct through global catastrophy or war or grudges. Peace be to your house!