Updated: Nov 13, 2020
Most of my contemplative thought finds its origin in my daily journey through scripture, and for me at least, it seems quite convincing and practical. Though often visionary and requiring the reader to struggle for continuity, it is therapeutic for me, often even setting the stage for short term decisions during that day!
This week, given the political maneuvering and often baseless conspiracy proposals along party lines, I have to ask, what is going on?
I have long been amazed at the story line in Genesis, from Abram to Joseph. Abraham, as he became known, was the risk taker in the multi-generational story. His son, Isaac is said to have redug his father's wells, a necessary cleanup for any risk taker.
Jacob comes along and as a quick learner via his mom, becomes a schemer of sorts; ultimately wrestling with God, finding mercy with his brother Esau, and after 8 children via multiple wives, births the dream in Joseph.
Perhaps you now see the generational necessity for deep transformation? There are similar stories in church history, such as leading up to the Reformation, but for brevity, we'll save that for another day.
Back to this current moment in our almost 50/50 divide, within our now overly politicized American Church. How did we get here? When did this begin?
Was it in the era of Kennedy? I was young but recall the deeply religious struggle with the possibilities of a Catholic President, followed then by the Civil Rights movement led by MLK,Jr, and inherited by a still reluctant LBJ, threatened by significant and sustained southern political pressure.
Things seem to calm in the 70's post Vietnam, though the oil cartels eventually empowered a Middle East struggle, that would draw us into conflicts even more about religion, with new headlines about Islamic Jihad and global terrorists and eventually the homeland attack, known as 9/11.
Suddenly revenge and war machinery steal 17 years of lives and resources, distracting us from a mushrooming wealth gap as technology deprives America of her jobs, in a not so subtle transitioning from a manufacturing based economy to the now digital.
Our underserved communities, communities principally isolated by red lining, with stark educational inequities, equally accelerate a parallel poverty.
In the midst of this struggle, a black senator emerges with minimal experience in governance and though unrelated to Saddam Hussein (think 911), carries his middle name. How did he overcome that, as well as because of that challenge to even his place of birth. He and his model family brilliantly galvanize a population of voters, cracking the racial ceiling in our highest office. He would even win a second term, despite a republican backlash of masked racism, under the guise conservative policy.
Then history repeats itself, as another most unlikely nominee arises with no legislative nor legal orientation, and even less experience in the political arena, outside of being a large donor, to both parties. He then beats out the first and most well groomed woman candidate ever!
Worse yet, the now opposing Democratic party, having had a brutal, though historical 8 years of resistance with their first African American President, justifiably critiques the new president's every move, with attempts from day one to challenge the validity of his election, even setting in motion a partisan impeachment process. Surely aware that a recapitulation could occur, if and when they recovered the office.
Meanwhile as racial tension escalate among the now vocal white supremacy groups, people of color begin to suffer abuse in the streets, rioting becomes the norm, as this inexperienced Commander in Chief dog whistles his voter block into a frenzy. Meanwhile, when in any way attempts are made to reign him in, he begins using the very instruments the previous president had been criticized for, executive orders. This becomes the means for challenging any constitutional balance of power, not to mention the use of threat given his growing sea of voters.
The good news is, there was some loosening of beauracratic infrastructure, promising the free market an ecomomic boom, reflected in a sky rocketing stock market. Then suddenly, either by a lab mishap in China, or nature saying I've had enough, the Pandemic. Not one but three!
The economy immediately tanks as people are forced to shelter in place, violence has continued in the streets given the festering overtones of white supremacy (more than overtones, as repeated and needless deaths occur in communities of color). Lastly, a virus that only of late seems nearing a vaccine, now threatens a second wave.
Meanwhile, a man quite the antithesis of the president in office, in fact the former vice president from the previous term, somehow escapes a litany of challengers, secures the nomination at the ripe age of 76, and by a process, now questioned given the complexities of the pandemic, wins the office in the highest vote count in history!
Can we survive, reunify, escape, if so, surely a transformation will have occurred and a Joseph moment perhaps for America.