Monday, November 5, 2012

The Bigger Picture: How I'm Voting Tuesday

Honestly, I don't write about politics or religion for two extremely good reasons:

I still want to be friends after you're done reading

and

The political is deeply personal.

Heated, intense debates about moral issues turned government debates that many of the religious right and liberal left and everyone in between often heatedly word-spar about especially around election times?

I don't want to even want to touch on those subjects in a blog post because honestly it's a lot like discussing s*x life or something equally as personal.

And those types of deep discussions, I believe, deserve face-to-face, flesh-to-flesh interaction. 

But.

I think I've sorely overlooked a game-changing differentiation:

just like I've long differentiated religion from my relationship with God because while they are seemingly the same to some they are immensely different to me, I've long needed to separate the politics from leadership.

But this morning, in Divine revelation, it clicked. And I walked away from a message by our senior pastor about God and Government compelled to share how I'm voting Tuesday. {The rest of this post is largely inspired by his message, which you can listen to here.}

Because maybe, if you're like me, you've been so caught up in the political you've missed the essence of elections: leadership.

Honestly, though? It's easy to miss when we're totally bombarded by the issues:

Economy. Taxes. Health Care. Women's Rights. The Right to life. Social justice. The separation of church and state.

These are all issues, and I agree they are important ones that affect our daily lives. Personally, I've long clung to the separation of church and state because, really, I don't want my government telling me who I can and cannot worship. I deeply appreciate our religious liberties, and I'm thankful I live in a country where I won't be jailed or stoned for pledging my heart to Jesus.

And there's also a long list of other things I don't want my government telling me what I can and can't do with, oh, say my body or my family or my business.

But the thing is -- all of these issues become bullet points on platforms that serve to divide rather than unite, points of contention rather than discussion detracting from the real issue I'd barely given thought about during the process leading up to me visiting the polls: leadership and character.

What makes for a good leader? Really.

Ones who have inspired good and who have led by example and who have walked the walk?

Is what makes a good leader a laundry list of qualification, degrees, pedigrees, awards, distinguishings?

Because we've had a WHOLE lot of that recently, and it's seemingly left us parched and thirsty for something more.

When I think of good leaders I think of people who left the world a better place. People like Mother Theresa. People like Martin Luther King. People like Jesus.

People who weren't just giving orders from the top but those who were serving others on a day-to-day basis. Who were feeding the hungry while they, perhaps, were hungry. Who were standing alongside those being oppressed while also in oppression. And, in the ultimate act of servant leadership, Jesus, who took on the flesh of being human and washed feet knowing fully that He was the Creator of those feet, who took all fault as He bore a heavy cross though He was faultless.

Those who ruled in love, humility. Those who didn't just serve at a job but served with their lives.

God's qualifications of a good leader set the bar at a high standard not only in the example of Jesus but also in word:

"Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

"But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain." Exodus 18:21

The heart.
A fear of the Lord, who is good and righteous.
Trustworthy.
Those who hate dishonest gain. 
Leadership is built on a foundation of heart rather than towering platforms.

Now I know full well that platforms can essentially have been built on values and values stem from character but in our political system it seems that platforms are more built on party systems.

And I think that distracts us from really looking at the integrity of character of those we seek to elect to make decisions on our behalf.

Do we need to take some of the platform issues to the polls with us to help make our decisions?

Yes, but I really think the driving issues should be ones that reveal the character of those we are electing.

What do not only their platforms but their lives say about the heart? About their willingness to be a servant leader? About their fear of a good and righteous God? About trustworthiness? About their disdain for dishonest gain?

I can't help but to think that if we voted for our leaders based on heart rather than appearance -- political party, oozing presidential essence, pedigrees, race, gender, etc --

that if we elected a servant instead of a "leader" in the definition of the word we've come to embrace

there may be no need for such political platforms and heated discussion

because we'd be taking the political out of politics and redefining it as service.

So how am I voting tomorrow?

I can't sum it up by simply naming parties, citing blue or red or green, naming supporters on one side or another of a specific issue.

How I'm voting is for the heart with the heart -- by prayerfully and carefully selecting those who mostly closely resemble "capable {people} from all the people— {people} who fear God, trustworthy {people} who hate dishonest gain."

{Comment rules: You may politely disagree. You may politely state an opposing opinion. You may share encouragement or other ideas that have encouraged and directed you as you prepare to vote.
There is no room for rudeness, name calling, bashing {of me or each other in the comments} or general mean spirited remarks. Any comment that doesn't exhibit care or respect will be deleted.}

5 comments:

  1. Any way you vote, as long as it is from the heart, is the right way to vote. Just as I would never question another person's genuine religious beliefs; I would never question your genuine political beliefs.

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  2. Wow! I never really thought of it that way. Surprising because I do know those scriptures. But when it came to voting for a president, I didn't consider them. Excellent post, Hy!

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  3. I've been feeling like this -- though with far less eloquence and depth -- for the past few weeks. I want a leader who is humble and willing to *try* and who wants to serve for the sake of service and not for the image it projects or for the polling points it represents. I want a leader I can follow and respect. And one by whom congress will feel inspired to inflict goodness upon our people and the world. I don't want a leader who promises wealth, but one who understands that our needs as a nation are about more than dollar signs.

    A leader who isn't about parties or platforms or politics -- but who is about people.

    I love this post, Hy :)

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  4. I really love this post Hyacynth! Thank you for sharing from your heart. While I was truthfully quite sure I would not be voting tomorrow you have encouraged me to spend more time in prayer about it and to really focus on choosing servant leaders, as well as to train my own children up to be those of character and service and not those who look good, say the right thing, and stand behind certain platforms. Thank you.

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  5. Really well said, Hy. I envy your ability to write such a thoughtful post. We often find ourselves in the quagmire of talking points, photo ops, false truths. We forget to take that step back and assess the candidates ability lead and inspire. Best wishes to you in the voting booth tomorrow.

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There's nothing better than good conversation ... but not while talking to myself. Will you play a part in this discussion?

AND will you pretty please have your email linked to your account or leave it for me so I can respond?

Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.

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