Skip to comments.Electile Dysfunction [TEC, TN]
Posted on 10/28/2006 7:27:13 AM PDT by sionnsar
During the last few months in Tennessee we have been treated to the political equivalent to mud-wrestling as the two candidates from the major parties have sparred neck-and-neck to win the vacant senate seat. My assessment is that one candidate has been marginally better than the other getting across to the public what he stands for, the other has been a master at getting across to us what he is against.
My heart sank when I saw my first negative ad in August and decided at that moment that as an increasingly independent voter unless the skies fell in I had little desire to vote for the candidate behind that ad. When his opponent began to respond in kind I knew that whatever happened I would probably go into the booth and press the button while metaphorically holding my nose. If we are to believe what each of these candidates says about the other then both of them belong either in prison or some gutter somewhere, which is reality is far from true.
While there is an intensity to this disgusting campaign in Tennessee that reflects what each side considers to be the issues at stake, it would appear that such tactics are now the norm in most corners of the political field. Shame on those who have drowned the noble task of seeking leadership in a foul-smelling ditch, why do we continue to encouraging them by listening to what they say?
Aggressive nasty-mindedness that we see in the realm of secular politics has invaded just about everything today, as had been predicted by many when the Boomers became the ones who set the agenda for our society -- yet the outcome is nothing of any value but rather nausea and gridlock. The same mentality that we see on the political field we see also playing out in the life of the church(es), with the varying sides allied less to the vision and values of the Kingdom of God and more to the policies and blindspots of the prevailing political biases in secular culture.
And talking of elections, tomorrow in the Diocese of Tennessee we attempt yet again to elect a new bishop. A friend the other day wondered which would come first the return of Christ or Tennessee choosing an ordinary! Another, inspired by those hideous medication commercials we are constantly treated to on television pointed out that the Diocese of Tennessee suffers from "electile dysfunction"....
While I think it more likely than not that we will come out of the election on October 28 with a bishop-elect, if I were a gambling man I certainly would not bet the house on it (and am of two minds about whether it would be a good thing or not, although I do not wish to continue in limbo).
Maybe I am getting cynical but it seems there is a touch of crap shoot about a bishop election, for you are not quite sure what is going to happen when the episcopate gathers around a lays hands on the bishop-elect. Sometimes they tear out his/her spine and addle the brain, but at other times (and less frequently) there seems to be an amazing screwing on of the head the right way.
While most of us in Tennessee are finding it difficult to get passionate one way or the other about the slate of candidates we have before us, I have been turning over the words of Admiral 'Bull" Halsey from the war in the Pacific in 1943: There are no great men, ony great challenges which ordinary men are called upon to face up to.
This is a time of great challenges and the stature of ourselves and our leaders is going to make itself plain in the manner in which we face up to and handle those challenges. I am praying today that the priest who ends up being Bishop of Tennessee will be someone who by his election to so fearful an office becomes great in the Kingdom through God's grace working in him, and as he seeks to address the challenges that are before us.
During this individual's episcopate I have no doubt that the whole of North American Anglicanism will reconfigure itself, and the Diocese of Tennessee will not be exempt from this rending and rebuilding among the ruins created by the failures of the last few years. What is clear is that there would be little or nothing left of the Diocese of Tennessee if the integrity of the Gospel is compromised.
In the early 1970s I came across words from John Stott to which I have returned many times since. They were written in his commentary on 2 Timothy entitled Guard the Gospel and are a warning to us all:
The devil hates the Gospel and uses all his strength and cunning to obstruct its progress, now by perverting it in the mouths of those who preach it, now by frightening them into silence through persecution or ridicule, now by persuading them to advance beyond it into some fancy novelty, now by making them so busy with defending the gospel that they have no time to preach it...
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