Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Changing Values

I remember the first time I voted for a Democrat was in 1992 when I voted for Bill Clinton.

My politics were changing, evolving - moving in a different direction.

I was working with the Danbury Police Department in Danbury, Connecticut as their police chaplain. I rode along with officers on Thursday nights throughout our community. Sometimes it was to help officers and sometimes to help the people in the community.

What I saw as a police chaplain was that there were really two different worlds.

There was my world where I lived and the people in it were clean and had plenty. It was a happy world without a lot of real pain or fear or struggle.

There was also another world where people lived and in their world they struggled on a daily basis to eat, to stay warm, to pay rent and to make ends meet.

It was a real eye opener for me – and yet I was not ignorant of the plight of the homeless or downtrodden. I had helped them often as a minister with food and clothing. But I thought those folks were anomalies.

It wasn’t until 1992 that I realized that there was a world of fear and struggle out there that few people wanted to know about, a layer of society that needed our government’s assistance if it was ever going to get any better.

Besides the immediate needs of food and clothing - that world needed education, health care, affordable housing and job training.

And so I pulled the lever for the person I thought would do a better job at meeting those needs. And he did. And we did for a while. But the last six years have not been good ones for the poor. You can read Larry James’ blog and see that is the case.

Soon we will be faced with a choice again. I know that values are always mentioned as a part of any election.

When they tried to trick Jesus into revealing what he thought the greatest commandment or value was, he replied, that one should love Yahweh with one's entire heart, soul, mind, and strength and the second was like it; one should love one's neighbor as one would love oneself.

This is the greatest value – love.

Who will look at the world with eyes of love and administer what has been given to them with that value?


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