How big is Africa?

When I went to Ethiopia last month, I was asked more than once if I was worried about Ebola. I knew Africa was a huge continent, but when someone described just HOW BIG it is… and it bigger than TEXAS if you can imagine that… I was blown away.

Here is a visual I ran across:

The disgusting attributes of “party line”

David Brooks hits this one out of the ballpark.

I find more people involved in politics who REALLY say, “Well, if (name the other party) wasn’t in control, we could get more done.” (All while their political ads tout their ability to “cross party lines.”)

Even in the church, it’s easier to define who we are by party affiliation, or hard line political ideologies, than our belief in Christ.

It’s not Catholics marrying Lutherans that upset families anymore:

In a Bloomberg View column last month, Sunstein pointed to polling data that captured the same phenomenon. In 1960, roughly 5 percent of Republicans and Democrats said they’d be “displeased” if their child married someone from the other party. By 2010, 49 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats said they would mind.

We don’t have moral discussions anymore. We have political party line discussions:

The broad social phenomenon is that as personal life is being de-moralized, political life is being hyper-moralized. People are less judgmental about different lifestyles, but they are more judgmental about policy labels.

Lately I’ve had this type of stuff thrown at me. For all the work I do to reach out to people, I still get ideologies thrown at me, NOT for how I’ve acted toward someone, but for what they think I believe (without even approaching the subject). They went with the identities and labels they had in their head, and IN SPITE of how I had always treated them, decided to treat me worse because of the arguments in their own head.

It has reached a point where it’s political talking heads who have “moral” discussion which are nothing more than bumper sticker ads for their party lines.

…straight moral discussion has atrophied. There used to be public theologians and philosophers who discussed moral issues directly. That kind of public intellectual is no longer prominent, so moral discussion is now done under the guise of policy disagreement, often by political talk-show hosts.

It really has reached the point where I have not cared one bit about this election cycle. I’ll still vote because it has been ingrained in me to do a civic duty. I encourage people in my church to vote. But more than that, I encourage people in my church to think. And to think prophetically. 

One party will not own me. And here is where I am theologically on this right now. (Check with me next year for a theological update.) Tying ourselves to one political party (and it doesn’t matter WHAT PARTY) doesn’t make us prophetic as a believer. It makes us pathetic. 

God help us to live larger than a party system!

The obedience test in prayer

This morning I woke up knowing I had just had a dream where I was praying for a friend in my dream. I tried to remember why, but all I could remember was that I prayed.

I decided to continue to pray when I got up, not knowing what else to do, or even what to pray. As I stumble along in prayer, I learn more about the Spirit leading me. What is needed in my life is not more analysis of prayer, but obedience in prayer.

Spirit, help me to be quick to obey!

Prayers for the day

For Joy:

God our heavenly Father,
when the thought of you
wakes in our hearts,
let its awakening
not be like a startled bird
that flies about in fear.
Instead, let it be like a child
waking from sleep
with a heavenly smile. (Søren Kierkegaard)

For Live-Dead:

From an Eritrean believer to a missionary: “Ask our brothers and sisters to pray for us; not that we should be free from this persecution, but that we will stand up boldly under it and proclaims Christ as we should.”