Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Walking the Walk

I have really resisted the temptation to write about anything political.  There's a good reason for that - I just don't believe I am qualified to make any statements or judgments about what may be happening in our nation's capitol or our political system.  There are always two sides of any story and usually, the truth lies somewhere in between the two.  That is just one reason why I have elected to remain silent regarding what happens in Washington D.C. - there may be other reasons, but that is the main one.

In writing that, I don't mean to suggest that I don't have an opinion on what I've heard and seen on anything that has happened on the political landscape.  I do have a strong opinion on what I feel is happening.  The tricky part is this: I can hold to my beliefs and my opinions and let everyone think that I am a pretty wise fellow, or I can write about them and remove all doubt with respect to me being wise.

I am a person who wants to pay attention to the process, not necessarily the content.  In other words, I'm always watching and listening to see how things are done, not necessarily why or even what.  When it comes to those who lead our country, I pay attention to how they lead - how they phrase things, how they carry themselves, how they project their image of who they aspire to be.  What is being said is important, but how it is being said is equally significant.  Let me give you an example of what I mean by this...

...yesterday, a number of concerned clergy met at the local Pizza Ranch to discuss the very sensitive topic of illegal immigrants and the possibility of deportation if certain documentation has not been met.  We had a handful of Hispanic persons from the community included in the conversation.

The primary concern seemed to be what can we (the faith community) do to prepare for the day when families lose the main breadwinner of their home to deportation, which is a very real fear and valid concern.  We didn't discuss whether or not this was the right thing to do (according to our nation's laws and policies, this action seems logical and yes, the right thing to do).  No one was speaking against that.  Our conversation ebbed and flowed along the lines of support for families - for spouses and children who may be left behind because of the illegality of the situation.  How would they survive in the aftermath of losing their main income and source of strength of their parent(s)?

As we spoke, we were briefly interrupted by a distinguished looking, well-dressed man who came into our room.  He introduced himself as Rep. Tim Walz, who represents the citizens of Minnesota's 1st District.  He was meeting with the public in one of the other rooms when he learned that area pastors and concerned persons were meeting and discussing this hotbed issue.  He politely asked if he could say a few words and when granted the floor, began to speak on how this is a huge matter that he (and Congress) has yet to be able to solve.  He said some things that made sense and like any good politician, he didn't make any promises that he wasn't ready to keep.

I was watching his body language.  He appeared genuine in what he was saying.  At times, when he was listening, his hands were folded in front of him as in a humble manner - almost a prayerful manner.  His voice was firm, clear, and resolute.  When Rep. Walz left the room, I was left with the clear impression that he had heard what was offered in the room by concerned Hispanics and pastors alike.  It wasn't necessarily his words that impressed me, it was how he carried himself.  It was how he presented his ideas and what he supported.  I paid attention to his process.

As a quick addendum, our group has elected to meet again with the primary objective to explore how we can be prepared to help children (many of whom are citizens of the United States by their birth in America) whose parent(s) lives may be impacted by any deportation measures.  We want to pay attention to what our process is by how we act toward them.  In part, this is an important issue for me because of my Christian identity.  I want to ask the question "what process would Jesus use?  How would he walk in this situation?"  Not only do I want to ask the question, I want to show the answer by how I do things.  I can't just talk about these important issues - I must walk the walk.

I wonder if these children are paying attention to our process of how we choose to walk that walk.

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