Last week at the Democrats’ national convention, there was a public stir when the delegates voted to amend their party’s platform.
Originally crafted omitting any reference to God and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, former Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH) moved to have the platform changed and the references included. Strickland said, “As an ordained United Methodist minister, I am here to attest and affirm that our faith and belief in God is central to the American story, and forms the values we’ve expressed in our party’s platform.”
Needing a 2/3 vote, 3 times a vote was taken to include God and Jerusalem. 3 times the majority was audibly ambiguous, with people reacting loudly both ‘for’ and ‘against’ inclusion. After vote #3, the convention chairman arbitrarily declared the amendment passed, prompting even louder boos in the arena.
Consistent with our culture’s unfortunate polarized, partisan nature, immediately many worked to diminish or pounce on the public relations stir. First came the campaigns; second came the pundits; and third came people like you and me, conveniently hitting “like” and “dislike” on Facebook.
To diminish the chaos, some of my more liberal friends claimed the boos were in reaction only to the process. To pounce, some of my more conservative friends cried that the Democrats hate God. The Intramuralist suggests that both of these perspectives miss the main point. This isn’t about Republicans nor Democrats. This isn’t about party platforms nor how political language should be crafted. This is about all people… and our individual ability to acknowledge God.
Sometimes we have a bit of trouble with that… acknowledging God’s existence.
For some it is very private acknowledgement. It is something so near and dear to their heart that they believe it is profoundly personal. I respect that.
For others it is a very public acknowledgement. It is something so near and dear to their heart that they believe the joy must be shared. I respect that, too.
For still others, it is something to never acknowledge. It is not near nor dear to their heart and thus they believe any reference or reliance on an omniscient, omnipresent Creator by any should be squelched. That’s more challenging to accept.
Yes, I’m struck by the need to squelch — this need by some to put a potential shroud over the truth. Ever since the beginning of time, people have been able to take a long and thoughtful look at what God has created. The basic reality of God is plain enough; people have been able to see what their eyes actually couldn’t. We can see evidence of some eternal power and the mystery of a divine being. Exactly how and what that looks like is certainly hard to specifically depict. Yet the mystery should not motivate us to squelch; the mystery should prompt us to search even more.
The challenge is that to acknowledge God’s existence, we must in response ask what he wants from us; what does he desire from his so-called kids? … from all of creation? That’s a tough question to answer; there are multiple angles from which to approach. Let me also affirm that the question is not something we can dictate for one another. It is something with which we must individually wrestle.
… why I have total respect for the private acknowledgers…
… why I have total respect for the public proclaimers…
… and why I have trouble with the private and public squelchers.
Some of us at times pretend to know it all. We don’t. None of us do. Not you, not me, and certainly not the Intramuralist. But sometimes I think we’re each a little illiterate when it comes to issues regarding life. Some of us claim to know God, but yet, we refuse to treat him like God. We refuse to treat his people and creation well. We also don’t worship him, and then we trivialize his power and presence, for that way, we never have to wrestle with the question of what he may desire.
Yes, we can be an arrogant people.
Sometimes each of us — without the public watching — even “boo.”