Weekly Blog Post Series: Clergy to engage questions to help prepare us to vote on November 8

As we approach the presidential election it is easy to fall into despair.  The discourse and behavior of the candidates; the spin of the corporate media; the vitriol of social media; reveal a dearth of compassion and thought.  Fear and manipulation abound, fertilizing the marginalization that many of us feel because of sexism, joblessness, racism, and ableism. 
 
What are we to do as Christian people? Over the next several weeks the clergy will be engaging this question as we all prepare to vote on November 8.
 
Jesus’ admonition in this coming Sunday’s gospel rings true to me:  “Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.”  Luke 18:1
 
It feels like our country is being rent asunder, that there is no center to hold.  Polarization is giving way to fracture.  We need to not lose heart.  It is tempting to see us spinning out of control with threats of cyber attacks, ‘rigged’ elections, and the dregs of sexual exploitation.  But there are signs of hope.
 
In light of the revelation of Mr. Trump’s tape, a twitter storm erupted when a woman invited other women to share their first experience of sexual assault.  Over a million women shared their experiences, including many men.  This gives me heart.  Many of us have slunk in shame as we have carried our traumas silently and alone.  Mr. Trump’s shameless behavior and dismissive apology have encouraged people to speak their truth.  Men and women are having to talk about sexual harassment, boundaries, and the effects of these behaviors in our families, work places, and social spheres.  The light of honesty dispels the darkness of shame and violence.  Claiming truth empowers our hearts.
 
There is so much churn.  I know that I am getting trapped in the 24 hour news cycle…what is the next revelation?  Which politician is distancing themselves from whom?  What if this verbal violence takes a physical turn?  How will the racism that is being unleashed be healed?  I can feel the anxiety and dread bubbling up in my stomach, interrupting my sleep.
 
Jesus reminds us that we have a need to pray.  Prayer pulls us back to the true Center of the Universe.  We are reminded that kingdoms come and kingdoms go (as do candidates) but God’s love endures forever.  We cannot cure despair with fear, anger, or anxiety.  Hope is born in stillness, praise and thanksgiving.  Persistent prayer gives heart and empowers wise action.
 
As we head into this election, may we practice our prayer and not lose heart!

he Reverend Lisa Hunt