Working to create a culture of life doesn't require winning an election.
It does require courage, commitment, and creativity.
It also requires discernment and the ability -- and willingness -- to think about different possibilities with clarity.
It might even involve some compromise -- supporting a candidate we don't agree with 100%, or accepting some policy we don't support wholeheartedly in exchange for making progress on something more truly important.
It means we have to be able to define clearly, both for ourselves and for others, what we believe to be negotiable and what is not.
It means becoming invested in that conversation with God we call prayer.
I like Sarah Palin. She's feisty and brave and funny, and she's a mom, which means that, no matter what else she does, she's a working woman.
There's still a lot I'd like to know, though.
I think she has a serious lack of a certain kind of experience, particularly in foreign policy. I'd like to know how Senator McCain is working to help her learn what she would need to know as his Vice President; how he'll prepare her to carry on if the worst should happen to him. I'd like to know how he intends to utilize her gifts and abilities in that role. I'd like to know what he expects of her, and how she intends to meet those expectations.
If it came to a choice between a candidate with integrity of character but little experience, and a candidate with experience but little integrity of character, I think I'd choose the candidate with character.
Kristen commented on a previous post, noting that “We'll know women have really advanced when we don't have to behave like bad male caricatures...the posturing is like the bad menswear shoulder pad suits of the 80s... “ I think she's right. We women need to quit imitating men when we run for office (or run companies or do any of the things women are doing now) because when we do that, we neglect the distinctive gifts we as women bring to a situation.
Andy Crouch addresses the postures we adapt in his book Culture Making. He writes, “I've found that a helpful word for (these various responses) is postures. Our posture is our learned but unconscious default position, our natural stance. It is the position our body assumes when we aren't paying attention, the basic attitude we carry through life.”
Too often both women and men adopt what Crouch calls the “gestures” of everyday life that we think we should adopt -- the gestures that will help us fit in, that fit the way we think the world is or should be -- and not the gestures that reflect who we really are. Those gestures, repeated over and over often enough, become part of our posture.
So, politicians adopt gestures they think will win votes, and over time those gestures become part of their posture, whether they are authentic or not, at least initially.
The question is, how do we discover what is real in a person and what is not? And how do we live so politicians will trust us when we see them as they really are?
We need to be discerning.
I don't agree with a lot of things Senator Joe Biden says or does, but I like this about him: he took care of his family when his wife and daughter died. He made his boys his priority, and that shaped the man he has become.
And I liked Senator Dick Durbin's sharp rebuke of those who would make much of Sarah Palin's daughter's pregnancy. His defense of the Palin family's privacy in this matter was both pointed and elegant.
Creating a culture of life is work enough for all of us, and it requires God's grace.
Andy Crouch, writing in Culture Making, describes that grace this way: “Do we see a divine multiplication at work after we have done our best? Does a riotous abundance of grain spring up from a tiny, compact seed? This is grace: unearned, unexpected abundance that can leave us dizzy with joy. It is a return on investment that exceeds anything we could explain by our own effectiveness or efforts.”
Dizzy with joy. Unearned, unexpected abundance. Grace.
Where is the candidate for office who understands this?