In the war zone: what we do with Kavanaugh and Ford is what to do with all, and that is love
An educated, treasured professional I deeply admire for her open eyes and level thinking summed up last week’s Senate event by saying, “The handling of this [meaning the Judge Brett Kavanaugh hearing], and the discourse, has been deeply disconcerting. I fear we, as a nation, have reached a point of no return.”
Perhaps we have reached a point of no return, or will soon reach a point of no return. And that will lead us where? I say it leads us to where we belong, which is into God’s hands.
From the pulpit this past Sunday—and a pulpit is not a politician’s podium—and yes, there is a difference—I read lectionary text. For any unfamiliar with this terminology, lectionary texts are the scripture readings for each Sunday (and other religious days) of the year. Said simply, lectionary texts are not texts pastors choose; they are preset.
This past Sunday’s gospel was Mark 9:38-50. Here Jesus gives His disciples exactly what we need to hear today. The context of this text opens with the disciples finding fault with someone outside their group healing others in Jesus’ name.
“Wait!” They grumble and question. “This healing biz? This OUR job! Who does this guy think he is?”
They are, after all, the ones with Jesus.
But Jesus shares this directive: “Don’t stop him (Mark 9:39a).”
When someone challenges us, particularly someone so far different from us, the LAST thing we want to do is to let them keep going, which says that Jesus then, like Jesus now, is counterintuitive. He shares what we so often don’t want to hear because He moves us to love, not division. He brings us to understanding, not fractions.
I do not know what Judge Kavanaugh did. You don’t either, at least not completely—yet. We may never fully know. But we do know our nation is angry, hurting, and divided. Maybe we will need to stop Judge Kavanaugh. That’s not for me to decide, at least not directly.
What is direct for me—and for you, too—is seeing someone different, someone doing things outside our groups that they feel are right. You may vehemently disagree with what they’re doing because it’s wrong (or wrong to you), but they have a side, a position. And if their action is love-based, like this outsider’s was, don’t stop them.
I know! This seems like impossible advice! But that’s Jesus for us.
Why would He say this? Why let someone continue when we REALLY do NOT like what they’re doing?
We do this so we can hear them. Jesus encourages us to walk into an argument, not slam it down. Listen first. Truly listen. Hear another’s point of view. Of course, you disagree with it, but, under the first layers, you will eventually reach common ground. That’s where love begins.
And love brings truth, and correction. The correction may be for you (gulp that pride). Or it may be for the other person. But love wins. Hate doesn’t.
Back to Judge Kavanaugh. When I listen closely and think generally, I realize we have all done acts we are not proud of—each of us. I did not excuse the judge; I just identified with him.
The one we really need to identify with, and this may rattle some, is Dr. Christine Blassey Ford. Is she speaking the truth or crying wolf? I do not know. But I do know what she is bringing to light, dear Americans, and it is those who have been sexually abused. This is fact. I think back to Jerry Sandusky with Penn State football. Nay those who pop up with false claims (if indeed they are false), but Bad Stuff happens, really Bad Stuff happens, and we need to love the hurting. And we need to love them now.
How do we love? We listen to Jesus. The September 30 lectionary was in God’s hands, and it was perfect.
How do we love? We don’t stop others. We walk with them until love brings out truth.
This blog first appeared in The Susquehanna County Independent on October 3, 2018.