The past week’s events have left me in shock over the lack of respect people have for our Presidential electoral process, our Nation’s Capitol, and the behaviors displayed by any and all political parties. Long ago, I lost my respect for the political processes on all sides. I am no longer either Democratic or Republican in affiliation but have reverted to a third position, which, I hope, brings true healing to those of goodwill.
I now take the position that the only true principle of freedom is the Christ Principle. I don’t force this view on anyone, but I want to share with you why I think it good to remind us that we are what we place at the center of what we consider reality. I call this centering, not to be confused with centering prayer. It is getting back to basics when the Tower of Babel that is our political scene screams anger, fear, jealousy, revenge, envy, self-righteousness, and factions. From the fulness of the heart, the mouth speaks, says Scriptures. All of us fall into that trap of the Wiley One.
Here are several principles that I use in my life (not always successfully) to keep myself focused on the Christ Principle, from which all flows and into which all returns. These are the ones, outside of myself, that I use to measure if I am in sync with the mind of Christ Jesus or am a false prophet with myself as god. What would happen if you or I measure themselves in terms of these sub-principles?
I. What is the purpose of all life? My answer comes from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:36. It is to love God with all my mind, all my heart, all my strength, and my neighbor as myself. How does the current political rhetoric on all sides measure up against that? Is anyone out there saying that we should love our neighbor and not keep vengeance and vindication? I am not talking of any political party but what we should do in any situation.
II. What is my purpose within that purpose of life? I am only here for seventy or eighty years at most (I am 80.4 years already), so what I become is the result of my personal choices of those options others have left for me. Each of us, individually and collectively, can choose a center that is core to who you are and who you will become. It is the one principle upon which all your reality rests. Take it away, and you have no purpose for living. My center, the one I chose freely to place at my center of reality, is to have in you the mind of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5) I call it the Christ Principle. What happens when you place a particular political party or any “ism” as your center? If hatred and vengeance is your center, your actions will betray you and infect those around you. Read what happens when you place unauthentic values at your center. These words of St. Paul to the Galatians, Chapter 5, seem to speak to me today about the political situation that has engulfed us.
Freedom for Service.*13 For you were called for freedom, brothers.j But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve* one another through love.14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”*15 But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another. 16l I say, then: live by the Spirit, and you will certainly not gratify the flesh’s desire.*17 For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so you may not do what you want.m18 But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.n19* Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness,o20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions,p21 occasions of envy,* drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. As I warned you before, I warn you that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,q23 gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law.r24 Now those who belong to Christ [Jesus] have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.s25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.t26 Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another. u
Listen to your television and the media. What are they advocating? Peace? Justice? Reconciliation? You be the judge. When political ideology replaces the Gospel mandates of loving others as Christ loves us, red flags go up for me. Be patient! Place true principles at your center, and you will have the desires of the Spirit. Place false promises and emotions at your center, and you will have the desires of the flesh. I don’t control any political party because they seem to be trending towards the flesh. The only thing I can do is in the silence and solitude of my heart, be present to Christ and ask for mercy, first for myself and then for all those who have been seduced by the false promises of Satan. What you place at your center is who you are and who you will become. What is in your center?