If you read this blog with any regularity then you already know that I don’t lean left, and I don’t lean right; what I do instead is lean positive.
My orientation is a result of several factors (none of which are naïveté):
- First, it’s just my nature, I’ve been a glass half full guy all my life so far as I recall – it’s a predisposition.
- Also, it’s my choice. The choice thing is actually more powerful than the nature bit. This follows the principle I shared in my column on unity vs uniformity – what’s going to bring us together is not commonality so much as it is intention.
- Then, it’s my faith. The message of Jesus is that of reconciliation, and the invitation we’re charged with offering is one of grace, not exclusion; you can’t hold the Jesus card and not be positive – gloom-and-doom is simply not God’s way.
So I’m a little hesitant this morning to share some honest ambivalence (ambivalence being the state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone). I’m increasingly nonplussed in response to this 2016 POTUS race, and it has been effecting my fundamental orientation as an affirmed “positivist.”
Right now, watching the bizarre turmoil of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, following on the heels of the abject negativity of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief. And I choose the word “disbelief” carefully, because it’s so close to the idea of “unbelief.”
WE CAN’T AFFORD UNBELIEF: And if there’s anything we can’t afford right now it’s any more unbelief. Unbelief is the beginning of a slippery slope; because this nation, this people, this American Experiment, has been built and sustained on a quality of belief that simply does not have room for either the dark vision some are peddling, nor the sad confusion of lost trust and mixed messages that is all other politicians seem to have to offer.
So I’m holding a lot of hesitancy and disillusion at the moment. And I need to be honest about this, because it makes what I have to say next even more important. You see I still make the mistake sometimes of living as if “positive thinking,” or “looking on the sunny side,” is enough. Fact is, it’s not – positive thinking alone is nowhere near enough. What I ended up turning to instead (between the last couple of paragraphs) is exactly where I should have started, and that is the amazing resource of the scriptures, and the timeless truth of the message of Jesus.
Not belief in Hillary Clinton, not belief in Donald Trump – but belief in our country, in freedom, and in the God who gives us hope and promise.
Listen to what Paul writes to his friends in Thessaloniki, in the oldest New Testament writing that we have. “For you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness… Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.” (I’ve pasted the entire passage below my sign off.)
CHILDREN OF LIGHT!
Maybe we should say this out loud (I wish we could do it in unison, and make a mighty shout that would shake this nation!); “WE ARE CHILDREN OF LIGHT, AND CHILDREN OF THE DAY!!!!”
If you didn’t say it, here’s another opportunity: “I AM A CHILD OF GOD, A CHILD OF THE LIGHT, AND A CHILD OF THE DAY!!” Doesn’t that affirmation resonate with your spirit!
We could talk about the power that seems to literally run right through us when we read the scripture out loud. But instead of talking about it, for now let’s just try it.
Our responsibility, our opportunity, our way of living faith out loud, is to, “Therefore encourage one another and build up each other…” Or, as Peterson paraphrases the text in his book, The Message, “Speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.”
So shine already – DEREK
“For you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11
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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.