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  • Steven Chapman

Statement from Steve - Jan. 2020

We are past the campaign season. This month the executive administration will take charge for the next four years. The houses of Congress will be seated for their terms. Every four years I become more and more disheartened by the campaigns of politicians on both sides of the aisle. Roughly 30 years ago, it hit me for the first time that campaigns started to become more of an attack on a competitor than a candidate convincing the electorate why they deserved to be elected. What has disturbed me more over the last few elections is that it isn’t just the campaigns who have sunk to dehumanizing attacks, we as citizens have joined in, either by applauding what was once considered inappropriate or speaking out ourselves in social media posts that spoke of others as vile enemies. We have learned to toss names which allow us to categorically disqualify one another when we disagree. Perhaps, we will be able to take a break from what has been a two-year season of vitriol and condescension. And perhaps, as Christians, and as a nation we will rediscover the blessing of civility. As believers, Paul says that our words should be filled with charity and graciousness. Yet, it seems we have been just as inclined as the rest of the nation to demonstrate suspicion and ungraciousness toward those of differing affiliations than our own. As believers, John says the words of our mouth should be characterized by love that sacrificially provides for others safety and security. Yet, often we are most concerned about protecting our own than looking out for others. I look forward to the time when the American church rediscovers the truth of Paul’s words, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to the needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph 4:29). Imagine the change which could occur in our nation if the church would reapply the practice of these words. Courtesy and civility would make a come back. And the Church would be recognized as difference-makers.

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