A higher party

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - NEWS - Ron Wood Colum­nist

The midterm elec­tion is over. Amer­i­cans are di­vided al­most 50-50 be­tween the pro­gres­sive left and the con­ser­va­tive right. I’m re­minded of the Scrip­ture that says a house di­vided can­not stand. Di­vi­sion is dan­ger­ous when we have real en­e­mies in the world.

We need to re­mind our­selves of the ba­sis of our orig­i­nal unity. The colonies came to­gether and cre­ated the United States of Amer­ica. They were united by the unfair treat­ment of Bri­tain to­ward the colonies, and by their mu­tual de­sire to cre­ate a new world with lib­erty and jus­tice. How were they able to unite?

Any­time there’s di­vi­sion, dif­fer­ing views need to be ex­am­ined. We need to un­der­stand each other even if we don’t agree. That means lis­ten­ing to our op­po­nent.

A ra­dio sta­tion in Fayet­teville asked me to con­sider be­ing their news man­ager. I worked in ra­dio all my years in col­lege. I’ve al­ways liked jour­nal­ism, re­port­ing, writ­ing, and espe­cially broad­cast news. It is work that I en­joy. An as­pect of my way of think­ing (which the sta­tion likes) is that while I’m con­ser­va­tive, I’m also open minded. I can see other points of view and de­bate them in­tel­li­gently.

How can Amer­i­cans bridge the gap? Should we even try? Must one side win and an­other side lose? I don’t think we need to cre­ate losers, but we do need to cre­ate mu­tual un­der­stand­ing. If all any side has to of­fer is op­po­si­tion or re­sis­tance, that is not a ba­sis to stand on. It’s a poor plat­form. To be­lieve re­quires solid sub­stance. Be­liefs must be tested. Stand for some­thing good, not just against things.

What I’m for is the es­sen­tial thing de­signed by our Founders. I am for a fed­eral gov­ern­ment that de­fends the na­tion. I am for states that de­fend in­di­vid­ual rights. I’m pro-faith, pro­fam­ily, and pro-ci­vil­ity. We are a na­tion of laws. The prob­lem with a di­vided or un­govern­able so­ci­ety is that silly laws pro­lif­er­ate in an ef­fort to keep or­der. The bet­ter so­lu­tion is for peo­ple to be law-abid­ing; not be law­less. To do that, we need the law of God writ­ten in our hearts. So, the ul­ti­mate so­lu­tion for peace or hap­pi­ness is spir­i­tual.

Be­sides the left and the right in U.S. pol­i­tics, there is an­other, bet­ter, higher ground. That is, the ground of faith. I am a king­dom cit­i­zen. Yes, I’m an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen, a pa­triot, but above and be­yond that I’m a cit­i­zen of the king­dom of heaven. This is due to my faith in the Lord Je­sus Christ. I’ve been born from above into a spir­i­tual king­dom, the reign of God’s Son, Je­sus. In that king­dom, there is no rich or poor, no black or white.

I’m ob­li­gated to God’s heaven be­cause I’m a Chris­tian. What are the val­ues of my king? What are his poli­cies? Pro­claim­ing the good news of his king­dom is the duty of ev­ery be­liever. Liv­ing to demon­strate his king­dom is why the church is on earth. Our ig­no­rance of God’s word or ways keeps the church weak. That’s why Je­sus said to pray, “Thy king­dom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Here in Amer­ica, we have the priv­i­lege of hav­ing a so­ci­ety once shaped by Chris­tian val­ues (now eroded). Sec­u­lar­ists don’t re­al­ize when they fight re­li­gion, they are fight­ing the val­ues that made this na­tion great; not re­li­gion, but the gospel of Je­sus and the cul­ture it pro­duces. Mixed with faith, the word of the king­dom trans­forms lives. It knits peo­ple by love into groups in which Christ can dwell: fam­i­lies, churches, com­mu­ni­ties, and even whole na­tions.

— Ron Wood is a writer and min­is­ter. Email him at wood.stone.ron@gmail.com or visit www.touchedbygrace.org. The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

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