The eyes of the world were fixed on Iowa tonight and the 2012 caucuses. And I sat on the floor in my living room, a bowl of fresh baked cheesy spaghetti in hand, and watched on television.
If I were to be asked for excuses for not going, I probably would have started by saying I was worn out after a long day. And I was. I got home late after doing a ton of paperwork all afternoon and into the evening. I was hungry, so I made a quick dinner and stayed home.
A second excuse might have been that it wasn’t so important, since my party is electing an incumbent.
But that really gets to the heart of the matter… Admitting I have a side. Taking a side. Showing up to actively support a side.
It has been shared with me that my community has a history of vocal political pastors. And it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. So, I came in, and for better or for worse, have decided to love people, but not be vocal or public about where I always stand politically. I will talk about issues as they come up and bring a faith perspective into the conversation… But I have mostly seen myself as the mediator of a debate, rather than one of the debators.
So, not showing up, means not publicly taking a side.
But then, I come across a comment from a classmate on facebook:
“Pastors are people too: citizens and voters and moral persons”
I might have been a neutral pastor tonight… But I was a lazy citizen. And having a perspective doesn’t make me a bad pastor… Especially if I can model respectful engagement and dialogue with opposing viewpoints. What I kind of feel like is a coward, because there are ways of participating that don’t hammer people over the head or make them feel uncomfortable or left out or whatever.
I am sad I missed out on an opportunity to be a good citizen, an active voter and a moral person with a voice tonight. Next time, I’m not going to sit on the sidelines… I am going to engage in the process and with my community… For better or for worse.