Today the political climate is enough to make anyone’s skin crawl. The GOP is a three-ring circus and I’m pretty lukewarm about the other side too…

Being in an election year drives me crazy, some people love it, they feed off the argument, the power, the ego. It makes me want to crawl in a hole.

There are too many reasons to list, but one of the biggest is because it’s so disingenuous, politicians are telling me what the poll says they want me to hear, and when they aren’t, well, they’re just downright terrifying.

Living in Baltimore we also have a mayoral race the world is watching. Most recently DeRay Mckesson has thrown his hat in the ring, you remember DeRay, he’s the one that helped Stephen Colbert check his white privilege. Didn’t see it? Here it is, go ahead, I’ll wait.

What’s interesting to me, as a pastor, is that the hate rhetoric is scary, but here in Baltimore, here in our very white, privileged, suburban church, we are having significantly more conversation around the issues. #blacklivesmatter is a topic even my most politically conservative people want to understand.

Several of my older members grew up in downtown Baltimore, their families moved to the suburbs after redlining and white flight. Even though they raised their kids in the suburbs they love the city, and the “old” neighborhoods, which now are blocks of boarded up condemned row houses full of junkies (and no, this is not an exaggeration). Several of them blame politicians and drug dealers for the problems, they see how the systems not only destroyed these neighborhoods, but also how said politicians have systematically turned the blame on the people that live there.

This is not true for all, I have heard plenty of comments like: “That kid is a thug, I used to work with kinds just like him, I know his type”.

I have also received comments when addressing these very real issues from the pulpit “You have no right to preach politics from the pulpit” “I’m never coming here again.”

I take solace in the fact that the Bible is the story of God’s redemption in the world, but it is FULL of politics. Since the fall in the garden societies were built, governance was made. Abram was promised to be the father of many nations. Leaders were born.

History shows us that the long term leaders are not ones that evoked fear, but ones that promoted love. Why do we think that is?

Senator McCarthy is now seen as the tyrant he always was, George Wallace has gone down in history as a racist, yet they were hero’s of their day. The “villains” we now lift up as saints.

As I look at our election cycle, I wonder, “what will history say about us?”

If DeRay wins the election here in Baltimore City, we will have a man who has devoted his life to advocacy representing our city. If Donald Trump wins the national election we will have the most outspoken tyrants since… well, honestly I’m too scared to speculate.

We lives in strange times, my friends, strange indeed.

Our brothers and sister around the globe are watching, terrified at what might happen, and who can blame them. Some of us (myself included) sit and joke as we watch the demise of American Imperialism and say “pass the popcorn.”

One of the greatest comforts I have is that the gospel teaches us exactly how to handle these situations. If the king is coming into town riding on a camel, humble yourself on a donkey and hold a rally on the other side of town. If they ask you thousands of questions to trick you, answer them, honestly and with love. Call out hypocrisy when you see it, love your enemy and pray for them. There is a time to speak and a time to listen, learn to know the difference.

In that, we will make it through, God will provide. And if the Trumps win more votes than the DeRays, then I pray to God will have finally hit rock bottom and it may be time for the apocalypse.

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A rock star from the start, the Reverend Shannon Meacham belted out a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a minor in institutional spiritual matters that most people don’t believe in anyway, from the University of Louisville. Because she couldn’t get enough of the annoying ways people say “Loueyville” she moved across town to Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary for a Master of Divinity, a degree for young idealists and middle age crazies. Before the institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA) self-imploded they were kind enough to hand out a piece of paper saying “Go forth and be an underpaid secretary in the name of God.” Shannon is the mother of two exhausting children Maggie and Gus. She currently serves Ashland Presbyterian Church in the safest part of Baltimore, the suburbs. You can find her musings about any and all subjects on her personal blog pulpitshenanigans.com.

Shannon Meacham worship

2 thoughts on “Pastoral is Political: Strange Times

  1. Hello Shannon- solid reflections on the Baltimore climate so far as I can tell from the point of view of someone serving both in Lutherville and in the City. Thank you. Jan

    Liked by 1 person

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