It is important for preachers to practice what they preach. A few weeks ago I preached about the church’s calling to love one another. Jesus calls us to love one another as he loved us and then he loved us so much he sacrificed his life for us. I invited us all to think about someone we love deeply enough we would be willing to die for him/her. Then we considered what it would look life if we loved all people with that kind of love.
There is no way I can do that. And I acknowledged in my sermon that none of us can. Yet we are called to work toward deeper love for all people. Reflecting upon my own words, it occurred to me deeper love for all people includes those who anger us. So, I asked myself how I could more deeply love my governor and representatives. How would I respond if someone for whom I would die were behaving in the ways they are behaving? I decided I might start by giving that person the benefit of the doubt and treating such a person as though he/she believed his/her own words. Then, I might kindly and gently attempt to help my beloved understand the consequences of his/her actions.
If I gave my representatives such a benefit of the doubt I would have to consider that they believe they actually are increasing funding for schools, that they believe tax cuts benefit all Kansans, that they care more about doing what is right, just and compassionate than advancing their own interests. If I gave such a generous benefit of the doubt, then what would I say?
I would beseech them to visit schools. Talk to teachers and hear the challenges they face. Sit in a classroom long enough the students and teacher forget anyone is there. Witness the wonderful and difficult work teachers are doing. Talk with principals and superintendents to hear the budget challenges schools face.
I would plead they sit with the poor and hear the struggles of poverty. Listen to the stories of those living in poverty. Hear their hopes and dreams.
Then I would try to talk to my representatives in language with which they are comfortable by appealing to their business sense. I would point out quality education is great for economic growth. I would draw their attention to the way in which block funding removes incentives for schools to perform their best when attracting additional students does not increase funding. Would any business function best when producing more, higher quality product meant increased expenses but not increased income?
If I could move myself to love my representatives more deeply, it might look something like the above. So, I will try to set aside snark and anger and compose a letter or two along these lines.