Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Too Political to Blog?

I miss blogging, honest to God.

I enjoyed taking a little break during my summer vacation, but by the end of August, I was itching to get back into my routine of blogging two, three, four times a week.  When I started this blog, I worried that the need to continually post would be a burden, another nagging task on my to-do list each week.  But to my delight, I found that needing to blog meant that I needed to think, to ponder and muse and explore issues and ideas.  Instead of being another task, blogging became one of the best ways I had to remember that my life--my ministry--isn't all about tasks.

So what's the hold up?  My problem is that these days, the main thing that is on my mind besides my daily tasks is the presidential election.  When I occasionally think of something else, I think about the senatorial race in Minnesota.  Our family life has become organized around the election as well--making phone calls and spending most of our weekends out canvassing for our candidate of choice. 

This isn't really that unusual for us during an election year.  Dan and I were raised this way, in families that were both passionately political.  It has often occurred to me that although we were raised in different religions, Dan and I were raised with identical political ideologies, and that, in the end, unites us more than religion ever could.  We're committed to raising our kids the same way--not to ignore the political process, and not to complain about it, but to actively engage in making it better.

But politics aren't nearly as easy to integrate into ministry as they are into parenting.  I'm well aware of the rules that prohibit partisan endorsements from the pulpit, and have never even been tempted to violate that rule.  Preaching seems to me to be an opportunity to go a lot deeper, a lot more fundamental than candidate choice.  That being said, I'm sure every single person in my congregation knows who I'm voting (and campaigning) for.  The two bumper stickers on our car and the sign in the window of our house are not particularly subtle hints.

A friend of mine who is a pastor in Northern Virginia, much closer to the heart of Washington, DC, says that no one in her congregation knows who she is voting for.  Although she is a strong democrat, she told me with a bit of a laugh that a parishioner called to console her when Mitt Romney pulled out of the Republican primary race.  She saw this as proof that she had kept her ministry free of partisan politics, but I was astonished.  I don't even know what I would do if I received a call like that.  It would be hard not to feel that I had seriously misrepresented myself, or failed to communicate some fundamental aspects of who I am and what I believe.

But I've been thinking.  I can't pretend to be what I'm not, but I can acknowledge my need to for the God of All of Us, even in the midst of a close and tense election year.  There is a lot to be said for having some space in your life where you're not advocating anything, space where I can put the campaign back into perspective.  Worship gives me this space, and I appreciate it, and perhaps this blog could as well.  I'm going to try to get back in the saddle.


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Laura Shoemaker

oooh, well, we could perhaps blog about the appropriate way to heighten people's understanding of where their Christianity meets their civic conscience...


Ruth Smith

Welcome back, Heather, I've missed you. I also like Laura's suggetion.
What I long for is a way to be compassionate and loving toward those on "the other side" who are so sure they are right and their "rightness" like ours is based on their understanding of their Christian Faith.

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