Tuesday, November 04, 2008

How Will They Know We Are His Disciples?

I'm sitting on the couch watching the 2008 Presidential Election Coverage on PBS. Jim Lehrer just announced that California & Florida have just been "called" and it appears Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States.

But I'm here to tell you why, in a very real way, it doesn't matter who won.

I've never thought of myself as "centrist" per se, but I find myself in the unique position where about 1/2 the people I know and care about have been supporting John McCain. The other half have been supporting Barack Obama. That is no big deal to me. What floors me is this: the McCain supporters have been saying really mean-spirited things about those who support Obama. The Obama supporters have been saying arrogantly smug and hurtful things to and about those who support McCain.
It has been the most divisive time I've seen
especially amongst people who say
they are followers of Jesus,
and this saddens me.
As we move forward in one country on one planet, here are some thoughts on why it does not matter who won: we are all still called to (a) support the government, the authority under which God has placed us, and (b) defer to one another in love, promoting unity instead of division. For more on that, I refer you to Paul of Tarsus' letter to the followers of Jesus living in Rome. If you read chapters 13-15, the message is clear: our call is to love one another and support one another and find places of unity instead of spouting vitriol.

Are you someone who had been supporting Obama? Rejoice in his victory, yes. But mourn with those who mourn and show respect and love for your brothers and sisters who supported McCain. Please don't say "I told you so" or anything like it and hurt those whom Jesus loves.

Are you someone who had been supporting McCain? Mourn his defeat, yes. But rejoice with those who rejoice and show respect and love for your brothers and sisters who supported Obama. Please don't grow bitter or say malignant things about those whom Jesus loves.

In his concession speech in Arizona, John McCain said of President-Elect Obama: "I pledge my part to do everything in my power to aid him. I urge all Americans who supported me...to find ways to come together...whatever our differences."

The world is watching and it would be a tremendous shame if we as followers of Jesus living in America allowed the current divisiveness to get any worse. Rather, wouldn't it be wonderful to see unity and love for one another reigning in our hearts. After all, Jesus Himself said
"They'll know you are my followers by this:
when you love one another."

~ Keith

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Miles & Stones

Today's blog post is a milestone. This image calls to mind a story of the ancient people of Israel. They were crossing a border together for the final time before settling in a new land. They took stones and stacked them to form a monument -- a milestone. When future generations saw the stones and asked about them, parents would have an opportunity to tell the story of how God provided and led them to a safe place in a new land. This blog post marks a special day in my story, and is an opportunity for me to give credit where credit is due and thank God for enabling me and leading me safely into a new land, figuratively and literally.Today is a milestone day. It is not my first birthday back in Oregon, but it feels manifestly more significant for some reason. Perhaps because it is my first birthday after really settling in here.

Today is, in fact, my 43rd birthday. I mention the number because to some people (not me!) that seems old. =O) I began celebrating this morning by going for a long run before sunrise.

About 10 weeks ago, I blogged about the Interval Training Program I have been using to reach my short-term goal of getting into better shape and my long-term goal of developing a lasting habit of regular aerobic exercise. I've now been running 3 times a week for the past 20 weeks! I've lost 19 lbs and have learned some things about myself and about running. Yesterday I finished the 10th week in the 2nd series, and am looking forward to beginning the 3rd 10-week series on Monday morning.

Today is also a milestone day in my physical fitness level. When I was in my late 20s (back when fewer people than today thought I was "old") I had begun to run after school, and while I never really enjoyed it per se, I did it. My main route at the time was around 3-4 miles, and once during that season of my life I went for a "long" run and went just under 10 miles -- or so I remembered until today. Here is my route from that day back in 1992:

View Larger Map
According to Google Maps, that route is only 5.8 miles. Still a good run, but not quite as long as I had remembered.

This is significant to me today because my intent in going for a run this morning was to do another 10 mile-run, 16 years later. Here is my route from today:

View Larger Map
According to Google Maps, it is 10.1 miles.

This means I am in better shape today than I was when I was 27 and in college. I've weighed less than I do today, but right now is the best physical condition I've ever experienced in terms of stamina and stick-to-it-iveness.

Another year has now passed. This birthday holds a special feeling, having come home to Oregon. Running has become a good habit, and I ran more than 10 miles today (making more than 25 miles for the week!). No surprise to me, then, that today is the 1st of November -- long seen by celtic cultures as a liminal day; a crossing-over day.

~ Keith