Recently, I’ve ruffled a few feathers on my personal social media accounts. While I certainly don’t enjoy making people uncomfortable, recent national and world events have propelled me to be a lot more politically outspoken than I had been before. My new mission has two parts.
1. Share my thoughts and views in an articulate and reasonable way.
2. Show by example how some of the most diametrically opposed viewpoints can be debated with kindness and mutual respect.
This new approach seems to have worked well, for the most part.
For those wondering, I consider myself a left-leaning moderate. In using this descriptor, I am intentionally avoiding using words like liberal, conservative, Republican, and Democrat, all of which I believe have become over-used, weaponized, and just downright toxic. I am baffled by those who would use one of those words to describe themselves and then try to fit their Christian faith into it somehow. Square peg, meet round hole. Jesus is not that easily codified. There is just no major political party in the United States that comes anywhere close to being a perfect expression of Christianity. Instead of a party platform or the talking points of a loud-mouthed radio host, I believe that what should drive the words and actions of a Christian is a formed conscience. All of us have one. I just wonder how many of us are really using it.
This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about conscience…
“Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.” (1776)
“…For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God…” This is what gnaws at me these days when I try to not only keep up with current events, but read other people’s reactions to those events. I find myself wondering: Is that law of God inside me meant just for me or am I meant to share it? Am I doing enough to affect change in my community and in the world? Am I conceding my voice (and God’s, perhaps?) to the extreme viewpoints in the political arena? Can we truly know God’s will in a given moment if many of our voices remain silent out of fear, anxiety, and indifference?
A quick scroll of my Twitter just now turned up stories and posts about war, North Korea, Labor Day, Neo-Nazis, DACA, alleged abuse by police officers, and treatment of transgendered persons. God reveals Godself to us through our consciences, not just to help us choose the right in our daily lives, but to help us know how to reveal God to others and know it when we hear God being revealed to us in the same way.
While I know I don’t have all the right answers, I know that God does. And I believe strongly that some aspect of God will remain hidden if I remain silent. The same will happen if you remain silent. God’s people, especially the poor, marginalized, and oppressed of the world, need you to listen to your conscience and speak up.
God has something important to say through you. Form your conscience well, give God your fear, and “live your life out in the light!”