Monday, March 14, 2011

This is What Democracy Looks Like

We are so lucky to live in a country where we are free to disagree with our government!

We were up in Madison yesterday visiting my Dad in the hospital. He's doing better (in my opinion) than last week, but he still needs prayers for healing and strength. When we first arrived at St. Mary's, Dad was tired and needed to rest, so Mark and I took the kids on a little tour around the Capitol and the governor's mansion. Since it was Sunday, the crowds were down (not quite the 85,000 of the day before!), but there were still plenty of people out protesting the budget repair legislation.

This guy was "Runner Against Walker". Mark called him Forrest Gump because he just kept running around and around the Capitol Square. Wish my camera could get closer, but we were in a moving vehicle so this is the best I could do. Also wish I could have snapped a picture of a guy in a big glittery Pharaoh headdress. The funny thing was, before we had even entered Madison, I had this image of Scott Walker as Pharaoh, set in his ways and refusing to negotiate on collective bargaining.

You know the part in Exodus where God says that Pharaoh's heart is going to be hard, that he's not going to listen to Moses and let the Israelites go? Well, that's kind of what it feels like when you watch the news and see Governor Walker talking about the rights of public sector employees in our state. He didn't budge, and neither would the pharaoh. So out came the frogs...

...and hail...
...and FLIES! Oh my goodness, the FLIES!!

I know that it's a bit of a stretch, but can you see the similarities? You have to believe me--I didn't purposely pose Wynne into political parallels (now THERE's some alliteration for ya!), but looking back into the past week's photographs (including ones from our Sunday School study of the Exodus), it jumped out at me. The unwillingness to listen to the other side of the story. The greed. The power plays. The plagues. Okay, we haven't gone through any plagues in Wisconsin just yet, but we certainly see the effects of sin everywhere. We messed up the world with sin, and now we have earthquakes, tsunamis, disease, wars, revolts, and financial chaos. Our pastor was back in the pulpit yesterday and reminded us to be thankful for what we DO have--running water, freedom to go to school without being bombed, freedom to worship, freedom of speech, transportation, etc. We have so much more than many parts of the world, and we need to be thankful and show LOVE to one another, not hatred.

I am proud of the peaceful protesters. I am proud to live in a country where we can be free to drive our kids around and show them what's going on, safely. I am proud of this freedom, and I wish the whole world had the same. I don't know why God lets some of us enjoy these freedoms while others struggle under oppression and plague after plague, but I do know that God gave us the Holy Spirit, to permeate our hearts and minds so that we may respond in love to our fellow man. It's just so hard to love the Pharaoh, though....and so my big struggle this week is figuring out how to "bear all things" (1 Corinthians 13 love) without being a doormat. The one thing I do know for sure, though, is that there is no room for hate or revenge. In the end, the most important thing is love and truth.

But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.--Exodus 8:15

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" Jesus answered, "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." --Mark 12:28-31


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