Thoughts for election day: “Restoring Civility”

Since today is election day, I thought it was appropriate to publish this short post.  As I seem to always be saying, I hoped to accompany this up with a longer reflection, but this short bit will suffice for now.

The following podcast (“Restoring Civility: An Evangelical View”) is again from my favorite radio program, On Being, and discusses the need for a return to civility (or sanity, as some this weekend have put it) in our political and social interactions.  A scholar of Christian ethics and president of Fuller Theological Seminary, Richard Mouw discusses the importance of trying to understand others’ perspectives, even when we may disagree.  He also stresses that we must not let fear dictate our responses to legitimate concerns and problems.

Thoughts from Mouw:

Richard Mouw on Jesus as a model: “I think that Jesus is a model of convicted civility. I mean… the murmuring against him that we read about in the Gospel accounts is that this is a person who associates with harlots and with corrupt tax collectors and…other “sinners” in the culture. And yet it’s very clear that Jesus did not approve of prostitution or of compliance with the economic practices of the Roman Empire. So it is a clear case where Jesus reached out to people, but in none of that was he sacrificing convictions about what is right, what is good, what is true. And some of his harshest judgments were for people who were very condemnatory toward other people and not aware of their own sin, not aware of their own shortcomings.”

Mouw on our tendency to create false enemies: “It’s so easy when you’re afraid to…create an enemy that may not be the enemy that you think the person is.”  In the program, he specifically talks about Muslims and homosexuals as these “false enemies” we’ve created.

Mouw on responding to our concerns and promoting our convictions: “We have to be very careful that we not sin in the process of expressing and acting upon those concerns.”

Listen to the MP3 here: , download it on iTunes, or read the transcript.  Visit the On Being web page for “Restoring Civility,” too.

And if you haven’t yet, make sure you make it out to the polls!  For those of us in college, you better have submitted that absentee ballot a while back!


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