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Walking Our Faith: Greatness comes from unity and diversity

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Walking Our Faith
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

A friend whom I only know on Instagram, but with whom I share a love of books by C.S. Lewis and novels by Agatha Christie, recently posted some political opinions that I do not share, and I almost unfollowed her.

I did not, thankfully. But the mere idea that I had considered it brought me up short and made me take a good look in the mirror. Because I’ve also made some very pointed political posts on my personal Facebook page. And while they were meant to be informative, I’ll admit they were snarky, as well.

I’m glad I didn’t unfollow my friend because I like the books she reads, and she inspires me to read more. But that I had even considered it made me realize that she is much more than her political opinions, and there’s far more that I like about her as an individual than just her political opinion. She is a whole person.

And so am I. And the part that I like about myself a lot more than my snarky political opinions is my love for God and sharing my faith journey with other people. Sharing potentially divisive political opinions can get in the way of that.

After all, how can I share the love of God right after I’ve shared a disparaging political post on Facebook? What does that do to my credibility? I don’t want to get the two confused, and if I have to choose one or the other, it is sharing my love for God without a doubt.

So, I’ve been thinking lately about how I might be less snarky and more positive. In all aspects of life, I truly believe that more is accomplished with a helpful attitude than by trying to be more clever than the other person. No one wants to be insulted or disparaged for their views.

The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church (and a nation, I believe): every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. — 1 Corinthians 12:25-26

Maybe it would be more productive to talk about what makes our country great and how loving kindness, which God commanded us to extend to our neighbor as we would want it extended to us, can make us better citizens in our community and our nation.

I took the first step in that direction Monday when I put in an application to be a poll worker for the elections in November.

It’s been reported that there might be a shortage of poll workers with the larger number of mail-in ballots expected. I’ve signed up because I will be participating in our democratic process — no matter who wins the election.

I’d like to recommend that you do, too. In fact, I hope we’ll see students from Summit High School as well as Colorado Mountain College sign up to be poll workers. I can’t think of a better way for students to learn about democracy than to participate in the process we use to elect those who represent us.

People of all political affiliations are encouraged to sign up. In fact, I think that’s the best part: the opportunity to meet others with whom you have different political views.

No matter where you live in the United States, you can sign up at PowerThePolls.org.

Although we may see things differently, I believe we share a common humanity: a desire to raise our children in safe communities, that all children receive an education and access to affordable health care, and that no child or elderly person goes to bed hungry.

We are the United States of America. Our greatness comes from our unity and our diversity.

In this case, I am reminded of Saint Paul’s exhortation:

Our bodies have many parts, but the many parts make up only one body when they are all put together. So it is with the “body” of Christ. Each of us is a part of the one body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But the Holy Spirit has fitted us all together into one body. We have been baptized into Christ’s body by the one Spirit, and have all been given that same Holy Spirit.

Yes, the body has many parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body … But that isn’t the way God has made us. He has made many parts for our bodies and has put each part just where he wants it. What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! So he has made many parts, but still there is only one body. — 1 Corinthians 12:12-20

Our common desire for the good of all our citizens is what makes us stronger than the issues that divide us. Our journey to achieve this common good is an essential byproduct of our walk of faith.

Your help will be needed this November. No matter who you vote for, let’s all pitch in as united citizens of our great country. Let’s pray for God’s wisdom. Then let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.


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