September 4, 2012 by mark_s
I commented some time ago about the tone of American politics these days and the difficulty I haven’t seen anything that would be glorifying to God in what is going on. You can read about it here. In the mean time, there’s a campaign going on among many churches which is putting forward a recognition that there is a unity that Christians have that is more than anything political and is aimed at recognizing that there is one King, one Kingdom, and one Lord and that, during the elections, we will participate in a communion to celebrate our unity that goes above and beyond earthly politics.
Recently, Dr. Timothy O’Malley, director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy, wrote an article making a similar critique and point. In his article, A Eucharistic Critique of the American Presidential Elections: A Proposal for Authentic Faithful Citizenship he makes some interesting points.
In the Eucharist, we participate in a vision of perfect peace, of total self-giving love that transfigures what it means to be human. As we are joined more fully with the presence of Christ in the transfigured matter of bread-once-bread and wine-once-wine, we become the Body of Christ poured out for the life of the world. We become an icon of Christ’s own love for the world. Our voices join with the heavenly choirs, and we taste for a moment the sweetness of the city of God, a city in which violence and destruction are defeated through the peaceful blood of the Lamb. In which perfect harmony exists, for that is the destiny of all humanity: to be one.
To participate actively in a political system that promotes hatred, violence, and disdain toward an opponent or political party is thus a profoundly “un-Eucharistic” act. It is to confess one’s belief that violence and destruction are the ultimate meaning of the world, that love does not conquer all.
But he doesn’t stop with just this critique. He goes on to suggest four things that will help Christians remember what we are supposed to be about:
- Fast from political ads and opinionated TV. Whether you watch Fox or CNN, turn it off. Mute the commercials. Generally stop listening to the attacks and rhetorical put downs. Watch the debates, but make sure you keep your head about you. Through this, perhaps we Christians can bring a different tone to the conversation.
- Tone it down in our social media. Stop with the attack memes, with the angry posts. Spend more time listening. Spend time articulating our ideas with love. And, when necessary, accept defeat. Don’t just keep fighting. If you still hold the convictions, try to find someway of living them out, even if it means we aren’t in the mainstream.
- Remember who our King is. Remember where our citizenship is. Remember the “city of God” that we are supposed to represent. This does not mean quietism, but it does mean a re-prioritization so that we remember that “God is the primary actor in history.”
- Live the life of love. Love all. Love men. Everything is about love. Our lives should look like the same love that we saw Jesus give to us on the cross.
I don’t know. But this Mennonite here thinks that the Catholic across the way may have some pretty good points.
What do you think?