08 May 2008

the David tree

With all this talk of politics, Kendra's comments, switching parties and future runs for office, and some other big thoughts going through my head I've gotten somewhat retrospective......or melancholy......and maybe it is just the weather.

In general terms I have referenced a turning point in my life at the end of 2006 and how it involved politics and faith. I'm going to put myself out there in this so that folks fresh to the site, maybe even Kendra, can better understand my thoughts on politics.

For about 18 months I planned a campaign to run for mayor of river city. At the time I was a sitting R councilman who admittedly did not toe the party line because of deep personal convictions. I am as conservative if not more conservative than any other R party holder locally, and certainly so in terms of social norms (ie: the purpose christians call themselves R's). I did everything right in creating a campaign-talked to the right people, lined up party support, assuage fears, putting together a team, etc.. But the big guys knew I wasn't going to be a yes man, so, regardless of my republican"ness"......they pulled the rug out from under me a month before I planned to announce and got a member of my team to run. I was furious-and it showed.

I fasted and prayed like never before, but I was just numb and angry at God for putting a desire in my heart I thought was a "calling" and then had unethical men sabotage it. Why would God let that happen? The answer came in a book called "Tale of Three Kings" in which I saw a humble and broken David, while a calling on his life to be king, allowed God to work it in His time.

I've touched on this before, but I've never mentioned "the David tree". I don't believe in searching for signs, I really don't. I believe God gives us wisdom to make decisions. But, in the midst of reading this book and fasting and trying to make a decision on whether or not to still run knowing what kind of campaign would be had, I found myself on my folks' property in the "circle of trees" as we called it.........searching for God. After about an hour on a cold November Saturday, the 11th, as I sat on a stump and listened to the wind blow through the reed grass and watching it bob up and down.......something caught my attention.

At the east side of the circle I noticed a strange formation in a tree. Keep in mind, in nearly 35 years of playing and camping in this small wooded circle, I had never noticed this. I walked over to it and realized two large branches on this oak grew together. I only thought it strange I hadn't noticed it before. I went back and spent another hour thinking and praying. As I left the circle, the path took me passed the tree again and this time I looked up and saw the sun shining directly through the form created by the branches. It formed a perfect D.

And that got me thinking.....hmmmmmm......"Do run"? "Don't run"? I was amusing myself with the D possibilities when I finally landed on "Democrat"? God, you want me to run as a Democrat? I highly doubted that at the time. I got back to my folks and was pouring a cup of coffee when it struck me......"David".......God, you want me to be like David. And so I decided not to run for mayor-because what I had become politically could not bring honor to God.

And once I made that decision, my eyes began to open to the world of politics around me. There are unethical men who run our local R party. Winning elections for them has nothing to do with being conservative, being moral or having integrity. I'm not saying it is any better on the other side, but since I call myself Republican-it is my own party I have to resolve myself to. I'm not even suggesting that they should have the ethics I adhere to, for them it is politics and "all is fair in love and war". I can't operate like that.

This is what I believe. I don't care if you call yourself an R or a D. But, if you call yourself a Christian, you had better have a good grasp of who you are voting for and why. In the YEARS I listened to Rush Limbaugh, I cannot think of anytime in his dialogue I ever, EVER, saw the person of Christ being modeled. I'm not saying he should-but don't confuse a calling to live for Christ with a responsibility to vote republican. I could write a book on this, and this is already too long, but, I tell you from personal experience to live for Christ, if that is your goal, is to embrace the teachings of Christ which you will find contradict planks in both parties.

So, a future run or switching parties.....I don't know what awaits. My deepest desire, even after losing my primary to stay on council, has been to help people. I believe my gifts and abilities lend themselves to do that in the public arena.....but, I have to do that in loving my neighbor first and foremost.

8 comments:

PNW Hoosier said...

HR,
I have to admit I have been and continue to be impressed with the growth you have made since we were young people just getting to vote at the end of the Reagan Era. I seem to remember someone, long ago, chastising me for a vote I made that did not toe the party line....but again, that was a long time ago.
I have shared a number of your posts with the wife and she has wondered aloud more than once if you were crossing over to her "D" camp. At which times, I remind her that, although, I more closely align with the "R" camp, I am by no means a solid party person.
I wish you well on whatever public endeavor you set out on next.

PNW

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to Kendra, it is precisely the posture she has demonstrated here that has led me away from the republican party. Of course, the democratic party has the same strident advocates but for some reason I find it more tolerable than those on the right. I think it's because the strident right is usually driven by religious motivations and is expressed in a way that I find to be in conflict with my understanding of the Christian message. Just as an example, I can't imagine Christ leading a campaign to get people to switch parties in an effort to manipulate the democratic process. Over the years, the republican party has allowed itself to be defined in large part by this element within Christian fundamentalism. The Dems certainly have their own problems, but at least they don't claim to own Christ.

Natalie said...

Thanks for stopping over at P4M, and don't let a lack of estrogen keep you from stopping by. We actually have lots of male readers who fly under the radar.

Looks like you've got quite a lively discussion going on over here. That's the mark of a vibrant democracy!

I enjoyed reading about your journey into politics. I don't think I had heard much of it before, so it gives me a greater understanding of where you're coming from.

Hope to see you soon---maybe this summer. We can talk politics in person!

jimgrey said...

You've clearly been through the wringer and hung out to dry.

Sometimes I think God gives us a vision and then makes us wait because he wants to shake out all of our will first.

I had prayed for a long time that God show me how I could best serve him in his church, and slowly I started to get the message that he wanted me to become an elder. About the same time, the existing elders came to me and asked if I was interested. I thought the timing was serendipity! At first, anyway. It then took a year of this and that and back and forth and hem and haw before it happened. I started that year all fired up about this, that, and the other thing I wanted to do in the church. I ended that year, having been prepared by God, having abandoned all of those things in favor of a different mission that I felt God had put in me. I also joined the eldership at a point when it was more prepared for the mission that I was given.

I trust that God is preparing you and River City in like fashion.

Anonymous said...

With this election season I do hope and pray that people will not have faith in ANY party but in God alone. His plans don't change-no matter who is in office.

Penny Lane said...

It is a sad reality that the 3rd party system does not work. That is exactly what River City needs. It is hard to win as a D in the city, impossible in the county. The one thing I absolutely hate about the die-hard R's, most will ALWAYS vote for the R candidate -- even if their neighbor, brother, or wife runs as a D! I split my vote. A personal note -- I watched River City politics for many years - as a child (my mother was obsessed with city politics) and as an adult, 4 of which YOU (Hoosier Reborn) sat on the City Council. In my opinion, there has NEVER or will there EVER be a more effective member than you. Be proud of your accomplishments and standing up for what you believed and continue to embrace. What your party did to you and continues to do to others is deplorable. Do you think they sleep at night? I bet you do!!

Kendra said...

I really enjoyed reading this post and I am glad that I came back to your site!

“But, if you call yourself a Christian, you had better have a good grasp of who you are voting for and why.” WOW ~ I agree with you 185%!

I just want to say that I am a Conservative before I am a Republican. I do not agree with where the republican party is heading and there are many republican politicians that disgust me. I could never bring myself to cast a vote for them.

Good luck to you on your political dreams. I bet I would vote for you ... if I were able too that is!

hoosier reborn said...

thanks for all your comments, really humbling...God's plans are revealed in our lives in various ways. The beating in politics was it for me-just waiting to see what comes out on the other side.