On Politics (The Status of All Things)
There’s a book that sits on the desk in my office.
It’s worn and the pages are yellowed now, after years of being read. I’ve scribbled notes in the margins. Page corners are dog-eared. I even have dates jotted in the front cover so I’ll find them the next time I seek the words that are penned inside. This book is so much a part of who I am, that it sits next to my Bible.
And I will seek this book again. I often do, and am moved. Every. Single. Time.
I’ll tell you the title in a moment — but there’s something to say first.
In the wake of a volatile political season, it’s been heavy on my heart to comment on the things we DO say, as much as on the things we DO NOT.
From the start, I’ve refrained from addressing politics in a public space. And I don’t comment on other authors’ or speakers’ comments, views, or convictions either. It’s a voice I haven’t been given and a boundary line I do not cross. And yet, I’ve been asked in so many ways since the election, to update my social media status on all-things-politics:
“But you’re a writer. Why don’t you comment on politics?” It’s usually in the same breath as, “Why do you stay silent?”
The answer: My heart has been heavy with the fear of silence for months.
The fear that silence in certain spaces would be mistaken for apathy. Or worse, agreement with the lowest qualities one side believes of the other.
I too am hearing the opposing voices on social media, am watching news reports from around the globe, following political commentary and perspectives and editorial views and watching emotionally-charged videos until my heart is bleeding…
So when asked the question of politics, and judgment, and seething-below-the-surface-rage, and which side of the “us vs. them” I’m on, I keep giving the same answer:
I do not comment. Not in this forum.
Why? Because it’s convenient to position our “side” — but does nothing to dig in and do the real work.
There’s a chasm of difference between silence on Facebook and silence in life. I pray for wisdom to know the difference.
If we’re friends, you already know my heart.
And if you know my heart, you know for Whom I live my life. And if you know that much, you don’t need a social media comment to know the voice He’s given me.
It means we’ve sat down over coffee and talked. Really talked, and have already waded through the hard stuff. We’ve done the work. We’ve dug in our heels and said: “I’m not going anywhere, friend.”
It means you probably stood alongside at the graveside of someone very dear to me, as I’ve come to stand with and hug you at yours.
It means we’ve walked some pretty stony roads together, helped each other stand after a fall, and we didn’t walk away when the going got really, really tough and the valley got really, really long. It means we’ve sat across the table… looked in each others eyes… really listened and learned — and phones or social media or statuses never became part of that conversation.
It means you know I deleted social media apps from my phone in 2016 — and they’re not coming back — because I longed for deeper connections. Relationships. Tangible, intentional, meaningful blocks of time when I’m fully there, fully present, fully engaged… face-to-face across the table, doing the “real” with you.
It means you already know the title of the book on my desk.
It means I don’t need to tell you the status of all things because we’ve lived through that conversation. You’d identify if silence in a social media space meant apathy, because it would be silence in all spaces of life. It would be silence instead of writing my debut novels about the horrors of the Holocaust. It would be silence instead of training up our children to respect and value all of God’s people. It would be silence instead of loving friends who are of a vastly different world view than me. It would be silence instead of stepping up on a stage to shout the name of Jesus.
It would be silence everywhere, instead of discernment in intentional spaces.
The status of all things? It means during the process of God opening my eyes… you were there.
It means you don’t know all of me by a social media profile image. You see deeper than my color. You don’t see female and make assumptions. Or Christian and make judgments. Or straight. Or author. Or quiet on social media. Or apathetic. Or silent… It means you know I cry every time I read that soul-wrenching book on my desk, and listen to others’ similar stories in real life.
It means you know where I serve, donate, pray in solitude, worship, receive grace, and how I try to love.
It means I don’t have to prove an idealized definition of perfection to you. You know I put one faith-foot in front of the other, day in and day out, chasing Jesus, picking up His cross and following Him, again and again and trying again, messing up, falling flat, imperfect and in love with our Savior… and you, blessed friend, have offered me grace and forgiveness and unconditional love. (No social status update required.)
It means you know my flaws. My hopes. Where and why I dream-chase after God’s call for my life. You know I see believers who have a radical love for Jesus and I too want what they have — because I want Him to be my voice. That voice may not be the same platform as another’s, but that’s okay. He’s given us different voices, different perspectives, an array of life experiences, lenses, and spaces in which to communicate the love He wants the world to see.
It means instead of taking my word as the gospel truth on politics, on belief, on silence, on anything… you know I’ll point you to JESUS. And His Gospel. That I’ll tell you why I believe what I do and why those convictions are so strong on my heart — and then I’ll tell you to go on the exciting journey of finding it out for yourself. To dig into the life-blood of His Word and research, research, research who you are through that lens, maybe for the first and deepest time.
It means you don’t need to hear from me because you’d rather hear from Him. Because it’s not my faith, but yours. Yours and His, together.
It means you’ll sit down over coffee and talk.
We’ll wade through the hard stuff with Him. It means that if you’re ever at the graveside of someone very dear, He’ll be with you. It means you’ll walk some pretty stony roads together, He’ll help you stand after a fall, and you can be sure He won’t walk away when the going gets really, really tough and the valley gets really, really long.
So, no. I won’t comment on politics.
Not in a social media space.
Not in the status of all things.
Not in print and not when I step up on stage. I’ve not been given that voice. (Not yet, anyway.) The voice I have was written down already, two thousand years ago.
I won’t comment on politics–not in the status of all things.
The voice I have was written down already, two thousand years ago.
I will comment, and status-update, and Like posts with that voice…His voice… All. Day. Long. (Hello, Verse Mapping!!) Because it’s not my faith that matters most to you. Not my opinion and not my vote.
It won’t be a comment or the worn copy of Elie Wiesel’s Night — or the Bible — sitting on my desk that will make anyone think unless they’re opened. The words taken in. The soul moved and the eyes allowed to open a shade wider… It’s because I never want Elie Wiesel’s quote to be something we’re one day forced to make our status of all things:
“Our eyes opened. Too late.”
Still quiet — but not living silent,