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Nov  2016 01
Confession on Election Day

Gracious God, creator of the universe and ground of our lives: we who seek to follow the way of Jesus in the United States bow before you. The words and actions spoken and revealed throughout the presidential campaign leave us feeling wrung out and yucky. We ask to be forgiven for our contributions to a campaign that seldom appealed to the “better angels of our natures.”

As evidenced in the behavior of the candidates and the electorate, including ourselves, we humbly confess that:

  • We have torn the nation's social fabric.
  • We are not ready to sacrifice privilege in order to achieve “liberty and justice for all.”
  • We have not heard the suffering in those with whom we disagree. We have bought into the plot of "us" versus "them."
  • We have fallen into the trap of turning opponents into enemies and failed to look for Your image in the faces of persons whose moral stances we deplore.
  • Silently and sometimes out loud, we’ve taken an eye for an eye. We've met insult with insult, rather than with kindness and love.
  • We have been entangled in our preferred, fallible narratives and blindered-off inconvenient truths and contradictory information.
  • After over a year of campaigning, we are not better informed nor more motivated to act with justice and compassion regarding the matters that trouble the nation, whether climate change or police-community relations or how to be a good neighbor to those who don't look or live like “us.”
  • We are able to make space only for praise and assertions of American goodness, and not for the rest of our history.
  • Despite being appalled by all the ways money distorted the campaign, we can't find the power or don’t have the will to stop this abuse.
  • We watched so-called debates with popcorn and drink, as if watching sport, rather than as international stewards who elect the world’s most powerful leader.
  • We have not heard the cries of the needy, whether in the hollows of Appalachia or at the Mexican border or among shuttered factories or from homeless veterans.
  • We have not been inspired by bold dreams, whether that might be the reinvention of schooling or a renewal of Lady Liberty's pledge (“Give me your tired, your poor…) or a national commitment to clean air, pure water, and fertile soil.
  • We have treated human diversity as a problem rather than as Your gift.
  • We declined numerous chances to advance race relations.
  • We are still not in the full agreement we should be that women have equal rights.
  • We drank deeply from the well of anger, fear, and resentment. We seldom sipped from the well of kindness, compassion, and love. We are clueless how to act as if "perfect love casts out fear."

Forgive us. By your grace, give us the courage to be disrupting leaven, giving rise to a world that would delight You.

[The above prayer is written in follow-up to last week's blog calling for Election Day to be a fast day. The prayer will be read in the seminary's chapel as part of the service on Tuesday, November 8th.]

Browse more posts by: Gary Peluso-Verdend, Phillips President
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