One of the Wismers voted yesterday and to my shock she waited in line for forty minutes.  That is almost unbelievable to me. We live in Sarasota, FL. I’m pretty sure that I never waited more than 4 minutes to cast my vote. I’m not all together done with yesterday’s thinking while the topic was the politicization of religion, I want to shift to the notion of the religionization of politics. Thankfully, here in the U.S, I don’t believe this concept has the same degree of intensity as it does other countries. It is not constitutionally mandated nor is it systemic in our culture. There is an obvious distinction between living in a democracy and living in a theocracy. Perhaps, religious fundamentalism has an influence in our country but it does not rule it. So, the religionization of politics may sound a bit primitive and more applicable to some faraway place more so than it does to our cultural reality. But here is what it does and perhaps where it applies to us (U.S).  According to the WCC (World Council of Churches) “The religionalization of politics, destroys communal harmony and intensifies religious hatred, and is simultaneously being instrumentalized for political purposes. The religionization of politics ultimately leads politics to pander to the interests of religious groups and leaders who would like to influence and control political power.” Because the goal of a “religioning of politics” results in a greater chasm among others, there is much more fear (or if you like less trust), intolerance, and discrimination, both subtly and blatantly. That’s why it’s bothersome because we could describe “the living of these days” using the exact same terms.
Polarization is the goal of both the religionalization of politics and the politicization of religion. It cannot become the new status quo.  A polarized people can’t do a whole lot of anything but pretend.  A polarized people give over their power. Polarized people become unhealthy.  But there is another path.  We know how to be helpful.

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 58:12
“Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to live in.

Reflection Questions:
What breach do you need to repair?
What can you do to decrease the polarization in our culture?
How are you helpful to others?

Prayer:  Holy God, you call me to stand in the breach and to shine light.  Let me be helpful by creating more harmony and deeper trust among those I meet on the path I travel. Amen.

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