Fast Eddie.  That’s literally the name he goes by, and I can’t even tell you what his last name is or if he even has one.  Like I’m one to talk.

I met Fast Eddie the very first time I went to the church I’ve been attending since roughly June.  It was one of the hardest things I have had to decide – leaving a home church after thirteen years.  It was the place where I had grown immensely in my faith walk and understanding of Scripture, of God and who He is.  It was the place I went when my soul needed a lift, when my focus needed sharpened, and when my mothering needed reinforced.  Those walls, that comfort, the protection of familiarity, those people…those people.

People are funny.

People are broken.

People are just…people.

So it came as absolutely no surprise to me that characters like Fast Eddie would abound in all their “different” funniness, brokenness…humanness inside of a building that looks more like a nightclub than a church.  The welcoming and long overdue new walls hit me like a ton of bricks; the people inside awakened my dull, numb, robotic church senses like a jolt of caffeine after a night of no sleep.

Everything about it felt different.  From the aesthetics to the congregant diversity, I was out of my comfort zone.  Yet oddly (and in obvious retrospect not at all), right where I needed to be.  Taking it all in as new surroundings tend to force upon the willing and unwilling alike, I was reminded of what an elder from my former church once told me as I interviewed him for a final paper, “We do a good job of making disciples here, but we do a terrible job of kicking them out.”

I either got kicked out or kicked myself out.  I’m still not sure where the chicken or the egg occurred in that scenario.  Regardless, let the record state I’m biting my tongue at the low hanging fruit I just set myself up nicely for with the analogy/word choice of “chicken.”

Beth, you’re talking about being a Christian, so please move on.

Good point.  And in fact, my point exactly.  The hypocrisy which infiltrates religion is astounding.  It’s unfathomable.  It’s horrifying.  And it is EXACTLY what drives people out of churches and away from God.

You want to be President of a country that was founded as one nation under God?  Just be a people-hating, misogynistic greedy human being who exemplifies everything that Jesus did not model and certainly wouldn’t condone.  Or wait.  You could also be President of a country that was founded as one nation under Godif you are a disingenuous people-pleasing, misandrist greedy human being who exemplifies everything that Jesus did not model and certainly wouldn’t condone.

Is there seriously any question about why this feels so wrong?  Why either choice is really no choice at all?  I guarantee I am not alone in saying that when we push that square button in November, surrounded by those makeshift four walls of non-comfort and non-protection, we are definitely NOT going to walk away thinking, “Wow – I totally feel like one nation under God! Can’t wait to go make (or continue to make) America great again!  Woooohooo!  YASSSS!”

It’s sad.  And it’s also predictable
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Indubitably, people are just people.  When you divide them – whether it be Southwest Allen County and Downtown Fort Wayne, Republicans and Democrats, or God-forbid those conservative Evangelicals and the liberal megachurch new-age types – nothing feels right.  Because God didn’t make us to be divided.  He did not make us to live in disunity and a state of constantly proving each other to be wrong. ‘Cause guess what?  WE ARE ALL WRONG in some capacity or another.  No one has it all figured out, and not one of us is right all of the time (Don’t throw this back in my face, honey, please and thank you).

Tension is okay.  Tension is in fact, welcomed when it can be viewed as an impetus for growth, for change, and for the betterment of society.  The aforementioned honey and I go at it constantly (again with the low hanging fruit, Beth?  Don’t be such a newlywed, ewww.) with regard to both politics and religion.  And I can honestly say that tension helps me to grow and change my mindset in ways which no one else has managed to do.  Or lived to tell about, stayed married to me, potato…puh-tah-toe, etc. etc.

The point is, when we limit our thinking and our actions to only that which feels comfortable, feels right, or feels like justification for those thoughts in the first place – we are weak.  And we are not making a difference in the lives of others which is absolutely what Jesus did for us then and continues to do for us now.  He gets my vote not only every four years, but every day.

Only I didn’t always get that.  Not only did I used to not know how to vote, I wasn’t even aware He was on the ballot.  Nor did I know there were other opponents in the race.  I literally knew nothing – until I decided to get informed in an effort to make the right decision.  One that wouldn’t just decide the next four or eight years, but an amount of time which we cannot even begin to fathom.  Little thing called eternity.  Living outside of time, space, destruction, pain, hurt, cancer, Trump or Hillary.

Well, maybe, that is.

Maybe my altruism will come to pass.  As I was telling my hates-to-be-labeled-because-he-is-wicked-smart-and-interesting liberal megachurch husband last night, I am hopeful that if Trump gets elected (because at this point, nothing that’s happening with this icky race would surprise me) he will be transformed.  I hope that ALL THESE YEARS of stepping on the “little guys” to get ahead, to get all those gasp!… Wuh-wuh-wuh-women, gazillions in those loop-holed loser banks, fancy suits, shoes, and hotel drapes that Hillary’s Dad or someone else she probably never spoke to made in a factory in Malaysia…I hope that he will realize none of it matters.  I hope that he will realize that to whom much is given (i.e. Presidency), much is expected – and that those expectations are not his self-aggrandizing ones.  I’m hopeful that he will actually see that he will potentially have the ability to make a difference in other people’s lives.  That greatness comes not from serving yourself, but from serving others.

Now, I’ve also been hopeful and put my trust and altruism in other people with whom I’ve had actual relationships and gotten burned.  So do I realize that this might be as ridiculous as Lester Holt’s moderating abilities?  Yes.  But I will never stop believing and trying to see the best in people.

Because at the end of any given day, isn’t our best what what we want others to see in us? Our potentials, our hopes, our dreams, our existences?  Don’t we NOT want them to see our maybe one or two or thirty-seven (hundred) not so finest moments and, unequivocally not define us by them?  Isn’t what Fast Eddie wanted my husband and I to see as he walked up to communion looking over his shoulder at us as he fist pumped the air like he was Muhammad Ali, simply him? Nothing more, nothing less, just…Eddie?

What I saw in that moment was thankfully very different than my same eyes would have seen years ago.  I saw a 58-year old man who was beholden to be alive and loving Jesus, and living in a country where he can vote for whomever he believes will help him to be seen.  Where he will be given opportunities to matter and be valued.  Where he will enjoy the camaraderie of humanness.

It was then that I saw him walk back to his table from communion – and sit with four homeless men in true, non-partisan, non-race related, non-divisive joy, modeling to me and others around him what should imbue every human being at their core.  No matter their job.  Or their political party.  Or anything else.

Man what we can learn if we humble ourselves, serve others, and simply take the time to look around.  I’m hopeful the planks will not continue to impede us from actually seeing what is meant to be seen or doing what needs to be done.