Oct 08, 2018


By Mary Mortenson, Director, Prison Congregations of America 

Ah, the seasons: winter, spring, summer and election.  This month we are inundated with campaign ads – many of them produced to bring out the absolute worst in us – distrust, anger and fear.  The candidates will tell us that their opponents are not to be trusted, either because of their actions, or more often because of imagined or distorted associations.  Then we, the voters, will be told by said candidates that they can save us from these woes.  A simple vote for them can return us to safety, honesty, and security. 

Jesus talks a lot about people – religious leaders of his time – that talked a good game, but were utterly insincere and cared little for anything but their own power, and he regularly pointed out their hypocrisy.  And then Jesus showed us a better way.  Jesus showed us that authentic faith is lived out among the most vulnerable of the people – women, children, lepers, those with mental and physical illness, those who are poor, those who are considered “sinners,” and yes, even condemned criminals. 

Election season would be sweet if the candidates talked about how society could flourish by reaching out to these disenfranchised ones.  Election season would be inspiring if every news cycle contained a positive story of how a candidate had inspired compassionate change.  

Alas, the candidates will likely not move to this mode of campaigning, but that doesn’t mean that all is lost.  Before it was election season, it was autumn.  Autumn, where the earth gives up her good bounty. Autumn, where the disappointment of flood and fire slowly gives way to a renewed earth.  Autumn, where we can feel a fresh and cooling wind blow and believe it to be the breath of the Spirit.  Autumn, which gives us, as the church, energy and inspiration to be all those things that Jesus asked us to be.  Of course, we’ll mess up – we’ll be clumsy and we may hurt instead of help, but we will not let hopelessness and despair have the last word.  We will lament, but we will also be glad.

Happy autumn – and don’t forget to vote.


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