As I was reading my morning news and blog sites, I began to ponder about the ways that our faith should play out in our private and public lives.
Rush Limbaugh is a Methodist. I am proud to be part of a theology so diverse that it can include the likes of Rush, President Bush, Hillary Clinton, George Lucas, and Warren Christopher, There is proof in that diversity of a tolerance for political association and social perspective. The United Methodist Church cares about people, not issues. We, as people, cannot survive without community, and we cannot be healthy without engaging in it, and the United Methodist Church engages their global community with a system of connectedness, and therefor a need for doctrine.
I believe that the true test for sound doctrine is inclusiveness and a respect for the individual.
On the value of doctrine, John Wesley is firm, stating “-the Christian church stands or falls with it.” In the same text, however, he goes on
But if the difference be more in opinion than real experience, and more in expression than than in opinion, how can how can it be that even the children of God should so vehemently contend with each other on the point? Several reasons may be assigned for this: the chief is their not understanding one another, joined with too keen an attachment to their opinions and particular modes of expression.
Back to Rush for a minute. He is a talented orator. He is famous for his ability to speak to his audience in a keen way that affirms their beliefs and connects them with each other. I have felt no joy in his personal trials, and I don’t revel in his controversies. He is in the news a lot today. He made a statement on his program, which is aired on the Armed Forces Radio Network, referring to “phony soldiers.” His specific reference is being debated by the right and left wing media as you read this.
The subject of his rant was Army Ranger Corporal Jessie McNabb, whom you can read about somewhere else because we won’t be discussing him on this blog, except to mention him again in reference to the subject we are discussing, which is being accountable to our faith. Senator Harry Reid, who is a Latter-Day Saint, is calling for his colleagues to sign a letter condeming Rush’s language, saying “…last week, Rush Limbaugh went way over the line – and while we respect his right to say anything he likes, his unpatriotic comments cannot be ignored.”
The real disappointments for me are in the modes of expression that continue to make persons out to be less of an individual. We continue to make part of our rhetoric an utter lack of understanding for one another, although the fathers of our faith encourage us to seek understanding and evaluate our expressions. Rush is guilty of sacrificing that young man to make his point, and Senator Reid is guilty of doing the same thing to Rush in order to make his.
Has anyone reading this ever been caught in a lie? Why would you lie? Don’t you know what is at stake? Well, I have known what was at stake, and have lied anyway. And so has Rush. And the humiliation and pain that is associated with the damage it does is great and should be treated with respect. Never condone lying or cheating or forsaking your country, but we are a nation of individuals, and we should respect each other for no other reason than that. To call the corporal names is irreproachable.
And, to Mr. Senator, please try not to make Rush Limbaugh out to be less of a person. He has validity because he is a person, and he is talented. We value talent in our marketplace. To suggest that he “cannot be ignored” is to give him a place in our culture that would threaten the legitimacy of your party, so I don’t recommend it as a political strategy. Plus, its not true, because I ignore him all the time.
You and I, dad, can be guilty of these same crimes. I should be held accountable, by my faith, my father, and the readers of this blog, if I begin down the road of forsaking understanding of another person to make a point.
That’s why we leave the comments enabled.