Monday, May 23, 2016

The Obama Presidency

I will be the first to say that for most of his presidency I was one of Obama's biggest critics. There were things that are definitely easy to criticize, and I could easily talk about those things. And I suppose there is a time and place to reflect on these things. It is true that if we don't meditate on histories mistakes we will be doomed to repeat them. It's really easy to stand and point a critical finger, but that is the posture of brokenness, not the posture of restored members of Gods family. We want to be critical thinkers, but we don't want to be critical people. I don't feel like it's healthy for me to write about where I felt Obama failed; plenty of angry and concerned conservatives have done that, and will continue to do that.
   I also will admit that for most of his presidency, Obama could have ended world hunger and I would have found  a way to be mad at him for advancing some liberal agenda. The idea of a democrat contributing something of value to the world was near inconceivable to me. I would be quicker to side with Howard Stern because of his being a republican than I would with Shane Claiborne because of him being a democrat (For those who don't know who they are: Howard Stern is a raunchy radio personality famous for interviewing porn stars and getting them to do degrading things on his show; Shane Claiborne is a Christian activists who has constantly lobbied for putting a higher value on human life and changing his community for the Kingdom of God.) Most of my family has a pretty tough time accepting that democrats could be right about things; we have an even harder time accepting that some republican stances stand in opposition to Jesus' Gospel of forgiveness, generosity and peace. And I was the worst culprit of such a thought process. This gross and hyper critical attitude towards anyone is inappropriate for those who carry the mission of Christ. It's no secret that I've been under going my own religious and political reform over the last year; which, for better or worse is something I've chosen not to hide. It's easy not to learn new perspectives and only educate yourself further on what you already agree with; it is a challenge to learn why people think the way they think.

  Because of Christ' work on the cross, His people should no longer be a tribal people. Christ died once and for all. Yet, sometimes we still act like following God is an us verses them war. We judge people based on the tribe they affiliate themselves with, or the tribe we assign them to; here's the rude awakening I've been going through: God isn't a tribal God. I don't think he's looking at Republicans and is thinking "Why can't my democrat followers be more like you?" So, as followers of Jesus, the only tribe that's appropriate for us to ascribe to is the Kingdom Tribe. And the Kingdom Tribe will not be pushed into a political party; it's just not that simple.

So having said that, I wanted too take a minute and list my 5 favorite Obama moments and facts.

5. That time he called Kanye West a jackass.

Kanye has had no shortage of negative attention in his career, and I'm sure this inclusion will fire up some Kanye apologists, but what a beautiful thing to know our president was thinking the same thing we all were when Kanye stormed the stage during Taylor Swift's MTV Music Video Award and told her and all of American that she was stealing Beyonce's award.

4. That time he showed everyone he had loads of class by telling us his favorite movie is Casablanca.

3.  That time he abolished  "Don't Ask/Don't Tell." Even though this country prided itself on being the land of the free, until 2011 you were not allowed to be an open gay person and serve in the military. Granted, Don't Ask/Don't Tell was partially to protect gay soldiers from any abuse they might be subjected to for being open about their sexuality; near the end of it's run it felt less protective and more oppressive. Who are we to say you can die for our country, you just can't do it if you're going to tell people your gay?

2. He is the first president in US History to visit Hiroshima. It's easy to understand why past presidents have dodged the bullet of heading to Hiroshima. Whether he is legalizing gay marriage or initiating extreme health care reform, President Obama has never been one to shy away from potential bullets being fired at him, his stepping to Hiroshima marks steps towards reconciliation for this still politically sensitive issue.

1. He expanded the faith based Bush initiative called White House Office for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. This is an enormous example for Christians to follow, though political lines may divide us, our mission to bring heaven to earth should always unite us. Obama is quoted saying "“I may disagree with President Bush on a whole set of issues but I agree with him that we need to bring in the faith community and work together with churches and other communities of faith to make sure that the marginalized are taken care of and that the poor and vulnerable are protected.”

So there you have it!  I want to leave this blog with a challenge; for my more conservative friends, can you think of some things about Obama you appreciate? I understand it's hard; especially when you and he so clearly don't see eye to eye on very important issues; but maybe it's time for us to ask ourselves, what is a better witness to the world? Fighting over what divides us or fighting for what unites us? I've seen the arguments, I've heard the complaints and I've never seen those work. I've only seen them divide. So, for anyone who wants to participate, what are some of your favorite things that Obama has accomplished in office?

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