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My Turn, Dr. David Nelson: Navigating not-so-friendly skies

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Dr. David Nelson

The mid term elections are behind us. Thank God. It certainly is a relief to know we can make a safer approach and landing now that the gusts of vitriolic rhetoric, crosswinds of blame, and the down drafts of insults can let up. Hopefully a sense of civility will return to our political and cultural relatedness. I surely hope so.

I never planned to write about our present civil discourse because I never envisioned it would be necessary. I have always held out optimism, goodwill, compassion and justice. To me, they are the qualities that provide the stepping stones to improve our society and culture. The virtues of truth and respect are the ingredients in the mortar that holds us all together.

Love cannot be legislated. It can only serve to move our moral compass upward to raise our level of justice. We have a right to expect others and especially our leaders, regardless of their belief systems, to reflect a social order that does not discriminate, demean, destroy or divide us. Injustice and hate have no place.

Although our social order has grown threadbare at times, it seems historically to have been mended and held together by those who worked tirelessly to reweave the fabric. Thank goodness, both citizens and leaders have traditionally worked together for the common good. It was not without its pain, struggle and grief. However, healing seemed to prevail.

At present we are experiencing a vitriolic atmosphere the likes of which we have not yet experienced.

Toxic fumes continue to fill our atmosphere. From my perspective, our present cultural climate, is still polluted by prevaricating rhetoric, accusatory untruths, and gross disrespect. We only need to look from the top down. How I long for a climate of respect in a new day of fresh air and sunshine.

For someone of advanced age, it appears to me that we are mired in a depressive mood of dissension, disharmony, dismay and decay. It is disheartening and discouraging. It seems that we are supposed to accept our present life order as the new norm. I refuse to buy into that.

It is not what I want my mantra to be. Instead, I believe that our Creator God is our ruler yet. He has not abandoned us in our need and dysfunction. God is still here in our lives to be that navigator through our cloudy turbulent skies. No mater what happens, we still live in His created world, and He will not abandon us. His promises of fulfillment, peace, comfort, love and joy are still there for each of us. The purveyors of hatred, fear, disharmony and disunity will not triumph.

My vision of how we can live in God’s world comes from the contemporary hymn that puts it this way: “Our God is an Awesome God.” With the recognition that God is the creator and we are the created, we can begin to put our lives into a healthy balance. We need a divine navigator. We cannot go it alone. My hope is that society can experience the wonder of God’s healing, strength, forgiveness and  love. And how much we need that. Welcome to the “Friendly Skies” God has for us.

Dr. David P. Nelson of Salisbury is a retired Lutheran pastor.

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