Meet Me in the Middle?

In the past week we have witnessed what I can only describe as an eruption. In the most poisonous election cycle I have ever personally witnessed, there was little surprise that there would be outcry from one side or the other.

I have tried, for the most part, to stay away from the political discussions on social media and have even regretted most of the in-person discussions of these things that I have happened into along the way. It seems that I have, more than any other point in my life, a much broader spectrum of friends with a vast array of perspectives.

I have friends and relatives that were utterly devastated by the election results last week and I have more than my share of folks I know and love who were absolutely elated at the outcome. I also know a lot of folks like me that felt as though voting was trying to choose whether to get run over by a bus or a truck.

In all of the aftermath of this election cycle, there is something that I find so incredibly troubling. I suppose it’s not new. Perhaps the polarization that happens so much more rapidly in this social media society is merely amplifying what has always been. But my heart breaks as I see people I care deeply about demonizing other people I care deeply about simply because they disagree.

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The Grace Workout?

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of going to the gym, but I’m trying to just keep doing it.

So I go and hit the treadmill for a while this morning. I was listening to Philip Yancey’s book, “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” It’s so good and challenging. He makes me think a lot. So, as he talks about how modern Christianity tends to be much more accepting of the older brother than the prodigal son, I’m right there with him. Though I have long identified much more with the prodigal, I see both sides of that story in myself sometimes.

But, by this time, I have done my 30-40 minutes on the treadmill and am ready to move to the 30-minute circuit. I go in and set the weight on machine #1. I wait for the light to turn green, determined to get one more rep than I did on Monday.

I knocked out that set and then hurried to wipe down the machine before I move to the cardio step for the first set. As I’m moving on through the workout, I notice two situations that became much more of a workout for me than the machines or the treadmill.

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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood.

I was driving through town with the windows down and the sun roof open and enjoying the cool air and thinking, “It’s a beautiful day…in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine?”

And now it’s probably in your head too. It is, of course, the theme song from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” It’s kind of a catchy tune written by the beloved Mr. Rogers himself. But the reason it was so sticky in our minds, so memorable, was the way he sang it. It was his rich, personal sincerity and disarming kindness.

When he sang those words, “I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,” we believed it. He genuinely wanted us all to be his neighbors. And so, in some sense, we were until he moved from this world in 2003. I am confident he would wants us to join him there, but that’s another blog post entirely.

That song, though…”won’t you be, won’t you please, please won’t you be my neighbor?”

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