The Critical Role of Christians in the 2020 Election

The Critical Role of Christians in the 2020 Election


Greetings!

Happy August!

The Critical Role of Christians in the 2020 Election
 
Both political parties have completed their conventions this past week and now comes the final stretch of election 2020. If you’ve been following my sermons and our newsletter postings you know I’ve been concerned for the past decade that American was moving away from politics toward violence. As much you might think you don’t like politics, trust me the alternative is much worse. Humanity figured out a way to peaceably resolve differences through political structures and the rule of law.
 
When citizens no longer think they can have their issues resolved in the public square through civil discourse they take things into their own hands.

I'm concerned that we are entering into a time of mob rule. As Christians; we have an obligation to seek to play a peacemaker role and do what we can to bolster civil society.
 
After following this election closely and watching the two conventions, I’m convinced that both sides have now planted the seed that if they lose this fall, they will blame unjust practices by the other side.

Whoever wins in November, the other side will not accept it as legitimate.

This is a dangerous moment. When politics and elections are delegitimatized, we devolve to taking the law and disagreements into our own hands and that leads to acts of violence.
 
In our tradition, we are called to love our neighbor, even the ones we don’t know or like. This act of loving even when we don’t like them is loving God. There’s no loving God without loving God’s children.

The flip side in our tradition is that we are called to keep our self-love and narcissism in check. When we feel self-righteous against the flaws of others, we are called to look back at ourselves.
 
Having worked deeply in our political system I can tell you that that arena is dominated by narcissists. There’s little room for empathy, humility, or trying to see the world through the eyes of another. I’m not sure where it comes from, but it seems to be created by a deep childhood wound. A friend this week who is a therapist noted that often this wound is married up to their being seen as a “golden child” as well.
 
Narcissism is rampant in our culture and politics in ways I’ve never seen it before.
 
The Republican President is a case study in narcissism. Even in a brilliantly scripted convention, when the President had to hold conversations with nurses, COVID survivors, and janitors his questions reflected an inability to be curious or empathetic. He can only see things for how they impact him.
 
The Democrat Party’s narcissism manifests itself under the banner of social justice. The Black Lives Matter movement that held such hope and unity only a few months ago has morphed into a binary racist v. anti-racist movement between good and evil.

Failure to tow a certain line can easily lead to a charge of racism. Protests which had public support and had specific goals, now have morphed into virtue signaling. When people feel they are fighting for justice, it can free up a dangerous self-righteousness.

Looting, burning of buildings and cars is not okay and fans the flames of backlash politics.

Last week here In Washington DC this past week, social justice protestors traveled from restaurant to restaurant where people could finally eat outside and screamed at diners to raise their arm to show Black Lives Matter. When some didn’t they were threatened.

Virtue signaling obscures the had work necessary to bring true economic opportunity to the Black community.
 
If unchecked, this cultural narcissism in America is leading us to violence. When we fail to see it on our side, we perpetuate it. After another senseless shooting of Black man in Wisconsin, a 17-year-old boy was driven to the site by his parent with an automatic weapon. When he was chased, two of those involved were killed. I’m afraid these violent events are just the beginning of what could become a tit for tat.
 
As RNC members left the White House event last night they were chased by mobs screaming horrible epitaphs. And chanted, “If we can’t get justice, we burn it all down.” Those protestors may have accomplished what the RNC convention could not and pushed voters toward the President.

Fear is the most powerful motivating force and people are afraid now.
 
The mood of DC has changed has changed to fatigue. In my meetings with various members over the past week, I’m hearing a common thread of plans to leave the city. Other friends asked me about where they might find a place to escape to outside the city if things get violent.
 
The role of the church at this time must become a place the speaks against violence of all kinds and doesn’t fall into the trap of justifying violence when it aligns with our side. In addition to speaking against violence, we must continue to speak up for the underdog in whoever that might be.
 
I’m concerned that churches are themselves swept up in partisanship on both sides and only pointing out mistakes in the other. We’ve got to work to be a space that speaks the truth and welcomes all.
 
Where’s the good news?
 
I do believe the world is evolving into a higher level of spiritual development. To get there, we will need to go through chaos and uncertainty.

The key for Christians is to be consistent with our principles that we need to try to love everyone and we should be outspoken advocates against violence. We must be forces for good by tapping in the loving power of Jesus in our lives.
 
Church of the Holy City has an important role to play this fall as a safe space and a sanctuary for all. Thanks for being part of this important work. Our world needs your leadership.


Your Pastor
Rev. Richard L. Tafel

richtafel@gmail.com

Readings this Week

Psalm 124
Nisi quia Dominus
1 If the Lord had not been on our side, *
let Israel now say;
2 If the Lord had not been on our side, *
when enemies rose up against us;
3 Then would they have swallowed us up alive *
in their fierce anger toward us;
4 Then would the waters have overwhelmed us *
and the torrent gone over us;
5 Then would the raging waters *
have gone right over us.
6 Blessed be the Lord! *
he has not given us over to be a prey for their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowler; *
the snare is broken, and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the Name of the Lord, *
the maker of heaven and earth.

Gospel
Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Swedenborg Insight
...The lust of the love of the world is an envy or desire for external things - which makes the mind more and more external, less and less concerned about internal things. It generally does not lead to such deep infractions against the neighbor's life, as does the love of self. Worldliness desires the neighbor's house. But the love of self tends to go further: it desires to control internal things - all things within the house! The end-in-view of evil is to rule, to control others, to make others into the slaves and tools of one's own pleasure, or at least to make others unable to oppose the gratification of one's whims or ambitions. In all evil desires, when they are examined, this love of rule will at last be seen as the final objective.
And the end-in-view of the Divine Law of the Decalogue is just the opposite to this: the Lord's Law aims to provide freedom - the true freedom of charity and mutual uses, the state of heavenly community life, in which all envy and desire to prevail over others is absent; where all are content with their lot and respect the freedom of each one's use, finding their delight rather in seeing others happy than in having their own way...

Taken from SwedenborgStudy.com





Giving is way down, thanks to a few generous donors who really increased their giving. THANK YOU!



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1611 16th St NW WDC 20009
The minister has had some great summer visits from Helen, Tony, Annabel, Johnny, Niki and, pictured here, Kateryna this summer.
Shalonda brought in a two-day shoot at the church with over 20 cameras used.
Member Update
Our member Scott Smith just had a heart attack last Friday. He's recovering very well. Can you all please keep Scott and Sheri in your prayers at this time?
Highlights from the Minister's Report at the last Board Meeting

Highlights of the Ministers Update to the Officers this month

Worship
We decided to begin worship gain September 13th and remain online for now. We are exploring the idea of having one member each month take a service to help me manage my time. If members are interested in preaching, let the pastor know.

New Administrator
Per our discussion, we plan to make an offer to a new administrator tomorrow.

Financials
Grants
God Bless Dr. Peck on took on the lead of getting our Augmentation (minister salary), Missions (recording equipment), New Directions (training) and Ingerich Fund (minister’s book edit) proposal done. He and I worked all of Saturday 8/15 to get them done.

We asked for $24k for the minister’s salary; $10k for Missions; $1k for New Directions and $2K for Ingerich. Tony requested $2k from the COVID fund.
 
Donations
Helen generously increased her giving substantially. This generosity can make all the difference. Thank you!

Building Loan
We’ve maxed out our building loan at $250,000 and we need to decide what to do next. We had to dip into our reserve fund to pay PEPCO to the tune of $10,000.
 
Peer Space Rental
PeerSpace is booming with new clients. Even with COVID and no HVAC, Shalonda is booking movie shoots. Thank you!

BUILDING MAINTENANCE
PEPCO still has not approved the electric layout for the new HVAC system.
 
Painting
We need to get the walls painted in the basement and paint the front door.

We need to paint the parlor and study. We should also get cushions for the benches in the parlor so people can sit and comfortable chairs.

Outdoors
Elfa donated the new iron gate in front of the HVAC units.Thank you!

Security
I purchased new cameras to be placed in each room.

Spiritual Entrepreneur Advisory Group
I applied for a grant but was rejected. I need to file for the new c-3 account.

Elfa Halloway donated the funds to build this gate to protect the new HVAC systems.
PAINTING DOORS
Johnny Guidry and the Pastor are painting the church front doors this Tuesday at 9:30AM. Members who join to help will be assured of salvation or, at least, have a good line to use when facing eternal damnation. "There was that time I painted the doors to the Holy City." Contact the pastor if you are free. richtafel@gmail.com
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