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  • Writer's pictureMark McMinn

Vote Season is Opening

From what I understand, elk hunting season starts soon in Oregon. That's about all I understand about hunting--the one time I went hunting I almost shot my friend's dog, on accident of course. Never again.


Vote season is also opening. Daily texts, flyers in the mail, yard signs, and television ads remind us that many would have us shoot to kill.



We lack grace, maybe especially over political differences, and it makes my heart hurt.


We're Not as Right as We Think We Are


Decades of social science research shows that we tend to see ourselves as more correct than we really are. Humans are master self-deceivers, each of us convinced we have a corner on truth while others are deceived or lying.


It's easy to believe this when thinking of the other. That person lacks humility, we say. They think they're the only ones who sees things as they really are. Framed this way, it's quite easy to applaud the research. But turn this around for a moment...


I also lack humility. I think I'm right and others are wrong. I believe myself to be better informed, smarter, more objective than those who disagree with me.


If the research about self-deception and ego inflation is correct, then it affects me just as much as the other person. Rather than trumpeting my unusually-informed-and-utterly-brilliant perspective, perhaps I should spend more time listening and considering the other.


Maybe I should look at the weakest part of my own argument and the strongest part of the other's, intentionally inverting my natural instincts.


Fruit Shortage


We only had one pear on our 10 pear trees this year, probably because the cold Oregon spring killed most of the blossoms. It felt sad because I like pears, whether fresh or canned, and imagined having boxes and jars of them this year.



Those of us who identify as Christians likely know the enduring image, "fruit of the Spirit," which shows up in the New Testament. There are no pears on the list, proving it is a metaphor:


love

peace

patience

kindness

gentleness

self-control

... and more


Just before offering this metaphor, the author offers a sobering list about following our sinful nature.


hostility

quarreling

outbursts of anger

selfish ambition

dissension

division

... and more


Sometimes it seems we have a fruit shortage around voting season.


We may try to justify this second list, saying we're fighting for justice, or sticking to our principles, but we might at least consider the possibility that there is a portion of grandiosity mixed in with our social concerns.


What would it be like this voting season if those of us who identify as Christian looked first to the fruit of the Spirit before crafting our social media posts and tweets, before writing on our blogs and Google groups, before talking with our friends and neighbors?


Conviction is good. So is kindness. So is humility.

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