Thursday, May 29, 2008

Will Florida Change the Election Outcome (Again)?

image Hilary Clinton hopes that the DNC Rules Committee meeting on May 31st will decide to let Florida's primary vote count after all so that she will have a chance to become the Democratic Nominee for President.

Hilary should know that this is not the first time a Democrat candidate hoped that counting votes in Florida would make a difference to an election outcome. In 2000, Al Gore would've become the 43rd President of the United States of America IF Florida had actually recounted their ballots as required by state law (and actually hand-counted the ballots which their counting machines failed to process). We just watched HBO's weekend movie Recount which was all about the Florida Recount which was not completed. Near the end of the movie, Kevin Spacey playing Ron Klain says, "We should have asked for statewide [recounting] from the get-go; that was our biggest mistake." And his friend replies, "And Ralph Nader should've [realized how he was preventing the only viable Left Wing candidate from being elected]. Elian Gonzalez should've never left Miami. And Gore should've campaigned with Clinton.... Katherine Harris should've thought twice from purging 20,000 voters from the rolls. And George Bush Jr. should've never quite drinking. But HE DID. It is what it is, pal."

I've often wondered what goes through Al Gore's mind. He not only could've been the President, the reality is that a media-run recount of Florida ballots in 2001 showed that he should've been the President. Even though he's moved on and has campaigned for the environment and produced An Inconvenient Truth, I'm sure he must have had and probably still has moments of wondering what might have been.

I have found myself having moments like that a lot lately. I think about what might have been had I not fallen from grace and lost my ministry as a pastor. Sure I'm rebuilding my life and there are many very good things in my life, but still, I miss what could've been. It makes me sad. This is not really productive. These thoughts when they become obsessive are actually quite destructive. When we get stuck on what might have been rather than what actually is we are impairing our ability to make the best of the circumstances in which we now find ourselves. After all, it is what it is and wishing for what might have been will change nothing.

It turns out that there's great truth to the Little Texas song "What Might Have Been."

We can sit and talk about this all night long
And wonder why we didn't last
Yes, they might be the best days we will ever know
But we'll have to leave them in the past...
So try not to think about what might have been
Cause that was then
And we have taken different roads
We can't go back again
There's no use givin' in
And there's no way to know
What might have been

Good advice for me, for Al Gore, and perhaps one day soon for Hilary Clinton, but for now I do hope she defies the odds and wins! This time, let Florida's votes count!

Perhaps "The Way I See It" from my last cup (actually my last two cups) of coffee from Starbucks explain why in the last couple weeks I have been switching from my own sadness of what might have been 050215_EX_TheWayISeeItto Hilary Clinton's election drama:

Politics is about getting outside of yourself and your own problems for a little while and fully immersing yourself in the lies and deceit of others.
—Stephen Elliot (author)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"Hero" Redefined

imageVulnerable. Unsure. Lonely. Insecure. Hurting. Hoping. Only a man.

And we had thought he was almost a god, invincible and invulnerable, a superhuman alien, the last son of Krypton. It turns out that the postmodern Superman is only a man is a silly red sheet, dreaming about the man he could be. It's not easy being a hero. I'm alluding to the song "Superman (It's Not Easy)" by Five for Fighting.

Behind the legend and the cape, there is suffering. Tom Welling in the TV series Smallville and Brandon Routh in the movie Superman Returns reveal this side of Superman to us (even more so than did Christopher Reeve in the classic Superman movies). This revisioning of Superman really does make sense. My childhood dream of being Superman and being able to defeat every foe and solve every problem and never be hurt and no nothing of this world's pain—well, it could just never be real. For a real hero could not be untouched and uninvolved in this world's suffering.

This new postmodern Superman sacrifices himself, experiences pain, pushes himself and goes through constant trials to be a hero. This is the Superman who struggles and must use every ounce of his ingenuity and strength to save a jet spinning out of control (Superman Returns). What a contrast to the Christopher Reeve - Superman who effortlessly rescued Air Force One by taking the place of its lost engine on the left wing (see my video contrast). All things considered, wouldn't you agree that the struggling and suffering Superman is more true to reality?

video

Heroes sacrifice themselves, suffer and sometimes die. Didn't we learn this from 9/11? So why does Christian triumphialism still prevail in the church today? Why do we think it odd when we are touched by and involved in this world's suffering? Why do we as Christians believe we should feel no pain and be healed from all disease? Why are we so prone to believe that God should intervene at every turn and save us from harm? Why do we protest when the way is hard and the path uncertain?

Could it be that the kind of heroes God calls us to be are the kind that are vulnerable, unsure, lonely, insecure, hurting and hoping? Could it be that we are to follow the example of our ultimate hero, Jesus?

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. (John 15:13)

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11)

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22-23)

They triumphed over him [the Dragon]
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death. (Revelation 12:11)

Related Sermons

How Does God Rescue Us?
This sermon, drawn from the experiences of David in 1 Samuel 19, explores the many different ways, both extraordinary and ordinary, in which God works to rescue David from danger. What can we learn about how God rescues us today?

Hope Endures
When life comes crashing down around us, we need more than a cliché quoting of Romans 8:28. How is it that Christian hope can endure even when life hurts? A deeper understanding of Romans 8:28 as understood by examining Romans 8:18-30 should be of immense help to those of us who are hurting, more than a cliché comfort.

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