Friday, February 25, 2005

Walking humbly 

Douglas Bass has an email response to a question of Jeff Johnson, candidate for state attorney general about faith and public service. These are not words I expect to hear from my elected officials in these times:
The verse that has stuck with me more than any from my childhood is the familiar Micah verse: "What does the Lord expect of me but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with my God." Doing justice and loving kindness, in my opinion, easily translate to political decision-making.

Walking humbly with God is a little more problematic in the public realm. To me, this means understanding that I'm not in control of my life or my public image; God is. It also means that I shouldn't strive to be the center of attention or the most important person in the room. That is particularly difficult in politics, as publicity is more sought-after than anything but campaign contributions in our perverse little world. Nonetheless, I have tended to work behind-the-scenes and not seek out the cameras in my work in St. Paul, as I believe that this is the way I'm most effective and is the manner in which God intends me to work.

We hear that verse in Micah 6:8 often around my Lutheran church. I like the way it's presented in The Message:
"God has already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don't take yourself too seriously. Take God seriously."
Leaders who take God seriously will find it difficult in the public realm, but not impossible. Doing justice without taking yourself too seriously is very difficult.

Like I say, I don't expect to hear these words from elected officials, and I expect even less for people to act on them. My expectations are low. If Rep. Johnson can raise them, he'll earn my respect and my vote.