Back from a blogging hiatus….

I can’t believe it’s been almost 3 weeks since I posted last!  I have started at least 4 posts, and I can’t seem to get past the first paragraph.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  So, I think I’ll just write a meandering, rambling post filling you in on what’s been going on with me.

I had my first birth as a doula (almost 3 weeks ago now!), and it was amazing and beautiful and wonderful.  I absolutely loved being Kelly’s doula.  She did an amazing job.  It was just…incredible, and it confirmed to me that I am in the right place as a passionate advocate for birth.  I have my next birth coming up in about 5 weeks.  I need to start marketing myself so I can come up with more clients.  I am so excited about this new journey! 

What I’ve really been composing in my head for days and days is a political post, but I.just.can’  (As I re-read this entry before posting I realized that I did just what I said I couldn’t do.  I’ve written a very political post  Ah well.)  I’ve had to think about why.  Am I a coward?  I don’t think so.  I incited a riot on Facebook.  I’ve been very open about my political views here.  I’m certainly not shy about them.  I am one pumped up Obama Mama.  And I’m proud of that.  Whenever I talk about the election, though, I get so passionate that I find myself using a lot of hand gesticulations and vocal intonations that I can’t communicate over a blog entry.  Those gesticulations and intonations expose parts of my political passion that I don’t feel ready to post here:
Weariness, for one thing:  I am weary of anger and hate.  Weary of the propaganda my dad sends me (where does he get ths stuff?).  Weary of biting my tongue.  Weary of the misleading political ads.  Weary of the toxic divisions that are slicing through the harmony of our families, our friends, our nation. 
Anger, for another.  Anger at one-issue voting, the absence of critical thinking, and the belief that a beefy, Republican Jesus is sitting up in heaven in a 3-piece suit with an elephant lapel pin (right next to his American flag lapel pin, of course).  Would I like to believe that he’s up there wearing hip Obama t-shirt instead?  You betcha (Oh, gag.  I can’t believe I just wrote that), but I don’t plan on condemning to hell those who disagree (I’ll just condemn you to 4 more years of life-as-we-know-it).  OK.  OK.  I’ll stop.  See????  I can’t help myself.  I am not being very diplomatic.  Or presidential (which, you should be the first to know, I plan on pursuing as soon as I take over my daughter’s PTA).  I am just going to copy and paste last Thursday’s SojoMail, which, thankfully, is incredibly diplomatic and doesn’t even use the words Nieman Marxist or Joe the Plumber.

God's Politics

My Personal ‘Faith Priorities’ for this Election

by Jim Wallis 10-23-2008

In 2004, several conservative Catholic bishops and a few megachurch pastors like Rick Warren issued their list of “non-negotiables,” which were intended to be a voter guide for their followers. All of them were relatively the same list of issues: abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, etc. None of them even included the word “poverty,” only one example of the missing issues which are found quite clearly in the Bible. All of them were also relatively the same as official Republican Party Web sites of “non-negotiables.” The political connections and commitments of the religious non-negotiable writers were quite clear.

I want to suggest a different approach this year and share my personal list of “faith priorities” that will guide me in making the imperfect choices that always confront us in any election year — and suggest that each of you come up with your own list of “faith” or “moral” priorities for this election year and take them into the voting booth with you.

After the last election, I wrote a book titled God’s Politics.  I was criticized by some for presuming to speak for God, but that wasn’t the point.  I was trying to explore what issues might be closest to the heart of God and how they may be quite different from what many strident religious voices were then saying.  I was also saying that “God’s Politics” will often turn our partisan politics upside down, transcend our ideological categories of Left and Right, and challenge the core values and priorities of our political culture. I was also trying to say that there is certainly no easy jump from God’s politics to either the Republicans or Democrats. God is neither. In any election, we face imperfect choices, but our choices should reflect the things we believe God cares about if we are people of faith, and our own moral sensibilities if we are not people of faith. Therefore, people of faith, and all of us, should be “values voters” but vote all our values, not just a few that can be easily manipulated for the benefit of one party or another.

In 2008, the kingdom of God is not on the ballot in any of the 50 states as far as I can see. So we can’t vote for that this year. But there are important choices in this year’s election — very important choices — which will dramatically impact what many in the religious community and outside of it call “the common good,” and the outcome could be very important, perhaps even more so than in many recent electoral contests.

I am in no position to tell anyone what is “non-negotiable,” and neither is any bishop or megachurch pastor, but let me tell you the “faith priorities” and values I will be voting on this year:

  1. With more than 2,000 verses in the Bible about how we treat the poor and oppressed, I will examine the record, plans, policies, and promises made by the candidates on what they will do to overcome the scandal of extreme global poverty and the shame of such unnecessary domestic poverty in the richest nation in the world. Such a central theme of the Bible simply cannot be ignored at election time, as too many Christians have done for years. And any solution to the economic crisis that simply bails out the rich, and even the middle class, but ignores those at the bottom should simply be unacceptable to people of faith.
  2. From the biblical prophets to Jesus, there is, at least, a biblical presumption against war and the hope of beating our swords into instruments of peace. So I will choose the candidates who will be least likely to lead us into more disastrous wars and find better ways to resolve the inevitable conflicts in the world and make us all safer. I will choose the candidates who seem to best understand that our security depends upon other people’s security (everyone having “their own vine and fig tree, so no one can make them afraid,” as the prophets say) more than upon how high we can build walls or a stockpile of weapons. Christians should never expect a pacifist president, but we can insist on one who views military force only as a very last resort, when all other diplomatic and economic measures have failed, and never as a preferred or habitual response to conflict.
  3. “Choosing life” is a constant biblical theme, so I will choose candidates who have the most consistent ethic of life, addressing all the threats to human life and dignity that we face — not just one. Thirty-thousand children dying globally each day of preventable hunger and disease is a life issue. The genocide in Darfur is a life issue. Health care is a life issue. War is a life issue. The death penalty is a life issue. And on abortion, I will choose candidates who have the best chance to pursue the practical and proven policies which could dramatically reduce the number of abortions in America and therefore save precious unborn lives, rather than those who simply repeat the polarized legal debates and “pro-choice” and “pro-life” mantras from either side. 
  4. God’s fragile creation is clearly under assault, and I will choose the candidates who will likely be most faithful in our care of the environment. In particular, I will choose the candidates who will most clearly take on the growing threat of climate change, and who have the strongest commitment to the conversion of our economy and way of life to a cleaner, safer, and more renewable energy future. And that choice could accomplish other key moral priorities like the redemption of a dangerous foreign policy built on Middle East oil dependence, and the great prospects of job creation and economic renewal from a new “green” economy built on more spiritual values of conservation, stewardship, sustainability, respect, responsibility, co-dependence, modesty, and even humility.
  5. Every human being is made in the image of God, so I will choose the candidates who are most likely to protect human rights and human dignity. Sexual and economic slavery is on the rise around the world, and an end to human trafficking must become a top priority. As many religious leaders have now said, torture  is completely morally unacceptable, under any circumstances, and I will choose the candidates who are most committed to reversing American policy on the treatment of prisoners. And I will choose the candidates who understand that the immigration system is totally broken and needs comprehensive reform, but must be changed in ways that are compassionate, fair, just, and consistent with the biblical command to “welcome the stranger.”
  6. Healthy families are the foundation of our community life, and nothing is more important than how we are raising up the next generation. As the father of two young boys, I am deeply concerned about the values our leaders model in the midst of the cultural degeneracy assaulting our children. Which candidates will best exemplify and articulate strong family values, using the White House and other offices as bully pulpits to speak of sexual restraint and integrity, marital fidelity, strong parenting, and putting family values over economic values? And I will choose the candidates who promise to really deal with the enormous economic and cultural pressures that have made parenting such a “countercultural activity” in America today, rather than those who merely scapegoat gay people for the serious problems of heterosexual family breakdown.


And to that I say, Amen.
Whatever your politcial persuasion, I do encourage you to go out and vote, even if, under some sort of delusional spell, you should accidentally check the “McCain” box rather than the “Obama” one.  😉


Oh, one more thing.  Just one.  I’m not a huge fan of whole lot of Christian music (rhyming clichés just don’t transport me to spiritual ecstasy, for some reason), but there is a song by Todd Agnew that I could just listen to again and again.  It wraps up nicely where I am emotionally, spiritually, and, yes, politically.  This, btw, is the “unedited” version of the song (not played so much on Christian radio, I’m guessing) where he uses the word (gasp) “slut” and announces that he doesn’t want to be a (gasp) “poster child for American prosperity.”


And one more last thing (really, this is the last thing.  I promise).  Please don’t hate me.  As I wrote to my dad yesterday, “I love you…even though we totally disagree.” 


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by frenchgirl on October 31, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    thanks for sharing the song, jill. i really enjoyed it.


  2. I too am weary of this long political season. I remember when I was only a few weeks pregnant and the birth of a new little one was so far away, saying “and think, the baby will be here before the election.” And now, the baby is here and fortunately, this election season will end shortly. I’ve already voted. I’ve quit reading the political articles, the editorials, etc.
    I am glad you are passionate in your support of Obama. I like to read what you have to say. I agree on somethings, disagree on others. Yet today I was trouble by this line in your blog: “Anger at one-issue voting, the absence of critical thinking”. I’m not sure how to take this line. Are you saying that those who don’t agree with you/Obama aren’t critical thinkers? If that is the case, I’m sure there are just as many Democrats who vote continually with their party w/o examining the issues as Republicans. Take my grandparents. They vote the Democrat party line b/c they believe the UAW union was good to them for 50 years, and the UAW tells them to vote Democratic. Also, I’ve put time into knowing the candidates, more time than ever during this election season. I’ve read their websites. I’ve listened to speaches. I’ve watched part of the Obama ad that is continually running on my Dish network, I’ve read Obama’s books, all the while doing my best to have an open mind in regards to both candidates. I didn’t really want to cast a vote for McCain, but I didn’t want to vote for Obama either. As for being a one-issue voter, everyone has a prominent issue. Some support environmental causes, abortion-rights, the poor, the war, etc. My vote is the only place I let my pro-life stance show. I’m not picketing. I’m not giving money to pro-life groups. I’m not hating women who’ve had abortions. In fact, all the money I’ve ever donated goes to international and local charities. JD and I give regularly. I don’t admit that to toot my own horn, but to show that I haven’t forgotten those in need. I give to my church. Last year our church supported a family with $70 thousand during the year while the husband battled with leukemia and couldn’t work. I’m not truly a one-issue voter, but Obama’s strong pro-choice views didn’t give me any wiggle room.
    Here’s me nowhere close to hating you (who could hate the best doula in the world?), not trying to sway you, just trying explain my thinking.


  3. Kelly,
    I meant to email you back before I wrote this blog entry, b/c I didn’t want you to think my blog entry was a respone to your email. 🙂 I suppose in some way it is, just b/c it got me thinking more, but it’s not a “direct response.” OK, that said, thanks for your input. While I might be a slightly rabid Obama supporter, I still like to hear other people’s perspectives. I can’t write a whole lot at the moment, b/c I’m supposed to be putting Amelie’s (aka Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana) hair in sponge rollers. However, I want to respond to a couple of things. First, I am not saying that those who don’t support Obama are not critical thinkers. I do believe that there are McCain supporters who have critically thought through the issues and have decided to vote for McCain. Do I agree w/ them? Absolutely not. But thankfully not! Woe to the world if everyone thought like me! 🙂 Second, I want to address the “one-issue-voter” issue. Although abortion is often considered the “one-issue-vote,” I don’t think that in reality that is the case. War could be a one-issue vote. Or race. Or gender. Or religion. Or the environment. Or the economy. Or…or…or…. I could go on and on. I wasn’t meaning only abortion. As far as abortion…that’s such a hot topic. Personally, I don’t like the way the issue is handled by many who are pro-life or pro-choice. I feel like women who choose abortions often feel completely abandoned by those shouting at them that they are murderers (and I am not, btw, putting you in this camp, Kelly). On the other hand, these same women who may struggle w/ their abortion often feel lost in the pro-choice group as well. It’s a difficult, painful place to be. I believe that most women who have abortions do so b/c they feel lost and hopeless and like they have no other choice. It’s not a decision they make lightly. I believe that if women had better access to healthcare and weren’t mired in poverty (things that I believe Obama will help reduce) then they won’t choose abortion as often, b/c they either aren’t as poor or they have access to birth control or they have access to affordable healthcare to pay for prenatal care, delivery, and then care for the baby. These are ways that I believe Obama could help on a more practical rather than just a rhetorical level. I think it’s a lot easier to stand on a podium and pronounce yourself pro-life than it is to actually try to reduce the number of abortions. (Not that I’m saying standing on a podium pronouncing yourself pro-life is necessarily wrong, either. Ugh. I feel like I have to backpedal and overexplain all this so as not to get my house bombed). OK…Amelie is yelling at me for curls.


  4. I’m standing up and applauding you, Jill. A response to a hate-laced e-mail sparked a family feud at our house so for you to put this up on your personal blog is nothing short of commendable.

    This election has been an eye-opener for me and, alas, not always in a good way. I’ve lost so much respect for people I genuinely love and admire(d). Now, though, seeing how hateful some of them became (WRT e-mails, FB comments, etc.), there are a few I have no desire to have contact with ever again. And there are many I will never see in the same light and keep at arms length because I had no idea they were capable of such reprehensible, irresponsible behavior. It’s got nothing to do with their politics and everything to do with true colors.

    So, again, kudos to you for taking a bold stance. You’ve got this Obama Mama’s admiration!


  5. I always ponder a little more after encountering your “chiaroscuro.” So, thanks.


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