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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Mission Territory

For John, BLUFThere can be little doubt that we are seeing a lack of charity between politicians.  (Yes, that could be among politicians.)  It is poisoning the marketplace of ideas.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

What I said in my address to the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday

Arthur C. Brooks’s remarks, as prepared, for the National Prayer Breakfast keynote address on Thursday, 6 February, at the Washington Hilton.

Published in The Washington Post, 7 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus three:

Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Mrs. Pence, Speaker Pelosi, heads of state, members of Congress and honored guests:  Thank you for inviting me here today.  I am deeply honored and grateful to address the National Prayer Breakfast.

As you have heard, I am not a priest or minister.  I am a social scientist and a university professor.  But most importantly, I am a follower of Jesus, who taught each of us to love God and to love each other.

I am here today to talk about what I believe is the biggest crisis facing our nation — and many other nations — today.  This is the crisis of contempt — the polarization that is tearing our society apart.  But if I do my job in the next few minutes, I promise I won’t depress you.  On the contrary, I will show you why I believe that within this crisis resides the best opportunity we have ever had, as people of faith, to lift our nations up and bring them together.

As leaders, you all know that when there is an old problem, the solution never comes from thinking harder in the old ways; we have to think differently — we need an epiphany.  This is true with societal problems and private problems.

And it ends:
My sisters and brothers, when you leave the National Prayer Breakfast today and go back to your lives and jobs, you will be back in a world where there is a lot of contempt.  That is your opportunity.  So I want you to imagine that there is a sign over the exit as you leave this room.  It’s a sign I’ve seen over the doors of churches — not the doors to enter, but rather the doors to leave the church.  Here’s what it says:

You are now entering mission territory.

If you see the world outside this room as mission territory, we might just mark this day, Feb. 6, 2020, at the National Prayer Breakfast, as the point at which our national healing begins.

UPDATE:  And this weekend's first reading is instructive:

Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18

The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.
"You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD."

Knowing the Gospel should be an easy guess.

It is all Mission Territory.

Regards  —  Cliff

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