by Billy Beasley
Watching the news this week and viewing the debacle at the Capitol upset me as I am sure it did most Americans. Talking through the events with my wife, it was as we went to bed that I found the word that most summed up my feelings about our country. Disheartened. I am disheartened by the division of our country.
I hope those of you that have read most of my columns have understood that I am not some righteous Christian with the answers. I ask questions and I am interested in other people’s answers. I will not join in the name calling and posting my every political belief on social media. People are so entrenched in the belief that their party is right and the other is wrong that they make the narrative fit their beliefs and they don’t view things with an open mind.
What do you think the word conversation means? I think it involves listening and trying to understand another viewpoint besides your own. I have often joked that my dad had two things on his mind. What he was saying and what he planned to say next. Listening was not one of his gifts but there are many of us like that, aren’t there?
People post that one statement on social media that they view as a drop the mic moment and that is supposed to win the political debate. There is always a rebuttal. There is always a reaction. That is something politicians don’t understand. They pass something and they don’t think about the reaction or perhaps they just don’t care.
How far in debt is our country right now? And before you start the nonsense that it is one parties’ fault maybe you should research it. The last time it was balanced was during Clinton’s days but to reach that point he had to work with Newt Gingrich. Imagine Democrats and Republicans working together despite their disagreements. What a concept.
Neither party is right and certainly neither is admirable. Politicians are bought and paid for and don’t get me started on career politicians. I believe that to be the greatest plague in Washington, D.C. I don’t believe that politics were meant to be a career and it is a very luxurious one with extravagant benefits.
As I watched the divisiveness from the riots this week, I looked at social media and what disappointed me the most was to see Christians being so ugly to each other. Lecrae, the Christian hip-hop artist, who I have had the pleasure of seeing in concert and hearing his testimony, is very gifted, and even though I don’t really care for that genre, I do enjoy his music. It is often on my playlist when I work out. As it became apparent that the democrats were going to win the Senate races in Georgia, he tweeted something that set off a firestorm. I think it was a mistake. I would love to sit down and have a conversation with him about it, but he is a big star, and I am a lowly fictional author who weaves some faith into each story I write. I wouldn’t desire to talk to him to tell him he was wrong but rather to understand what he hoped to accomplish with his tweet.
The comments were so ugly to each other. Since he backed the democratic party, he could not be a Christian due to abortion was a prevalent theme. I know some of you agree with that. I think we need to be careful about that kind of judgment. Neither the republican nor the democratic party is God’s party.
People like to put one scripture on Facebook that validates their need to be right. It is not that simple. You can always find a scripture to back up what you are doing. Some quoted the scripture about Jesus bringing division to justify their ugly behavior. Well, what about the peacekeepers?
I saw a Facebook post by a member of a church I am familiar with. Members of the same church started going at each other. That, I find to be the most disheartening. Christians attacking each other. If we can’t have respectful dialogue, where is the hope?
I heard a minister whom I respect encourage people to vote. He pointed out that thirty million Christians don’t vote and that the last few elections have been decided by less than that amount. I would say that it won’t make a difference because the church is as divided as the rest of our country. If thirty million Christians vote for the first time in four years, my guess would be that their vote will be divided right down the middle.
I have heard from ministers that when Jesus returns, he will find a strong church. I hope that is true but at the moment I can’t see it. I see a church that is just as divided as the rest of our country.
What is far more important to me than being a Democrat or a Republican is to be a fair person. If the candidate I don’t like makes a decision and I disagree with it. Later, when my candidate does the exact same thing, I should disagree with that as well and not spin it to fit my narrative.
I want to share something with you that I hope does not come off as bragging. I have won a few awards for work and I coached city league basketball for twenty years. We won a lot. I had an assistant coach with me for most of those twenty years. We had a great relationship built on complete honesty. When I made a mistake with a kid, he took me aside and called me out. He was right more than I ever was. His praise was rare and when it was offered, I knew it was his truth.
Once he said, “I told someone the other day that you and a boss that I once had, were the two fairest men I knew.”
You can throw out any plaques or articles with my name on them and I will take what my friend said about me and cherish that all the more. Richard is black and I am white and neither of us ever cared about that.
This is my fortieth column for Mustard Seed Sentinel, which began as Pandora’s Box Gazette. It is also my last for a season. It is time for me to step away and focus on finishing a long ago novel and then pitch it to my last publisher to see if they want to do another book with me. If they agree to publish, there is a sequel to this one already forming in my mind. Something that has never occurred with my other stories. I have two other books written that I want to go through this year and shape them once more.
Thank you all for your notes of encouragement from my columns. I began this almost three and a half years ago.
Thank you, Joanne Troppello for the opportunity to share my faith.
I leave you with a favorite scripture that I try to live by.
God bless you all.
About the Author
Billy Beasley resides in Carolina Beach, NC with his wife Julie and their Australian Cattle Dog, Teke.
The Preacher’s Letter is his second traditionally published work of fiction.
Billy’s shares two simple beliefs with his favorite character in his first novel, The River Hideaway—Faith in God and a conviction that ‘Hearts have no color’. His third novel, The Girl in the River, released in July 2020.