I must say that I was taken aback by the headline. The morning after the Congress had approved the measures to fund the government and raise the debt limit for a few more months, the President offered some comments widely quoted in this and other stories, “Obama says Americans ‘completely fed up’ with Washington.”
Of course, on the one hand I am in full agreement with the President. It’s not the city and its museums and monuments with which we are fed up, it is the petty and partisan politics that mark our time. And, yes, it is the pettiness of barricading monuments and the partisanship that drives our leaders into battles they had no chance of winning.
The President got it right. We the people are completely fed up.
But, excuse me, does the President know his own address? 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C. 20500 (the White House has its own zip code). No need for a civics lesson here, but it does take both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to govern, and there’s enough “fed up” to cover Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol Building to the White House.
If you’re going to take up residence in zip code 20500 you’ve going have to figure out how to work with the folks up the street at zip code 20004. And vice versa.
Yeah, it seems oddly self-righteous for the guy at zip 20500 to say Americans are fed up with Washington.
It’s really easy – and probably legitimate – for someone who lives in zip code 19047 to be fed up with those in 20500 and 20004.
But I also need to be fed up with at least one person who lives in 19047, specifically the guy at 19047-2162. I need to be fed up with his pettiness and partisanship; his pettiness in noticing the speck in the other’s eye and his partisanship towards self in not tending to the log in his own; his pettiness in pointing out the mistakes and poor decisions of his neighbor and his partisanship towards self in rationalizing his own mistakes and poor decisions. He’s petty and partisan and I ought to be fed up.
At least one person in 19047, 19047-2162 to be exact, is no better off than any of those plying their trade in 20500 or 20004. 19047 is no different than 20500 or 20004. The way of life in 19047 also tends to pettiness and partisanship. It tends to sin.
I need to change my address. Oh, no plans to move from 19047-2162. But I need to find a new place to dwell; I’m fed up with pettiness and partisanship.
In his blessing over the tribes of Israel, Moses said to Asher, “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)
Through prayer and Scripture, obedience and humility; through worship and service, patience and kindness; through study and fellowship, thankfulness and compassion; through repentance and confession, the cross and the empty tomb, we find ourselves dwelling not in the neighborhood of pettiness and partisanship, but it the presence of the eternal God. We discover that underneath are the everlasting arms.
Now if I can get fed up just enough to change my address.
See you Sunday