Rise and Shine - July 01
What Should We Do When We’re Angry? Reuniting the Political Divide.
The Rise and Shine discussion group meets Sunday mornings at 9:00 am in the Parlor. Adults from the 8:00 & 10:00 services gather for discussions that are relevant to their lives through the lens of a current topic and scriptural references. This week's discussion outline can be read or downloaded below.
So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. […] Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he calls for unity amongst a people who are experiencing difficulties in their new-found faith. Here, he asks that they find a way to forgive each other, recognizing that we all have things that we need forgiven for, yet he also recognizes that it is okay to feel anger, so long as we don’t use that anger in a sinful way. Another way of putting it… forgiveness is not endorsement.
In the news
Members of the Trump Administration Face Public – and Personal – Backlash
After weeks of outrage over the Trump administration’s treatment of migrant children at the border, the next big controversy roiling American politics was about… fine dining. Specifically, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’s attempt at a Friday evening dinner in Virginia. The owner of Red Hen, a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, politely asked the White House press secretary to leave her establishment.The restaurant owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, told The Washington Post she wasn't at the restaurant on Friday night. It was her chef who had called and said the staff was concerned and didn't know what they should do. Wilkinson says several of her employees are gay and she asked them whether they wanted her to ask Sanders to leave. They said yes.
Wilkinson told the Post that she is "not a huge fan of confrontation" but that when she asked Sanders to leave, the interaction was polite on both sides. The group offered to pay for the food it had ordered, but Wilkinson said it was on the house, the Post reports.
Within hours, The Red Hen's Yelp page was inundated with both positive and negative reviews in response to its treatment of White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. On Saturday morning, Sanders confirmed what happened with a tweet. "I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so," Sanders said.
This was not the first time politics has played a role in Trump aides' public dinner plans. Tension has been building surrounding President Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy that caused migrant children to be separated from their parents. On Wednesday, Trump backtracked and signed an executive order to end his family separation policy. But this reversal didn't prevent officials and aides in Trump administration from facing confrontations at restaurants in the Washington, D.C., area.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled out of an upscale Mexican eatery a couple blocks from the White House, and White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller was called a fascist while he was eating at a different Mexican restaurant, also in D.C., according to the New York Post.
These controversies have sparked a fight that pits self-styled defenders of civility and political norms against angry progressives who argued that the Trump administration should be resisted by any means necessary, including confronting its officials in public.
The Washington Post’s editorial boardcriticized the decision to refuse Sanders service as signifying the breakdown of civility and basic manners in American culture. The board called for Sanders, Nielsen, and Miller to “be allowed to eat dinner in peace” on Sunday. “Those who are insisting that we are in a special moment justifying incivility should think for a moment how many Americans might find their own special moment,” the editorial board wrote, warning of a road ahead “in which only the most zealous sign up for public service.”
Others, including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), argued administration officials have forfeited their right in expecting public niceties by aligning themselves with Trump in the first place. The Congress member said in an appearance on MSNBC, “I have no sympathy for these people that are in this administration who know it is wrong what they’re doing.”
In the case of Neilsen and Miller, each has been the public face of the Trump administration’s argument for border security by all means necessary, including the separation of families. And, in other cases Sanders herself has defended the right of business owners to refuse service — such as the Colorado cake baker who refused to make a cake for a gay couple.
As for the Red Hen, Wilkinson told the Post she doesn’t regret her decision to ask Sanders to leave. “We just felt there are moments in time when people need to live their convictions. This appeared to be one,” she said.
More on this story can be found at these links:
Here are some Bible verses to guide your discussion:
We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
This chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans is preceded by a chapter where Paul calls on the church to “Welcome those who are weak in faith,but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions” (14:1). Here, Paul asks that Christian followers in Rome who have strong faith should put up with those among them who do not. He goes on to write in Romans 15 “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus,so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (5-6).
Question:How does Paul’s charge for those strong in faith to put up with, and perhaps even embrace, those weak in faith apply to present day politics?
1 Peter 3:8-9
Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. [for context read 8-12)
Here, Peter echoes Jesus’s sentiment of turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) by calling on his readers to bless those who abuse them. He goes on to say that those who do so might inherit a blessing, echoing that which Jesus called the 2ndgreatest commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39).
Question:Is there a way to bless those who persecute others while still standing up for the persecuted?
Prayer in Times of Conflict (BCP p.824)
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us,
in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront
one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work
together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.