“Saving” Politics

The only time I get to see Jon Stewart is on youtube clips.

I save my ironing for Masterpiece Mystery on Sunday nights, and my laundry folding for PBSkids’ Ruff Ruffman after school.

(Side note: Did you happen to catch Sherlock Holmes last night?  Almost makes me hope that Jesus won’t come before the series is done, it was so good).

Since there is only so much tv that one can watch, and are only so many things a person can multi-task when watching tv, during my self-allotted 3 hours/week of mystery and Ruff, Jon gets short shrift.

So when my trusted FBFs give me a link I watch it, knowing that they will weed out what I don’t need to see (which only serves as a perverse justification that facebook saves me time).

This is the Jon Stewart clip that I got sucked into recently.

And conveniently, it is found highlighted in this marvelous blog sent to me from the Huffington Post, entitled, Religious People Must Rally to Restore Sanity.  The context of Paul Raushenbush’s piece is the lack of sane conversation in political discourse these days.  But he’s wanting to point out that it’s wanting in the religious world as well.

Listen to Raushenbush:

So what is sane religion? The word “sane” comes from the Latin sanus, which means “health” or “healing.” Sane religion, then, is religion that, regardless of differences in understandings of the Divine or metaphysical beliefs, promotes a healthy personal life and creates positive relationships among the people of the world. Sane religion is productive and allows for clear thinking and a mind free from rage, suspicion and hatred.

I can’t begin to tell you how convenient that is for me to make a pet theological point.

The New Testament word in Greek that is translated ‘salvation’ is soteria.  Take a look at the admirable Brian Stroffregen’s consideration of the Zacchaeus story in Luke 19:1-10 here.

The word “salvation” and its relative “saved” bring to mind heaven and hell, right?  Folks tend to understand them exclusively concerning what happens to a person post-death, the (hopeful) benefits of croaking.

But when you take a look at that word in the Greek, it means health, healing, and wholeness.

So when Jesus said, “Today, salvation has come to this house,” he did not cryptically message everybody therein that they were going to up and die that day.

Makes me think of the time that I served as a chaplain in a hospital, and was asked to visit a sick, but not dying, man.  So I did, collar and all, and as this patient saw me walking into his room, he said, “Oh My God, it’s worse than I thought!

Instead, Jesus said, “Today, health, healing, and wholeness have come to this house.”  That is, that Jesus embodies health, healing, and wholeness, and chooses not to hoard it.  He shares it. He is an ambassador of it.

Now back to Raushenbush’s blog.  He points out that the root of the English word ‘sanity’ and ‘sane’ is sanus, namely (get this) health and healing.

So let’s think this through.

A political process ought to be sane: i.e., healing.  And religious people are also to be sane: i.e., healing.

Can it be that there is a cross-over here?  That neither the political process nor the religious agenda are about one’s private benefit (namely whether a politician will advance one’s own lot in life or that you yourself land in heaven)?  That perhaps both politics and religious concern the community, serving to usher in health, healing, and wholeness?

I like Jon Stewart’s placard, “I disagree with you….but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler!”

I imagine that the religious equivalent might be, “I disagree with you…but I’m not going to expect your eternal damnation because of your opinion.”

Sanity is underrated, I believe, as is individual and communal health, healing, and wholeness.

I hope sincerely that you and our political process are saved.

Peace,

Anna