Many years ago I was part of a church softball league. We were able to pull people we knew from around the community to form a team for Community of Christ. Every Sunday night we would head to the lights and take our positions out on the softball field. We quickly found out that our skill level compared to other teams was extremely limited causing us most nights to be non-competitive. Even with that we had fun and we continued to play hard.
Our second to last game we ended up somehow in the lead by one run in the bottom of the ninth inning. I changed out from pitcher that inning to centerfield. There was two outs with a runner on first. You could feel the emotion of our team as we were one out from clenching our first win of the season. The softball was pitched and the batter swung hitting a high fly ball straight to center field. I was stoked knowing I was in great position and this would cap off the win. Amped up, I began running forward a few steps. As I continued to position myself, the ball began carrying deeper and deeper into the field. Once I realized I had run up to much it was too late and the ball dropped behind me rolling to the fence. I ran after it and threw it in but by then it was too late. The batter and the base runner had scored winning the game for the other team.
The swing in emotions was brutal especially for me as I knew I had let my team down. The shame and disappointment immediately set in. I walked in hanging my head knowing so much hinged on my performance on that one play. Some of my teammates were heated not speaking while others patted me on the back. It was hard to look at them knowing I had disappointed them. I apologized and then we all dispersed to our cars to go back home. Most of the night my mind ran back through the game and in particular the last play. I beat myself up with negative comments and found myself restless throughout the night. Eventually I had to put it aside in my mind and tell myself mistakes happen. A mistake does not denote worth of a person.
Luckily that next week our team won finally satisfying our desire for a win. But this blatant experience reminds me of what the emotions of shame and disappointment can do to someone. This story just touches the surface of these emotions as there are so many other real and horrible experiences which cause deep emotional scars and lasting effects on our psyche.
God Believes You Have Worth
Through this whole experience I was still able to see my worth as a child of God and individual. However those with early childhood experiences and traumatic circumstances sometimes believe they have no worth and are not worthy. Community of Christ believes in the worth of all persons indicating no matter what you have been through or have experienced God loves you for who you are. All are worthy to come to the table to dine with the divine. It is in this concept where wholeness is found and healing takes place as people come to experience God through holistic relationships with others.
Its not easy to overcome these deep embedded emotions that sometimes unconsciously rule our lives. Much often goes back to trust in ourselves and others. There is power to our story and our ability to take the difficult steps needed for meaning and purpose. We must remember nothing is impossible when we come to God with an open heart and mind. Wholeness can be found and our lives can be restructured into something meaningful and profound.
All in all you have worth! You matter! God Loves You!
I hope everyone reading along is able to find and feel the worth they have as a child of God.
Please reach out with love to those you know to let them know their worth in your life. If you are ever needing anyone to talk with please comment below.
Get Out And Vote!
Election Day is almost here! Some people are excited about what the future holds while others are ready for advertisements and random text messages to cease. Soon enough it will all be over and we will move forward with those we have chosen to represent us.
I see voting as a civic duty. Its sharing your opinion on who you think can attack the relevant issues taking place both locally and nationally. Voting has become a mechanism for people to make change. It is where the collective voice is heard not just mine individually. Sometimes my voice will be with the majority while others it may not. Despite the outcomes it is in the act of voting that is important because it deliberately declares I have a voice and it will be counted.
How does this all relate to Christianity? Jesus wanted everyones voice to be heard. He overthrew the systems in place to turn everything upside down. He understood the discrimination and injustice and wanted to end it. Jesus healed the unclean, worked on the Sabbath, and spoke with woman and those outcast. He did this because he loved them, wanted them to be in relationship with God, and for them to have basic rights. Their voice mattered to him and he wanted the best for them. Today when so much matters on the resources available, economy, etc. voting matters. It gives people a voice and is a mechanism for change in this world. To me it seems like something Jesus would have advocated for.
Let's look closer at few things regarding voting.
Preventing individuals from voting has been happening since the beginning of the country. It was originally only white males that could vote unless you lived in New Jersey. New Jersey allowed single woman to vote up until 1807 when the state restricted their right to match the rest of the country. African Americans were unable to vote until 1870. And women who had campaigned for 70 years finally were given the right in 1920. You can read more about this in Erin Geiger Smith's new book "Thank You for Voting" which talks about the history and current dynamics of voting in America. One interesting fact is that voting is on Tuesday because of farmers schedule back in the 1700's.
Today allowing individuals to vote has become a political game. This comes with closing down polling stations so people have to stand in long line for hours at a time. Creating additional registration requirements or deadlines for people to access their right to vote. Moving polling stations outside of town so those without transportation are unable to vote. This strategy impacts the poor and impoverished by creating more difficulty for them to vote. Dodge City did this in 2018 which received national news. My point is Jesus fought for the poor and when we continue to create divisions to prevent people from acting on a constitutional right then I think we are not living up to our ideals.
Early Voting/ Mail In
Early voting or mail in ballots have been done state wide in Oregon since 1996 for all elections. They saw an increase in voting percentage meaning more people get to have a voice in what is happening. Washington moved to do this in 2011. Utah and Colorado started using mail in voting in 2013. The accessibility also saw an increase in voter percentage. In today's busy world and election day being on a working Tuesday, it only makes sense to give people additional options to fulfill their constitutional right.
For those worried about voter fraud with mail in ballots check out this New York City of Law report. You can also check out heritage.org and look at the numbers. It's not saying it doesn't happen its saying the number is so insignificant that it has no impact. Most voter fraud comes from clerical errors. Kansas, Kris Kobach only prosecuted 4 cases of voter fraud after indicating it was a major problem. Obviously we all want safe elections. We have been having elections for some time and I believe we do this well. In the middle of a pandemic we need to look at all options to keep people safe but we should be doing this anyways just to increase peoples rights.
The whole point of all this is for you to go out and vote and advocate for others to vote! If you really believe in the constitution and that everyone should have a right as equal people to have a say then get out and vote. Get your friends, neighbors, and anyone you can to fulfill their civic duty either by mail or in person.
This week advocate for others to vote!
Bearing Christ's Name
6a. From the earliest days you have been given a sacred principle that declares the inestimable worth of all persons. Do not forget.
b. The One who created all humankind grieves at the shameful divisions within the human family. A prophetic people must work tirelessly to tear down walls of separation and to build bridges of understanding.
c. You hold precious lives in your hands. Be gentle and gracious with one another. A community is no stronger than the weakest within it. Even as the One you follow reached out to those who were rejected and marginalized, so must the community that bears his name.
-Doctrine & Covenants 162 6a-c
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.
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Community of Christ
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Independence, Missouri 64050
Phone: (816) 833–1000 or (800) 825–2806