Last week, the Republican presidential candidate of the United States of America announced who his vice-president running mate was and it created a media blizzard. What can this mean? Is this a game changer? What groups are going to vote which way now? How much more money is each party going to raise as a result of this choice? In the middle of all this, no one is asking why the people of the United States go to the poll every four years in November.
I thought it would be appropriate to provide some tools for dialogue around what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America between now and November. Hopefully this series of dialogue processes can provide some wisdom from the source material that forms the nation in the middle of this money-driven polarizing election campaign.
Through the Kaleidoscope Institute, I have developed a method for studying important texts, specifically the Holy Scriptures. The process involves reading the same text 3 times out loud. After each reading, each person in the group is invited to share his or her response to a question using a process called “Mutual Invitation”. A similar method can be used to study important and beloved texts that formed and shaped the United States, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The text we suggest for the first session is the Introduction and part of the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence.
Declaration of Independence
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,
that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
In order to ensure that everyone who wants to share has the opportunity to speak, we will proceed in the following way:
The leader or a designated person will share first. After that person has spoken, he or she then invites another to share. Who you invite does not need to be the person next to you. After the next person has spoken, that person is given the privilege to invite another to share. If you are not ready to share yet, say “I pass for now” and we will invite later to share. If you don't want to say anything at all, simply say "pass" and proceed to invite another to share. We will do this until everyone has been invited.
Reflection Questions for Proper 15 (Year B)
1 Kings 2:10-12;3:3-14
Eric H. F. Law
For competent leadership in a diverse changing world
Upcoming Opportunities to Study with The Sustainist:
Holy Currencies: Creating Sustainable Missional Ministries
Rainbow Lodge Retreat Center, North Bend (near Seattle), WA
Register at: www.kscopeinstitute.org