DLGP

Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Is America Still Beautiful?

Written by: on November 22, 2022

Shelby Steele’s Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country is a great reminder of the many issues we face as Americans in place that claims freedom depending on our your race, religion, and political party. Segregation, has not gone away, it is something that is not brought up in conversations or discussions. Unfortunately if we do not address things in our own time, we will force our children to do it for us. [1]

Our the Liberals to Blame?

My dad was a child of the 1960’s and witnessed and participated in the liberal movement that swept the nation during this time. He did not agree with the war in Vietnam. My dad loved our country, but also believed in democracy, he was passionate about people, and served a great time of his life helping people with Autism and Down Syndrome. But is Liberalism a 21st century idea? Or is it something we have seen before in history with Greeks? Was liberalism the cause of the downfall of the once great democracy of Greece?

I believe that these issues that my dad and Steele lived through and encountered are still issues we face today. Not only in the U.S. but it is far worse in other nations. I believe these issues are still present in our culture, but we simply ignore it and try not to draw any attention to these matters. The problem in America, it seems every four years these issues that no one really talks about come to the surface in Presidential elections. However I do believe that even though my dad and Steele stood on opposite sides, my dad still would have loved and honored Steele. Not only honored, but had great empathy for Steele.

Washington D.C.

My dad traveled a great deal, he spent a great deal of time in Washington D.C.. I believe all the buildings and most of all the government called to him. Most of all hope in this nation, hope in our government, hope in people. As much as my dad loved the capital he was very aware of the underlying problems. Often before accompanying him on meetings or dinners, he would prep me and educate me on the problems and tensions between cultures, ethnicities, and governments. I often frustrated him, as he tried to teach, I would often ask why don’t we submit to God.

Like Washington D.C., Steele’s book will always be in division. Conservatives will celebrate this book, as it will put more fuel on the fire for liberals. I believe it was Steeles hope for his book Shame would extinguish the problem between conservative and liberal parties, however the water seems to be a little muddy still. Theodore Lowi The End of Liberalism[2]. Samuel Huntington’s American Politics: The Promise Disharmony help bring a little more clarity than Steele’s book.[3] But what stands out in Steele’s book is his personal story and struggles.

Philadelphia Love

I love my dad very much, and share his great passion for the outdoors. However my dad and I are on opposite sides when it comes to politics. Thankfully we loved each other and laughed a lot.  In fact it took 44 years of my life for my dad to actually listen and learn from me. It took me being behind a pulpit. In year 45 of my life, my dad started to take notes on my sermons, mostly he was moved through my love for Christ, and love for others.

In the Gospels, we see the political parities that formed in the church in the Jewish culture. You had the Pharisees, Sanhedrin, and other Jewish sects or parties that knew the Word of God, but did not have the Word of God in their hearts. Jesus always went after the heart, that if the heart changed, the entire person changed.

Conclusion

I am thankful that Steele brought his own personal battles and struggles into the story, also Steel becoming aware of his own heart and hurts. He realized that his own being needed to change. That in him becoming aware, it helped him be aware others. To summarize, he stopped reacting (emotionally) and started responding. He went from a fixed mindset, to a growth mindset. Most of all, Steele came in a place of being in control of thoughts and feelings. What I respect most about him, that he came to place of not being rattled under criticism. Even under criticism he still tried to represent himself and his ideologies in a professional and respectful way. We can learn in how he was formed in his time of era and what the world was facing.

I think the real trick is, how do we disagree with each other and still love each other.

[1]  Shelby Steele. Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country. New York: Basic Books, 2015.

[2]Theodore Lowi The End of Liberalism. Second Edition W.W. Norton & Company 1979

[3]Samuel Huntington’s American Politics: The Promise Disharmony help bring a little more clarity than Steele’s book. Harvard University Press, Belknap Press, 1981

About the Author

Greg McMullen

Pastor Greg resides in Lake Stevens WA and pastors a small rural church in Machias WA. The Well Church has a large food ministry in which many different cultures come each week to get food and counsel. The Church has a small school that immigrants attend, the school is a ministry of mercy. Pastor Greg has a large family of 10 children and enjoys fishing, hiking, and nature.

3 responses to “Is America Still Beautiful?”

  1. Kristy Newport says:

    Greg,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and how you have been influenced from a political perspective. I am glad that you and your dad were able to come to the place where you could love each other in spite of your political differences.

  2. Michael O'Neill says:

    Awesome topic, Greg. How do you deal with politics in your church body? Obviously, you can’t please everyone, and I know you are Christ-centered, so is there a way you can recommend a new pastor to deal with political division or division in general among the flock?

    Thank you!

  3. Michael,
    This has been an interesting and growing time for me. I wish I had gone through this program before Covid. In Washington State there is great division in the state. We have one very large populated county called King County which is very democratic. Usually how that one county votes, affects the rest of the state which is primarily republican.

    In our state especially, there has been a great division and strife between the two parties. In the beginning of Covid, I was almost arrested for keeping my church and food ministry open. Democratic leaders wanted my head, while republican leaders stood up for and help me keep the food ministry operational.

    For the first year I was vocal in my disapointment in Democratic leadership in our area. This was very hard, because many churches were declaring themselves a republican church or democratic church. There was great divide in the church because of politics. I believe Satan used this opportunity to cause division and separation in the church.

    In one of the small towns we had a food ministry and outreach in, I was asked to run for mayor. I remembered from the gospels that when the people tried to crown Jesus king, He moved on to a different town.

    In that moment, I had to make a choice to be a follower of Christ, or a potential political canidate. I chose to be true to my calling, to know longer choose who I minister to, to love my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    This decision did cost me followers, but it spoke greatly to those who I disciple. We are to be moved by Christ and not by the crowds or peoples desires. We belong to the Kingdom of Heaven and not of this world.

    I encourage Christians and especially my church to not get caught up in all the hate and emotions. In our area we have had over 90,000 people leave Washington state and relocate in other states. The Northwest is the mission field. It desperately needs followers of Jesus who can minister to anyone.

    Since I have made this decision, I have ministered to many people on both sides and encouraged forgiveness and reconcillation in Christ Jesus.

    For God so loved the World! That He gave is only begotten Son, that whoever should believe in Him shall have eternal life.

    I had people focus on God’s word, His Love. That God so loved the world. Vaccinated or unvaccinated no longer is an issue because God so loved the World. Political parties, race, cultures no longer matters because God so loved the World.

    If God pardoned me of my sins, I can forgive and love others in hope they will accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

    Jesus used the Word of God to overcome the devil in Matthew. In this time especially, it is important we hold true to the Word of God, rather than our emotions or political beliefs. We must yield to Him and His will.

    God is Able!

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