A proposal here, to get us in the right frame of mind heading into 2019, to steel our resolve, set our path, that sort of thing.
Let’s believe in Van Buren County.
Now, we understand for the vast majority of Van Buren County attentives who read that last sentence, we’re not making too difficult a request. These are the people who step out in the world every day with the belief that this is a good place and on its way to getting better. No reason to suggest they believe in the county, since they already do so.
But here we’d like to sharpen the point a little finer, give us a chance to really dig in on this thing, really make this the year that matters, to social turnaround, if you will.
A county is, after all, a series of dotted lines on a map somewhere, spaces marked out on dirt. Yet we all know that this place, the lined out parcel of land, has its value to us in its people, our friends, our neighbors, those same people stepping out in the world every day. We are proposing, then, that in believing in Van Buren County, what we are truly asking is to believe in its people, your friends, your neighbors.
Now we’re making what some will call a not-as-easy request of believing in the people who make up the county as believing in the county. But then we are in those times. Yammering voices on the television night in and night out call on us to be fearful of these people and those people – knowing that fear is a powerful motivator, knowing that powerful motivation drives viewers to stare longer, knowing that longer staring allows higher advertising rates, knowing that higher advertising rates makes for bigger paychecks, and knowing bigger paychecks motivates fear mongering.
Let’s back up from that. Let’s pretend life isn’t a television show (difficult in these saturated times, but we believe in you). Let’s – and here we’re not pretending – say that life, including life in this community, is a positive nurturing thing, that good times have marked our way and still better times are ahead. And from here that it’s not just better for you, but it’s better for those other people too, not just the friends and neighbors but those people around you, in front and behind you in line, next to you in traffic, sharing the space we share, enjoying, as you are, this parcel, this place and what this place is on its way to becoming.
And pause here. We’re not completely removed from reality. Some of us, some of those we share this space with, maybe we don’t need to trust them with, say, the keys to the dynamite locker. (All have discernment, some have more discernment than others, after all.) But on the flip side, let’s trust the person with the locker keys to make the right decisions, and the person in charge of oversight able to keep and check on the dynamite-locker-watcher. The point being that we believe in people, and we believe in the judgement of those given responsibility.
After all, they’re one of us.
So yes, here we are, 2019, the year we believe in Van Buren County and by that, the people of Van Buren County.
Matthew 7: 1 - 12 (NIV)
7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.