“Let’s cross the line in the sand”
“Let’s cross the line in the sand: Cooperation, not vitriol, is best for country" is the title of the monthly feature, "Soul Food" published in today's Gazette by Neil Deupree. I urge you to read Neil's column. I agree with Neil. Do YOU agree with Neil?
I make it a point to read the special column, “Soul Food” published monthly by The Janesville Gazette. As identified by the Gazette, “’Soul Food’ is a column written by local ministers for The Gazette. It offers commentary on community issues or concerns. It appears on the fourth Sunday of the month.”
The author of today’s column is NEIL DEUPREE. He is well known clergyperson in Janesville and throughout Rock County. Neil has a very significant record of public service having served on our ROCK COUNTY BOARD for several years. He worked for healthy supportive services for ALL citizens of Rock County.
Neil has been a leader for ALL of ROCK COUNTY with awareness of the diversity of the county north to south, east to west. He continues to be involved with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and the Rock County Diversity Action Team.
I know of NEIL’s advocacy work having been on the e-mail list for Janesville clergy which carried many of Neil’s messages working to enhance the cooperation and effective work of all Christian groups in Janesville with awareness of the diversity of religions. I would note that the majority of organized religious groups in Rock County claim the identity, “Christian.” There are, however, other world religions represented, including Baha’ism, Judaism, Islam.
Currently Neil is Chaplain with Agrace Hospice Care.
I was heartened and encouraged to hear NEIL’s appeal through this feature calling for WE THE PEOPLE to CROSS THE LINE IN THE SAND and asserting, “Cooperation, not vitriol, is best for country.”
Alert to Neil’s leading Gospel text for the column, “Whoever is not with me is against me.” (Luke 11:23)
And he comments, “Jesus said that as he was being criticized for one of his healings. His opponents actually accused him of being in league with the devil.”
Neil continues to plug-in the text, “It makes me think of our current state of affairs. The line has been drawn, and we’re either on one side or the other. We talk at each other, not with each other. We reinforce our beliefs and our opinions by speaking only with those who agree with us. Compromise has become a dirty word. Mutual respect seems to have faded away. Whoever is not on “our side” is mistrusted and suspected. “
Then comes the citation of Jesus’ alternative statement in Luke, “Whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:50)
We benefit as Neil reminds us, “Jesus said this as the disciples were offended by someone else using Jesus’ name to do a work of healing.”
Neil attests to his guiding principle, “It’s a matter of context, of course. But for most situations, I’d like to take the latter saying as my guiding principle.”
I urge YOU to read the whole “Soul Food” feature on p. C6 of today’s Janesville Gazette.
I am encouraged and heartened by Neil’s thoughts and urgings. Are YOU?
Neil reports on the group “Reach Out Wisconsin – Fostering respect and understanding in Wisconsin politics.” I urge you to check this website.
Neil then asks, “Can we help this to happen in Rock County?”
Neil cites ground rules needed for the work of fostering respect and understanding:
We’re trying to understand each other, not convince each other.
We ask questions to clarify, not make statements to win a debate.
We respect each other. We don’t call names. We grant that the “other side” has sincerely come to their conclusions for their own good reasons. This one is the most important.
Can we step across the lines we’ve drawn to find out how we can work together? Can we imagine a time when the lines between us have been erased and we are all on the same team?
Neil challenges us, “Can we step across the lines we’ve drawn to find out how we can work together? Can we imagine a time when the lines between us have been erased and we are all on the same team?
“Can we appreciate how our differences are making us each stronger?”
He concludes citing the wisdom of Proverbs, “As iron sharpens iron, so we sharpen one another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
What do YOU think?
Here we go…
John Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor of political science at UW-Waukesha and an advocate for democracy/civics education in Wisconsin high schools. John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.