My “Why Statement”
My favorite scene from the musical “Hamilton” is Angelica’s toast to her little sister, Eliza, and her groom, Alexander Hamilton, at their wedding celebration in the brilliantly staged song “Rewind.” Angelica raises her glass high and sings, “to your union!” the chorus, full of friends and fellow revolutionaries, repeats, “to THE Union!” Angelica continues, “and the hope that it provides … may you always be satisfied.”
I LOVE old school hip hop music (a story for another time). I also love American history and I studied political science in college. Put all of this together and, for me, “Hamilton” was like the coolest, nerdiest dream of a musical I could ever imagine! It is truly a brilliant masterpiece!
Back to “the toast.” Do you see the subtle brilliance (most of you probably already did)? It’s the double meaning of union — Alexander and Eliza’s new union in marriage, and the Chorus, made-up of many rag tag revolutionary American soldiers toasting to “the Union.” They are toasting to the hope that both a new marriage, and the possibility of a new Republic provide to the world.
In the summer of 2020, I read a book by Christian author, John Eldredge. The book is titled, “Get Your Life Back: Every Day Practices for a World Gone Mad.” Like most of Eldredge’s books, I found it to be incredibly practical and encouraging. He even designed a “Pause” app to go along with the book; which I use often and strongly recommend. One of the themes of “Get Your Life Back” is the idea that all of us were created for Union with God. That is, deep, intimate and sustained connection with the Eternal, divine, everlasting presence of God (which Christ followers believe is only possible through the Holy Spirit of Jesus). Eldredge says,
It might surprise some readers to hear me say this, but we are after much more than faith, even more than intimacy. We are after UNION, oneness—where our being and God’s Being become intertwined. The substance of our life—our personality, our heart, our physicality, all of our experience—is filled over time to saturation with the substance of God’s life.From “Get Your Life Back: Every Day Practices for a World Gone Mad,” by John Eldredge
If we accept this as true (which I wholeheartedly do), then Eldredge encourages us to consider what are the things that keep us from Union with God (or, if you don’t believe in God, what keeps you from connecting with life’s deeper meaning and purpose)? Well, all of us could probably list 100 things, or more, but here are a few common ones: endless distractions, business, exhaustion, betrayals, trauma, deep disappointments, shocking daily events and losses, both big and small. Eldredge says, “suffering in all its forms will slowly erode union, if we’re not careful.”
We live in a world where there has been a sustained erosion of union, on just about every level. Spiritually, physically, emotionally and politically, we are more divided than ever. Both inside of ourselves and in our world at large. We compartmentalize and separate things, (inside and outside of us), that are not separate at all. My actions, every day, impact my family, my neighbors, my community, city, state, nation, the earth and the entire spiritual and physical ecosystem of both the seen and unseen world all around me. Like it or not, we are all interconnected. And, if I’m not the same person on Monday, as I am on Sunday, that impacts the world around me. My union, within myself, and with everyone around me, matters deeply.
If this is true, then my personal state of “union” plays a role in us staying united (or divided) as a country. Practically speaking, what keeps us from living in deeper union with our friends and neighbors? Some of the same things I listed above, for sure—being too busy, too distracted, too self-consumed to engage with someone else. But can we also see the destructive forces that are hell bent on dividing and conquering all of us: partisan hacks, politicians who say things they don’t even believe and make promises they rarely keep, talking heads, social media “agitators” and our friends who just won’t STOP sharing fake conspiracy theories, fear inducing lies and toxic, manipulative rhetoric to get us to believe the worst about one another. These forces come from divided and divisive humans; fellow Americans who, for whatever reason, believe it’s okay to demonize entire groups of people. Even though we are all Americans, we are led to believe that it’s “us versus them.” We believe these lies and, as a result, we are more divide and distrusting than ever.
I have a lot more thoughts on Union, but let me try to bring this post home.
In the end, I believe that part of my deepest calling is to be a Uniter: to tear down ALL of the silly walls that we have erected—walls inside of us, and walls outside—walls between: sacred and secular, black and white, rural and urban, conservatives and progressive, hippies and hillbillies, Christians and non-Christians, the “woke” and the broke, the prideful and the humble.
For me, that’s what I mean when I say I’m working to build a “more perfect Union.” Spiritual, emotional, physical and yes, one day, even political, Union! We will always have conflict and disagreements, but our differences do NOT have to threaten our Union. By respecting our differences, offering each other more Grace and rejecting divisive rhetoric, we can start to rebuild our union, within and without. True American Patriots, of all persuasions, will wholeheartedly agree!
More thoughts on Union to come, but for now, I’ll close this long-winded post with “My personal Why Statement”…
TO CONTINUE SERVING … As a Connector & Encourager of People, Teaching & Inspiring Actions that Lead to More Perfect Union (spiritual, emotional, physical and yes, even political, Union!).
PS: Practically speaking, for me, NONpartisan political reforms are the wisest path for building a “more perfect Union.” Systematic reforms, such as: Open, NONpartisan Primary Elections will combat partisan extremism and negative polarization. For the future of our country, will you join me in growing this critical reform movement?
#moreperfectunion #letallvotersvote #politicalreforms #spiritualunion #union