One More Thing with Pastor Tim Burchill 3.4.2024

Synecdoche - Defining the Whole with a Single Part. 

 

         After first service, someone who supports Donald Trump came up to me and told me that they didn’t like me using Mr. Trump’s use of nicknames in the 2016 campaign—despite being spot on as an illustration of synecdoche.  They thought it put him in a negative light.  They pointed out that I rarely mention President Biden.  I get it.  I changed the illustration for the next two services.  (Though I have to say if I could find a good illustration of Biden doing the same thing I would have definitely used it.)

 

         I thanked this person for their input and reassured them that it’s not my desire to endorse nor denigrate a particular candidate for office.  I’m just trying to find accessible illustrations for the points I’m trying to make.  Any offense that might have made was certainly unintentional on my part.

 

         What I was trying to communicate in that very message how it is human nature to make judgments about people based on a small part of who they are, what they say, or how they act.  Paying close attention to whether a particular politician gets mentioned in a pastor’s preaching might actually be an example of taking a part and painting the whole with it.  Though in this case, I sincerely doubt it.

 

          I have taught and preached ever since I came to Carmel UMC three years ago that our ability to stick together in ministry, to one another, and to our community in the Spirit of Jesus should transcend our partisan politics.  I mentioned in the sermon itself that politics was once a relatively small part of who we were and now it has become determinative of our core identity.  I’m not a fan of that kind of polarization.  My core identity is some who loves God, follows Jesus, and is guided by the Holy Spirit.  It is not an affiliation to a political party (you might not be surprised to know that I am an Independent), and it is certainly not to any current crop of candidates or culture warriors.  My core identity is too wrapped up in my faith to be influenced by quadrennial elections.

 

         I have my own biases as I have confessed.  They may leak out in my conversations every now and then, but politics is the one area that I strongly believe we need to live and let live.  I don’t expect anyone to agree with me, nor do I look down on those who don’t.  I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t matter to most folks even if I were front and center about the vision I support for the future of our nation.  I laugh at billboards, Facebook posts, and advertisements pushing one agenda over the others.  In today’s world most informed people have already decided where their loyalties lie.  You’re either preaching to the choir or offending someone.  I see so little middle ground.  Which is sad, because that’s where I live—in that middle ground.

 

         We live in a world that needs wise and patient American leadership. 

We live in a country that needs thoughtful, prudent representatives who can come together for the greater good—whether that greater good benefits them personally or not. 

 

         We live in a state in which the quality of life for us and our families is always in danger of being compromised for one set of special interests or another.  We need state officials who see the biggest picture possible and have the courage to act on it—whether it serves their party or not.

 

         And we live in communities that do the best that they can to provide clean water, safe streets, excellent schools, and the necessary number of round-abouts.  We need to support whoever is putting our nation, state, and local communities ahead of every other competing demand placed upon them.  There you have my political agenda in a nutshell.  And oh yeah, I also want women and men of the highest moral character to be making the decisions that govern the daily lives of myself, my family, and my church flock. (For obvious reasons.)

 

          This is the long way around the barn to say that though I have occasionally have a personal dog in this fight I most certainly don’t have a pastoral one.  I love and minister to my people as I would hope my people would love and minister to one another.  You may root for Purdue or IU, you may love Chevys or Fords, you may be a Colts or a Chief’s fan, you may prefer Chick-fil-A or Popeye’s, you may support Republicans or Democrats—but as long as you’re a follower of Jesus Christ you are my sister and brother.  That’s good enough for me.  I pray that it be good enough for each and every one of us as well.

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Synecdoche - Defining the Whole with a Single Part. 

         After first service, someone who supports Donald Trump came up to me and told me that they didn’t like me using Mr. Trump’s use of nicknames in the 2016 campaign—despite being spot on as an illustration of synecdoche.  They thought it put him in a negative light.  They pointed out that I rarely mention President Biden.  I get it. 

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