Monday, January 16, 2017

How to Heed God's "Waze" as a Post-Partisan People

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD."

If you haven't yet seen it, Bishop Barron's YouTube commentary on the Ways of "Waze" sketches some brilliant analogies between the App and our lived-experience of Divine Providence. 
The basic idea is that we often think we know the best way to get somewhere, but the "eye in the sky" sees things we don't and redirects us accordingly. Following the Waze App can be counter-intuitive and hard to accept, of course, and to ignore its promptings can lead to lots of wasted time sitting in traffic. But it is the surest and safest path to where we really want to be.
This analogy with divine Providence makes perfect sense intellectually, but what might it mean existentially--particularly in light of such a divisive presidential election and inauguration?  
Flawed political parties continue propping up flawed candidates, and it is time for Catholics to explore new avenues for transforming the political landscape. If God's thoughts are going to be our thoughts, then here are four paths toward rethinking the how the Lord's Waze might become our ways:

  1. Let go of our usual modes of doing business. Familiar categories of thought are always more comfortable, but just being a faithful Republican or a faithful Democrat will not do justice to building the Kingdom of God here and now. We need to forge creative coalitions and new partnerships, starting with the defense of all those who are most vulnerable.

  2. Admit that we don't know what the future holds, but that Someone else does. The road of life takes some surprising twists and turns, and the other drivers may be just a entrenched in their positions as we once were. But the Lord's Waze will take all of this into account in a single glance and will invite us to humbly accept our own limitations, along with the limitations of others. We'll never be abandoned on the side of the road, as long as we keep following the recommended detours.

  3.  Embrace the fact that Someone else knows the best way to get from point A to point B. After all, the "best way" implies being best in all senses, as well as best for promoting the common good, rather than just being the easiest or least complicated. To follow the Lord's Waze will require that we disregard the usual Democratic or Republican "playbooks" in order to take the next right step today. Trusting the Lord's Waze will prove to be a liberation from worn-out world views--even if our ultimate destination might remain just beyond the horizon of our present vision.

  4. Acknowledge that we're not really in charge of our own destiny, even though we are responsible for responding appropriately to God's promptings deep within our hearts. The Lord's Waze reminds us not only that our lives are not all about us, but also that our daily directional decisions are not just our decisions.

We need some new navigational devices to guide us on new political paths. After all, the Lord reminds us that, "As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts" (Is 55:9). If we can accept the Waze of divine Providence and respond faithfully, we might even find common ground where we least expect it.
P.S. Check out the 9 Days for Life campaign (a 60 second video intro), and sign up to join the novena of prayer for the legal protection of the unborn, from January 21st-29th!