An American citizen writes

After Any Election

In a land where government is "by the people" and "for the people," Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863; what is "big government"? Who are the "they" commonly referred to as the government? If the people are the sovereign power, the "they" is us, isn't it? Because we are the "they," doesn't our willingness to stand for what we believe have a distinct bearing on the atmosphere about us, whether in our homes, our churches, our careers, or in our governments or the world at large?

If we permit ourselves to become cynical and skeptical, ready to believe the suggestion that there is no hope for advancing human rights and no receptivity to new ideas—if we have a "what's the use?" attitude—we sell ourselves short. Apathy and conformity on the part of citizens may give rise to misuse—even abuse—of power. Participation in the governmental process at all levels is essential if democratic standards as we know them are to continue.

It can be beneficial to examine our thought to determine also how we are dealing with the government of our branch Church of Christ, Scientist. Are we leaving it up to "them"? Do we register a complaint with a friend or neighbor but neglect to take legitimate, intelligent action? Do we remember to vote according to unfailing trust in God's management and control of events? The issues are not lack of support, power struggles, or the like, but the age-old challenge to good by the assertive claims of evil—the specious, often glamorous promises of undisciplined living. The life-giving ways of selflessness, purity, justice, honesty, the ways of freedom and an abundant life, belong to good.

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Are You Putting the Cart Before the Horse?
January 15, 1977

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