Greetings All, This is my first article for the Baldwin Bulletin. I am not new to the area. In fact, I have served in western Wisconsin for over twenty years. However, my new call at Cross Lutheran in Roberts means that I can now share insights through this publication. It is an honor to do so, as I love my turf and the people here.

We are all most likely sick of the news cycle of late. Granted, we do need to be aware of what is happening so that we can make informed and faith-filled decisions. Still, I find myself often turning off the car radio and ignoring the screens more now than I have ever before. I am not so sure this is a bad thing.

Indeed, my heart has been saddened over these last few years at the divisions in our country. Everything has become political. Even a pandemic has political sides. I find it strange and very sad that we have been able to politicize an illness and racial justice. If we can make these things political than God help us literally!

To me, I am wondering if it is a breakdown in communication. Social media and screens do have their advantages but there is also a dark side. I really believe that they have led to the breakdown of civil discourse and have categorized people unfairly. Unfortunately, they are often the source of biased news and lies that is taken as truth just because it is on the internet. There is even a sadder element in the false sense of communication that has happened. We believe that our exchanges separated by bandwidth and screens are actual conversations, but they are not.

Unfortunately, through the separation of screens and bandwidth, cables etc. we write things that we probably would never say face to face. We also read other’s words with our own filters and put our own

take (which is often wrong) on what someone else has typed. No wonder our division is so strong these days. I cannot help but think that Jesus is doing a divine facepalm at our behavior. With a fair amount of confidence, I say that many of us have not witnessed our faith online. More often, I feel that sin gets the space rather than our faith. As the election draws nearer; I fear that things will only get worse.

Unless, of course, we resist the urge to participate in the forces of evil that continue to divide us. Change can happen because with God all things are possible. Often the most difficult change to enact is the change of the self, but God will help with that too. If you go on social media go on with a prayer and the resolve not to fan flames. Years ago, we had the WWJD movement. I never liked it as I knew that I often cannot and could not do what Jesus does. However, I do use WWJS (what would Jesus say?) This, I believe, is the over-riding question we must use in all our engagements in the remainder of 2020. Odds are that he would say something far better than what we would.

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