Singular Thanks

In the movie Men in Black, Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) tells Agent Jay (Will Smith), “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.” When I add the concept of empathy to this quote, I find that it helps me to understand how our country could elect an open and unabashed racist, misogynistic, homophobic xenophobe as president just over two weeks ago. I will admit that the results of the election have made it difficult for me to get into the Thanksgiving spirit, although this holiday is my favorite of the year. While I am able to comprehend that there is much in my life to be thankful for intellectually, the specter of a nation in which several groups of people hold legitimate fears for their rights and safety casts a pall over the holiday.

Despite all of this, this year I am thankful for a singular, individual act of kindness. Last night my wife lost her cell phone while we were doing some last minute grocery shopping. Besides the fact that our entire lives are in our cell phones we are also spending the holiday out of town, so the lack of familiarity added an extra layer of fear and insecurity as we searched inside and outside the supermarket. As we searched, feeling self-consciousness and a little foolish, I bent down to look under another car in the area where the tracking device said the phone was located. When I got back to my feet a lady approached and asked “What are you looking for?” Explaining the situation to her she said, “I understand how frustrating that is. I had a friend who lost her phone and the tracking led her to the very house where her phone was. I’ll help you look.” I was so grateful for the help that we were there for almost 20 minutes before I thought to introduce myself and ask for her name. At one point she turned to me and said, “Let’s pray that we’ll find your wife’s phone,” and she proceeded to do so. There were times when she seemed more eager to find my wife’s phone than either of us. She let me use the flashlight on her phone, as well as making the occasional necessary phone call. She approached other strangers to ask if they had seen the phone or if we could use their phones to help locate the lost phone. She went into the store with us, approaching every worker she could find to inquire about a phone that had no connection to her or her life. My wife and I eventually thanked her for her help and went back into the store to search. When we emerged defeated from the store about forty-five minutes later, Ms. Johnson hopped out of her car and helped us search again. Eventually we gave up and came home, three hours after we first left to go to the store. Our search was unsuccessful, but my wife and I both marveled at Ms. Johnson and her willingness to help strangers in need.

When I called this morning to discover that someone found my wife’s phone, I thought of Ms. Johnson again. I am planning to call her to let her know that we found the phone and to invite her over for Thanksgiving dinner. Just over two weeks ago, I watched people give into panic and fear, electing a man who promised jobs and security for some at the expense of the whole. And while I won’t say that my faith in humanity is fully restored, I am grateful this Thanksgiving for the ability of a singular person to be smart and empathetic.

Jason Hines is a former attorney with a doctorate in Religion, Politics, and Society from the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University. He is also an assistant professor at Adventist University of Health Sciences. He blogs about religious liberty and other issues at www.TheHinesight.Blogspot.com.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7775

i’m seeing on the news just now that hillary’s popular vote lead is nearing the 2 million mark, which is prompting calls for a recount in rust belt states like michigan, pennsylvania and wisconsin…the thinking is that hacking of the dems online sites and emails was a clear fact, and that hacking and the altering of vote totals in critical states would not be more unheard of…

but it’s of deep interest that the collective pall from the triple whammy of san antonio, annual council, and now the trump election is spreading such a palpable and ominous darkness over the world…i don’t sense carefree happiness in store anywhere…things seem suddenly serious…

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You are right about the impact, especially of the Trump victory just on the heels of Autumn Council and its malnamed “Document of Unity.” Depressing about the direction both institutions are heading.

Like the author and other writers, it puts the focus on the local congregation, family, and individual responses to organizations such as supporting the American Poverty Law Center, TEAM, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, etc.

Focusing on our own individual response to local suffering, crises, needs, and fights for equality and non-discrimination and our own spiritual growth is where to put that worrying energy.

Also, in gratitude.

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You, the media, and the Democrats still don’t get it. And as long as they remain so out of touch with the common man, they will continue to stay in the dark. This election was not an endorsement of Trump or any of his indiscretions or bad attitudes. It was a rejection of an out of touch business as usual government. The Democrats have no one to blame but themselves for choosing such a scandal plagued candidate. Her guilt or innocence is irrelevant; it was the perception that mattered. And the conspiracy to stop Bernie from getting any traction didn’t help the situation. He probably could have beaten Trump, even as radical as some of his ideas are. People liked him; they didn’t particularly like Hillary. And her negative image existed long before she began her campaign. Will they learn from this and choose someone less controversial next time? Time will tell.

This is almost comical. These are the same Democrats who claim that voter fraud is rare, and therefore we don’t need voter ID laws, even though there are numerous cases of dead people voting, among other things. I guess there’s no fraud if it goes their way.

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There will always be those in society who are kind, caring, responsible, and willing to go the extra mile - or 2 o 3 - and they are more plentiful than we realize. I recently became disabled - walk carefully with a cane - and have experienced the kindest of people and the meanest of people. The kind people outnumber the meanies 50:1. I have had people rush to open and hold doors, allow me to go ahead of them in the cashier line, offer to help me with packages, reach items from the top and bottom shelves in the supermarket, etc. I live in New York City, where people think we are just about ourselves. That is so not true. And the kindness comes from all races, economic status (wealthy to homeless), sexual orientations, nationalities, age, religion (in NY we also have many Muslims and Jews who you know by attire), and gender. Yes, the election has exposed those who were outwardly living lies for years, but secretly were hating others. It is very sad that they now believe that outward demonstration of their hate is encouraged and permissible. Thankfully, despite what the media may have us believe, those people are in the minority. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

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We are living in the days oftheJudges where every man did what was right in their own eye. Recall SA they booed a former GC President,probably the best in my life time. I have just completed Leon Pabetta’s auto-Biographty-- worthy fights. he gave Hillary high marks. However she treated staff poorly. it came to roost in the letter to Congress on reopening the emails. Never under estimate the little people. Adventist has always Been and. End time people. how, We. Can live it. TZ

It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that “Ms Johnson” voted for Trump. Wouldn’t that be a little awkward?

I doubt Bernie could have taken down Trump either. Especially after what he wrote about women in a 1972 Vermont article. Despicable. How could he have even spoken about Trump’s comments to Billy Bush after what he said? But Hillary’s pontificating about Donald’s actions didn’t really resonate with the people given the way her husband has always acted around women…

Trump has hired women and minorities by the thousands. He has dated non-white women. He has married two immigrants. He has offered minorities and women several cabinet positions already. He wants to usher in more control of our borders. He is willing to be honest about the fact that too many Muslims around the planet are in fact violent. I prefer his Jeffersonian approach to Islamic violence.He has effectively turned a million dollar start from his father into billions. Maybe he is the president who has the business intuition to reduce the deficit, while Obama has only accelerated America’s financial decline. Are we not ready to hit 20 Trillion? Trump has been a hands-on mover and shaker who may very well know how to get the young and able to actually seek employment and provide for themselves, in contrast to how Obama has exploded the number of welfare recipients.

In the past eight years, I have not seen any racial healing. It has only gotten worse. No hope, no change there.

Sari Fordham didn’t know how she could mother her child, a pastor at LSU didn’t think he was able to preach his sermon on Sabbath, now we have Hines, who has lost his faith in humanity and is not in the mood for Thanksgiving. Please! Don’t let it get the best of you like that. It won’t effect you that much…you all need to learn the art of compartmentalizing.

I really believe that the left overestimated America’s willingness to continue to drift Marxist. This is not a choice for bigotry, racism, etc (Which Donald Trump couldn’t have been and still won so handily), it is a rejection of American Marxism.

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I hope that articles accepted for publication on this SPECTRUM web site will soon stop including partisan political jabs such as: [quote=“spectrumbot, post:1, topic:12487”]
open and unabashed racist, misogynistic, homophobic xenophobe
[/quote]
There have been other recent similar unfortunate examples. While these may provide catharsis for the writers and readers who are part of the estimated 47% of legal U.S. voting citizens who voted for HC, they are offensive to readers who are part of to the other approximately 47% of legal U.S. voting citizens who voted for DT, possibly resembling dramatization over political loss. I would like SPECTRUM to be free of offensive polarizing partisan political material because this is not within the mission of SPECTRUM.

The tendency for bias and projecting negativity onto groups who we do not feel aligned with is natural, but unhelpful. Jesus reached out positively to diverse groups and did not seem to put much effort into worldly governance (politics). There is some biblical support for not judging others. Some veins of liberal thought run against prejudice. Might that include political prejudice?

Paintings can be more realistic when a fine brush is precisely used.

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