Michelle Obama coined one of the great political slogans of this century – ‘When they go low, we go high.’
In an interview with the New York times she unpacked the meaning of this.
“‘Going high’ doesn’t mean you don’t feel the hurt, or you’re not entitled to an emotion. It means that your response has to reflect the solution. It shouldn’t come from a place of anger or vengefulness. Barack and I had to figure that out.
“Anger may feel good in the moment, but it’s not going to move the ball forward.”
Abortion is an emotive issue and I’ve seen a lot of anger in public discourse over recent days.
A journalist tweeted on Sunday ‘Why do almost all men with ‘Christian Dad’ in their profile hate poor women so much?,’ while an Alliance councillor posted on Facebook to accuse pro-life protestors at Stormont of ‘self-championing,’ ‘salivating over photoshopped foetuses,’ ‘turning their gaze away from the children in need among us,’ and being unwilling to do the ‘hard work’ of actually helping.
It hurt to read those words – it especially hurt on behalf of the many good people I know who are passionate in their support of the vulnerable, the poor, the needy.
I think of friends who have gone through the fostering process with its long invasive checks, hope and heartbreak, and weep to imagine them lumped in with a callous stereotype.
One of the biggest Christian conferences in the country is New Horizon in Coleraine at the start of August.
One of the speakers was Rosaria Butterfield who spoke passionately and powerfully about adoption, within the broader theme of radical hospitality.
As Christians adoption is one of our most precious pictures of salvation and of our identity as God’s adopted children, shown the same love that the Father shows to Jesus Christ his Son.
I wish that those who pour petrol on the flames of public discourse would instead sit down and talk to people they disagree with.
Try to ‘move the ball forward’ instead of winning the argument.
At the same time we Christians need to walk the walk – not merely to head off accusations of hypocrisy, but to live out a faith in the God who cares for the fatherless and the widow and adopts the unwanted and the damaged, the unworthy and the unloved.
Rev Jonathan Boyd,
Hyde Park & Lylehill Presbyterian Churches, Templepatrick