Voting, Without a Sharp Spirit

posted on October 29

Voting, Without a Sharp Spirit
Our Methodist heritage has always been one of civic-mindedness and good citizenship. In 1774, John Wesley himself offered wisdom on voting, that included three admonitions for the people called Methodists:

  1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged to be most worthy.
  2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against.
  3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.

Voting has always been a part of my family’s life. I walked to First Lutheran Church in Lexington with my parents to cast their votes well before I was old enough to cast my own. My first voting opportunity was the presidential election of 1984, and candidates spoke on my own college campus.
As I mature, I have the privilege of knowing candidates personally; some I have watched grow up, and others have led alongside me in local churches. I know their families; I know their hearts. It must take courage to put oneself in the position of political candidacy. I try to remember that they are only human; they have stories and feelings.
I encourage you to vote next week, if you have not already. Do not allow this opportunity to pass you by. There are elections at every level that will determine the next paths of our nation, state, and municipalities. I also encourage you, as Methodists, to “speak no evil of the person you vote against.” It will do no good, and it could potentially do harm to sacred relationships in your life. Retaining a soft spirit, a spirit that is not hardened or sharp, will enable to you to move forward in friendship with those who see the world differently.
In case you haven’t had the opportunity to vote yet, we are including below links to the NC Board of Elections information and a letter from our United Methodist Bishops encouraging us to vote. We are also including a 100th anniversary article about the sacrifices made to open up the right to vote for women.
Lastly, but most importantly, I also encourage a deep dive into the spiritual disciplines of prayer, silence, and journaling during this period. It is a wonderful time for the daily examen. Speak with God often. Stay in love with God and ask God for the grace you need to stay in love with all your neighbors. May United Methodists lead the way this season with a powerful,  unique, holy, and much-needed witness in our nation.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Bev Coppley
District Superintendent

North Carolina State Board of Elections

Voter Resources

Early Voting

Election Day Voting

U.S. Bishops call for full participation in November elections

United Methodist bishops based in the United States today issued a statement on Faith and Democracy, calling on the people of The United Methodist Church to support voter registration and encourage people to vote in the November 3 elections.

Celebrating 100 Years of Women's Suffrage

United Methodist Women honors and celebrates the women's suffrage movement and all those who fought for a woman’s right to vote. Yet we also acknowledge that women of color did not benefit from this right for years to come.

Voting Without a Sharp Spirit
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