MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday January 26th. Good morning! We’re so glad you’ve joined us today for The World and Everything in It. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. WORLD commentator Kim Henderson on fighting the right war.
KIM HENDERSON, COMMENTATOR: January 6th may be another “day that will live infamy,” but the 4th wasn’t exactly a sleeper, either. That’s when Representative Emanuel Cleaver, a Methodist minister, opened Congress with a prayer that covered all the bases, including an appeal to the Hindu god, Brahma.
January 4th was also the day lawmakers passed house rules for the 117th Congress, with some amended to strike gender-specific references from their text. Words like father, mother, sister, brother. No longer would the codex of terms that governed members of the previous 116 Congresses do. Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats had their way.
So, in retrospect, the Brahma thing and the gender-neutral stuff sort of prepared me for what happened on the 6th.
I was thumbing through a rack of sweaters marked 75 percent off when a son called from halfway across the country, interrupting my shopping reverie. “Look at the news,” he urged. I did. The image of the horned rioter roaming the hallowed halls of the Capitol was shocking. But it just added to a score of recent shocks to my sensibilities. Like a pandemic patient who’s lost her sense of smell and taste, I think I’ve lost my ability to react.
More importantly, though, I’ve lost my angst. I think it happened somewhere along Highway 24.
That’s the path I took to a ladies Bible study the day after those riots. An hour fifteen one-way—but I set the alarm and cranked the car because I was hungry for food that does not perish. Second Peter satisfied.
And at some point in the discussion about steadfastness and self control, the pronoun business at the Capitol came up. I raised my hand and asked a question: What do I do with the Nancy Pelosi in my life?
Everyone looked puzzled.
“You know,” I blurted out, “the one who insists I not say man-made or mankind, because it’s sexist. The one who’s pushing capital M, lowercase x instead of Mr. and Mrs.”
A woman to my left nodded. I guess she has one in her life, too.
Our wise leader responded like someone who’s taught the Bible for decades should. The understated, uncelebrated, un-tweeted answer went something like this: “How you conduct yourself with your Nancy Pelosi, that’s what will matter.”
We all knew what that meant. The hard stuff—fruit of the spirit kind of living. Things went quiet for a moment. Just the sound of iron sharpening iron.
It’s dizzying, this cultural shift we’re experiencing, but I’m realizing clever retorts and calling my senator isn’t going to stem the tide. For most Christians, the war isn’t in Washington. It’s within. It’s the battle to remember that love isn’t arrogant or puffed up. It’s the battle to know how to say what’s good for souls, and to say it with the law of kindness on our tongue. It’s the battle against anger and against angst—that hopeless, anxious feeling that has no place in the Christian heart.
I’m Kim Henderson.