The Common Ground We Owe

I’ve been reflecting upon fact and truth a great deal these days. My head struggles to wrap around how accepted fact and truth regarding the issues our country faces can vary so dramatically among Americans. I want to believe that our leaders and greater public seek common ground on which to begin working for instead of against one another.

Accepted fact and self-evident truth in the political, secular world can vary just as much among Christians. As a seminarian, I studied scripture of the Holy Bible from a historical critical method. This challenged me since I had been raised to read scripture literally. These interpretative approaches explain why even Christians disagree about fact and truth.    

At the end of the day, I want to believe that despite interpretive differences, Christians embrace that scripture reveals truth about God that is timeless and universal. Christians cannot dispute the Greatest Commandment of loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves. This is the lens of truth through which all commandments are followed. Divine law and mercy include and direct us toward the value and love of all people.

A similar lens of truth was the impetus for American polity. The foundational truth of a just government that our forefathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence is the endearing value and equality for all people by their Creator. One cannot dispute that this truth had not achieved its truest potential at its inception, a time when women could not vote, persons of African descent were treated as property, and indigenous persons were forcibly displaced.

When the American people and its elected leaders disagree on the facts, they need to agree on the revered truth about humanity as stated in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble of the Constitution. We must strive for a greater inclusivity of these self-evident truths no matter the side of the political coin each of us claims. We owe that to one another. I want to believe that this is possible.

- Wendy Kalan

Wendy Kalan is an ordained pastor of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). Wendy has enjoyed serving in smaller, rural communities– five years in Sterling, Colorado and now as pastor of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in LaSalle.