There is more media coverage of the Senate investigation of potential links between the Trump election team and Russia than most other events in the world, and this is unfortunate.  Most of the news looks more like entertainment and distraction than useful information.  In reality, whether or not there was collusion between Trump’s team and Russia does not really matter in what is happening in the world.  in the same way, in Alberta, pipeline conflicts obscure work on finding safer ways of shipping bitumen and discussing whether expansion of the bitumen processing in Northern Alberta will help the economy or reduce the value of our product.  We want OPEC to reduce production at the same as we want to increase our production.  Instead of ideological arguments (“Oil is bad” vs “Oil is good”) we need comprehensive economic and environmental analysis, especially from the viewpoint of our faith (how does this or that decision help marginalized people, show respect for the environment, now and in the future).

As followers of Jesus who said to be as innocent as doves and as cunning as serpents, we need to reserve our emotional responses to social issues, parking them in safe places, while we look for real information, not slogans, in making decisions about what we will support or oppose.  Our roles as followers of Jesus require us to make the effort to learn what we need to know, and to act as best as we can.

The church today needs to prove its relevance for people who discount most institutions, and part of that proof is taking the time to take sound positions on difficult issues instead of emotionally satisfying ones.  We, as members of the church, need push church leaders to move past reactions, such as we are prone to do with issues like pipelines and elections of people like Donald Trump.  We need judgement to look past headlines to the reality of this world, and respond instead of react to reality.