Losing Your Faith

When I was considering which YAV site I wanted to be placed at, I was somewhat torn.  I didn’t doubt that my experience at any of them would be immense and life-changing in some way, or even that I would be glad I decided to go there.  Each of the options I looked at provided some incredible opportunities.  But I knew that the specific reasons I would be glad I went, and the specific ways in which my life would change, would be vastly different depending on which site I went to.  The task I had at that time was to try to predict what kind of specifically improved person I was going be glad to have become, before I began to become that person- and then to figure out which site would most help make that happen.

At some point during my discernment, I was on the phone with my older sister, and we ended up discussing some of my options.  When she asked me why I was potentially interested in Indy, I said, “Well I really like that the focus is interfaith.  But I don’t know if that’s a reason to go there.  I already know interfaith work is important. I don’t need to spend a year learning that.”

She responded with something along the lines of: “If interfaith work is so important to you, then why don’t you do it?”

Looking back, the real issue was probably more that the idea of living in Indianapolis for a year paled in comparison to the idea of living somewhere like South Korea for a year, and I was just making excuses.  But I couldn’t deny that my sister had a good point.  My YAV year wasn’t just going to be about learning about new issues (though that’s still a major and important aspect); it was going to be about doing work that matters to me, and exploring into causes I care about personally.

So I came here to learn about and engage in interfaith work.  Though my service at Habitat branches out to other things as well, that’s still the foremost part of my answer whenever somebody asks me why I’m doing a year of service in Indy.  And not everybody reacts to that answer the same way.

Early on in my year, my boss took one of my coworkers and me to a prayer breakfast downtown, with a lot of movers and shakers of the Christian Church in Indianapolis.  For those of you who, like me up until that point, have never been to a prayer breakfast- I can’t say whether or not they’re all like this one was, but here’s what they’re like if they are:

Essentially, a prayer breakfast is when a bunch of rich Christians get dressed up all nice, and meet in a big fancy room.  There, they eat a big fancy breakfast, and at some point, start lifting up big fancy prayers about the needs of the city.  These prayers then allow all the big fancy people there to feel good about helping out with all the dirty and/or complicated things going on in the world.  It’s a really great system, because, since they can now feel good about themselves, they no longer have to take any concrete action to help out with the dirty and/or complicated things, as a group which considers themselves the hands and feet of Christ might do.  Hooray.

In fairness, not all the people there were disconnected sycophants.  I know at least some of the people there would go on to do real, helpful things in the world.  And I believe even the majority of the people whom I rudely labelled sycophants just moments ago had to have been at least partially, if not mostly, well-intentioned.  Either way, none of that is really the point; that’s all just to describe where I was when this next bit took place.

The lady who was sitting next to me and I struck up a conversation before all the praying started, and over the course of that conversation, as is the way with such things, it was revealed that I was in Indy for interfaith work.  Moments later, I found out that this lady happened to be of the variety of person I mentioned earlier who doesn’t react very positively toward hearing about interfaith work.  Initially, she just seemed confused.  Then, there was a little back-and-forth, wherein it became clear she didn’t think I should be so reckless as to listen to the perspectives and experiences of people from other religions, particularly when it came to matters of religion.  I don’t remember a lot of what we discussed, but I do remember at one point she asked the question: “Aren’t you worried you’ll lose your faith?”

I had no answer for that.  Not in an “I’m so angry; I’m speechless!” way, but simply because I had never really considered it that way before.  At the time, I was only able to fumble out something along the lines of, “Umm… no.  Not really.”  But months later, this incident came back to mind, and I realized what my answer to her question really was.

I’m not afraid I’ll lost my faith as a result of interfaith involvement.  I’m afraid that, without it, I have no faith.

My faith teaches me that all people bear the Image of God.  My faith teaches me that the greatest commandment we ever received was to love God, and love one another.  My faith teaches me that God is infinite, and that God extends God’s grace to all people, through that unimaginable and insurmountably loving infinity. These are not just little quirks about my faith that I made up; they are part of the foundation of who God is, and who we are, according to the Christian tradition.  If I discount, avoid, or neglect the experiences and understandings of another person simply because they are not my own, I am running away from the Image of God as it’s been presented to me.

I could point to endless scripture, doctrine, and personal experiences that back me up on this, and even carry that point further still, but that’s not the purpose of this blog.  In a pathetically egotistical way with which I’m still coming to terms, this blog is just supposed to be about how I’ve grown over the course of my YAV year.

Before I came here, I knew interfaith work was important, and I almost left it at that.  When I started out here, I was eager to get involved, but I had no idea how to describe that to strangers.  As I move forward here, the experiences I’m having are slowly giving me the understanding and the words necessary to describe the imperative I believe God has for us to work together, for one another, regardless of our backgrounds.  And that’s why I’m here.

Let Us Work

Hey, I know it’s been a while since I posted here, but I promise I’ve got some stuff in the works.  In the meantime, here’s the latest post I wrote for the Habitat Interfaith Build blog-

 

We cannot stop.

We have worked hard, and accomplished something great.  The homes we built last year are a testament to the beauty of diversity, the sanctity of humanity, and the unfathomable, infinitely delightful, and irrefutable worth of our efforts when we come together for the good of one another.

At the same time, the world in which we performed that work has fractured.  The fear-borne divisiveness of our society has reached extreme highs, and the importance of our efforts to build community has subsequently skyrocketed.

Now, more than ever, we need people to start coming together in humility.

Now, more than ever, we need to be willing, able, and eager to learn from one another, and to serve one another.

Now, more than ever, our work is at its beginning.

That is not to say that the work we’ve already done is null and void, by any means.  On the contrary, what we’ve managed to accomplish so far shows us just how significant that work is.  It shows us how effective and meaningful this type of service is in combatting the trouble that seems to surround us in ever-increasing magnitude.

And yet there is so much yet to do, so much yet to begin fully.  When we consider that the entirety of humanity suffers or thrives as one, that the Image of God exists in the unity of all people, we have no course of action but to come together in action.  We are compelled to begin the restorative work of service.  And this service is not merely done for those we serve, nor for our own pride.  We serve one another for the greater good of every single one of us.

The artist Lilla Watson once said, “If you have come to help, then you are wasting your time.  But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

If there is one thing Habitat is good at, it is “working together.”  The journey we embark on with each and every homeowner is a testament to the value of cooperation, human dignity, and the potential within all of us to build great things together.  We emphasize that what we do is a “hand up,” not a “handout.”  The work done at these Interfaith Builds especially, brings all people of different backgrounds together, to walk alongside a homeowner in the incredible work they do.  It is not the work of some, presented as a gift to others.  It is an act of supreme equality and togetherness.  It is the efforts of many, for the good of many.

And it is as hard as it sounds.  The efforts of many (as you may have already guessed) cannot be done alone.  In order to make these builds possible, we need the support of many different faith groups, coming together for one cause.  Currently, we are striving to attain the funding necessary for this year’s Interfaith Build.  It does not happen overnight, and it does not come easily, but we invest in it persistently.  We commit to this work, because we trust that accomplishing it together is glorious.  We commit to this work, knowing that despite our diverse religious backgrounds, our religious conviction to serve and to love one another can still unite us.  We commit to this work because it is worth every bead of sweat, every dollar spent, and every difficult moment, to see this work done.

So let us work together, all of us.  Let us work together to show love and kindness to our fellow human.  Let us work together to become better people together, and heal our hurting world.  Let us work together to build homes for families, hope for tomorrow, and community for everybody.

 

Peace, Salaam, Shalom.

 

Ps- If you are interested in supporting this year’s Interfaith Build financially, or getting your faith community involved, please contact Joel Reichenbach.  You can call him at 317.777.6070, or email him at jreichenbach@indyhabitat.org

Perspectivizing Defeat

Every weekday morning, I wake up and read the Skimm.

Sidenote- For those of you who don’t know, the Skimm is a daily news outlet that sends a brief email to all of its subscribers every weekday morning between six and seven.  It’s always concise, always contains perspectives from advocates as well as adversaries on any issue, always addresses news both domestic and international, and always contains links to more information if you’re interested.  It’s the best news source conceivable for less than ten minutes a day.
If that got you interested in subscribing to the Skimm, let me know and I’ll send you an invite!  When I invite people to subscribe, I get “Skimmpoints,” which I think I can trade in for a hat or something eventually.

Normally, reading the Skimm is a relatively enjoyable way to start the day. I appreciate the often-clever writing, and I particularly appreciate being well-informed.  Lately, however, these morning informings have been torning more alorming *cough cough* I mean turning more alarming.  The content I read in those daily emails has started affecting me somewhat more profoundly, and certainly more painfully.

I read about cabinet appointments who are more than just unqualified, getting confirmed.
I read about refugees being denied refuge at every turn.
I read about sacred land and essential water being forsaken by the government.
More each day, I read about the lives of millions of human beings being compromised by our congressional custodians in a cornucopia of increasingly calamitous ways, and I’m beginning to find myself utterly stupefied at how bad things can seem.

I feel like we’ve lost.

Feeling lost in a such a way can produce a variety of reactions.  It can and does make me want to fight.  It can and does make me want to hate the people who beat us.  It can and does make me want to ignore the issues that make me care whether I “win” or “lose” in the first place.  It can and does elicit anger, confusion, and despair.

But it is also a gift.  It helps me understand something which I feel I need to understand.

The devastation and defeat that I’m experiencing now is not unlike the defeat people who disagree with me experienced when I was rejoicing.  When Obama said that we’d take in 10,000 refugees, I rejoiced at the defeat of others.  When the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was legal across all fifty states, I rejoiced at the defeat of others.  In my adult life, I have had many occasions to rejoice at the defeat of others, and I have rarely bothered to consider the reality of their despair in relationship to the reality of my jubilance.

The first thing most children are taught from the very first time they ever win at anything is to respect their opponents who lost.  Nobody likes a sore winner.  And yet in the political arena, we get so infatuated with the justice we purport to serve, that we fail to acknowledge this basic principle.

I want to be perfectly clear here, that the point of this post is not to suggest that we even begin to let up on that infatuation with justice.  To do that would be to sacrifice everything, and accomplish nothing.  At the same time, I find myself convinced that as we continue to pursue justice, to fight for the rights of the dispossessed, and to support the marginalized people in our communities, we must also make every effort to show humanizing sympathy to those who disagree with us.

Whether they are right or wrong is not the point.  Whether they are good or bad is not the point.  Even as we continue to struggle against harmful values which they might hold dear, the point we must consider is that they too, are bearers of the Imago Dei.  Whatever atrocities they may support, I find it hard to believe that we’ll be able to instigate any long-term change until we change the way we relate to our enemy.  As long as we continue to disregard their emotions, and polarize their thinking (as well as our own), it will continue to be a fight.  The pendulum of partisan control and revilification of one another will continue to swing. There will continue to be defeat on both ends.

As I and those of you who hold similar opinions to my own sit in that defeat right now, I pray that it will help us learn how to love one another.  I pray that it will teach us to love our enemy as well as we love our other neighbors.  I pray that we might someday be able to defeat defeat itself, and work together for the good of all.

I pray also that that conclusion doesn’t sound too schmaltzy, and that the point I’m trying to convey, however ineloquently, can still reach you through the syrupy goo of my uncharacteristic idealism.

Vilified Time

2016 has been an interesting time to be a YAV.  While I’ve been trying to focus on serving in my small capacity, it seems as if much of the world around me has been corroding, shifting into utter tumult.

The joke that 2016 itself is the reason for our despair has received an ever-increasing amount of appreciation lately.  Many of us have been flocking to support the idea that this past year has been some sort of vile entity, feeding off the suffering of humanity.  And, strange as it may sound, it makes perfect sense that we like to think that way.  It gives us hope that in just four days, our oppression shall cease, and a new era will dawn.  If 2016 is a villain, it opens the door for 2017 to make way as a hero.  Everybody loves a hero, because everybody needs hope.

Furthermore, vilifying 2016 has allowed us to point our fingers at something, and direct all the pain-infused anger we’ve been harboring and conglomerating over the past twelve months.  It gives us an outlet.  Perhaps more importantly, certainly more specifically, it gives us an outlet that has no need to defend itself.  It is good and well that we should want to express our frustration, so it’s natural that we’ve decided to do it this way.  But we’re missing the point of being frustrated if we vent it all into a fake rage at an imaginary demon.  We’re frustrated for good reasons, and they deserve real outlets.

Many of us are frustrated and upset because we feel misunderstood and threatened in the society in which we live.

A little over half of US Americans, and most of the rest of the world (aside from Putin and Netanyahu), are frustrated and upset because we elected a president who poses a threat to things we hold very dear.

Still more of us are frustrated and upset because millions of refugees are still being oppressed and left without a place to call home.

The list goes on, but we’ve all heard it many times by now.  The problem is, all those feelings of frustration will be wasted if we target them at 2016.  We need to be frustrated, but we need to focus that frustration differently.  We need to aim it not at some entity we made up, but at ourselves, and not as a reason to harbor resentment, but as a reason to grow.

If we let something that doesn’t really exist take all the heat for what has happened this year, we, the people who inhabit this world, who do exist, will never learn; our pattern of suffering and indifference, which does exist, will never change.  2017 is not a hero.  It is the exact same thing 2016 has been, which is nothing but a concept.  It cannot save us, and it offers us no hope.

However, we can save us.  We, with God’s help and by the grace of God, are our own only hope.

So please don’t count on your New Year’s resolution to be the catalyst for humanity’s revival.  Those start too late and end too soon.  If we want to see things get better, there is no reason to wait.  Challenge yourself now.  It’s become a cliché, but  we honestly need to “be the change we want to see,” and we need to do it now.

So sign petitions.  Write petitions.  Read things you don’t quite understand.  Have conversations with people you don’t quite understand.  Be loving to everybody.  No really, everybody.  Vote.  Call your state representatives.  Don’t forget to be loving to everybody.  Give things away.  Be loving even to people with whom you completely disagree.  Teach people who don’t know the things you know.  Step in to defend people who are being attacked.  Be loving even to people with whom you agree, but you just don’t like anyway.  Be all that we can be.

And to those of us with faith: pray, but pray with your actions, not just your thoughts or words.

Do all these things, and more.  Do them always.  When it becomes so exhausting that you fail and stop doing them, take time to learn from it and recover, and start doing them again.  We will all fail individually, but if we all keep trying, we will never fail collectively again.  That is my resolution for the future.  That is where I find hope.

“Set Apart”

I haven’t posted anything in a while, and the last thing I posted was incredibly bitter.
I wanted to post something just to indicate to anyone following this blog that, though I stand by everything I said in the last post, and though I certainly believe that there is a lot to be said and done in response to that, I am still moving forward and keeping busy with the normal parts of life too.

So here’s my most recent post for the Greater Indy Habitat blog.  Like the last one, this is not the version that’s ending up on the website, but it’s the version I like most:

 

In my previous post, I discussed the practical value of working alongside people from different backgrounds as a way of pursuing our Biblical conviction in learning how to “maintain constant love for one another.”

As I write this follow up, I sit on the other end of that work.  The house is almost complete, and soon it will be dedicated and moved into.  I have had the opportunity to see and hear the process of its construction from beginning to end.  I’ve had the privilege to hear how people have reacted to it, and I want to talk about that now.  I want to tell you what we’ve created, beyond just the homes, beyond even the hope for a stronger, more unified Image of God in humanity.

I want to talk about the sacred perpetuity we found- the sense of eternal value we experienced through the work we shared, the time we spent, and the place we made.

At an interfaith discussion I recently attended, we focused on the concept of sacred space.  We took time to learn from one another, and pursue the various avenues of thought that led to what each of us understood of sacredness.  We discussed how we honored that understanding, individually, collectively, and cross-culturally.  It was a beautiful conversation, and it challenged and invigorated my thought processes in some wonderful ways, but it didn’t quite satisfy my personal relationship to what I hold as sacred.

The discussion focused on sacred space, but what I find equally important, and perhaps even more significant in my own experience, is sacred time.  The word sacred is defined as “set apart,” but how are we to know what to set apart in order to create or perpetuate that sacredness?  All too often, we find ourselves attacking one another’s deepest religious values, simply because of our misunderstandings on how to approach sacredness.  I believe we are called to set something apart, or hold it as sacred, when we find connection to God through it, or else that apart-settedness becomes entirely meaningless, and potentially dangerous.  However, living as imperfect humans in a finite world, it can be a struggle to know whether something actually provides connection to God in some manner, or if we just want it to do so.  In my life, I hold the things I take as most sacred that way because of their ability to tap into eternity; because of how the impact of the time, or place, that surrounds it is able to become eternal in the instant it happens.

…which is something that sounds cool, but doesn’t actually make a lot of sense.  I think that sacredness, because it is “of God,” in that weird, infinite/inconceivable way, is a real bear to try to understand- much less discuss in practical terms.

But I can say this:

What we’ve done through this Interfaith Build is sacred.  We set it apart, because the impact it has for Rapheal and Brittney, the homeowners, is too massive to describe.  We set it apart, because the way we were able to come together and complete the Image of God in our unity and service is too holy to understand fully.  We set it apart, because the understanding and love that was able to grow for one another there is too profound, and too vital in our efforts to further the Empire of God here on Earth, to put into simple human words.

We set it apart, not from one another, but for one another, and with one another, because it is of God, it is eternal and incomprehensible, and it is very good.

The work we shared; the time we spent; the place we made; is sacred, and the thing that matters now that it’s almost done, is to continue.  Let us continue building homes, let us continue to maintain constant love for one another, and let us continue engaging in this sacred perpetuity.

Late Night Lamentations of a Weary U.S. American

I am tired.  This post will not be eloquent, nor comprehensive of everything I want to express right now.  It will be terse and limited, because I honestly do not know what to say.  Emotionally, physically, and mentally, I am burnt through, and though I feel as if there is nothing I can say, I feel the need to say something.

I’m sorry.

I let myself down.

As a progressive, I played a role in the vilification of conservatives, and created an enemy I was not ready to face.

Donald Trump’s platform is one that holds the power to destroy everything that I cherish about this nation.  His presidency poses a threat to my very national identity, and I must admit that I am to blame for that reality.

I had so many ideas and hopes of my own in mind that I failed to pursue any understanding of my brothers and sisters who had different viewpoints than mine.  I failed to communicate.  I failed to learn.  I failed to receive and witness.  I failed to love my neighbor.

I should have done more to express my concerns in a way that wasn’t so polarized toward those who already agreed with me.  I should have done more to understand why people in my home country have different values than my own, and I should have put forth more effort in understanding the worth in those values.

I am the Levite who passed by the Samaritan as he lay abandoned, face in the dirt, unable to breathe in anything but the pain that consumed him.  I was distracted, and ultimately wrapped up in self-righteousness.  I passed by, thinking that my political and theological objectives were more important than his pain.  I failed to love my neighbor, because I was too wrapped up in understanding the enemy of my neighbor as my neighbor, and I became absorbed in the idea that ignoring one neighbor for the sake of another was my calling.

I have failed in that I have minimized the grace I owed to those with whom I disagree politically and theologically.  And it is because of people like me, who have polarized our enemies instead of reaching out to them, and loving them where they are; engaging in productive and mutual discourse about our different understands of God’s love, that a fear monger, someone who promises to attack the diversity and richness of my nation, has become president.

 

I’m sorry for my blindness, for my pride, and for my neglect.  I hope I learn from my mistakes.

Just a Funny Picture of a Dog, I Promise… (Subtitle- “No Politics Here!”)

Check out this picture of a dog with a punny caption:

dog-meme-20.jpg

Good stuff, eh?

What’s that?  My thoughts on the election? No, these good people only came here to see a funny picture of a dog; I could never betray them like that.

Oh you insist? Well if you insist, I guess I could jot down a few brief impressions (or post something I started writing over a week ago but only just finished) …

 

As I sit in this McDonalds, exploiting their public WiFi, and waiting for my live stream of the presidential debate to buffer (I told you I started this a while ago), a lot of thoughts cross my mind.  There has been a lot to take in through this campaign cycle, and as a young adult with that strangely dissonant combination of cynicism and optimism mostly found in recent graduates, I feel like I have a lot to say about all of it, whether or not that is entirely true.

These many thoughts and interpretations come from a perspective rooted, admittedly, in meager political experience.  My understanding of politics stems from a DeKalb Country public school education, complimented by the biases of my own life experiences, and the many conversations I have had with others to try to mitigate those biases.  It is a valid and reasonable perspective, but not without limitations.  Ultimately, I feel unqualified to submit a blog post centered only around politics to the public eye.  All this is aside from the fact that posting a politically flagrant blog post while representing a larger organization (such as the YAV program and the PCUSA, the views of which are not necessarily to be taken as the same as those held by myself, as presented here or elsewhere) can sometimes be somewhat problematic.

However, the political realm is not without its still all-too-murky areas of Jonathan-response-elicitation.  This perceived invitation to discourse comes to me lately in the form of something I will begrudgingly call “political theology.”  Politicians, particularly Republican politicians, have a penchant for citing theological grounds for their policies, as a sort of overbearing license for what would otherwise be misplaced zeal.  Sometimes even more noteworthy, though, are the more vociferous of the supporters of such candidates, who also claim to be acting out of theological conviction.  In slight contrast to my understanding of politics, my understanding of theology stems from a lifetime of discipleship, complemented by a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Education, and (again) the many conversations I have had to try to mitigate my biases.  This perspective is just as riddled with limitations as my political perspective is.  However, it is (for no clear reason) a perspective about which I feel more compelled and qualified to speak at this moment.  So here we are.

Because my understanding is largely a result of my experiences, this post will be centered around a recent experience I had in the world of theology and politics; namely, the time I went to one of Franklin Graham’s “Decision America” rallies with a friend from work.

Let me preface this by saying I did not go into this rally thinking, “I hope I can write an angry blog post about this later, detailing all the ways I think Franklin is wrong,” and I hope that that is not what any of you will see this as.  Honestly, I barely went into it with any prepossessions at all, having no clue until about an hour beforehand that it was happening or that I would be extended the opportunity to attend it.  My friend and I went there with only the desire to be able to “continue the conversation,” to borrow his phrase.  It was an effort to be able to understand better the ideas of those with whom we disagreed, and to be able to further productive discourse on such topics, apart from the anger and resentment which derives from an inability to relate to others ideologically.

So here is my continuation of the conversation Franklin Graham is having with the United States:

I agree.

I do not agree with the part where he said not to trust progressives, and tried to back it up with the claim that “progressive is a code word for atheist.”
Instead, I see no reason not to trust an atheist merely on account of their atheism, and I know many people from a variety of faith backgrounds, such as myself, who would claim the title “progressive.”

I do not agree with the part where he said secularism and communism are the same thing, “because they are both Godless,” or the part where he connected that into the idea that after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we “let down our defenses,” and ruined America with secularism.
Instead, I see nothing as “Godless,” because I believe God is omnipresent, even in “unholy secularism,” or any possible governmental system, whether or not we acknowledge or react to that fact.

I do not agree with the part where he insisted that, as Christians, “We’re not gonna change our mind!”
Instead, I see the tradition of reformed theology as the constant reevaluating of our own understanding of how we relate to God and one another, and cherish the reality that, if I should grow to understand something that contradicts that which I previously believed, I should move into that more mature understanding faithfully, and allow God to use that to make me the man I am meant to be.

I do not agree with these, and many of the other things Franklin said during his speech.  However, I do still agree with his message, which boiled down to this one particular sentence of his:

“America needs the Christian vote!”

To be unhaltingly clear, America needs the Christian vote because it needs votes from every demographic, because Democracy- though I doubt that was what Franklin was getting at.  But as a fellow Christian (even though some people claim I’m an atheist), the Christian vote is particularly meaningful to me.  Here’s why:

As a Christian, I believe that it is our duty to love our neighbors around the world, and provide haven for refugees.

As a Christian, I believe that it is our duty to treat the impoverished and under-resourced peoples in our communities with the utmost grace, support, and understanding, because amongst “the least of these,” we will come to know and serve God.

As a Christian, I believe that it is our duty to play a part in revealing God’s Empire on Earth, by promoting the equality of all human beings, be they straight or gay, rich or poor, strong or weak, male or female, white or black, or anywhere on any of the spectrums between those two ends, because none of them are simple binary outcomes.  In every one of these humans is the Image of God, and that Image can only begin to become clear when we are together and equal.

And as a Christian, these beliefs will impact the way I vote.

I assume and respect that Franklin Graham said all the things with which I disagreed because he legitimately believes in them, and wishes to live faithfully into his religious convictions.  More cannot be asked of anyone in that sense, and less should not be asked of anyone in that sense.  However, I cannot do the same for my own beliefs while letting his words go unanswered as an authoritative Christian perspective.

Franklin said he would not endorse any candidate as part of his Decision America tour, which was not entirely a lie.  Though he never did say the words, “I endorse _____ for president,” he spent the entire time attacking liberal ideology, and making it painfully clear whom he supported.  I admit that though I, too, avoided the words “I endorse ______ for president,” I have probably also made it painfully clear at this point whom I support.  However, all it truly comes down to is this one meaningless line, which renders the preceding paragraphs entirely feckless:

I will take my most faithful mentality to the polls, and I can only ask that you do the same with yours.