a chicken in every pot

Uncategorized Jul 28, 2021

“Republican prosperity has reduced hours and increased earning capacity, silenced discontent, put a ‘chicken in every pot.’  And a car in every backyard, to boot…The Republican Party rests its case on a record of stewardship and performance…..Wages, dividends, progress and prosperity say ‘Vote for Hoover!’”           Campaign ad, 1928 

All those boasts and promises were followed a year later by the Great Depression. 

I read a comic strip in the LA Times, “Drabble” by Kevin Fagan.  A man reading the newspaper remarks to his wife, “Well, I think that I can safely say that our society is becoming more unified…It looks like everybody has lost their mind.”  Poor grammar aside, the comic strip rings true.  There are such deep schisms in our country.  Families and churches have been torn apart by animosity fueled by conspiracy theories and extremist ideologies. 

I would love to see a chicken in every pot, as those ads promised.  A car in every backyard would be nice, too.  But these days people are living in their cars, or at least have waited in them in long lines to pick up their “chickens”.  Too often politicians just seem to argue about it.  It shouldn’t surprise us entirely.  This happens when we rely wholly on human institutions and political systems.  Politicians are people with biases and blind spots.  They can do good or they can obstruct, and some are talented enough to do both at the same time!  It has been ever thus.  Just look back 100 years.  Political solutions will be just as fallible as the human beings who devise them.  They will have unintended consequences. 

Should we stop striving? Of course not.  But people of faith must remember what we are striving FOR. In Psalm 69, David laments, “The waters have come up to my neck.  I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold…mighty are those who attack me with lies.”  In his desperation he calls for God to deal with his enemies—when he calls down judgment upon their heads, he doesn’t pick up a sword or a pole or a semiautomatic rifle.  He puts them in God’s hands through prayer, and then he falls back on who he himself is at his core…a humble shepherd who trusts in a God who is mighty to save and make all things new.  And he prays:

            “The humble see and are glad; you who seek God, let your  hearts revive.
             For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.”

In other words:  Think less about your own agenda.  Think of the poor and needy.  Pray about how to care for them, and how to put a chicken in her pot or a car in his backyard.  Then let God reveal the who, the when and the how.

If we can do that we will be blessed.  And we will not lose our minds.

Love, Liz 

“We work to bring justice to the world, to bring help in crisis, but we also work for beauty, laughter, and levity, for sheer pleasure.  We paint, quilt, cook, act, and perform stand-up.  All these kinds of work participate in God’s mending of a world unraveled.”        
         Tish Harrison Warren, Prayer in the Night

Photo by Meredith Barnes