I am often disturbed by the rhetoric that spews forth in what seems to be called “the culture wars.”  I think even this chosen name is rhetoric.  On June 8, I blogged about “Religious Rhetoric and Violence.”  You can read my comments; they’re still posted.

Today, during a couple weeks of vacation, I finally got around to looking up President Lincoln’s second inaugural address.  I was surprised by how short it is.  And I was struck by these words in the second paragraph, referring to the North and South:

Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other.  It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged.  The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully.  The Almighty has His own purposes.

What if we who are engaged because of our Christian convictions on all sides of these “culture wars” were to take to heart President Lincoln’s words?  What if we were to recognize that we all read the same Bible?  What if we were to recognize that we all pray to the same God?

Do we get too caught up in minutia, like that facts that we read different translations of the Bible, or that our concepts of God differ?

I remember that there was once a TV or radio show that sought to bring guests with differing opinions together to seek common ground (that might even have been the name of the show, “Common Ground”).  My memory is that the show didn’t last because it couldn’t get an audience.  The audience wanted to hear people they agreed with or they wanted conflict – not an exploration of common ground.

How sad.

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