My wife and I recently spent nine days and drove “the Klondike Loop.” We started in Skagway and visited Whitehorse, Carmacks, Dawson City (with a brief journey up a bit of the Dempster Highway), Chicken, Tok, Haines Junction and Haines where we caught the ferry home. We loved it! We loved meeting people, seeing the scenery and learning about the geography and history of the Yukon Territory and Eastern Alaska.
We were counseled of the well-known hazard of the poor roads along our route. Our counselors were not mistaken. Not only did we feel too many bumps and weave around so many potholes, we regularly navigated around an army of RV-ers, or as I sometimes call them, land-based aircraft carriers.
What surprised me was that many people did not adjust their driving nor prepare their vehicles for the conditions. We purposefully limited our daily driving goals because driving on those roads and under those conditions is exhausting. Down south, I could drive 10 hours with no problem. Not on this trip. Four hours was enough. Not to mention the supply chain has created a lot of shortages along the route. We knew we had to travel differently than any previous roads trips.
To say that our community and culture is riddled with political and social potholes is an understatement. Even our language is now fraught with potential conflicts over the use of pronouns. Our shock-absorbers are shot we are not able to absorb the inevitable bumps and jostles that come by living in a connected community. People are judged with huge sweeping generalities and publicly condemned with harsh rhetoric and violence.
As a follower of Jesus who believes in the authority of scripture, there are many passages that keep challenging me to live differently than the prevailing culture. Here are three as an example:
— Get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. (1 Peter 2:1)
— Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
— God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9)
May I invite all of us to slow down, especially when it comes to passing judgment and putting people into categories? Maybe people of good character can have opposing views on some of the politically charged issues. Maybe we need to show grace and forgiveness to open the door for people to admit their mistakes without fear of a public execution of their character. Maybe we should deal with the log in our own eye before we try to remove the speck in our brother’s and sister’s eyes. I honestly believe it is our only hope.
The Rev. Tim Harrison is senior pastor at Chapel by the Lake. He and his wife, Karen (also an ordained pastor), have been in ministry together for over 30 years. They served Presbyterian churches in Florida, Washington, New Jersey and Wisconsin. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Friday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.