Well, all in all, both men did very well. These presidential debates are the most serious, the most exciting, the most historically resonant of any in my living memory. Anyone who wants to now has plenty of information to do their own research, and make an informed voting decision. Voter registration is up.
I’m really beat and I’ve had an extraordinarily…um..unusual week. But I can’t go to bed after the second presidential debate without at least screaming out to cyberspace:
Bush claimed to be "a good steward"????????
A GOOD STEWARD??????????
I hope that the religious communities do a little comparision in their own theologies, and consult one another about what the biblical definition of "steward" is. For one, it is a highly charged phrase. It distinguishes between two kinds of biblical interpretation regarding Genesis. Some believe that God granted man dominion over the world, to rule over it – and others believe that God appointed man as steward, a manager over the animals and fish and the entire world until such time as he would be held accountable (Gen. 1:26-28).
A good steward is an administrator of another’s property or estate and so, in the same way, humans (or even just men and not women) are entrusted with God’s property, to manage and care for God’s creation.
Kerry missed a big big big chance there. A quick listing of the top ten anti-environmental actions of Bush might have gone a little distance here. Yes, yes, we all understand that Kerry will respect science as Bush does not. But he could’ve really really zinged him on that!
Here are just a few little thoughts on stewardship that one can find with minimal digging before falling asleep.
In the OT [OT Old Testament] a steward is a man who is ‘over a house’ (Gn. 43:19; 44:4; Isa. 22:15). In the NT [NT New Testament] there are two words translated steward: epitropos (Mt. 20:8; Gal. 4:2), i.e. one to whose care or honour one has been entrusted, a curator, a guardian; and oikonomos (Lk. 16:2-3; 1 Cor. 4:1-2; Tit. 1:7; 1 Pet. 4:10), i.e. a manager, a superintendent-from oikos(‘house’) and nemoµ(‘to dispense’ or ‘to manage’). The word is used to describe the function of delegated responsibility. Christians are the stewards for the Christ, admitted to the responsibilities of Christ’s overruling of his world; so that stewardship (oikonomia) can be referred to similarly as a dispensation (1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 3:2; Col. 1:25).
Worthy to be stewards of rent and land. –Chaucer.
As good stewards of the manifold grace of God. –1 Peter 4:10
For Tolkein fans, the steward of Gondor. The Stewards watched over the throne until it could be reclaimed by a true King of Gondor, an heir of Elendil.
To spiritual people negotiating the priorities between Mammon (wealth, a false god) and the health of the earth itself, a good steward has the connotation of an attitude toward the environment, a sense of connectedness and belonging, an understanding of the interconnectedness of everything in the universe – a sense of being at home. When the earth has serious disruptions in its cycles, its energy systems, and its living systems, it can heal by regaining its balance; pollutants are transformed, physical damage is corrected, animal and plant populations adjust. But when the earth’s systems are extremely disrupted then homeostasis, balance, and self-regulatory processes cannot be re-established in the same way – and major changes can occur detrimental to human life.
Examine your consciences – can anyone really say that Bush is a good steward, in any sense?
Some people think that stewardship is all about tithing or donating money or time to a church, but numerous sites- I found one just off the bat – also talk about the different spiritual responsibilities of stewardship in the religious sense. It "demands a way of life that encourages virtue and bears the fruit of solidarity among peoples."
A steward does not own the kingdom. The king determines when and how long a steward serves him. A steward handles affairs for someone else. If Bush is a "steward" is it for the American people? For the world? For God? Do you really believe that it could be any of these? Really?
Each person contributes or should be able to contribute to the well-being of society, and each person has the opportunity to care for others and to help them thrive. Stewardship is collective.
I believe that, collectively, we are stewards. We all have to answer to ourselves and to our children and all our seventh cousins of the world, in repercussions and disrupted systems, and the widening gyres of destruction. We have to take responsibility for what we have allowed to happen, from the dumbing down of the population, to allowing certain power interests to take over our country.
Is Bush a good steward? Christians, you know what a good steward is. Is it the mark of a good steward to smirk and brag that he is a good steward? Has he enabled us and all the world to breathe easier, to thrive, to find healthier interchanges between humanity and the planet, between our nation and the rest of the world, between ourselves and our neighbors?
There are lots of things to say about this excellent debate, but I thought that if this phrase of the "good steward" stuck out to me as code for "I’m a christian" it might for others as well. My question is, what exactly is the nature of this christianity? It doesn’t seem very christian to me. As the highest executive of the US (of course, that is a matter of some debate), Bush is meant to be a steward of the American people. Is that really what you see?
Look around you. Open your eyes.