I am not sure whether you feel a sense of increasing dread and dismay at the public discourse from those in public life, in both Canada and the United States. There seems to be no end of comment. Much of it inappropriately partisan. Much of it as Brian Kaylor has observed in Word & Way, rooted in our politics not a reflective Christian faith. I am brought back to Galatians 5:22-23, and the fruit of the spirit in the way I seek to frame my own behaviour and which we as Christians must insist of those in public life. The first rendering is from the NRSV, which is one of the essential invitations in Scripture to seek a faithful life with others. The second is Eugene Peterson’s rendering of the same passage, which expands on the character and call of the fruit of the spirit in ways that invite us to a deeper reflection. I’ll reflect another time on how we hold public discourse to account, but for now, the text.
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. (NRSV)
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. (MSG)