Vote Your Values

I ask, whom are you going to vote for? [Miss Carter would be pleased by my using the proper pronoun!] And I’m sure you’ll get an answer.

But. NO. Make that BUT. It’s the wrong question. Throw Clinton and Trump aside.

Ask another question: WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES???

THAT is essential, it seems to me. Not to look initially at the candidates. Rather, to claim your values.

Let me start, because it’s pushing hard.

A list:

I believe life is a gift of God and God does not have a plan for my life. Rather, God has a purpose for my living. For instance, in less than two weeks I will be fishing with my fishing guide Zorba on the Columbia River. I don’t believe for a breath or a lifetime that God plans for me to catch salmon…or not catch salmon. Rather, the purpose is to fish with all joy and thanksgiving. And sure, some hope salmon are caught. However, the next step is no less part of God’s purpose. Not to store the fish only in my barn! [that’s a biblical reference]. Rather, to see my buddy, Mark, at Skipanon Cannery in Warrenton, Oregon and have him smoke and can the salmon…so it can be shared!

I believe gratitude is at essence for our attitude and posturing in living. To be grateful says it’s not primarily about me…rather, it’s about how others benefit my life through their caring. With that I believe we don’t grow when we hoard…no, no, no. We ONLY grow when we give. Doug Meeks taught me that with calm belief: generosity is the plant seed for growing.

I believe that Christians do not have the only access to God. Specifically, I am a Christian and accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ. And I consider that Jesus Christ is, as Reinhold Niebuhr put it, “the Supreme Revelation of God’s Love.” HOWEVER, I refuse to narrow or shrink God by saying no other avenues to God exist. To the contrary my wonderful fishing guide, Rabbi Guide, is a person of the Hebrew tradition. NEVER would I ever say his relationship with God lacks fullness. In that, who loves God, it’s my firm belief we each have the gift to seek God freely…and NO religious tradition rules over any other.

I believe that life is best balanced when the ego and the heart are not disproportionate to each other. No names, but I’ve known and served with ministers who lived with such imbalance. Oh my. Too many…who were always into self-promotion, whose ego dwarfed their heart…and who said they never needed a confession of sin [and often they scratched it from their order of worship] because they were not wrong; IT WAS ALWAYS SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT.

I believe that sexual orientation is not a decision; it’s a discovery. I value folk in the LGBTQ community because they, no less than I, are sons or daughters of God. Anyone who uses the Bible as a hammer to say homosexuality is sinful are biblically illiterate. In fact, truth shared without names, when in conference ministry, the pastors for whom I had the greatest respect were either gay or lesbian. Just how it came to me.

I find no replacement for integrity and fidelity in a relationship. It has occurred to me these weeks, because it’s so often on the news…when someone time and again ad-infinitum says, “Believe me,” I don’t. I knew a minister once who could not say a paragraph without imploring me to believe him. It was not only tedious, but in a metaphorical manner he couldn’t talk without his nose growing. Sad.

I heard something that Bill Clinton said during the DNC…actually a phrase that embodied Velcro. He acknowledged in his own life, “there are more yesterdays than tomorrows.” That hit. Center and not glancing.

Now walking…and at times limited, even traipsing [except when headed to a fishing boat] after my 76th birthday this past June…Clinton is right about yesterday and tomorrow.

But, hey. For every one of us…no matter how old…may we know that the real growth is not in years; it’s in wisdom and loving.

So, this election…on November 8. When you hit that name for your vote…make it a declaration of your values…and not your likes or dislikes. To wit: which candidate best reflects YOUR values. I know mine. And my vote.

Thanks for reading this far.

Grace and Peace,



About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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2 Responses to Vote Your Values

  1. Tom Widlits says:

    Well said. Thank you

    Sent from my iPad Please excuse brevity Tom Widlits

  2. George McG says:

    Mark, I’m a frequent but not always reader. I want especially to affirm your take …God does not have a plan for my life; God has a purpose for my living. That is right on, my friend. If God is all knowing; God doesn’t need a plan…God IS the plan…and the purpose…and the substance of all we call life and living.
    Thanks for the reminder.

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