For those of you who don't know it, early voting started today here in Arkansas. It's an opportunity to vote a different day than Election Day, avoid lines, address issues, and have a little more convenience for yourself. I've done it once, myself, but I probably won't do it this year. Or very often, for that matter.
You see, I remember the joking catchphrase about politics "Vote Early, Vote Often." So, early voting has associated itself in my mind with fraudulent voting. Living for 6 years near Memphis, which was the first district I lived near with early voting didn't help. Memphis, after all, is a place where not just Elvis is still alive. So are many people on the voter rolls, no matter how long it's been since their funeral. The anecdotes are legendary, but there is a modicum of truth under them (What's odd is that, even without the fraud, Memphis would still vote Democrat as a line, so why bother?)
So, while I know there is nothing inherently fraudulent about early voting, it's still kind of locked up in my mind.
It's kind of like if you were to adopt a wrong way of thinking about God, like conceiving of God as always angry or never correcting His children. Guess what? God is always angry at sin and always loving towards His children, which means that He is angry at their sin and corrects and disciplines them.
Yet we get the catchphrase locked in our heads. We call the church building "The house of the Lord" without realizing we're subtly convincing ourselves that He's more there than elsewhere. We ask the preacher for "a word from the Lord" when we've got it printed (on average, the American Bible-owning household has 3 of them) and have the same Spirit to illuminate Him to us. Our catchphrases can hurt us, if we internalize them too much.
So, let's agree to this: we'll let the Bible be our guide, and our Holy Spirit infused consciences be louder voices than the small lines we learned a long time ago.