DOUG TANNER'S account of becoming "spiritual partners" with Jesse Helms ("Politics Without Demons," September-October 1996) is notable for its Christian forbearance toward an enemy. The scriptures seem more realistic, though: I don't recall Isaiah becoming a "spiritual partner" with King Ahaz-nor, apparently, was Jesus with King Herod, "that fox" (except as the risen Christ is the savior of all).
A negative parallel to Tanner's sense of spiritual partnership with Sen. Helms might be guilt-tripping, which is fixed on self, as opposed to repentance, which is (re)turning toward God. Yeah, enemies can teach us a lot about what the real issues are, as Helms has Tanner. But never forget that Helms is the enemy. Pray for his change of heart, as well as our own putting-away of arrogant divisiveness. But "spiritual partner" when Helms isn't even aware of it? Nice irony. And the idea may be hugely generous. But it also leaves me uncertain.