If most people were to hear that someone ran a soul-less campaign for public office, they would like think that is a bad thing. I would have likely thought the same thing until I saw a good friend run for the Richmond City Public School Board. One of my spiritual fathers, Rev. Don Coleman, ran for the School Board because he believed the Holy Spirit told Him to enter the race. Don narrowly lost in a race that he probably could have won if the circumstances had been different.
Most people would think that Don must not have heard from God since he did not win the election. But Don never felt that way, and I agree. His measure of success was not the election results but his obedience to God’s call.
By his presence in the community and participation in the community debates, Don brought a different tone to the election. He refused to get into a negative campaign. He focused on uniting various factions and working together to solve citywide problems. Born in the projects, Don is a man who has dedicated himself to serving the city.
Just as the campaign was really kicking off, Don suffered a foot problem that caused him pain and almost cost him part of his foot. Throughout the campign he was limited to how much he could walk on his leg. For any aspiring politician not being able to go out in public could be a tremendous drag on his campaign. Don continued his campaign even though his wife had to do a lot more of the door to door work than anyone had originally anticipated.
Doctors were close to removing part of his foot until he told them to wait just a little longer. Then miraculously his foot completely healed after the election. I asked Don if he planned on pulling out after his foot problems. He said, “No” because God had called him to run and had allowed his foot to be infected at the same time.
When doctors come and tell you that you might lose a large part of your foot, that can cause some intense emotions not to mention being in a tough fight for public office. But Don kept on.
It was the strangest thing. A couple of weeks before the election, he had such peace. Even just talking with him about the race, I could feel my soul starting to get entangled with it. But he seemed to be completely free to trust God no matter the results. Although he wanted to win and tried his best during the campaign despite his foot problems, Don’s identity and sense of worth was not tied into the race. His soul was not running things. His spirit was.
I learned a lot talking with him and watching how he reacted to the various situations. Even if he ran just to show me some important lessons, the whole thing may have been worth it. I finally found a candidate that I could trust. The only problem is that I do not live in his school district. Don showed me how you can strive to do a good job despite tough circumstances and not get too much of yourself wrapped up in the results. His soul was not wrapped up in the campaign. His emotions and intellect were under the control of his spirit, which was being led by the Holy Spirit.
Now, I am sure that there were moments when his soul took over. But for the most part, Don appeared to be at peace with the entire thing even though many outsiders might consider it a disaster. Who ever heard of not being able to walk around a lot while trying to campaing for political office?
Don told me that one reason God had allowed his illness to come at that time was to protect Don from getting too personally involved in the campaign. His soul was kept somewhat at bay because he couldn’t do more than his body would allow.
Pastor Don, thanks for showing me that there is a godly way to run a campaign. Your soul-less approach to politics shows me that our emotions and intellectual schemes may be one of the big reasons why many government and education problems don’t get solved. Three cheers for soul-less politics!!!