Well, here we go! It is that season that the Bible never warned us about, election season. You see, when the Bible was written, and yes I mean the hundreds of years that it took to complete the 66 books in the Old and New Testaments...there was never an election by popular vote. But we Bible believing people find ourselves in the middle of an election cycle again, and I must admit that as I age, or maybe it is the climate of American politics, but for several reasons -- I find it more and more difficult to talk about political topics; even among Christian people who attend the church that I work with, or Christian people who even agree with about 95% of my opinions. I have been charged with, rather passive aggressively, not preaching sermons that set people straight on things like immigration and abortion and freedom to bare arms and I'm sure a number of topics. Meanwhile, I have also been told by church leaders and friends that they appreciate my relentless pursuit of God's Kingdom and talking about topics that shy away from a particular political party platform (say that 7 times fast) and keep the church focused on God's work. So, from one Christian brother who loves to watch the debates and the arguments, who enjoys the rhetoric and the speeches, to you who are trying to really vote from a place that is so beautifully centered on what God would have you do...let me help you out just a little bit by offering a few things to think about this election season:
1. All presidential political debates are absolutely preplanned and about as close as you can get to reality political TV. Since JFK debated Nixon in the 1960s, the televised debates we witness are a pull and tug between candidates (who the networks allow to be there). Most of the questions are prescreened no matter if it is town hall or moderator, and very rarely will a candidate be surprised by a line of questioning. We have reduced these events to short clips of interaction and weird, picky moments of horror --because those are the only things not practiced and scripted beforehand.
2. No party represents an absolute biblical foundation. If there was a Christian who took the Bible and the faith seriously, I tend to think that person would surprise conservatives on some of the social justice policies and would surprise liberals and middle-roaders on the standards of behavior, conduct, and consequences. I once heard a preacher say that when he votes he closes his eyes, says a prayer, and pushes the button, knowing that he has just in some way misrepresented God. I have felt the same way, and it would bother me to be completely confident in my election of any person.
3. Surprise...lying is politics...that was good to get out. About every day I will see articles that are found indicating that the left or the right, someone is lying to me and I should be really angry about it. In sports, just this week, a reporter claimed that Eli Manning said, "I want to be the highest paid player in the NFL." Eli laughed at it saying...I didn't say that. I watched the reporter explain whether or not this report was true, and he said that Eli didn't say that but that the contract offer Eli's agent gave to the NY Giants' organization basically would make him the highest paid player. OK - so the reporter lied and nobody cares but the Manning family. Every news outlet wants to get your attention and there is very few real standards of journalism other than how many people tune in and which demographic is drinking the kool-aid your serving. And politicians, they want the POPULAR vote, not the integrity vote.
4. An finally, although I may write more as this "season" progresses, I need all of my Christian friends to know that our first move when confronted with these highly divisive political viewpoints should be to search the Scriptures for what persons of faith have done in the past regarding issues similar to those we face today. I must admit that I am fearful that Christians are running to their favorite news outlet or their own held assumptions and ideas for interpretation. There are millions of people who want to think for you, but you are responsible to think and act for yourself and for the community of faith to which you have committed. Can we allow the Bible to challenge us, move us, and affirm us? Can we have the boldness to stand up and say "I was wrong" when we have held views that the Spirit convicts us is not in line with God's Will? When the Spirit confirms that we are right, can we speak our revealed truth in a loving way that helps people understand our convictions instead of bulldozing them with our perfection?
With so much being posted on Social Media, I have thought about taking some of the things I hear Christian people say during this election year, using them as examples, and helping us all understand why I find these posts to be hurtful, misrepresentative, and angry. I'll think more about this...(I can already hear people de-friending me!)
I promise you that I will be at peace in this country no matter which candidate gets elected, yes, even Donald Trump. Why? Because even the world powers must bow to the living God who has placed Jesus above all the ruling authorities and dominions and powers in this present age. I will continue to hold fast to the hope that our country, and others around the world will come to love Jesus and honor the living God. I will also pray and respect those leaders who are chosen, even if on election day, I push a different button. If the day comes when I am truly persecuted for my belief in Jesus, then I stand in line with the prophets, disciples, missionaries, and the Lord Jesus himself. So, we are in good company! And yes, the Bible will continue to help us though that situation, and the Spirit will be at work!
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.