Post DNC and RNC thoughts
September 7, 2008, 3:47 am
Filed under: world

In two months, a very fascinating and important election will take place and make history. In our home, we have been watching the Democratic and Republican National Convention with just as much enthusiasm as we had when we watched the Olympics. We are trying to think through all the issues and pray so that we when we vote, we can be “as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves”. Now, in the midst of all the hype and the jabbing back and forth between the D’s and the R’s in the media, it’s easy to think in absolute terms as if “everything” hangs on who gets into the oval office. Granted, this is a very important election. However, I think that people of faith must be people whose faith is ultimately and actively in the right place. As I have been reading through a number of blogs by other Christians, I was particularly blessed by Scot McKnight’s attitude as expressed in this letter he wrote in response to one of his readers :

Dear Friend,

On November 4 I will vote; in the evening Kris and I will watch the TV as it enters into the lather of not only reporting news but making the news.

More importantly, on November 5 I will get up and go about my business no matter who gets elected. There will be people who need to hear about Jesus; there will be people who are suffering from systemic injustices; there will be people abusing power; there will be good reasons to drink coffee and eat lunch with colleagues and prepare dinner and go for a walk with Kris before supper. Changing Presidents will not end those needs and those problems and those parts of my life. So, my task as a Christian is to follow Jesus by loving God and loving others as well as I can. Changing Presidents won’t change that one bit. I don’t see that either candidate has the intent of depriving us of these things.

I put this another way: I won’t go to bed deliriously happy with the President I want or wake up deliriously happy with the President I want. Nor will I go to bed depressed or get up depressed if it happens to be the candidate I did not want. I’ll get up the way I do any other day and simply know that in a little over two months we’ll be doing these very things and working toward the same kingdom goals no matter who is President. In fact, we’ll be doing these things with a new President. That in itself will make 2009 a bit different.

Now one more way of saying this: my eschatology, or my hope, is not in who will be the next President. I hope in the power of the gospel that flows from God’s good graces toward us humans. I hope in the God who designs that gospel; I hope in the Christ who embodies that gospel; and I hope in the Spirit who empowers that gospel. And I hope also in the Church whose task it is daily to live out the gospel and draw all into its saving graces. I don’t hope in the next President. I think that is idolatrous. In fact, hoping in the next President is the first step toward idolizing empire.

So my friend, I approach this election as a Christian who finds it important, significant, and incredibly fascinating, but who also finds it not as important as the task Jesus has given to us as his followers.

This doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. It does matter who we vote for, and I’ll begin to explain what is going on in my head about who I will vote for in the days ahead. Stay tuned.



Lord, help me to be faithful to the important responsibility that I have to continue to live out the Gospel and seek to make Your Kingdom a visible reality in this world. And constantly remind me that this responsibility and privilege is unchanging — no matter who wins the Presidency. May Your kingdom come, may Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.


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