Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The %&@!$ election

This. Horrible. Election. Wherein I am offended daily at the nastiness, hypocrisy and bias clearly evident therein. Facebook is on fire with the stuff the mainstream media won't report, and I've been busily re-posting it—including some things that I suspect may not be quite strictly true but would take too much time to verify, and there are only so many hours in the day to read about the next outrage. I was Paul Revere, galloping pell mell down the information highway, shouting my warnings, until the Spirit whispered a warning of His own. Why are you so upset? Why does the media bias shock you? Why did you think politicians wouldn't stoop to dirty tricks? In what exactly, are you trusting? 

When I stop and think about these things, I know the answer immediately. I know better than to think that the American political system holds the key to my rights. I know that the government is not my provider. I know this world is not my home. I know these things, yet I've been upset, anxious, and offended at each new piece of evidence that the system is broken and corrupt. Did I really think something invented and run by sinners (just like me) would be any different? The world might rage, but the world has nothing else to rely on. What’s my excuse?
So in my mad rush to spread the word that the system is imperfect and biased against conservatives in general and Christians in particular (shocking!), I've been pulled up short by the Spirit. I've always believed it my civic duty to vote and had been trying hard to figure out whether I could this time and then who the heck to vote for. Mostly I was resisting voting for Trump.* He's not presidential. He's not moral. He's not even very nice. How embarrassing would it be to admit to voting for him? And with that last thought, the Spirit connected a hard right to my jaw. I wasn't asking what God was doing in this election. I was trying to make sure that my vote demonstrated my intelligence and cool, as well as impeccable evangelical cred. God gently pointed out that every candidate looks basically the same to Him...broken sinners all. And the Bible has many examples of God using ungodly people as blunt instruments to hammer home a point. Sigh. Now I don't know why I was making such a fuss...God is well aware of the imperfections of both candidates, yet I'm pretty sure that one of them, warts and all, is going to be the next President anyway.

The reality is that Christians are in for trouble no matter who wins. Trouble has already come and will increase with a Clinton Presidency. But it would be a mistake to believe that a Trump victory will make America some sort of Christian paradise. I think one of the worst outcomes would be the church believing it’s dodged a bullet with a Trump win, heaving a sigh of relief and then returning to life as usual. We need God. We need revival. We need preparation for the end of the end times, which draws ever closer. How could life as usual do any of that?

We must become the church in deed as well as in word, loving our neighbors, aiding the poor, generally spending ourselves living out the gospel. I confess I find it easier to retreat into the Christian subculture, collecting stuff for myself and being glad to be left alone by a world that does not seem to want what I have. But that's not the assignment. And the world is increasingly unwilling to leave us alone. It is no longer enough to live by Christian principles and precepts. For the trouble yet ahead, we must have God's presence. We were meant to be vitally connected to our Father and King, through Jesus our Messiah. We were meant to interact with our nation as those who possess a precious resource they desperately need. They were supposed to look at us and beg to know why we were different. Instead we became pretty much just like them. So while I hate trouble and avoid it when possible, this trouble is actually good news. This is God gradually removing our ease and comfort, shaking us awake so we will seek Him as our greatest need.

The tide is moving ever more swiftly towards a post-Christian culture, in which no place has been reserved for us. But with God as our source and resource and recourse, what have we to fear? Our faith has always been counter-cultural—even revolutionary. Maybe if we stop trying to fit in, we can be free to be the believers we were always intended to be—strong in faith, humble in adversity, sacrificial in love and service, and full of joy that our God is knowable and has chosen intimate friendship with His people. Such a church would make the demons tremble.

Polls are inaccurate and both candidates are greatly disliked—even within their own parties. Despite over-sampled polls and media pronouncements, it is not at all clear which one will win on November 8. It is therefore encouraging to remember that God is not shocked by the shenanigans that are Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton. He knew we would face this choice in 2016. He knows with absolute certainty how honest Hillary is and how selfless Donald is. So I’m voting for the platform I most agree with and leaving the results to God. He knows what He's doing. My rights are God's responsibility. My reputation is His to care for. When Jesus faced the cross, the impossibly difficult became possible because His heart was held safe by God. He trusted completely in his Father's love and wisdom and power. And we can do the same. 

Still hate this election though.

*This is not an admonishment to vote for any particular candidate. I trust that every Christian is praying and will vote as they believe they should. I am simply recounting my journey. 

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