“For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female, since you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Well, that was…anticlimactic. I stayed up until about 11:30 last night watching returns come in from the election and this morning when I checked back in I knew basically nothing more than I did when I went to bed. At least, that’s the case in terms of the results of the election. What I did have confirmed for me is something that I already knew. If you’ll stay with me for a few minutes, I’ll tell you about what that is.
The day has finally arrived! Are you excited? Are you anxious? Today is the day when…the political ads finally stop rolling in like the waves of the sea. Oh wait, I mean this is the day when we in the United States of America get to exercise our right as citizens of this great nation to cast our vote. We get to decide who our leaders will be. Consider what a unique thing that is in the history of the world. Ours is a heritage unlike any other this world has known. No other nation has ever seen as long and unbroken a string of peaceful transfers of power from one person to another, one party to another, one political foe to another as we have. As we move forward together into this momentous day, here are some thoughts and a prayer to send us on our way.
So, we’ve spent the last five weeks talking about how as followers of Jesus we need to engage with politics in our culture. All along the way, I’ve been telling you that in this final installment in our conversation I would tell you how to vote. Well, in this message I’m going to tell you how to vote. I hope your ready for it…
How to Vote
In 1953 Democrat Lyndon Johnson was running for reelection to the Senate from the state of Texas. It was shaping up to be a landslide victory for the incumbent who had recently become the youngest Senator elected to the position of Minority Leader for the party. This was of no doubt great relief as his previous election in 1948 was razor thin and he only won by 87 votes when a box of uncounted ballots was “discovered” at the last minute in a small Texas town. Even though his margin of victory in 1954 was enormous (85-15), there were a number of pastors in the state who had been openly encouraging their members to vote for Republican Carlos Watson. Johnson wasn’t much known for being gracious in defeat or victory. Early on in his new term in the Senate he was able to pass a small update to the federal tax code for 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations making it illegal for them to openly advocate for candidates for public office. This became known as the Johnson Amendment.
What do we do when we are facing leaders we don’t want to follow issuing orders we don’t want to keep? The response by most people throughout history has been either passive acceptance or else violent rebellion. As followers of Jesus, though, there is another option. As we continue our series, Being Good Kingdom Citizens, this week, thinking together about how we need to respond to the current political climate as followers of Jesus, we are going to join the apostle Paul as he lays out what this third way is. Thanks for being a part of the conversation.
Getting in Line
Have you ever been faced with a rule you didn’t want to follow? I suspect so. I remember when I was a sophomore in high school, and we took the standardized science tests for the state at the end of the year. I remember thinking the whole test was a joke in terms of covering ideas and topics we hadn’t touched on at all in the previous nine months, but the question that took the cake for me was this: Draw a picture of the universe and mark the approximate location of the earth. By this time, I was beyond frustrated with the content. We had never even come close to talking about the shape of the universe. I was a science geek and didn’t know the shape of the universe. Modern astrophysicists only have guesses about it (incredibly educated guess, yes, but guesses all the same). The rule was, though, that you had to answer all the questions. So, I sat there and for five continuous minutes put dots all over the page with my pencil, added a random X, and then moved on to the next question. I’ll confess that it was not one of my finer moments in academia.
How should followers of Jesus think about politics and the election? This week we kicked off a brand-new teaching series in which we are going to talk about that very thing. From now to the Sunday before the election, we are going to dig into the Scriptures to understand better just what it means to be not just good citizens, but good kingdom citizens. Let’s start by understanding what that even means.
Which Side Are You On?
In the year 2,000, just before I graduated from high school, a new show premiered on CBS that has since become a cultural phenomenon. It doesn’t still carry quite the weight that it used to, but with season 41 waiting for COVID restrictions to finish filming and hit the airwaves, I think it’s safe to say that it’s still holding its own. The show really marked the beginning of a new era of television whose critics tend to be just as passionate as its fans. The genre is reality TV and the show is Survivor. Any Survivor fans in the room?