In military tradition, the “Last Post” is the bugle call that signifies the end of the day’s activities.
I use this reference to indicate that my post of November 8 [Election Day] is my last post as I reflect on Adam Hamilton’s Seeing Gray in A World of Black and White. However, it is not my last post on this blog.
I began posting my thoughts on this book on March 2016. That seems like so long ago but it really wasn’t. I decided to use this book because of the peacemaking nature of its content. The book has caused me to reflect on many thorny issues that have divided the church, from evolution to the acceptance of other faiths. I have devoted posts to thoughts about the Bible. I have discussed the messy truth about spirituality.
I have finished this past several months on the most divisive issue of 2016, our presidential election and how it has torn the church apart.
I knew that much of Hamilton’s book is devoted to politics. I first encountered it in 2012 when Barack Obama was running for reelection. That was a tense time and we did a speakers’ series on the book at my church. Today the tension regarding politics is even worse. I think anger is a more accurate word as we get ready to elect either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
I knew the politics discussed in the book would be tough to write about because I wanted to follow the premise of the book. I wanted to “find gray” in a world of black and white. When people are lined up against one another and demanding that others listen, I wanted to get people to realize there is more than just the right and wrong view or there is more than just the black and white view. To find new ground you have to think about your position and think about other positions too. You have to keep a cool head. You have to work to understand. You have to know where others are coming from. You have to search for common ground.
For Christians this election has been so tough because of the choice we have to make between two very flawed candidates. For me politics has always been a tough fit. I have never felt that comfortable as a Christian in the political arena. John Piper* says it best when he describes Christians: “as redeemed children of God our primary and decisive citizenship is in heaven, not America.” To put it plainly, Christians are not supposed to be of this world; we are of God’s kingdom and this election has been so worldly that participation reflects poorly on our belief system.
I am not advocating that we not vote. I recently broke my sacrum and my pelvis and I am in the process of rehabbing my body but I will go vote.
Still with my blog, I have sought to sow seeds of peace with Hamilton’s book, not seeds of discord.
I have tried to promote thoughtfulness, not anger and disgust for others’ positions.
I have asked that we find common ground, build bridges. I want us to have harmony in our country.
I have faith in my Lord. I have faith in my fellow Christians. I even have faith in America. Kathleen Parker is a columnist for the Washington Post and she has some thoughts that I would like to pass along. Her thoughts look beyond the attention getting strife of the day… “Today as we wring our hands and say things like this country has never been this divided before, we need to stop.
Yes, it has been divided before and we survived the division.
The Founding Fathers, for all their cleverness were hardly soft spoken. The Civil War needs no editorial comment. The 1960’s weren’t exactly a paddleboat cruise down the Mississippi.”
What is different now? We are literally bombarded with news, much of it false. Too many people put outrageous things on social media. Everything today is BREAKING NEWS! when it is really not.
Parker puts it all in perspective. “If Trump wins, he will be held in check more or less by a House and Senate…not even Republicans are eager to follow his lead. There won’t be a wall. He won’t impose some religion-based immigration restriction…He won’t nuke Iran…He and Vladimir Putin will hate each other respectfully.”
If Clinton wins, “she’s not going to suddenly become a lunatic…She’ll manage the military because she like Trump, honors the troops and they know it. She will make her Supreme Court appointments and will protect Roe v. Wade but otherwise the jury’s out. No matter who she appoints, the Supreme Court will follow the box of chocolates rule. You never know (exactly) what you are going to get.”
Folks, we will survive this election.
Christians we need to realize we have a higher calling than just the rough and tumble of the political world. Our job is to testify to other Americans that there is a better way and that better way is not to make America great again. We need to remember that we are advocating for a transfer of citizenship…
That is our job and that “transfer” is an eternal one…
From Piper’s “Desiring God” Blog November 5, 2016