Wednesday, November 5, 2008

No Hand Wringing, Please!

Last night I watched the election results from my new home here in New York City. CNN was my network of choice. The amazing technology, which included a hologram from Chicago beamed into the New York studio, combined with extensive analysis of every possible election related nuance had me glued to the tube for 6 hours. They ran their exit polls through a large number of variables, one of which was how white evangelical Christians voted. If memory serves me, McCain got over 80% of vote from that demographic.

During the coverage they would occasionally cut away to live video from Times Square. NYC  is definitely pro-Obama. At about 9 PM my daughter Megan and a friend headed over to Times Square to observe the mania first hand. They arrived shortly before Obama was announced as the projected winner. The place went nuts and the chants and screaming continued for hours.

So how will the 80% of white evangelicals respond? I pray with hope, and with support for our new president. When Clinton was elected to his first term I happened to be at a conference in Atlanta the following weekend where some of the top evangelical leaders were speaking. Most of them took the opportunity to share their conviction that we as a country were in deep trouble. They said things like "a dark cloud hangs over our country" and "our future is bleak indeed".  The audience joined in the hand-wringing. It seemed as though God himself was in a state of despair now that Clinton had won the presidency.

I see it differently. I see a New Testament church that flourished under a government that was just a little bit different than the democracy we still enjoy. I see through history the ability of followers of Jesus to adapt and adjust in all political climates. Truth is, the Kingdom Jesus announced and started can thrive in every and all circumstances if his followers commit to live as citizens of his Kingdom first and foremost. Not only can we then love our enemies, but we can love a president that we might not have supported. 

Some say we are headed toward socialism, but they say it in such a way that if it becomes reality, somehow we cannot carry on the work of Jesus. Nonsense. Try telling the Chinese Christians that.

So- no despair, no hand wringing- just resolve to follow Jesus, to love God with all our heart, and to love our neighbor, who happens also to be our president, whether he is a democrat or a republican.