Three group texts, two radio spots on the way to the office, four messages waiting on the answering machine when I got in, and more facebook comments than I cared to count – all telling me how to fulfill my Christian duty at the voting booth next week. Usually I’m not looking around for a spot on the wall to put my head through until much later in the afternoon.
So to return the favor, here’s my meager contribution. Christ is risen! So laugh and cry when you walk into the booth…or when you stay home.
Part of the reason I can get worked up over Christians being worked up at election season is because I feel like we’ve lost our story. If Christ is raised, if death and all who wield it have met their match, then seriously, the fates don’t belong to the pawns in Washington. Healthcare, national defense, a reinvigorated middle class, etc will all play out according to the script composed by the God of Christ’s resurrection and ascension. The reconciling of all things to Himself through Christ (Col. 1:20) is where this story ends up no matter who celebrates on Wednesday morning…no matter the hardships you endure because your guy didn’t make it.
That’s not to say your vote doesn’t matter. It’s more to suggest your consistent celebration of resurrection in company with all the saints on Sunday morning is far more world changing than your attendance at the ballot box next Tuesday. Worship is where the story is reclaimed from the campaign strategists, your view of God’s redemptive stage unhindered by debate moderators and media commentators. There is where you learn your most effective part in the drama and are fed with grace to act.
But ok, enough Church solicitation from the pastor guy. Let’s lighten up a bit. Learn to laugh everyone. Remember that, to an extent, you look in on the whole affair from the outside. You’re an exile (1 Peter 1, Hebrews 11, etc). Christ’s redemption and kingdom certainty should set you free to look a bit more cynically at the efforts of our would be kings and powers brokers…all of them! And personally, few things have helped me do that – maintain that more distanced perspective, remember this all is not my primary story – than those who satirize and find the humor in the debates, speeches, and accidental comments in front of hidden microphones. For me, political humor keeps the candidates human (read: not messiahs) and their ideas less than inerrant. Long live late shows and youtube geniuses.
But then, as you learn to look at politics from the outside, be forewarned, you might see some different reasons for tears. It might sadden you to realize so many important themes of Christ’s kingdom were left untouched by debates and speeches. No one seems to question anymore the strategies of war and violence to solve the problems of war and violence. Niether questions the other on the War Powers Act, the Iranian tough talk, the drones that wreak havoc in communities we aren’t at war with.
No one seems to care this time around how we might better steward the gift of God’s creation. Very little talk of improving shameful poverty statistics. The all-too important discussion of life in the womb somehow got reduced to a war on…women (already birthed presumably)? And no one would dare suggest part of our economic woes could be because we’ve made gods out of dreams (i.e. the American one) and keep feeding those gods even when they fray the fabric of the neighborhood. And on and on…
So…for what it’s worth, I’ll be using my vote to try and voice parts of a different story altogether. At the end of the day I can’t say I’m too concerned with who wins this time around. So I feel kinda free to engage more of the long-haul effort of wrestling the present conversation back from the strategists, moderators, and party chairmen and inserting some different concerns into the national conversation. You could say I think that’s my Christian duty this time. Will it be a waste of a vote? Not if Christ is raised…at least in my mind.
Stay free. Think resurrection. And if you need a good wall before Tuesday, I’ll try and find you one.