Some Thoughts About the Upcoming Election
October 1, 2020
A couple nights ago, we had our first of three presidential debates as we head into our final month of campaign season this year, so I’d like to say a couple words about church and politics.
- None of our politicians are coming to save us. I addressed this at greater length in a sermon last fall, so I’ll be brief. History and our faith make it clear that people and systems of power are often corrupt and self-serving. Additionally, the best and most beautiful work of God revealed in Christ is not accomplished through our political rulers. Some political choices do far more harm, others far more good, but none of them can do as much good as they promise. And love and justice and mercy can find a way even when the worst of them prevail.
- People in your communities hold views that you don’t share, perhaps even that you find shocking or abhorrent. That’s likely true in your workplace, your extended family, and your church. I’m not saying that all viewpoints or political stances should be offered respect. Some do great harm. But all people in our communities, particularly here in our church community, are children of God trying the best they can. Please don’t assume everyone in your community group, for instance, sees the world as you do, and please exercise what kindness, curiosity, and humility you can if and when difference is discovered. This is part of the radical love we are called to in Christ. And love has changed more hearts and minds than disdain, shame, and arguments have. So speak your truth, tell your story, but please do so with respect for one another.
- Lastly, leaders in your church and your pastors have opinions, but we try to operate in the prophetic tradition, not a position of political expertise. The prophetic tradition of our faith tries to connect God’s heart and mind with contemporary injustice. Our church engages in a local interfaith social justice coalition on issue-based change along these lines. Our pastors, myself included, make comments about practical expressions of the way of Jesus in the world. This is part of Jesus-centered community, to seek to see the redemptive work of God not only in our private lives but in our shared public world. Reservoir, though, doesn’t take collective policy or partisan stances on how government should operate or the precise ways our members should seek to follow Jesus in public life. In very rare cases, such as the candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump, I have criticized the immoral, inhumane conduct, speech, and policy of a political leader. That again is part of our prophetic tradition. But still, the church doesn’t endorse particular candidates or parties or systems of change. We pray for and seek the good of our city and world together, encouraging us each to soberly and earnestly do the same however we can.
With all this said, I encourage you to pray for our world and nation, to be active for good and healing and justice wherever you can, and to love your neighbors near and far as yourself. And as you do so, fear not. God’s good news and redemptive work in the world isn’t riding on any one news cycle or election. With the help of God and friends, we’ll get through together.
Peace, Love, and Courage be yours today,