jen and i got to vote with our two oldest kids in tow back on Friday the 31st (early voting). They loved it. I got a little stressed – just cause i always got antsy growing up when i would take tests where you had to give your answer by filling in a bubble cause i would fill it in and then wonder, “did i fill it in enough? will it get counted when they scan it?” i know. i am obsessive compulsive in a few things. not many, but definitely in bubble-filling-out.
nonetheless, we filled in the bubbles and Katey helped me slide our ballots in the scanner machine. she smiled like only Katey can. it was a neat time to share that very important moment with the kids and hopefully teach them the importance of our responsibility as citizens of this country we live in.
and i want to be responsible. i think there are other ways to be responsible as an American, but voting is definitely one of them. when it comes to politics, i have some really cool friends who are passionate about politics with regard to more than voting. They are super passionate about their political views. while i have been captivatingly intrigued by this year’s election, i would not consider myself someone passionate about politics per se. maybe passionate about how some people use politics to promote religious preferences more than simply living them out. maybe passionate about how people attempt to legislate morality more than trying to daily love like Jesus and maybe actually befriend those against whom the legislation is directed. not saying we should not be vocal. notice the conjunction was “more than” not “instead of.” but i digress.
those cool friends who are passionate – some of them absolutely were staunch about McCain and Palin, while others totally couldn’t wait for Obama and the “CHANGE” he might bring. I believe in all of those friends regardless of who they supported, and i respect their passion and their intellectual honesty and intelligence both politically and in other regards.
i actually have no problem with the passion they expressed in the midst of a very impassioned campaign. i actually have no problem with people, whether followers of Jesus or not, rooting for a republican or a democrat. i actually have no problem with who you voted for, and i hope you have no problem with who i voted for.
that is actually what i have a problem with. that someone can have such a problem with who someone voted for and with who won that particular election. so much so that they would look differently upon them with no effort to engage them in conversation, maybe actually do life with them, and learn why they thought the way they did and voted the way they did. you may say, “Jason, nobody is doing that.” Really? people don’t discount others thoughtlessly and quickly in this matter?
remember, i am not talking about disappointment. i know some people who were elated that Obama won the presidency, just like i know some people who were very disappointed. i am not talking about wishing “your guy/gal” would have won. i am not talking about letting go of the issues that matter to your heart and that may matter to God, even, just because someone won who will not push those issues. i am not talking about passively and carelessly saying “oh well.” I am talking about how being impassioned during a campaign can then transfer into being embittered following the election.
i am burdened. i believe we are in an amazing season of history. not because of the first that this election brought, although that is an awesome sign of a fresh direction relationally and racially speaking, but because of the way God is moving among His church to grow beyond walls toward love and compassion daily. and in this amazing season of history, i am burdened that a bitterness from many in church culture will further distract us from what we MUST BE KNOWN FOR.
it seems that being Christian in the USA has become somewhat synonymous with being Republican. i do not see it this way, but i know many who talk like and act like this is so. unfortunately to many people in culture at large, the church has become more known for conservative views and watching Fox News than for loving one another. the church may not be acting this way as a whole, but we are acting this way enough that it has caused a perception that we do not walk the talk of Jesus. we must be giving ourselves away in an engaged, sacrificial way that places tools for change and opportunity for growth out into the hands of those touched by the church rather than just seasonally and conveinantly giving handouts to them. WE MUST BE KNOWN BY LOVE (John 13:34-35), not by who we vote for.
i will be the first to say i am guilty of this. let me say that again. i am guilty of this, too. not engaging and loving like Jesus loves. and i need you to help me, just like i hope to be a help to you, to come together and be becoming together more and more as a people who love the overlooked and ignored more than just from a distance but rather actually as a friend. and to love one another in spite of and in the midst of our differences, not just in a tolerant way but rather in a way where we give the keys to our lives to one another and sharpen each other in every area, vocally but kindly. ultimately to do life together more closely, not more divided.
voting should not cause division within the church. we have those in our church family who voted for McCain and those who voted for Obama. i don’t believe either will be treated poorly, but i am burdened that our church family will be an exception. i am burdened that our neighbors question how they can relate to those who had certain signs in their yards because of how the church has generally and historically and is now presently responding. who won the election should not also cause further distraction from what Jesus said was most important – loving God and loving people.
may we take some time to look at our lives. may we pray and ask Jesus to expose in us the ways that our was don’t reflect His ways. may we ask ourselves, “do i have any friends who voted differently than me?” more importantly, may we ask ourselves, “do i have any friends who don’t follow Jesus?” may we engage and befriend. may we, as the 1st century church, share with all who have need. not from a distance, but in the middle of deeply and closely doing life together. generous with our lives. known by our love.
by the way, the title of this post is “who did i vote for?” you may be wondering who i voted for. well i’ll tell you.
what? isn’t that what you were asking about? who i voted for to be property appraiser?
well, shoot back some thoughts. here are four thoughts i have been processing that would indicate the church being responsible in the wake of this election:
_let’s pray for Obama as President in the same way that many of the “church” prayed for Bush
_let’s quit playing “what if?” games, driven by a spirit of fear. we have not been given a spirit of fear.
_let’s do voice our opinions and views on issues and ideas for solutions for where we go from here, not just complain about where we’ve been.
_let’s love, share with all who have need, befriend. it’s the church’s responsibility, not the governments.
PS – i am thinking about running for Soil and Conservation Office in 2020. If you would like to support me and my campaign, please let me know.