I had a number of people asking me over the course of the last few weeks… How are you going to vote? And if you have read any of my blog posts, you may have picked up on the fact that I’ve been pondering whether or not I should even vote. More specifically I’ve been pondering, What is the proper way for a citizen of the Kingdom of God to be involved politically as a citizen of the United States?
So I just wanted to let those who care know… I did vote. It was about 1pm. There was no line. I slipped in and out of 1250 University Drive — our church facility — without even being recognized. Filled in my circles, put it through the scanner, told the wonderful volunteers thank you and headed out. Final step still to be completed, getting my free cup of coffee at Starbucks. I also thought about driving to Altoona for my free Krispy Kreme but decided it was too far. So let me tell you how I voted.
1) I voted with gratitude. As easy as it is to see the problems in this country — that is not my final destination but is my current home — we are one of the few places on the face of the earth where there is consistently such a people-directed smooth transitioning of power. I am thankful for that. In addition I am thankful for all the Jesus-followers who are living out their calling in areas of government. It is an incredible mission field.
2) I voted with a bit of heaviness on my heart. There are so many issues facing us as a people, as a culture and as a country. But my heaviness comes less from the issues and more from my conviction that if our nation is in an unhealthy place the responsibility lies first at our feet — the church. An early Christian author once wrote, As the soul is to the body, so Christians must be to the world. Or I would put it this way — the church is the heart of the city. As the heart goes, so goes the city. So if our cities are sick with greed or other diseases, doesn’t it start with the heart?
3) I voted wishing that I could trust that whoever won would tell me what I need to hear and not what I want to hear. Enough said on that one!
4) I voted with a sense of satisfaction that no matter who wins, we take a small step in a healing direction. What do I mean by that? I mean that we will either vote into office a woman or an African American. Less than 140 years ago, you had to be a white male just to vote, let alone run for office. Discrimination has brought so many wounds to the hearts of people and our culture. To elect a woman to the vice presidency or an African American to the presidency is a small healing step.
5) I voted with a sense of relief. The ads, the debates, the news articles, the ads, switching between CNN and Fox to hear both sides of the story, the ads, the yard signs, the late night jokes, a billion dollars spent on ads… did I mention the ads? Anyway…it’s all done. (Unless of course we get a tie. :)
6) I voted with not one bit of anxiety over who wins. The first presidential election I remember was Richard Nixon’s second. From Nixon to Ford to Carter to Reagan to Bush, Clinton and Bush, I have yet to see one president who is purely evil or one president who is purely righteous. I have yet to see a president who hasn’t made me glad that Jesus is King. I think that’s the main reason I’m not very anxious about what tomorrow holds. Proverbs 21:1 says that the King’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs like a watercourse wherever he pleases. I pretty much believe that! Takes away a lot of the stress.
7) I voted as a guy with permanent citizenship in the Kingdom of God and guest citizenship in the United States. I’m still trying to figure out everything that means but I know it means this: I did not vote as though the Kingdom of God depends upon my vote. The hope of the world is not the United States and the hope of the United States is neither John McCain or Barack Obama. The hope of the world is Jesus and we get to partner with him in transformational callings every day. There were issues in this election that I am very passionate about…but I believe that the only way to bring change is by Jesus working through the church.
8) I voted with a determination that tomorrow, no matter what, tomorrow I will pray for and honor whoever is President. I cannot find a place in the Bible where it says that all committed Jesus-followers should vote. But I do find in 1 Timothy 2:2 that I am called to pray for all those in authority and I do find in Romans 13:1-7 that I am called to honor, respect and submit to governing authorities because they have been placed there by God.
9) I voted in anticipation of getting a free Starbucks coffee. Sorry just had to throw that one in there.
10) I voted with these words from Jesus as my foundation. They will know you are my disciples (not by your party affiliation, or by the placard in your yard, or even by the issues you hold dear) by the love you have for each other. Tomorrow (hopefully tomorrow) when the last vote is counted and the last pundit has spun his/her spin. It is still ultimately about the capacities of our hearts to love God, love each other and love our world.
So that’s how I voted. Oh, you wanted to know who I voted for? That’s a whole other blog, which will probably never be written! :)