As Facebook reminds me each morning of what I've said and who I've interacted with through the years, I'm seeing that this time of year seems a common time for me to rant a bit about politics and the ugly ways we treat each other.
Apparently, this year will be no different... Well, maybe a little different, as I'm too weary to do much ranting right now.
I have never been more disappointed in our political system, or in us as a nation - and that's saying something. I didn't think I could be more cynical or disappointed than I already was. Yet, here we are.
The division and polarization is overwhelming. I have dipped my toes into the fray a couple of times - I choose carefully - and they have been, for the most part, refreshingly civil. I love the interactions I'm able to have on Facebook, but I've also had to completely step away from my feed for a time, several times, simply because I can't stand seeing the hate anymore. From all sides. We seem to feel like the hate and violence of some now justifies the hate and fear-mongering of others. Dog eat dog. I'll get you before you can get me.
I'm stunned at what our two-party options appear to be lining up to be. I tend to lean conservative on many issues, but I have identified less and less with the Republican party over the last several years. And now? I'm out.
I've heard so many people say they will follow the Republican ticket no matter who ends up there and many of them believe any other vote, Democrat or third party, assures a Democratic win and the death of our nation as we know it. I've also heard left-leaning friends say almost the same exact thing, from a Democratic perspective. We all have to follow our convictions and I get some of what those people are saying, but I have concerns with this line of reasoning.
No where in Scripture does God endorse a specific form of government, other than a theocracy - and we clearly aren't going to have that again until He returns. He did not, anywhere, endorse a democratic Republic - as much as I love our country - as much as I WANT that to continue. God never said this was IT or that our calling is to preserve this at all cost. ANY form of government, left in the hands of greedy, power-hungry people, will degenerate into what we are currently seeing in our country.
Since Israel first rejected a theocracy, God has spoken to every people, in every country, living in and under many different forms of government. He never once spoke to the form of government. He spoke to people - to followers of Jehovah, to followers of Christ. And what does He tell us?
We are not of this world.
We are aliens, strangers.
We are citizens of an eternal Kingdom.
Love your enemies.
Pray for those who persecute you.
Honor your authorities.
Turn the other cheek.
Repay evil with good.
Serve the weak and the down-trodden.
Protect the orphan and the widow.
Feed the poor.
Forgive. If they ask for a mile, give them two. If they ask for your shirt, give your coat as well. Do not fear.
Do not fear.
Do not fear.
Do. Not. Fear.
It feels like we are compromising what God calls us to first and foremost for fear of what we will lose: our way of life, or our government, or our security, or our power. We do live in a country that encourages and needs us to be involved. I'm not denouncing that, but this is not, as Christ-followers, our primary objective.
And I can't - I simply cannot, will not, cast my vote for someone that exemplifies everything the One we follow taught against. When people rise to power by walking on the backs of others, by promoting hate, by glorying in cheating, I may have to eventuality honor their position as my worldly authority, but I do not have to have a hand in getting them there. I'm not asking for a perfect leader, or a "preacher", or even a Christ-follower, if they still lead honorably, but when saving our democracy means I have to cast my vote for someone that exemplifies everything I've spent my life raising my children to NOT be, I'm out. When it means endorsing someone that leads with character in complete opposition to faith, to peace, to the way of love, I'm out.
You may come to different conclusions. I get that. I trust we can still worship and dialog and serve together. We can break bread together, raise our children together. We can still have spirited discussions on Facebook. We can love one another, even in our disagreement.
But, no matter what it means, as I likely choose to cast my vote for someone doomed to lose - or at worst, to not cast a vote at all, that is what I will do. If "my team" losing means the death of democracy, I will remember that I serve God, not man, not a government system, not a world ideology.
Someone once said that when we lose our life, there we will find it.