How (American) Christians Ought to Respond to the Midterm Elections

flagMany wouldn’t guess this by my writings here, but I am a recovering political junkie. From childhood on, I used to be frenetically concerned with all things politics. Reading the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page by junior high, my dad kept me informed by printing out reams of political analysis every week for me to take to school and read in boring classes. It was fun. I like the horserace elements, the ideological battles, the speculation, and everything that went with it. It was like sports for me, only with old white dudes not doing anything. Kind of like golf, I guess.

These days, I’ve cooled off a bit. Not because politics aren’t important, mind you–they are. I’ve simply had a shift in intellectual priorities. Most of the time, the day to day quirks of my job don’t require a detailed knowledge of which piece of legislation got passed today. Still, right around now, midterms and the presidential elections, some of the old fire comes back and I care again.

Now, I’m still not going to say much about the meaning of what happened on Tuesday. The internet is full of political speculation about whether or not these elections favored conservatives or only disfavored Democrats, what implications this holds for the next two years, or whether Kim Kardashian will make a run in 2016. (Though, I do think I have some solid thoughts on that last one.)

What I will do is ask all of my politically-concerned brothers and sisters one question: Are you praying now?

I don’t mean to be a self-righteous pontificator, Jesus-juking everybody who’s more tightly caught up in this, but I really want us to honestly ask that question. When I was a political junkie, even though I was a Christian who read, prayed, and cared, I didn’t really think to obey one of the only truly clear commands in Scripture about Christians and the political process:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Republican or Democrat, whoever did or didn’t win  in your district, whatever idiotic ballot proposals did or didn’t pass, you as a Christian have at least one clear command about how to respond to the midterm elections: pray for whoever’s coming in.

Pray for wisdom to conquer folly.

Pray for righteousness to trump pragmatism.

Pray for bravery to overwhelm cowardice.

Pray for a vision of the common good to overcome personal greed.

Pray for the shalom of the city to bury its violence.

Pray for the salvation of whoever has come to power so that they may know the joy of Jesus Christ and then be guided by God’s Spirit to govern in ways that reflect the goodness of God’s kingdom for the sake of all.

Soli Deo Gloria

7 thoughts on “How (American) Christians Ought to Respond to the Midterm Elections

  1. Maybe adjust the title bit? How American Christians Ought To Respond to the Midterm Elections.

    I submit this as one from a culture who “lives in the shadow of the elephant.”

  2. Nice article. I am so tired of being made to feel like I have to belong to a particular Political Party to be a true Christian. What you said about our role in the whole process was right on the money. Thanks for the post!

  3. So many preachers fail to realize that we are free to back whatever politics we want.

    Politics are a law issue. The gospel is another matter altogether, and has nothing to do with politics.

    • Can you expound a little bit on this? I’m confused as to how you could think that the gospel can have nothing to do with anything, and especially troubled that you think it has nothing to do with politics. Even if you were to take an Augustinian view of citizenship and politics to the nth degree, I don’t think that you can justify such apathy towards our political involvement. What do you mean when you say that politics are a law issue? Further, can we draw such a harsh distinction between the law and the gospel?

      I write curiously and humbly,

      Matt

      • I never said that the gospel “has nothing to do with anything.”

        I said that the gospel has nothing to do with politics…or with what ‘we do’.

        The gospel is purely about the salvation of sinners. Politics is a housekeeping (law) issue, that we must engage in on this plane.

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