Get out and vote (but don’t forget who you are)

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Well it’s primary election time here in California and I don’t think I can remember a stranger election than this one. Most people are looking at the candidates for President and thinking, “This is it? This is the best our political system could come up with?” The media have even come up with a new category of voter, the NA’s, or “None of the Above.”

Without tipping the scale in any direction, I think it is safe to say that both Mr. Sanders and Mr. Trump owe their success to a widespread fear and discontent with politics and politicians in general. Everyone seems to want an outsider in the White House, even when history and common sense would indicate that an “outsider” is only an “outsider” as long as he/she is “outside.” The minute one gets elected, one is on the inside, and here we go again.

I think for followers of Christ, and especially here where we consider ourselves Marketplace Christians, this is a time for great restraint. Of course we will study the candidates, platforms and agendas, but our final decisions should be private and incidental. Our faith informs our life, but not our vote, and least in a uniform way for all believers. We each have different priorities. We should all get out and vote because it is our civic duty; we may even campaign for a candidate or an agenda, but not as a Christian. If we campaign, we campaign as a concerned citizen. There is not, nor has there ever been, a Christian vote. We are Christians who vote, but not all the same.

That isn’t to say there aren’t things we stand for as followers of Christ. In fact, this is a time for Christians to stand out in the marketplace for all the right reasons. Because the qualities that should set us apart as believers are generally lacking in mainstream culture, they stand a chance of being noticed now more than ever. Things like kindness, respect, generosity, patience, gentleness, openness, mercy, forgiveness, hospitality, receptiveness, trust, and justice for all, not just for “me, and my kind.”

Make a conscious effort to support the things you know Jesus would support, and those would come by way of attitude mostly. Above all, we want to be hopeful, since there is not much hope going around in our current state of affairs. Fear stands a chance of being the more dominant emotion, and the political motivator of choice by most politicians and political operatives. We must not participate in fear in any way, shape or form. Our hope, should be our defining factor, though not in our country or our systems of government, or our military strength. Our hope is in the Lord, and it is a hope so confident as to beg the question of those around us in the marketplace.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect …” (1 Peter 3:15).

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8 Responses to Get out and vote (but don’t forget who you are)

  1. gregg says:

    Thanks John.

  2. Lisa says:

    Well put.

  3. Sandie says:

    Every time I hear one of the candidates on TV I heartily wish we could press ‘pause,’ then hit ‘restart’ or ‘reset’…back to before this whole process went off the rails! But this is life, not a video game or computer glitch…and in truth we went off the rails in The Garden. Jesus is not surprised or dismayed…and HIS will WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED!
    John, I especially like your reminder that we are not Christian voters…just voters who happen to be Christians. And as Christians, we each represent a different piece of the heart and mind of Christ. Praying that we all do that with integrity and wisdom.

  4. Lois Taylor says:

    Well said, John. I read an article yesterday by a Christian who advised other Christians not to vote. Since none of the candidates is a professing Christian, saved by Grace, then Christians shouldn’t vote for anyone for President. As you said, there are opinions all over the spectrum. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. We will pray and listen for God’s answer which is what we did for the primary here in South Carolina. Everyone has to vote (or not) their conscience. Thank you for your dedication to us Catch readers.

    • I see this years elections – well, pretty much every years elections – as sort of a bus ride. The driver navigates the bus toward a specific destination and the passengers paid their fares for the trip. Sometimes the ride is smooth and sometimes it’s bumpy. There may be a wide open highway ahead or some rugged detours. Occasionally, the driver makes a pit stop so the passengers can stretch their legs or get a snack or visit the restroom, etc. Rarely, though, does the driver stop for a stranded motorist or hitchhiker who decided to make the journey alone. The passengers can look out the window and either feel sympathy, scorn, or indifference toward the hapless souls their bus just passed but they, themselves, cannot stop the bus.

      During the journey, however, should the driver become incapacitated while driving and the bus continues moving, what do the passengers on board do?
      Will they just sit there and let the bus careen toward a most-likely devastating end? Or will any (or many) of them – even if they don’t know how to operate a bus – try at least to steer the bus toward a smooth stop? Afterwards, the driver can be revived or replaced and then the trip continues.

      As our country trundles on toward destiny this November 8th, is this the time for voting-eligible Americans – particularly those who affiliate themselves with Christianity – to sit back, do nothing, and either hope and pray for a smooth rolling slowdown and eventual stop?
      Or are they ignorantly waiting to witness firsthand the horrific wreck they’re about to be involved in on the highway?
      Or, will they at least make an effort to steer our country – by voting – in a direction away from certain carnage? They may not know the intricacies of operating the “bus” but at least they didn’t simply sit by and accept their “fate” or “doom”.

      We may be saddled this year to choose between what many term as “the lesser of two evils” but to not vote at all allows “evil” to certainly win.

      I’m assuming the person mentioned above – the “Christian who advised other Christians not to vote” – has an influential leadership role of some capacity. My personal thought is that if the context is accurate then that person was very irresponsible in their statements and ought to be soundly rebuked – then challenged to run for office (drive the bus) if they think they can do a better job.

      I’d like to finish with three quotes that, hopefully, will encourage Catch citizens – particularly those in the United States this election year, Christians and Patriots alike – to not surrender or “go down without a fight”…

      “We can’t be consumed by our petty differences any more. We will be united in our common interest. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom. Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution, but from annihilation. We’re fighting for our right to live, to exist and should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice, ‘We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on, we’re going to survive.’ Today we celebrate our Independence day!”
      – President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman from the film “Independence Day”)

      “…be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
      … I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
      ~ Paul of Tarsus (2 Timothy 4)

      “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll!”
      ~ Todd Beamer (United Airlines Flight 93 – Sept. 11, 2001)

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