Much has been said about the upcoming presidential election both by political pundits and astute cultural observers. Many in the Christ Community family have asked me whether they should vote for either of the two major presidential candidates. It is not my place to offer any partisan advice, but let me transparently say I, too, am struggling to know what to do in the voting booth. Whether you decide to vote or not vote for a presidential candidate, I would encourage you to be prayerful and well informed.
I don’t know what the outcome of the election will be, but as apprentices of Jesus, may we keep in mind that what matters most is not who will be sitting in Air Force One, but the Sovereign God who is seated in the heavens. While the outcome of the election does matter, what matters more is that the God of the Heavens is not wringing His omnipotent hands, nor is He fretting that things are out of control. We need not be anxious. We need not be taunted by worry or fear. We can trust God completely with our lives and our nation. We are not in control, but God is very much in control. We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the future.
I do believe that the presidential election is an opportunity for each of us to grasp a clearer understanding of where our society is and where it seems to be heading. I recently re-read former Yale Law Professor Robert Bork’s prescient book, Slouching Toward Gomorrah. Though written twenty years ago, Bork’s accurate description of America in 2016 is both stunning and sobering. He writes, “Radical individualism, radical egalitarianism, omnipresent and omni-competent government, the politicization of culture, the battle for advantages through politics shatter a society into fragments of isolated individuals and angry groups. Social peace and cohesion decline as loneliness and alienation rise. Life in such a culture can come close to seemingly intolerable.” (p. 11)
Bork makes a compelling case showing how the radically secular seeds sown in the 1960’s are now producing many of the putrid fruits in our American society. While Robert Bork looked to the renewal of local churches and faith communities to provide some hope to turn the tide, he is realistic about the strong likelihood of the cultural triumph of a progressive secularism. He writes, “We must, then, take seriously the possibility that perhaps nothing will be done to reverse the direction of our culture, that the degeneracy we see about us will only become worse.” (p. 332)
As I observe our distasteful political theatre, irresponsible journalistic propaganda, growing government coercion and corruption, increasing economic indebtedness, social incivility and polarization, as well as violence in the streets, I am driven to my knees to pray for a spiritual awakening. From my limited vantage point, our nation is looking less like America the Beautiful and more and more like America the Babylon.
How timely it is for us as a church family to be making our way through the Old Testament book of Daniel [see our sermon series]. Like Daniel, we are facing a culture that is increasingly hostile to our Christian faith. Like Daniel, we are living in exile. As those living in exile, we need wisdom in walking that fine line between a proper commitment to our beloved nation and plunging off the edge in a free fall of an idolatrous nationalism. We are called to pray for our government leaders, no matter who they are, to love and serve our neighbors, and to be good and responsible citizens of our nation, but let’s remember our ultimate loyalty is our citizenship in the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In spite of our cultural decline, I am actually very hopeful these days. As followers of Jesus, we have been given a moment of great opportunity to share with others the hope we have in Christ. Many people of faith and non-faith recognize our cultural decline and the growing challenges we are facing. Many of our dear neighbors, coworkers, and classmates are fearful and anxious and are looking for hope. Will we point them to the good news of the gospel where true hope is found? Could it be in this darkening cultural hour, the Spirit of God is moving in powerful ways to renew the church and bring a spiritual awakening to our needy land? I don’t know, but 28 years ago, Christ Community was birthed to that end, and I continue to pray to that end with great fervency of heart. Will you join me in fervent prayer that we who are the Bride of Christ might be salt and light in this darkening hour?
How encouraging to know light shines brightest when it’s darkest.