Essay

The Day After

By November 10, 2012 2 Comments

Psalm 146

Praise the Lord.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

I live in a very red part of a blue state.  Iowa went for Obama again this election cycle but I’m one of the 7% in my county who voted for Obama.  A majority of my fellow Sioux Countians see it as the their Christian duty to pull the metaphorical red lever, so I’m sure there were some who woke up the day after in despair – truly believing the sky is falling. I haven’t seen anyone digging a bunker just yet but it’s early. Yesterday a friend told me about his experience with some colleagues the day after the election.  They were bemoaning the outcome, wondering what they were going to do and how Christian people could even think about voting for Obama, when my friend pulled out a bible, opened to Psalm 146, and read out loud “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings who cannot save…”  He slammed the bible down on the table and said “I don’t want to hear another word about it.”

This election season, more than any other, I have engaged in heated discussions with my “red” neighbors and friends. They have their reasons for why they voted for Romney – I’ll even admit some of them make sense. I’m glad that many of my neighbors take their political duty very seriously, it’s just that sometimes I wish they’d take the bible a little more seriously.  I know that’s a strange comment given that many northwest Iowans are militant about taking the bible literally. Face value… it says what it says… our task it to read it, hear it, and obey.  While I don’t think this is good exegetical method this is one time I wish they would practice what they preach.  The Kingdom of God is not red or blue (some might think it’s green but that’s even a stretch.)  Yes, we are called to exercise our political duty.  Yes, I believe that cultural institutions and practices are a part of God’s good creation.  But like anything else these cultural practices have become warped by sin – weighed down by idolatrous ideological baggage.  The truth is that the kingdom of God comes in spite of our politics and our cultural preferences. This Sunday morning I’ll attend my local congregation to hear the good news about the in-breaking of Kingdom into this world and to hear the call to take up my cross, love my neighbor, and follow Jesus “along the way.” Whether we live in a red, blue, green, or pink state – that is the call that matters most for the Christian community.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

2 Comments

  • Harold Fynaardt says:

    So, Jason, is gov't called to protect innocent unborn life from abortion–or not? From the snippets this layman reads of Perspectives the writers overwhelmingly seem to say that it is not. Sorry to see you among them. The vast majority of Sioux Countians got Obama right. I've seen Obama campaigning in rural Iowa–went to a rally–and witnessed his rhetorical pull. This tardy reaction to your piece is to lament your iconoclastic open support of him. Would you like to answer more e-mails? HF

  • Jason Lief says:

    Harold,
    Thanks for the comment. If by iconoclast you mean breaking down silly stereotypes perpetuated by fear and religious rhetoric co-opted by political sound bites – count me in! Statistical data has shown that abortion rates decline under democratic presidents, and that in Obama's first term the abortion rate fell the largest percentage ever – this on the heels of 8 years of a "pro life" Bush presidency. It seems that when women feel they will receive the support they need to care for a child (health care, welfare,etc) they tend to go through with the pregnancy. http://blog.beliefnet.com/stevenwaldman/2008/10/can-democrats-reduce-abortion.html
    I'm unashamedly pro life; I just happen to believe that life is much more than making sure babies are born.

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