When Family Votes Differently

Jes Kast Uncategorized 5 Comments

I love my family. Like many families we don’t all agree. On most social issues we see things differently. It didn’t always use to be that way. At one time we all saw things very similarly, but that isn’t the case anymore. That’s ok and that’s even good; the Holy Spirit keeps our journeys active. In this election season our passionately held positions lead us to vote differently. What we have in common is that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and it’s the centrality of our faith that leads us to have the positions that we do.

It is something that I wrestle with in my soul (I would say it even haunts me) how can our centers be the same, but lead us to such different opinions that are often in direct conflict with each other? Maybe you have family or friends that you experience this with, too.

Last week I tweeted. img_6645

The tweet generated much attention. I think sometimes progressives are tired of conservatives thinking that we hold our positions despite our faith. No, it’s our faith that leads us to holding the positions that we do.

Then my mother replied to the tweet by saying it’s the same things “Praying. Jesus. Reading the bible.” That lead her to hold a conservative conviction. One, I love that my mom engages on social media in this way (Brave women in the Kast family). Two, I think many people understand these family dynamics.

I ask myself “Jes, how do we hold the integrity of our passionately held convictions while loving each other?”

Maybe you are asking yourself this question in this election, too. So I’ve put together a list of helpful tips that are working for us with the hopes they will work for you. As my mom said, November 9th we have got to come together as a country and we need God’s help in that peaceful transition of power (wise woman, that mother of mine, even if we do see things differently.)

 

  1. Pray. Actively remind yourself that the family/friend who votes differently than you is a child of God. I’m serious. Pray about this if this is hard. Pray something like this “God, I know my (insert family member) is a child of yours. I know you love them dearly. Help me to love them the way you do.”
  2. Listen for understanding. Be curious. In the Kast family we say that there are two things we talk about: religion and politics. I remember debating about politics over the dinner table while I was growing up. When I return to my parent’s house for holidays, dad dishes out the good meal he just made and then we talk. We ask each other questions and we listen. We work hard to listen. I desire to articulate my conservative family members convictions though I do not agree with them myself. I feel loved and understood when my conservative family articulates why my progressive values are important to me, though they don’t agree with them. We try to listen for understanding, not (well not always) to change the person’s mind.
  3. Laugh. My Dad is so good at reminding our family this. There are very important issues at stake in this election. There is a reason I have preached on fear and peace a lot this season. I see the fear and I experience the fear, too. I think people across the political divide are experiencing fear in different ways. If we can laugh together then we can recover our human dignity of each other. As I say, joy is resistance. Joy is resistance to what divides us, too.

 

Maybe you understand these family dynamics and they play out in your family or maybe in your congregation. As you actively work to hold your integrity and campaign for the person you feel convicted to vote for, let us not forget the love of Christ that binds us to each other.

Seeking justice, loving mercy, and (trying) to walk humbly,

Jes

 

Comments 5

  1. I, too, have a similar trajectory in my life. Yet, when honest, beyond the three you listed, it was college, becoming friends with a gay guy, volunteering in a city school, realizing the racism among us, comprehending deeper meanings of justice, and traveling the world that changed my perspective.

    I’m not o.k. with our citizens nor my family voting for a racist, sexist, money hoarding, self-worshipping adult. I feels like I’m dancing around the Asherah Pole and bowing to other gods. I’m not quite certain any amount of laughter will get me beyond this reality. This is the complete opposite of the gospel that I’ve learned in 50 years of life. It’s not o.k. It will never o.k. It’s not how we are meant to be as humans created in the image of God.

    When does our commitment to bloodlines interrupt our commitment to the one who loves us? I don’t have an answer, but I sometimes wonder. and i am increasingly believing family is the ultimate god upon which we will sacrifice our lamb.

    1. “Voting for” is not equivalent to “bowing to.” Given the choice between a racist, sexist, money hoarding, self-worshipper and a warmonger, corporatist who loves fracking, it’s hard to square the gospel with either of the two major party candidates. I’ve seen this quote from Malcolm X about the fox and the wolf which applies here, I think:

      “It isn’t a president who can help or hurt; it is the system. And this system is not only ruling us in America, it is ruling the world. Nowadays, when a man is running for president of the United States, he is not running for president of the United States alone; he has to be acceptable to other areas of the world where American influence rules.

      “If Johnson had been running all by himself, he would not have been acceptable to anyone. The only thing that made him acceptable to the world was that the shrewd capitalists, the shrewd imperialists, knew that the only way people would run toward the fox would be if you showed them a wolf. So they created a ghastly alternative. And it had the whole world — including people who call themselves Marxists — hoping that Johnson would beat Goldwater.

      “I have to say this: Those who claim to be enemies of the system were on their hands and knees waiting for Johnson to get elected — because he is supposed to be a man of peace. And at that moment he had troops invading the Congo and South Vietnam! He even has troops in areas where other imperialists have already withdrawn. Peace Corps to Nigeria, mercenaries to the Congo!”

      As much as I don’t like seeing family and friends vote for either of the two major candidates this year, I can’t blame any of them for picking between a fox and a wolf.

    1. To this I would respond that I did not really like either candidate. I prayed that Trump would turn over his win to Pence, because I see a much better conservative in him. I also see a better balance in Pence; he would not have said many of the things Trump said and he certainly would not have done many things Trump did, present or past.

      I would say “Praying. Jesus. Reading the Bible” All things (in my life anyway) are filtered through these, not my own experiences.

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