Dear Immanuel Family,
I know committed Christians who believe any one of the following: Trump will make America great again; Hillary is actually the lesser of two evils when compared to Trump; a third party vote is a wasted vote; a third party vote is not a wasted vote but actually what we need; Gary Johnson is just as much a clown as the other two; since we are faced with no good choice then the only moral choice is actually not to vote for once. There are other positions I’ve heard articulated, but those represent at least a few of the things I’ve heard Christians say about this presidential election. Since there seems to be no real consensus amongst Christians on how we should vote, it seems clear to me that there won’t be a “Christian” voting block this year.
Like many of you, I’m frustrated when I look at the direction in which our country is headed. Like many of you, I’m saddened as I watch our political process so clearly demonstrating the marks of a culture in decline. But, like many of you, I also continue to believe that God is in control.
Our challenge and opportunity to be faithful in the mission Christ gave us will remain the same no matter who is elected. Furthermore, we do well to remember that our distinct Lutheran confession of the faith was formulated 500 years ago under a political situation in Germany that was anything but democratic! They were living under a feudal system after a medieval European model of government and not a constitutional republic. In other words, a favorable political situation is not a necessary prerequisite for faithful Lutheran belief and ministry. Sure, it might help, but those aren’t the days we’re living in.
As we continue to march toward the election, please reflect on the following in how we live together as a church family and as good neighbors here in Memphis: 1) As a Christian, your savior is Jesus and not Donald, nor Hillary, nor Gary. Please make sure people can tell that that is what you believe. 2) No candidate in this country is Hitler. Please stop overplaying the historical reference. 3) Social media is NOT a private personal platform, but rather VERY public space. Whatever you say about politics today may very well color how others hear you about Jesus tomorrow. 4) Remember that what you say about politics could cause divisions within the congregation if you’re not careful. And people leaving Immanuel over voting a certain way would break my heart since we are actually a people united in faith in Jesus, and through the same body and blood, rather than through a political party. 5) Be merciful. Your neighbors are just as consternated when they look at the direction of our country as you are. Christians are called to be people of peace rather than division.
I am thankful for your individual Christian leadership in our city during this campaign season.