My Open Letter on Faith, Hope, Love, and the Election

Prefacing my Anxious Bench post today, I admitted that I wasn’t thrilled that my Tuesday slot in that rotation left “me with the unenviable responsibility of posting on a particularly fractious Election Day. I thought about doing something as apolitical as possible, but ultimately decided I should address the election in some fashion. So after I cast my absentee ballot a couple weeks ago, I sat down to write an open letter to the only person who deserves to receive such an epistle from me: me.”

"I voted" sticker
Actually, I voted a couple weeks ago, after which I wrote this letter – Creative Commons (Kelley Minars)

I hope it’s not too convoluted a concept. But rather than writing some kind of political appeal or diatribe, I wanted to step back and address some of what’s bothered me about my own behavior and thinking this year. Thanks to my pastor and co-author, Mark Pattie, part of whose contribution to our forthcoming book gave me the “decision day” theme for the post!

Here’s a sample of the letter:

As people of faith and hope, we should not make too much of any single Election Day. But as people of love, we should also resist the temptation to make too little of it: to insist that God is in control (though He is) and wash our hands of a worldly ritual that inevitably leaves us feeling dirty and dissatisfied. Democracy remains our best bad option for human government, and that demands we participate alongside our fellow citizens.

Today’s result will most likely have little immediate effect on people like you, who have a rather comfortable, secure existence. But many other people stand to suffer a great deal should our nation make an unwise choice. The youngest and the oldest, the poor and unemployed, religious, racial, and sexual minorities, those living beyond our borders whose safety and prosperity is directly linked to this country’s foreign policy, and those who came from afar seeking new freedom and opportunity: their lives are far more susceptible than yours to changes in law and public policy.

If it does resonate with you, please consider sharing a link to the full letter (not this summary), or reposting some or all of it at your own blog or Facebook page.

P.S. Let me also recommend this Election Day prayer by Covenant pastor Steve Wiens, which says much of what I did in many fewer words.

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