Obama Wins: Now What? (Guest Post)
On November 6th, Barack Obama was reelected faster than Thai food was delivered to my election night party. Though it is still obvious that our country is split down the middle, the election easily went to the Democratic Party. The people have spoken, and I think it’s time for Americans to accept this shift of American culture. So the question is, what does this mean for the Christian?
This past week I saw many reactions to the election outcomes. My Republican friends were angry, or posting bible verses about God’s sovereignty. My Democrat friends were happy and grateful for another four years. But if one thing is true for everybody, it’s that politics have now been pushed aside for more important things – our own lives.
That’s the heart of my challenge. I want to challenge you to not forget the election, to go outside of your own world and get up close and personal with the people, policies and ideas that are addressed every four years. We can call it “Biblical Values: Up Close and Personal.” And I hope you’re up for the challenge. Because the only way Christians are going to make a true impact on this world is not through elections, but through dying to ourselves and loving others like God has loved us.
Challenge #1: Volunteer with youth, or at an adoption agency. The fact is, with Obama as president, abortion will not be made illegal. And I dare say, abortion in the U.S. will never be illegal again. As Christians, I believe we must come at this from a different angle. One angle is to volunteer with youth. You can volunteer with a church youth ministry, or even with para-church and secular organizations as a “big brother” or “big sister”. Making an impact in the lives of youth through personal relationship can offer so much more to the future generation than laws and policies. A second angle is to volunteer for or donate monetarily to an adoption agency. Many girls who are debating abortion often come to adoption agencies to understand their options. When social workers and adoption counselors can give their “busy work” to volunteers, this lets them have more time with the patient’s debating their options.
Challenge #2: Volunteer at a soup kitchen. They’re all over the country and easy to find. This will give you the opportunity to get your hands dirty as you prepare and clean up after meals, but you will also (most likely) have a chance to sit down and chat with the people who depend on these services. In my experiences, I’ve met a range of people from the single homeless man or woman, to the family who has housing but can’t afford food. You can also meet people who are currently receiving (or have been denied) government assistance. This could help you to better understand what life is like for those who are poor and hungry in America.
Challenge #3: Learn more about racial reconciliation in the church. Unfortunately, some Christian said hurtful and borderline racist things this election. There are so many hurtful generalizations made about different cultures around the world, and Christians need to push against all of these things. After all, Jesus has called us to love the whole world. I recommend reading one of my favorite books by Michael O. Emerson, Divided by Faith. It will give you a lot to think about.
Challenge #4: Start taking care of our planet. Recycle, plant a garden, buy an environmentally friendly vehicle or take the bus. I won’t try to convince you global warming is real. (But seriously, it’s real.) It’s true, our home is in Heaven, but for now, the Earth is our home and we need to take care of it. These tragedies caused by weather are soon going to be too much for us to handle and are already having large impacts on impoverished communities throughout the world.
Challenge #5: Welcome the stranger. While the Christian should support wise and protective policies when it comes to immigration, our words should also be spoken with grace and love. Jesus shows us how to welcome all people, no matter their situation. Our concern and energy should not lie in advocating for building fences, but in building relationships and sharing the gospel.
I hope these challenges will help you to expand your ideas of “Biblical Values” in America. I will leave you with this quote from Jim Wallis: “It’s following Jesus and our obedience to the Scriptures that leads us to defend the poor, protect the most vulnerable, welcome the stranger, seek racial reconciliation and justice, be good stewards of the environment and peacemakers in a world of war.”