I'm currently in sunny California. Tonight we are staying in Pasadena and our room has a marvelous view of the surrounding mountains. I've been traveling with Jason this past week so I've had time to unwind and relax. I am working on posting another letter from the War, but the elections are in the forefront of my mind. Everywhere I look I see signage for voting and elections. The sheer mass of signage is astounding not to mention the ubiquitous reminders on social media and television. Today the news will be closely tracking the results and people will celebrate and mourn. Here are a few thoughts on the election.
1. It is important to keep in mind that most people want what is best for the United States, but many of us disagree on what is best. I have strong beliefs, based on the Bible, and so I vote based on my convictions. Sometimes, we can assume that those who believe differently want to see the destruction of the country when this just isn't the case. Know what you believe and why and vote based on your convictions. Don't villainize people who are acting on their convictions. We are all very different, but we also share a lot in common. Listen to people before condemning their beliefs. You may not change your mind, but you will be better able to understand the opposite viewpoint.
2. Be very intentional about your social media posts. Make sure what you are posting is accurate and true. Also consider the ramifications of taking a stand. Standing strong for the conviction that abortion is wrong is worth the risk of alienating others because it is a matter of life and death. The consequences are grave. Getting belligerent about blocking a new development in your town can be damaging to your representation of the gospel. (I'm just trying to use a non-moral example.) If you are opposed to the new development then say so and work to get your point across, but keep in mind that others may have equally good reasons to vote for the new development. Attacking others and being critical regarding something like that isn't worth the stand.
3. Another thought about social media. We can get really preachy about our beliefs online, because it is so easy to fight through a screen. When people, especially someone I don't really know, comment I can go at them with ease. I don't have to look them in they eye. I can assume they are a terrible person because we disagree and I can look things up before commenting. I had to delete Facebook from my phone and life for a few weeks after the 2016 election because I found myself getting into intense debates with strangers and acquaintances. Neither of us were going to change our minds and the only thing we were doing was wasting time and making each other upset. Stay off social media and if your friends are celebrating election results you disagree with than leave it be. Refrain from commenting with your predictions for what is to come.
4. Keep in mind that voting is the least you can do. As in, you should do more than voting in each election and then staying absent minded the rest of the time. Our founders wanted to make voting something special and somewhat inconvenient. I don't think voting should be as easy as having an app and then flipping back to keeping up with the Kardashians. If you really want to change the political scene get involved and show up and city council meetings, school board meetings, and so on. I don't currently do those, but I do read my local paper and I work to educate others in the history and principles of our country. I am not comfortable with harassing people into the voting booth then watching the outcome of a completely uninformed election. Study, read, participate. All of us will be involved a bit differently, but be involved.
I will be keeping an eye on the outcome of the election from across the country. It feels weird not planning to vote tomorrow having already voted via absentee ballot. Whatever happens, keep in mind that our comfort and strength are found in God, not in the government. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." (Psalm 46:1-3) This passage ends with "be still and know that I am God." We are not to "be still" in a blooming garden or on a calm sea, but rather we are told to be still when the mountains are falling into the sea. No matter what the outcome I can know that God is faithful. I pray that you find peace in that as well.
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