Its election time in America. The heads are bobbing, the media is spewing, and twitter is aflame. Airways are polluted by ads that slander one and canonize the other. Dinner table discussions are passionate and awkward. Bumpers are freshly stickered and the stench of donkeys and elephants is in the air. Thanks to social media, everyone has a voice, leaving it impossible to deny that America is a fuming furnace of political opinion.
Now I have my party and I have my politics and on November 8th, I’ll give one candidate my vote… just not my hope.
I'm convinced the reason Americans are so passionate about politics is because our politicians promise to build and protect a perfect world in which we can exist. Each party is trying to sell us on the hope of an utopian world. Campaign promises reach deep into our hearts and offer us the hope of salvation from the hell of uncertainty, insecurity, and poverty. A loss for your party would be hell while victory would be heaven, they say. And we are inclined to believe them. It's no wonder that political fumes are so combustable.
But can they deliver?
As an Evangelical Christian, I am bound by both conscience and reason to begin with a Biblical view of the world and then back into my politics. The Bible paints a picture of a deeply broken world. A world which long since broken by sin, is now plagued with injustice, persecution, tyranny, and disease. A world that is inhabited by people who are lovers of money, lovers of self, and haters of God. Some are rich and some are poor. Some have while others have not. Each of these realities threatens our deepest longings and no matter what your party says, this is not going to change.
What we really long for is freedom, peace, security, and immortality. We long for these things, because deep in the human psyche we all sense that we were made to live truly free. Free from tyranny, free from fear, and free from death. Free from every encroachment that assaults the true longings of the human heart.
What fuels America's political engine is that our politicians make promises that resonate with the deepest longings of the human heart. Then the campaign engines go to work armed with fantastic rhetoric crafted by the world's brightest minds to convince us that their candidate can deliver. The goal is to evoke hope: hope that things will be different. But none of them can deliver. Because the security, the freedom, and the peace you and I truly long for cannot be secured by a temporal ruler. Not by a prince, not by a president, but only by a King. This king must be infinitely powerful, marvelously good, and exhaustively wise.
I believe that government, nearly any government, is a gift from God. I believe that in every society, God providentially gives men, both good and evil, significant amounts of power by which they influence our lives in tremendous ways. For even when limited, politicians and kings can wield power to serve or to enslave. I am thankful for the marvelous freedoms that as an American I have enjoyed my whole life. I am remarkably thankful for those who have died to protect these freedoms. And I believe that the government has the responsibility to protect basic human freedoms, but you could say that I don't really get my hopes up.
Because ultimately my hope for a better world, for utopia… is reserved for a lasting City. This City is governed by a Hero-King who fought and died to free slaves from tyranny. Its citizens were once enemies of the state. Its enemies are destroyed. Peace and freedom reign. There is no need for healthcare, the treasury is full, and the deficit is paid. The nations are gathered, the anthem is sung, hope has come.
So go ahead. Tax me, draft me, or enslave me. I'm free.
*A version of this post originally appeared at www.ccmblife.com