Gracious & Interesting {Even in an Election Year?}

We watched some of the election coverage last night. And as usual, I had mixed feelings when the TV turned off. I remembered why I don’t like watching election coverage. Usually, it just ends being this convoluted mess with every news station blaring this poll and that result and this guy’s worst remarks and that guy’s best and crowds that cheer and boo and regardless of which party you identify with, isn’t there part of you that is unnerved by the mob mentality at these things?

I know it’s normal. If I were at one of those, I’m sure I’d clap and hoot and holler like the rest of ’em. (Apparently, I was a cowgirl for that sentence.) 

And I won’t pretend to sit here and say, “I hate politics” because that’s too convenient, and gives permission to disengage with important things happening in the culture around us. (I also won’t pretend I’m a quarter as knowledgeable as I probably should be. At least, as knowledgeable as someone who can have an intelligent conversation about any of this.)

That said, I hate politics. What I mean is, I hate what we let politics do to us. Especially in the church. It’s like people become these snarling, rabid versions of themselves. I think it’s partly because of fear. Whatever “side” you’re on, don’t you have a modicum of fear about the future of the country? Fear that your guy (or girl)  won’t win, that the other guy (or girl) will, and what will happen if they do?

I get that. It’s always scary when you think of handing someone a lot of power.

But you and I must remember- whoever ultimately wins an election is not the one who holds everything in his control. Whoever is president for the next four years is not also in charge of eternity.

Maybe it would be good to read Isaiah every time we watch political coverage? That way we’d remember Who it is we worship.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LordAlmighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” – Isaiah 6: 1-7


Or Revelation:


10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit,and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum,Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[d] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword.His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

– Revelation 1: 10-18


Maybe we ought to remember where our fear really belongs. A reverent fear that falls down in awe of the King of kings. John can barely even describe Jesus, because of the wild, beautiful, terrible glory he beheld. Jesus had to tell him not to be afraid! Is it any surprise?

And how can I help but add this:

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

My soul is not American. It belongs to the Lord. It yearns for the far country he is preparing. For now, he has placed me in this country, so I will ask him to help me navigate all the hubbub and speeches and bumper stickers with a renewed mind as the cacophony intensifies over the coming months.

Along with this, I will maintain kindness (relying on His help, which I will need) towards other people, even when opinions fly like flaming arrows across Facebook threads and online articles.

Because our mission hasn’t changed just because it’s an election year. Our calling remains as solid and clear as it was when Paul first wrote these words:

“…let your conversation always be gracious and interesting, so you will know how to respond to any particular individual.” – Colossians 4:6

That’s what Wendy is always quoting whenever we’re doing our If Then Move work. It’s the foundation of all we do. This doesn’t mean we can’t have debates with other people. It just means we can’t turn into snarling, rabid wolverines.

Gracious landscape 1If Jesus could maintain grace even with people whom he knew would kill him, surely we can do it within our own body of believers?

Maybe if we thought of that the next time we prepare to strike the keys with our fiery retort, maybe if we start with remembering who Jesus is; recalling the beautiful, terrible, overwhelming glory that made Isaiah and John fall to the ground. Maybe our posture could be more like this:

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

God is sending us now. He’s sending us to be gracious and interesting to everyone, so we can “make the message clear” as Paul says in Colossians 4:4. Even in an election year.


Gracious portrait 1