Post-Election Spirituality

What will we do with ourselves now? There’s no more elections outcome to dread or hope for, there are no propositions or questions to debate with neighbors, and we’ll have to go back to car and antiperspirant ads on TV.  With as much build-up and rallying of fear and desperation as we’ve all been courted into, I fear for us in the aftermath. Can we get our brains out of the fear and paranoia pathway and into….I don’t know, something else?

Part of the fear for people of faith building up to this election seemed to be around the idea that if the wrong president was chosen, that God either could not or would not work with the resulting system. In the Bible, there is evidence that God works through whichever systems that we humans choose. The nation of Israel complained that they wanted a king to lead them against God’s advise. So eventually, God said OK and gave them a long series of kings. There were periods of blessing and periods of disaster, but God hung in there with them throughout even though the system was not the original hope for Israel. In the context of having kings, characters in the Bible were both on and off course and often mixed up all together! I wonder if there is something to be learned from this story in our current context. A wee bit over half the nation thinks we’ve signed up for a period of blessing and a wee bit under half the nation thinks we’ve signed up for a period of disaster. But I wonder if we could rather just assume a couple of things:

1—We are a mixture of off course and on course all at the same time.

2—God is working with us in the system of our choosing (I mean this in a broader sense that this election, per se).

If we can hold these assumptions, we might be able to approach life as the context of God’s current redemption rather than the colossal mistake from which there is no redemption. If we can’t figure out some kind of reframing, I fear that cooperation and growth in our world’s critical problems will be continue to be stymied. Half the country will just be waiting for the next election to repair the damage and the other will be frustrated by the naysayers. If we can learn from the past, it seems clear that solving our nation’s problems requires more than an election. We need a serious reframing.

What will be best for you to keep in mind for your own post-election spirituality?

Check out this NY Times article on what is needed now, post-election. Be sure to read to the end.

8 comments


  • Dan McWilliams

    Here’s to trusting that God is at work in our political system that has become so dysfunctional. I am hoping that both parties will see these next four years as the need to come together to meet some very big challenges in our nation. To that end, I really liked this quote of a quote in the NY Times article; “The philosopher John Stuart Mill described this problem in 1840, noting that in almost all major ideological controversies, ‘both sides were in the right in what they affirmed, though wrong in what they denied, and that if either could have been made to take the other’s views in addition to its own, little more would have been needed to make its doctrine correct.’ “

    November 8, 2012
  • I like how you show your political cards with the image 🙂

    November 8, 2012
  • Sarah Mitchell

    As a Christian, I think the problem is much deeper. There is disappointment & elation in thinking about both political & religious freedom, etc. issues. However, there’s a lot of pain from the personal insults thrown – I’ve seen from both sides “No true Christian can support _____” and worse. First true repentance needs to occur, then forgiveness, then reconciliation. Simply believing God is sovereign but holding in our heart that he will change and/or punish those who are wrong is not enough. I watched the movie, Luther, as I do with international students every Halloween/Reformation season & am reminded of how many who had sincerely good intentions continued then in their own strength and the results were a bloody break in God’s Kingdom. I fear that since 2000, this has been happening in the U.S. – hopefully not a physical bloodbath but spiritually bloody just the same.

    November 8, 2012
  • Jen

    I resonated with your statement, Janice… “We’re a mixture of off course and on course.” I’ve been listening to a recently released biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer intentionally studied theology (yes, theology!) with professors he did not agree. Not to dissuade them, but to learn. He would even consider them friends and mentors. What would it take for us to move toward respecting those we disagree with? Could each of us hold more balanced perspectives, instead of trying to balance the whole political system with numbers of people on “sides”? This is hard to do! But, it’s what I’m hoping to live.

    November 8, 2012
  • David J. Park

    In between the despair and the hope, we, God’s people could choose the third way not through our common sense but our spiritual sense with meditation by the Word of God , the narrow ridge, or the best way according to the teaching of the Scripture.

    The narrow way, the narrow gate, and the narrow ridge are not easy to pass for our ultimate concern in this world. Let us live every day as though it were the Last. If Jesus were coming Today, What would you do?

    In our valanced thinking and life in His Grace and Peace,

    Shalom alechem!

    November 8, 2012
  • Rob Zeigler

    On the really big issues, like economy, debt, jobs, healthcare and wars, I really don’t think there is a whole lot of difference between either candidate. I am confident that god was not surprised by the election and will continue to challenge us to love him and our neighbors regardless of who occupies the white house.

    November 8, 2012
  • Rob Zeigler

    On the really big issues, like economy, debt, jobs, healthcare and wars, I really don’t think there is a whole lot of difference between either candidate. I am confident that god was not surprised by the election and will continue to challenge us to love him and our neighbors regardless of who occupies the white house.

    November 8, 2012
  • Lorraine

    Eloquently stated Janice. I am humbly reminded of my own blinders. Anybody who attempts to walk their faith, is called to listen to the other side– the side that may scare or anger us. I spoke with a wonderful minister yesterday who noted that our country was not founded on agreement (like monarchies or dictatorships) but deliberately grounded in that tension that results from disagreement. He noted that if we can stay in that tension and listen deeply to the other side with open hearts and minds and trust in the grace of God, there is so much that we can create together.

    November 8, 2012

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