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.