My family and I chose a very interesting time to make the move back to America. It is quite something to take your run of the mill culture shock and mix in the outrageousness that is the current election. Then, imagine compounding that with our reintroduction to the 24/7 news cycle, the non-stop debates between a surprising number of new experts on our social media feeds, and the return of doomsayers that seem to show up every four years or so. It is enough to make us question our decision to leave the simple village life of southern Spain behind.
I have debated with myself whether it is even worth adding another voice to the din, but I feel compelled to remind people that, at least in the Christian context that I am operating in, it does not really matter what happens and everything is going to be okay. Is it important to vote and inform yourself and engage in the political discourse and take a stand for something? Absolutely, but if all of your hopes and dreams or all of your doubts and fears are wrapped up in our Presidential candidates or in America or in any form of earthly government, then you are investing them in the wrong place.
One of the best things about this election and these candidates is that it serves as a reminder that they were never supposed to be our ethical standard or the key to solving all of the problems that we face today. Even if the perfect Christian candidate became President, they would not be able to change everything for the better or force the rest of the country to fall in line. In fact, historically, when Christianity and government have become one, it has led to some of the darkest periods for both.
Morality, behavior, and faith cannot be legislated or coerced in order to have any lasting impact or lifestyle change in people. One of many things that I took away from the founder of our school in Spain, Andrew Shearman, is that prophets must precede politicians.
To bring about real change in this culture or society, we do not need to elect someone in office to force everyone to believe the same thing on threat of punishment. We need to be people that are willing to ask questions and listen and serve and love the people around them. We need people to see Jesus in our lifestyles, and then we need people to have an encounter with Jesus himself. That is the only thing that will actually begin to bring about change, and then as that spreads, all of the politicians, systems, and government agencies will have to follow suit, or realistically will not be necessary at all.
America was never meant to be a Christian nation. The President was never supposed to be our savior. In fact, Jesus never intended to change or save the world through might or rule or from the top at all, but in the exact opposite manner from the bottom, as a servant.
One of the musicians that I enjoy and am challenged by is Derek Webb. He has a song titled “A King and A Kingdom,” and his chorus puts it like this:
My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man. My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood. It’s to a King and a Kingdom.
As proud as I am to be an American and call this country home, we are not called to only make America Great Again. It is too small, too egotistical, and too lacking of the only thing that really matters. We are called to introduce people to a new King and to walk with them as they become citizens of a new Kingdom.