Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Election Chronicles: Love Drives Out Fear

by Ben Howard

One of my tasks at work includes responding to emails that come in to our general inbox. I've only been in this particular job for about two months, so I only began responding to these emails about a month ago. This inbox has become one of the highlights of my day and it's not because of the conversations with customers.

Apparently, someone, once upon a time, signed our general work email account up for Tea Party email blasts and they are AMAZING!

Not only have they taught me about Barack Obama's numerous secret identities (did you know he was born in Kenya?!?), I also learned that he's a card carrying member of the Communist party!!! I didn't even know they made cards for that anymore!

But let me save the best for last, apparently, if Barack HUSSEIN Obama doesn't win this election, he's planning a military coup to overthrow the government!!! Granted, if you have the ability to mount a military coup then I'm not sure why you'd go through the grueling process of a campaign, but....exclamation points!!!

Clearly, I'm being entirely facetious. At least I hope it was clear because most of that was taken verbatim from the emails I'm referencing.

I've never been a fan of conspiracy theories. I think we landed on the moon. I think the JFK assassination was weird, but there was only one gunman. I'm confident 9/11 was not an inside job. I would say that banks did not commit fraud during the financial collapse of 2008, but they certainly committed stupidity. And yes, I'm convinced that Barack Obama was born in the United States, assuming convinced is the correct word for something I never questioned for a moment.

It's really hard to lie that big without people finding out. Ask Richard Nixon.

So why do these stories persist? Easy. We don't trust each other. At all. In fact, you can probably say that we're terrified of each other.

A couple weeks ago Peter Enns wrote a great article entitled "Dear Christian: If the Thought of Either Romney or Obama Getting Elected Make You Fearful, Angry, or Depressed, You Have What We Call a Theological Problem."

He goes on to talk about how politics have become a rival eschatology to Christianity and how hope in politics has replaced hope in an authentic salvation that politicians and governments can never fully supply.

I think he's right, but I also think we need to remember the call to love our neighbor and remember that "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear."

This is what I was getting at yesterday when I said that I want to know what you're for, and not what you're against. I want to know what you love, and I want that love, that hope, that anticipation for something better to drive out the fear that infects us all so deeply.

Will a person be able to provide this? No. Will an election take us closer to the world as it was intended to be? I can't say that it's likely. But we can still hope. We can still try.

We are not called by God to recreate and redeem his world on our own, we are called to work alongside him as he reclaims and redeems his creation.

Maybe politics can help in this redemption, and maybe it can't, but either way let us remember that the person on the other side of the aisle is just as much God's creation as we are. They are our neighbors. 

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are our neighbors. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are our neighbors. The members of the Tea Party are our neighbors. The Occupy Movement are our neighbors. So are the Israelis and the Palestinians, the Iraqis, the Iranians, the Muslim Brotherhood, the English, the French, the Germans and anybody and everybody else across this planet. They are all God's creation and let us remember that we love them, no matter what.


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