Vol 12 No. 3 The World After an Election

Dear friends,

A lot of emotional energy and relational capital has been expended in the Canadian and American elections and in the perpetual political machinations of Europe.  We often find ourselves too tired, fed up, or simply apathetic to invest ourselves in the political process post election.  Just to talk about the Canadian election alone… (Just to stir the pot up a bit.  Don’t worry I’m quoting others here in the main)  but what do you do with a political process that continues to promise one thing and practice another?  1 federal party campaigns from the left and governs from the centre.  Another political party campaigns from the right and governs from the centre.  Yet a 3rd party campaigns from the left and will probably never govern at all.  Then there is the perpetual Anglican seminary student, Elizabeth May, that lonely Green voice… enough said.  As Christians we have some important things to be and to do in the following of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  These things to do, as it were, are a series of voices.

A respectful voice: We are called to honour those in authority (Romans 13:1-7).  It is profoundly irrelevant whether you like someone or not.  I will never forget when I was in seminary at Fuller in Pasadena when my Afro-American neighbour was being harassed by 4 white police officers.  She started screaming out my name and when I ran down the stairs of our duplex to see what was wrong, the police officers disappeared.  I followed them to write down their license plate and had Romans 13 quoted at me.  I need to say to you I have police officers in my family and I respect the calling.  My Afro-American neighbour’s partner was a dangerous fellow even if they should have left her out of it.  Authority while it should be respected should also be open to challenge.

A supportive voice: Supportive is not he same as agreement.  Most reasonable observers know that.  However, it does mean at the very least that we personally, and in our corporate worship, pray for those who are willing to engage in public service.  I was somewhat amused but, more than a little grumpy when, at a Prayer Breakfast in Western Canada the politicians in the room were introduced by name, riding, and party with the exception of the 1 MLA that was not of a Conservative persuasion.  Amusing, sort of, but also sad.  When Christ’s people get together to pray it needs not be a partisan event.  

An accountable voice: It stands to reason that while we “give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s”, we need to accountably remind the Caesar’s of this world what is God’s and they will not tread thereon.  We need to be careful when we make those observations that they are not simply a projection of our cultural biases but are indeed a commitment to holding elected officials accountable.

A prophetic voice: The prophets are full of holding us accountable for the treatment of widows and orphans (for example Isaiah 1:17).  Jesus is particularly clear in Matthew 25.  Furthermore, I will never forget Christ’s comment as he entered Jerusalem that the very stones would cry out if we did not.  May we be the first to cry out for the vulnerable and the suffering, in light of injustice and the caricature of our faith.  Might we not have to wait for the stones to be articulate when we are not. 

We may not like those in power or those in opposition.  We may well also be distressed at what unfolds around us in an uncertain, precarious, volatile, and predatory world.  We might long for leaders that don’t seem to be obsessed with selfies and Twitter.  However, for now, we need to take up our responsibility as people of faith.  It is not how we feel about these things (and believe me I feel passionately about them); it is how we are wiling to act in the months and years ahead.



In Christ,

Jeremy Bell