So You've Lost an Election…

By now we’ve all read the knee-jerk responses of our friends on facebook, our favorite blogs, and our news channels of choice. Everyone has an opinion about our new president. The most interesting responses come from people like us: Christians. Some prefered Obama’s victory in the first place. Others who did not responded with all sorts of different sentiments. 

It’s those of us who lost who need to think hard about what we do now. 

I’m one of you. I prayed and voted for John McCain as president, but it was not meant to be. After spending days reading the various responses to this unfortunate turn of events (and avoiding Ben as much as possible), I came up with a few things we need to keep in mind, not just now, but for the next few years.

1. Let’s hope (and pray) we’re wrong. Campaigns have an unsettling ability to do two things. First, they tend to convince us that small gaffes are indicators of much larger character flaws. It could be true that Obama’s statements about guns, bitterness and religion suggest a complete misunderstanding of religious people, or it could have just been a misguided and unfortunate attempt to understand a segment of society he can’t relate to. 

Second, they persuade us that the candidate will stop at nothing and will be able to to carry out certain policies we disagree with. Most elections are touted as the “single most important election of our lifetime,” because we do not consider the possibility that the other candidate will have their power restricted. Remember that while there is much Obama can do that might make us break out in hives (we’re seeing some of that come to light in the news these days), there is also much he won’t be able to do.

We need to leave the option open that not only is Obama not likely to be nearly as bad as we think, but that prayer has the potential to change things, including the hearts of kings. Pray daily that Obama changes his mind about abortion.

2. Remember, Obama is human too. One of the saddest results of the Bush presidency actually had more to do with his critics than Bush himself: Bush became inhuman. Those who didn’t see him as a monster saw him as a joke. Almost no one saw George W. Bush as merely a man trying to do his best (Except Oliver Stone. I did not enjoy the movie overall, but in the area of humanizing our president, ‘W’ is a triumph). Now that we are seeing the President’s gracious response to Barack’s victory, many are becoming acutely aware of just how human this man is, and just how much he wanted to do the right thing. 

Christians must not make the same mistake with Obama. We should always remember that Barack Obama is made in the image of God and has a family who is also made in the image of God. If you read that and say, “Duh,” then you’re not understanding the implications. He must not be the one to whom we project every problem that goes wrong. He must not be held up to impossible standards just so we can point out where he has failed. We must not expect perfection, nor must we claim that he is the antichrist. 

3. Get to work. While the president certainly matters, what matters even more is what is being done on the ground. We have the distinct privilige (and responsibility) of being good citizens and working to increase whatever good we believe the country would benefit from. Despite rumors, we are still able to start and volunteer at crisis family centers, counsel struggling teenagers, encourage our fellow Christians, and share the gospel. Consider this: if the church thrives, and God saves many, the need for anti-abortion laws will decrease dramatically. If this is a pipe dream to you, mention that to Edwards. (you might have to wait a while for the opportunity)

4. Hope for Tommorow No, I’m not using Obama-speak. As Christians, we have a hope that is not of this world, and that’s not related to the next 4-8 years. Our hope is instead in that day when our Christ will come and all kings will bow before him. 

This sentiment ought to destroy our kneejerk anxious responses. They ought to give us a sense of peace, and others should be able to sense that though we may be disturbed at the implications of such a loss, we are not shaken. Not only does our hope persist through such a situation. Our hope increases all the more, because we are made acutely aware that this world will only exist for a time.

Let’s mourn the innocent lives that will be lost through abortion and embryonic stem cell research. But let’s also rejoice that we have a God that protects the innocent in eternity, and sooner than many would imagine, we will meet Him there.

About Richard Clark

Richard H. Clark is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Christ and Pop Culture. He has a Master of Arts in Theology and the Arts from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He lives in Louisville, Ky. He is also the managing editor of Gamechurch and a freelance writer for Unwinnable, Paste, and other outlets.
E-mail: clarkrichardh [at] gmail [dot] com.
Twitter: @deadyetliving

  • http://scott-schultz.blogspot.com/ Scott

    I’m a little bit intrigued by the phrase, “those of us who lost.” It’s interesting because it kind of hints that the election wasn’t simply a matter of “electing” or “choosing” a person to preside over the country. It makes it sound like a contest or competition. And not only a competition between the nominated candidates, but a competition between one candidates’ electoral body and another candidates’… Interesting.

    Scotts last blog post..Competing Systems and the Beauty of the Infinite

  • http://www.christandpopculture.com/ Richard Clark

    I think you’re reading into it too much. Would you like to suggest a more appropriate, less cumbersome way of saying it?

  • http://electexiles.wordpress.com Drew

    Rich,

    Great article. You share many of my same sentiments concerning the election. I particularly hope that this election will serve to encourage Christians “to get to work” as you suggested. I think there is still in some corners of the American evangelical landscape this tendency to withdraw from culture when things don’t go our way. I don’t think that is a biblical approach and it is my prayer that this election would challenge Christians to wake up and engage their communities with the gospel. I hope more Christians will not look to the political system but will live boldly for Christ no matter what way the policital winds are blowing.

    No matter who is president, you can still go and volunteer at the Crisis pregnancy center and you can still invite your neighbors over for dinner and share the good news of Jesus Christ with them. You can still reach out to the needy in your community!

    And I join you in praying that our hope in Christ would destroy more and more knee-jerk reactions and solidify more Christians’ trust in Christ rather than this world!

    Drews last blog post..Tuesday is for Music: Two Song Writers You Must Listen To!

  • http://scott-schultz.blogspot.com/ Scott

    No. I wasn’t complaining or anything. I just noticed that, employing the language you used, it seems to imply that voting is a (culture) war of sorts. Which is fine. I think a lot of people think that. I don’t think I do, though. Which is why I don’t feel like I lost this election. I voted for Ron Paul and apparently he didn’t win, but I don’t feel like I didn’t win. I think of voting more matter-of-factly. Your phrasing showed that to me and so it gave me pause.

    Scotts last blog post..Competing Systems and the Beauty of the Infinite

  • http://www.ChasteByLife.com Cole

    @Scott – I agree Scott, I don’t look at the election as a war on cultural values either. I think that puts the process in too narrow of a category that is based only on people’s personal experiences (and we know that some of us have broader experiences and have been exposed to more things than others) and not based on forward-, holistic-, strategized- thinking that our country desperately needs.

    Furthermore, I do not believe that our nation is a “Christian nation.” Our Constitution was not drafted in the Bible and does not reflect the most important virtues of Christianity or teachings of the Bible (love, faith, hope, grace). The Constitution screams of individuality and personal rights — not inclusion and loving thy neighbor. It’s all about making sure individuals have a right to get their due, or what they have a right to do or say; so far as to imply that your individual rights begin where another person’s rights end and vice versa.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ll agree that the foundation of our great nation is modeled on Christian principles; however, the model was just the starting point and is not the manifestation of what we know our Constitution and nation to actually be.

    But all Christians should be praying for our new president with full knowledge and expectation that “The Lord can control a king’s mind as he controls a river; he can direct it as he pleases.” (Pr. 21:1)

  • Carissa Smith

    Another of my friends just posted an article for those of us who “won,” so I thought I’d link to that here, since many Christians did vote for Barack Obama, too:

    http://eastvold.blogspot.com/2008/11/plea-for-realism-and-idealism.html

    Those of us in the Obama camp need to get to work, too, and hopefully Obama’s Christian supporters and McCain’s Christian supporters will be able to look back, four years from now, and say that we’ve all accomplished things for God’s glory.

  • http://www.mosaiclife.com wendy

    Thanks for the link, Carissa. It was really interesting.

    wendys last blog post..No, actually I don’t remember


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