Thursday, October 23, 2008

Less than two weeks until the end of the beginning...

WILL NOVEMBER 4 EVER COME? November 4 seems an eternity away. For some, it's 12 more days of being bombarded with attack and distortion-fomenting ads on TV and radio, heavy-handed spin by candidates and their surrogates, and uncomfortable conversations between politically opposite friends and neighbors. For those who are in a campaign, the media, or who might happen to be intimately interested in the election and future of the nation, it's 12 more days of nail-biting anxiety and anticipation. For TV and radio execs, it's called "makin' hay while the sun shines!"

WRINGS ME OUT. This Presidential campaign seems like the longest in history. How many years ago did it crank up? It's wrung me out. Yeah, I'm one of those who happens to be intimately interested in the election and the future of the nation. I'm into it. Can't get enough information. Checking behind the headlines. Hoping for real change. Still, it's wearing on me. If we can just get past these next 12 days...

YOU'RE THE LUCK WINNER! Kevin Kallaugher's op-ed comic depicts a bit of the reality. Whoever wins, they--and we--have got lots of problems to address. They're rounding the corner for the final stretch. The finish line is in sight. And, just beyond it, looming economic crises and national security challenges of unprecedented magnitude. "Congratulations! Look what you've inherited!" How different America's situation is today than it was in 2000.

PRAYING THE ELECTION. I am shaping my anxieties in this election into prayer--prayer for myself, prayer for the candidates and campaigns, prayer for my neighbors, prayer for the nation, and prayer for the world. I may post such a prayer in a few days. Even as I pray, I am aware of the potential of great harm and distortion in the remaining days of the election campaigns. As a pastor, I am concerned that the church and evangelical people will be severely pressured and incited, as in 2004, to vote on a single-issue basis. As a citizen voter, I am concerned about voter suppression tactics and intimidation of voters at the polls.

PRAYER LEADS TO ACTION. So, prayer has led me to decide to vote early and offer my time to serve at a polling place on November 4--hoping to be part of a peaceful solution instead of either a passive or anxious bystander. As I serve, I will be praying for all who participate. I encourage other Christian pastors to join me in this simple but perhaps profound action in behalf of the healing of our communities and nation.

I welcome your comments and/or questions in the spirit of dialog. Share yours by clicking on "comments" just below. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!

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