Reflecting on our Presidential Elections Post 1 – The Post-Conversation

Our Presidential election campaigns are the main subjects of conversations, both in person and in social media. The Republican National Convention just wrapped up and now the Democratic National Convention is about to begin. I’m going out on the limb here but I’m predicting that there’s going to be a lot of trash-talk and things are going to get even uglier on both sides (and all sides).

In past posts, I generally insist that as people who have passionate convictions, we still need to come together and dialogue. There is so much great potential in sitting down with another and discussing our differences and our similarities. It’s not just that we learn about respective positions and the data that supports them; it’s more about discovering the other’s motives, personal history and their hopes. I’d also add there’s something powerful about hearing a person’s actual voice as opposed to the projecting one we create when we read. Even further, it’s not just hearing the inflection in the conversant voice but also about seeing the inflection in that person’s soul.

I have been the fortunate recipient of being one who has enjoyed various conversations in different contexts. I won’t lie and say I’ve enjoyed every single one of them. Some of them have been nightmarish. Even worse, it concerns me of those who have returned to their homes and found my perspective and voice to be nightmarish. Still in the big picture, all the dialogue has been worthwhile for me (and I trust for others).

That said, as one, who has enjoyed these conversations over the years, I always find myself wondering what do after we’ve returned from having these conversations? Generally we have some type of “post-game analysis” or post-conversation reflection where come up with various thoughts. But what do we do when we’re not literally in conversation? Here are a couple thoughts:

Keep Learning – We need to keep learning about all aspects of life, including our history, our philosophy, our morality, our current happenings and about ourselves. As a fan of C.S. Lewis, I am well aware of his concern of chasing intellectual trends. So indeed, we need to continue discovering the wisdom from the ancients. But part of the problem is that the world has too many old ideas not worth keeping. I think Lewis would agree and so to be life-long learners, we need to be humble students of ancient, post-enlightenment and present-day thinking (and how they connect/interpret each other). Sounds logical but I find it to be a very difficult and elusive discipline because we tend to want to learn incrementally what is general familiar for us and limit ourselves to paradigm shifting ideas.

Learning however, also includes cultural and global awareness, self-reflection and we learn these things by reading books, online literature, magazines, by listening to music, appreciating art, movies, videos, even by watching certain programs on tv, and also by turning off certain programs on tv. We listen, think, share, pray and mature.

It’s not the old that stop learning, it’s the stubborn – let’s keep growing.

Identify the Inconsistencies in Your Camp – this post will get too long if I actually go too deep into examples, but if you are trying to be self-aware and especially if you have already been listening to conversations from the “other side,” you have an idea of the shortcomings of your demographic’s position. What I am not advocating is that you “fix them” simply to advance your position. If it’s a logical or moral shortcoming, it has to be confronted by us as individuals and to each other. And if we to be people of character and worthy of the calling that God has entrusted with, it is our obligation to identify the inconsistencies, call out the hypocrisies and seek the betterment.

The best quick example I can give here is the pro-life movement getting more serious about the beauty of adoption and foster-care. It changed the conversation from a past-tense of “What you should have done was …” to “This is what can happen right now, we can help …”

In our nuanced arguments and positions, there are inconstancies that need to be addressed. Though it might feel that we spend all our time arguing with those that differ from us and those that we already agree with, this is also necessary if we sincerely believe that our position is actually good for the world.

Give Your Time, Gifts, Resources, and Find Ways to Serve Others – Among the many reasons, it keeps our hearts humble.
When we find ways to give of our precious resources of time, giving, money, energy, etc. we get to say, “This is not about me.” If you are fortunate, there are moments when you get to see who you are actually serving. Now to do the work in order to see the benefit usually leads to legalism, entitlement and unfulfillment but to do the work for to the glory of God and for the sake of others, well, you’ll be amazed how this shifts your thinking politically.

And lastly, above all, seek the Kingdom of God first. The Christian who is serious about Scripture and desires to be led by the Spirit lives their life knowing that politics and presidential elections will not result in the salvation of the world. We are involved in politics because we are to be stewards of the opportunities God gives us but we are to seek the Kingdom of Christ first, because it is the hope for every heart in our homes, across the nation and in every corner of our world.

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