After the Nightmare

 

The election results were a nightmare to me. I mean a real nightmare, the kind where you flee shape-shifting monsters and can’t escape. It took me a long time to get to sleep after the result sank in. The sun did come up this morning, and I feel better. Numb, incredulous, but pretty sure I am going to live.

I have no wish to rehearse all the reasons for fear. Better commentators than I have done that ad nauseum. Almost half of America chose to ignore those reasons. We live in a democracy. We honor our constitution. Time to move on.

But how do we do that? How do we behave, going forward?

I don’t want to duplicate what Republicans did to Obama. The quest for power through tearing down and obstruction is an approach I can’t respect. I want our country to prosper, whoever is in power.

I plan to pray for President Trump, persistently. It is not impossible or unknown for someone to become a better person.

Also, I think it’s imperative that we stay politically engaged, because there may be places where constructive engagement can result in positive action, and there may also be places where vigilant, forceful opposition is necessary. For example, maybe we can fix our roads and bridges. For example, I will do anything in my power to ensure that our authorities do not return to the practice of torture.

Finally, the practice of our personal lives will be, I believe, the most potent of all our responses. We all have the opportunity to care for poor people in our communities. We can strengthen our neighborhoods through cooperation in everything from Little League to hiking clubs. We can treat each other with kindness and respect despite our differences. I’m a believer that the political regime ultimately reflects the people’s character, lived out locally. We build from the bottom up. If our communities are rotten, degraded, violent, addicted, angry, that will be reflected in our leadership.

I’ve toyed with the thought that our troubles as a nation—our divisiveness and rancor, particularly—stem from the fact that we have abandoned God. I realize that’s old-fashioned. In the past I’ve tended to scoff at sermons that treated every problem as a symptom of religious failure. Now I’m not quite so sure. There’s no doubt that much of America—the left, in particular—has discarded faith and looks on religion with condescension and suspicion. It became obvious in this election that conservatives also—evangelicals in particular—have abandoned God, else they could not possibly go against everything they say they believe to support a serial liar and bragging adulterer for President. The truth is, I think, a lot of us have abandoned God. Some of us want him to disappear, others to co-opt him as a useful prop in our quest for power.

If things are going to change, it’s useful to review what God says that he wants from us: “to act justly and love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) That applies under all political regimes, and it is primarily local.

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5 Responses to “After the Nightmare”

  1. Dave Sweet Says:

    Very well put, Tim. My friend, Tom, emailed me earlier today, “This, I guess, is why our faith resides in someone other than princes and principalities, right?”

    Dave

    On Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 5:27 PM, Timstafford’s Blog wrote:

    > timstafford posted: ” The election results were a nightmare to me. I mean > a real nightmare, the kind where you flee shape-shifting monsters and can’t > escape. It took me a long time to get to sleep after the result sank in. > The sun did come up this morning, and I feel b” >

  2. The Gift of God’s Judgement: Our Election Crisis and Opportunity – kings harbor church blog Says:

    […] Writer for Christianity Today Magazine. The article is titled After the Nightmare and can be found here. (Not everyone will share his specific views.) I’ve replaced that article with the one below […]

  3. Catherine Barnard Says:

    The whole campaign, as well as the election results, were a nightmare to me, Tim. I’m not a Democrat, but the last few months I would have been embarrassed to be either one. As a Republican, I have always, indeed, prayed for each of our Presidents, as certainly we all should who name the name of Christ.

    I wondered to which of our many candidates and presidents you were referring when you said, “else they could not possibly go against everything they say they believe to support a serial liar and bragging adulterer for President”. The percentage of political folks who fit that description does seem high. Or, equal evils are similarly descriptive.

    This week the Democrats must stop breaking things and get on with their lives as the Republicans have had to do the last eight years.

    It was a terrible campaign. Regardless, we must all now fall to our knees and plead, “Lord have mercy”.

  4. Stephanie Strom Says:

    “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin IN me.”

  5. Linda Says:

    Thank you for this, I needed these comments after last week. I will recommend your blog to my Sunday group.

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