Friday, November 9, 2012

Post-Election -- Guarded Optimism

Regardless of whether your pick for president won or lost, you are likely in camp with many Americans who are experiencing a “post-election hangover.”   I decided to wait at least 24 hours before ‘penning’ any thoughts.  Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking a lot, reading, and watching news reports and commentaries.

President Barack Obama celebrates election victory 2012
Whether you are discouraged by the Romney-Ryan loss, or by the current downturn in the stock market and looming “fiscal cliff”, here are some reasons for optimism.  I am…

·         Thankful that we have been allowed the freedom to vote for a clear choice representing two very different paths, and I hope that those who have placed their trust in an even larger government will not be undone by the consequences.

·         Thankful for candidate Romney who was acknowledged by many mature adults on both sides to be a decent and honest man who was reluctant to “toot his own horn,” almost to a fault; in spite of how he was misrepresented during the campaign.

·         Looking with hope and expectation that President Obama and the legislative branch will work together to use the “check and balance system” of our representative government to do its work.  If not, then hopefully our legislators will remember the 2010 election as they face 2014.

·         Thankful for the “laboratories” of sound fiscal management that exist in states like Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and New Jersey which should provide clues to the Obama Administration as they begin to provide leadership to Congress in efforts to address our fiscal crisis.

Greek protest against government austerity
·         Hoping that the negative examples of California and other states along with European nations like Greece will be a heeded challenge that America must curb her growing debt and stop excessive governmental intrusion and  provision of “free stuff” that we can no longer afford.

·         Opportunity for conservatives to reassess how to clarify and convey the message of how social and fiscal conservatism has been and still is the essential hope for Americans who which live free politically and spiritually.

·         Hopeful that when the tension and frustration of the campaign season (or years?) finally ends, the disagreements can morph into honest dialog from all sides with respect to issues including the following

o   Revival of spirit in America that recognizes the moral foundation of objective truth that must be nurtured if we are to reaffirm what President Obama said in his recent victory speech when he praised the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.  [More on this in another blog entry.]
o   Religious freedom that supports individual moral convictions and polite expression in the workplace, the media, the academy, and in the marketplace of ideas
o   Policies for health care and welfare that balance “social justice” with individual responsibility and accountability
o   Funding for adequate national defense and other government programs that is balanced with commitment to eradication of waste and duplication
o   Stewardship of natural resources that balances the needs of humankind with wise conservation.  This stewardship should define “resources” as not only “finite reserves in the ground” but also “useful and renewable products of creative technology” yet to be developed in an entrepreneur-friendly economy.
o   Economic policies that promote small businesses and entrepreneurship with recognition that simply “taxing the rich” will not support a ballooning federal bureaucracy an more than simply raiding the henhouse while failing to “feed the hens.”
o   Recognizing that our educational system is increasingly bankrupt pedagogically and morally as shown by our declining rank among civilized nations in the world.

Finally, I am hopeful because of the following post-election e-mail from my son-in-law, Pastor Steve Salyers, who is part of the next generation in our family: 

Hey John, this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in It (Psalm 118: 24).

I was reminded this morning as I opened the Word that regardless of who’s in the White House this solemn instruction (warning) stands as the Church's 'street-corner' message to the government leaders of this country: 

Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
 Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling.
 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry,
and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!   --
Psalm 2: 10-12  

However, more than living as prophets to the governmental leaders, the church stands as peacemaker as we're called to prayer and intercession: 

 [Instructions on Worship] I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  -- 1 Timothy 2:1-2

NationalMonument to the Forefathers
Be at peace, for He is the God of the ages and our times are close to His heart!  I choose to pray along with the saints of Revelation, How long, O God...?  Even so, Lord Jesus, come!

Blessings,  Steve

In closing, the challenge remains for us, as implied in Steve’s reference to I Tim. 2, to take up our responsibility to pray for our leaders, to hold them accountable, and to be intentional and polite “witnesses” to a lifestyle that affirms the value of marriage, family, sanctity of life, love for ethnic diversity, generosity, etc.  Christianity in the USA and world will become even more secularized and marginalized if we don't deliberately look for opportunities from the pulpit and the pew to be intentional about our valuing of these things in word and in action.  We should welcome the day of Christ's return in balance with an awareness of the great compassion Jesus has for the lost, not being willing that any should perish.  And how will they see and hear without our profession of the Gospel both in lifestyle and in words fitly spoken.

Today, I hope you are hopeful!