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4 Suggestions After the US Presidential Election

Regardless of how you voted or who you were cheering for in the recent US election, you probably keep thinking, “What now?”

There’s no doubt something fundamental is changing before our eyes. (I wrote about some of that in a post called 5 Predictions About the US Presidential Election.) Unquestionably, things will never quite be the same again.

If anything, this recent election has confused Christians as to how to respond. Often, the suggested responses are political.

I’d like to take a different tack. Here are four initial suggestions for churches after the election.

At least these are suggestions that have helped me as I try to navigate life as a Christian and church leader in the slightly more post-modern, post-Christian country of Canada (if you’re interested, you can learn more about ministry in a Canadian context here on my brand new podcast). 

I say this as a big fan of America and a huge proponent of the American church. And I write it because I think as we all sense in this current age, as goes America, so goes the world.

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1. Regardless of your political views, see this season as an opportunity, not an obstacle

Some people see the defeat of their candidate as a defeat for the Gospel. Or, conversely, they see the election of a candidate as a validation of the Gospel.

Americans have been in the relatively unique position of having their candidates represent some of their views in Washington. That’s something most of the rest of the world doesn’t experience.

Yet many Christians would now say none of the major political candidates accurately represent their views or morality.

Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so.

You can see the massive changes in the US political landscape as an obstacle or an opportunity. What if it’s an opportunity?

What if this is a great opportunity to show your friends and neighbours how the church is truly different from the political culture, which Americans are tired of anyway (according to the election results)?

Just remember, your salvation doesn’t come from a political party; it comes from a cross.

Even if your candidate won, that’s not your salvation.

Political solutions are always partial anyway. They can never heal the soul. That is the work of Jesus and his church. And an incredible opportunity.

2. Be the church

The time has never been better for the church to be the church. Not a political action committee. Not a mouthpiece for a political party. Just the church.

As we’ve said in this space before, if God has all the same opinions your political party does anyway, you’re probably not worshipping God.

Being the church is inherently personal. You don’t go to church… you are the church.

Your church is not something you attend or simply agree with, it’s something you are. You bring it home, to work, to times with friends. You are the church everywhere you go.

Which means you bring the love, hope, and truth of Christ everywhere you go.

Authentic, grace-filled, hope-bearing, truthful people are what our friends and neighbours need.

So go. The nation and the world needs so much more of that right now. Maybe that’s what you can bring with you today when you walk into the office, instead of a cynical diatribe.

3. Foster a genuine friendship with someone who is completely different than you

If you want to know what being the church looks like, maybe it looks like this: sparking a genuine friendship with someone who is completely different than you.

Regardless of who you voted or didn’t vote for, almost every analyst is calling this the most divisive election campaign in recent history.

It was great of President-elect Trump to talk about unity in his acceptance speech. It is much needed and I hope that’s a repeated theme. But unity and division do not simply come from politicians.

Politicians reveal and amplify what’s already there. Had there been no division or bigotry in our hearts, there would have been very little in the election. Unity and division begin and end with us.

Check out your kitchen table. Think back to your last five gatherings. Do they mostly consist of people who look and sound just like you? We humans are famous for surrounding ourselves with people who look, sound, and believe exactly like we do. Christians aren’t often an exception to that rule.

What if you built three genuine friendships with people who are different than you in the next year: someone of a different colour, socio-economic status, belief system, marital status or even sexual orientation?

Before you think that’s scandalous, just know it puts you in great company. Jesus spent a lot of time doing just that.

Why? Because he was in the process of saving the world, not saving himself.

Last time I checked, we were too, in and through the power of Christ.

4. Start Confessing

All of this leads to the final suggestion today: how much of the negativity can you own… personally?

I know when there’s a problem, I would rather assign blame than assume responsibility. And I also know there’s zero progress that way.

Confession bridges the gap between blame and responsibility.

Maybe if the church got better at confessing and not blaming, we’d have a better church.

What can you confess today? What part of this do you own? Who have you hurt? Who do you hate? Have you mistreated  anyone? Even if it’s the neighbour on your side of the street, start there.

You’re worried about your kids watching politicians and mimicking them. I promise you that your kids are watching you more closely than they’re watching any politician. So take your personal sins seriously.

Confess them. Repent. Change.

When I confess my sins (as a husband, father, leader and friend), everyone around me begins to heal.

Imagine if that happened 10,000 times over today in families, churches, and communities.

Any Thoughts?

This is a season where prayerful, rational thought and loving action will go a long way to healing a divided nation.

Any thoughts you’d like to add to the conversation? Scroll down and leave a comment.

12 Comments

  1. […] generation. And that’s spilled out to many older adults too. We’ve seen the rise of political candidates who never apologize as […]

  2. crashtx1 on November 13, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    5) Stop being a jerk, if your side won or lost. Good grief, if I wasn’t a Christian I sure wouldn’t want anything to do with them seeing the way they communicate.

  3. dwight amey on November 12, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Good four steps. We need to build up our family units and renew the family environment as social learning not talking heads. Even before the church.

    Now the government is policing, schools disciplining, immoral institutions indoctrinating our children. While a majority of adults (including myself) slave over 100 hrs a week to pay bills or chase a career.

  4. Saturday Links - DashHouse - on November 12, 2016 at 5:10 am

    […] 4 Suggestions After the US Presidential Election […]

  5. Brian Cunnington on November 10, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Thank you Carey. After two years of emotional bile coming from both sides of the political spectrum in the US, I suppose that we all deserve at least two days of emotional regurgitation — and then we need to get over it! Thanks for the reminder that the proper sphere for working out God’s politics is the church not the state.When the church really is the church, the kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven. Great post Carey..

  6. […] 4 Suggestions After the US Presidential Election by Carey Neiuwhof […]

  7. Frederick W Harrison on November 9, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    I’ve been mulling over points 1 & 2 all day. Thank you for points 3 & 4. Our vocation as the people of God has not changed, despite what people think. The widow, orphan, alien, prisoner, ill person, poor person are still with us and in need of our care and advocacy on their behalf – perhaps even more so. The dangers of making an idol out of politics remain but some have only now realized the pain and frustration of idolatry and trust in the institutions of fallen humankind. Others need to remember that God is on the side of the oppressed and disadvantaged and that he opposes the proud and arrogant, but draws near to the humble and contrite of heart. The danger of wanting to return to a former time of perceived greatness also remains; that too is an idol. There can be no going back to Egypt – God wants to lead us forward into promise, hope, and the day when our faith will be sight. And the only victory that matters to us and every soul that ever lived was won for us on the cross by Jesus.

  8. hanny on November 9, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you for the suggestions we in California is very sad because recreational marijuana is legal now… you can be sitting with stoney in the bus 🙁

  9. donBcoleman on November 9, 2016 at 11:41 am

    THANK YOU, Carey! As a Canadian, living in the US for 16yrs and pastoring for nearly a decade, thank you!

  10. Cheryl on November 9, 2016 at 10:39 am

    I’m amazed at the vitriol pouring out of the mouths of Christian Democrats this morning. Or the couchy, peaceful sounding rhetoric that cannot hide a person’s contempt for the opposing viewpoint. If we are “lost”, it isn’t because Trump’s in office or that there remains a demographic large enough to make their voices heard over yours. I take such comfort in that, that Christ is my King.

  11. greg walker on November 9, 2016 at 7:50 am

    #3 is vital for both sides of the division. There are people this morning who are genuinely frightened for their future, their children. The winners cannot gloat, but need to reach out in love. Those who supported the losing candidate need to reach out in love as well, to attempt to understand the fear and hurt that drove so many to support such a flawed candidate.

    Healing for our nation will only begin in community in our living rooms.

    • Arizona Sullivan on November 13, 2016 at 11:23 pm

      Greg, I do care for you but please allow me to remove a sentence you said; “Those who supported the losing candidate need to reach out in love as well” and stop right there. The people who supported the losing candidate do not see this person as a “flawed candidate” rather as the losing candidate. There was quite a bit said by both candidates that were outright lies – say anything to get elected. Please do not say one is better or worse than the other. Let’s just hug each other and watch what God has in store for us. Agree?

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