We have bigger fish to fry
Some of my friends were talking last night after the presidential debate about how they felt dissatisfied with both Hillary and Trump. They saw glaring weaknesses in both candidates and have a hard time figuring out how to trust them to lead the country. My friends said they were embarrassed to be Americans, and others were (jokingly?) saying they might move to Canada. If you are worried about what will happen to the United States after one of these people is elected, there are more options for you than moving away.
One of the reasons I don’t feel equally dissatisfied with both of them is because I have fairly low expectations of the office of the President. There are differences, significant ones, between the two candidates, to be sure, because no one is the same. But whether you vote or don’t, we have bigger fish to fry and more important work to do than just organizing the powers.
But my ears perked up when the candidates started talking, for example, about how to deal with the Middle East—it’s a special interest of mine, but I think many Christians are concerned with it. Both of them seem to want to beat the war drums (Trump’s got the rhetoric, Hillary’s got the track record). But Jesus showed me another way of doing things. The enemy love he describes in the Sermon on the Mount, two thousand years later, is still fresh and new and exciting. We could probably punch holes in most of the candidates’ arguments from last night, but I don’t want to sort through the policies, or assume that both candidates are equally bad. But I do know they both won’t save us. Only Jesus will. I love Shane Tweeting this last night:
Things we didn't hear on #DebateNight:
those who mourn
the pure in heart
— Shane Claiborne (@ShaneClaiborne) September 27, 2016
Another way in Jesus
Jesus offering us another way isn’t a platitude to me. My experience and the vision that Jesus casts for the world ground me in alternativity. Will O’Brien of the Alternative Seminary and Project HOME, reminded me of that on Saturday when he led us in a retreat about the New Testament. Jesus offers us an alternative way of doing things. The New Testament is simple enough for all of us to understand. Consider Jesus’ first miracle in the Gospel of Mark, his healing of a leper, we see him cross boundaries and bring freedom and liberation to an otherwise societally unclean individual. He isn’t subject to the powers of the world, including death! More than his resistance to their way, he is bringing a new way of doing things.
Circle of Hope is running with this new way and creating the alternative. When people ask me why I can be so idealistic when it comes to how the world works, I genuinely point to the brothers and sisters around me. There are lots of great things going on in Circle of Hope. We have moving compassion teams, active mission teams, earnest leaders helping us to worship together on Sundays. But the cells, circles of hope, are where I find the true alternative to the world. Jesus is bringing forgiveness, reconciliation, intimacy, and embracing one another. He is doing so without “law and order” (as they were both saying last night) motivating us, but rather the Spirit of God and the person of Jesus Christ.
So my point today is simple. You don’t have to run off to Canada to find freedom from the oppressive binary of our political system. If you aren’t satisfied with the choices we have for President, you aren’t alone. There is a place for you among us. You can help embody the alternative vision of Jesus with real people, face-to-face, in Circle of Hope. Here you can find hope and bring redemption. Join us.