Beloved in Christ,
No doubt about it, 2020 will go down as one of the most complex, emotional, and historic years in our nation’s history. Even without a major election, we all would agree that 2020 has been breathtaking, momentous, and often shocking — add in the reality of the election, and it’s no wonder folks have trouble concentrating during the day or sleeping at night. In this chaotic moment, it seems the partisan nature of our politics can’t get any more combative. Many people feel they cannot talk with a neighbor or family member about politics because the conversation will just become an argument, and the argument will just become a battle. It is as if Americans have been trained to fight about our values and priorities instead of discussing them and learning from others. Does politics always have to feel like going to war? In a word: no. As always, our faith in Christ Jesus is rich in hope and offers a path to renewal. Yes, there are ways to hold civil discourse. Yes, there are effective steps we can take, peacefully, to improve all citizens’ ability to participate in an election. Yes, there are theological resources for loving, healthy, and empowered engagement with the big issues of politics — that is, of our common life. Each Wednesday here in The Net, up to Election Day and beyond, I will share with you resources and practical steps for voting faithfully as citizens not only of this great nation but, even greater still, as citizens of the kingdom of God. Here’s an essential first step: pray. Prayer is, in every season, absolutely critical for centering our focus upon God. Regular prayer is the single most important step for cutting through so much of the noise and never-ending drama of the political news cycle. I encourage you to pray for peace and justice and mercy and wisdom, pray for our elected officials and candidates and our proud country, and pray for yourself and your church and all those folks who agree and disagree with you. Speaking of prayer, on Sunday, November 1 at 7:00 p.m., two days before Election Day, I invite you to join me and bishops and leaders from other Christian churches as we pray together for our country and our election. Our goal is to offer a simple online service to highlight, across our differences, our unity in Christ and our unified hope for this nation. Thankfully, our Christian hope has never been in any political party, candidate, or platform. Our hope has always been — and must ever be — rooted only in the way, the truth, and the life of Jesus Christ.
Your brother in Christ,