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10406810 782485671830617 6084707903179496099 NThe Bethlehem Center is a United Methodist Neighborhood Center in the Alton Park community of Chattanooga, TN. You can find out more here: https://www.thebeth.org/www

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Who Will Be On The Throne After Today?

"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior." (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

With today being election day, I want to call our church to continued prayer, to a spirit of unity, and to remembering that God remains sovereign over every rule and authority (Romans 13:1-5). I wanted to bring you words of encouragement today as so many are on edge today. I know so many that "unfriend" people over politics. Before social media, we didn't talk about politics as much, and I feel like it protected our hearts more than our current climate of sharing EVERYTHING that enters our thoughts. As Trevin Wax wrote in a recent Gospel Coalition article: "We must remind ourselves that our King is not up for election, that our faith is global not national, and that politics—while important—is not ultimate. In other words, we lift up the prominence of King Jesus in our thinking and demote the politics of this world. We are to engage in the political process out of love for neighbor, not out of fear or anger. We vote, we serve, we participate, but we do so as exiles and sojourners, not as people who pin all our hopes to any party or politician."

I'm praying that we hold onto this greater truth, as we interact with each other, and with our neighbors, over the next few days and weeks.

In my family growing up, we never really talked about politics. Before I became an eligible voter, I remember exactly one political conversation during my childhood. I was in 3rd grade and I was participating in the mock elections in my school. I had been assigned to represent George H.W. Bush (the first one in 1988) against the other half my class representing Michael Dukakis. I was telling my parents about the class project during dinner. My parents asked me what my argument was going to be. Since I had also recently learned the Spanish word for poop, my entire argument involved rhyming caca with Dukakis and Democrats with dummy, which I loudly explained in the middle of Western Sizzlin'. My moritified mother shushed me and explained that Democrats were not dumb and making fun of people's names were what bullies do and that was no way to win. 1998 was the year I turned 18, and my lawyer cousin ran for judge in our county as an independent. I was in college and very excited to vote for the first time, especially with a family member on the ballot. As it was also a presidental year, I listened carefully to the positions put forth by George W. Bush and Al Gore. I went to the polling center with my mom and we each cast our votes in our individual voting booths without any discussion before or during. Imagine my shock and dismay when my mother is floored after asking about my choice in the voting booth. "How could you vote for Gore? Your family is Republican."

I only share this story now because I feel it illustrates the seismic shift that has happened in our country. Politics is no longer something you discuss quietly at home. It is a shouting match amongst friends and strangers alike. It seems that gone are the days of polite civil discord. If someone disagrees, they can isolate themselves by ghosting and unfriending you and googling new friends that agree with themselves completely. (P.S. My family has grown a lot since 1998. While we still don't always agree on politics, we refuse to let it divide us!)

But we are Christians. We are called to be different. We are called to be a light in the darkness.

"The church has a grand opportunity: to show a watching world what a community looks like where allegiance to Christ transcends the political differences of the current moment. We can push back against the trend of making nearly everything in life political, and of reducing people to their political views."

In God we trust!



P.S. Just for the record, I don't always vote Democrat. I am a registered voter with no party affiliation. I pray for God to guide my voice and my vote every election cycle.

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