I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ who is a bishop in the United Methodist Church. I am also an American citizen who loves my country. Today I am seeking to embrace both parts of this reality in the midst of deep polarization in our nation and in light of what occurred in last evening’s presidential debate.
Of course, this is a challenge for me, as I know it is a challenge for you. But I also know there are things I am compelled to do that are non-negotiable. I will put everything in the larger perspective of my faith, and so will continue to proclaim that regardless of what happens God is still God, Jesus still is Lord and the Holy Spirit is still at work. I will talk about how the Kingdom of God – yet to fully come and yet also here right now – is my ultimate home. I will live in the reality of our world as it is, and not the way I would like it to be, and therefore speak out against the sin of racism, in support of our precious gift of democracy by voting and call all of us to love our neighbors in all we do, especially those who are most vulnerable. I will demonstrate through my own attitude and behavior a basic respect for every human being as someone who is created in the image of God – even if my initial impulse is to rail against them.
I’ll be honest, this is not an easy path to walk because it would be so much simpler to just retreat from the nastiness of the political process into my faith or jump into the political process as if it were the answer to all of our problems. But I cannot do that. Indeed, God will not allow me to do that. And so I will do the only thing I can do – continue to walk a path as Jesus’ disciple with as much humility, discernment, trust in the Lord and integrity as I can. And my prayer is that you will be able to do so as well.