Here it is, folks, the obligatory "morning after" post. I was up till all hours of the night last night watching the election results pour in, and I have to admit I enjoyed myself immensely. I think what made it so fun for me, besides seeing my candidate win, was how connected I felt to so many people all over the world. I've never experienced anything quite like it. I'm talking about Facebook.
Now, say what you will about social networking sites... and I'll be the first to admit that I waste way too much time there... but watching CNN with my MacBook Pro open to Facebook made the experience so interesting, so interactive... It brought together people from all over the country, from all walks of life and political persuasion, from all faith expressions and from all "eras" of my life... I was chatting live with a friend from elementary school about Obama and faith... I was reading as friends from Chicago texted in status updates live from Grant Park... I was arguing with an acquaintance from my high school years... I was encouraging (and being encouraged by) a high schooler from PCC about standing up for what we believe in... I was watching as faithful, Christ-following friends of mine were a) freaking out and proclaiming the end of civilization as we know it or b) celebrating Obama like he's the Messiah or c) trying to find a middle ground... (At one point I typed "Matt gently reminds his fellow Jesus-followers: Jesus is LORD. Calm down.") I was reading the status updates and notes of some of my African-American friends as they wept and celebrated... I can't imagine what this must be like for many of them.
And we did all this together. It was very, very cool. It's a small world after all.
I appreciated Obama's sober tone as he gave his victory speech last night. He has a very tough road ahead of him. Zach Boehm, a Facebook friend, wrote something about how lonely it must be to assume the office of the Presidency. I encourage you to join me in signing "A Prayer and a Pledge" over at Sojourners. No matter who you voted for, it is now our job to support and pray for our next President.
I also congratulate Senator McCain on a hard-fought race, and I respect Governor Palin and him very much. McCain's speech was gracious last night, although the crowd in the room with him was anything but. (Did you notice how Obama's crowd in Grant Park cheered for McCain and McCain's crowd booed Obama? That was interesting to me.)
And I watched this morning as our current President, George W. Bush, gave a genuinely warm and generous congratulations speech. Let's not forget to pray for and support this man... again, whether you support him and his policies or not.
I'll say one more thing about politics. It was with trepidation that I stepped out and began to be more public about my thoughts and plans for this particular election. I know I have hurt some people and made others doubt my faith or my intentions. But looking back, I am so glad I did it. If nothing else, some of us started an important discussion on faith and politics. On what really matters. My goal... and I hope and pray I am achieving it... is to help people see that there are many different, fully legitimate choices and viewpoints. This goes for doctrinal issues as well as political issues! There are humble, Christ-following, bible-believing people who are coming to differing convictions on many issues. And that's OK. Jesus's Church is big enough for that. I admit that I am a sinner with many, many poor choices to my record... I could be wrong about some of the things I believe... But it's important to talk about these things freely and respectfully. I hope I've been a catalyst for a little more respectful dialogue.
The other day I received this message from a friend on Facebook: "i just wanted to say thank you for posting so many links about obama/mccain, the election, etc. it has really opened my eyes (and i'm sure many others)...i've never thought/prayed so hard about who i was voting for...and i think it's awesome that although some of it was hard as some christians couldn't believe there were other Christians voting for obama...there's been a lot of healthy discussion...so thank you for promoting that and not being afraid to express your opinion! :)"
Thank you. You made it all worth it.
I fly to Chicago in just a few hours to help plan worship for the Covenant Midwinter Conference 2009... I'm very excited and honored to be helping to lead this year. And the icing on the cake? We're taking in an Over the Rhine show at North Park tonight. I didn't even know they were playing there until after my ticket was purchased for me. Here in the South, that's called Lagniappe... "An extra or unexpected gift or benefit."
I'll leave you with scripture... Jesus speaking in John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Jesus is LORD.