Contemplative Life

SOUNDINGS – Elephants, Donkeys, and the Lamb

At the end of a week when our eyes have been focused on the mid-term elections of 2018 in the United States, we can be grateful that our country’s governmental model–based on the checks and balance of power–worked yet again.   For those most concerned about the preservation of our union and keeping our leaders accountable, this is good news.

During this past week, I couldn’t help but often remember a comment I heard earlier in the year.  I don’t even remember who said it, but it doesn’t matter as many Christians have echoed the same sentiment, “I’m not a donkey or an elephant, because my Lord is a lamb!”

This reminder and assertion is especially helpful in particularly polarized times such as the one we are living in right now in America.   It helps us to remember that a Christian’s primary allegiance is never to a political party or platform, because none fully represents the agenda and mandate of the Kingdom of Heaven.

After the 2016 election, Philip Yancey distilled a sermon from Tim Keller along these lines.  (The whole article is worth a read.)

“In a sermon to New York’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Tim Keller set forth eight characteristics of early Christians, who lived under a Roman government far less congenial to Christianity than is the modern United States.  They followed the following principles:

Opposed bloodthirsty sports and violent entertainment, such as gladiator games

Opposed serving in the military

Opposed abortion and infanticide

Empowered women

Opposed sex outside of marriage and homosexual activity (pederasty was common in the empire)

Encouraged radical support for the poor

Encouraged the mixing of races and classes

Insisted that Jesus is the only way to salvation

Go back over that list and apply the label liberal or conservative.  Half of the principles reflect traditionally conservative values, and half traditionally liberal—precisely Keller’s point.”

With this in mind, we can say that regardless of how these midterms turned out, it hasn’t changed much for Christians at all.   We take our cues from a King, not a president or any elected official or party.   So the impact for Christians in the wake of the midterms is simple:  to keep on doing what we’ve always been called to do.  Between last Friday and this Friday, our public vocations as Christians in America hasn’t changed a bit, which is to to love our neighbor actually, serve the poor generously, welcome strangers hospitably, stand for the dignity of life consistently, and proclaim the lordship of Jesus joyfully,

A word about the Lamb.  A wise man pointed out the other day, “The Lamb conquers by being slaughtered.”  What might that mean for those in that party?


“SOUNDINGS” posts are aimed at considering topics that are important for our society, for the Church, and for our own spiritual journeys. To ‘take a sounding’ is a nautical term about using depth to determine where you are and where you’re going.  These writings are designed to do just that. Follow along when we post on Fridays by subscribing here and selecting “Soundings.” Please share this post with others!

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