After months and months of campaigning the United States presidential campaign has finally come to an end. Millions both within and beyond the borders of the United States now wait with bated breath for the results to come in. While others are finally able to breathe a sigh of relief at the prospect of no longer having to endure the 24-hour news cycle filled with prickly pundits and surly syndicates attempting to yell over top of one another. Sadly, the presidential election campaign is indirectly responsible for what has become by far my most read blog post, in which I questioned journalist, author and former VeggieTales writer Eric Metaxas’ appropriation of the life and legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
As the campaign has winded down I’ve come across some wise words of pastoral counsel that have sought to put the election in its proper context. First, at the end of a recent podcast, the New Testament scholar Scot McKnight attempted to reassure Christians who may be anxious about the result of the election with the words: “When we wake up the day of the election and when we wake up the day after the election, the ruler of the world has not changed.”1 Second, Stanley Hauerwas preached a timely sermon entitled “Elected!” at Duke Divinity School this morning. Throughout the sermon, Hauerwas sounds many of the notes that have resounded throughout his work, weaving together the centrality of Jesus, the authority of truth, the necessity of witness, and the peculiar politics of the Kingdom. (The entire sermon can be read here.) The sermon concludes in the following manner:
“Lord is not a democratic title; it is a truthful designation for the one we worship. We have the authority to testify to the truth that is Jesus because that Jesus is Lord is not some general truth that can be known without witnesses.
That what is true is known by witnesses to Jesus cannot help but be a deep and profound challenge to the status quo. It is a challenge because the status quo is based on the assumption that whatever is true must be available to anyone. Christians are not anyone. We are Jesus people who Jesus says will be hated and some of us will even be put to death. But if Jesus is who he says he is, what choice do we have? After all we did not elect Jesus. He elected us.”2