‘This is a great day for religious freedom’
Update: Lori Windham talks about fellow Abilene Christian University graduates…
The 2020 U.S. presidential election is over, but the divisions revealed by the long, contentious contest are likely to linger.
In the days leading up to the election, church members abstained from food and spent countless hours in prayer. The Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action at Abilene Christian University in Texas sponsored the effort
Amid the recounts and lawsuits that followed the election, organizers decided to extend the observance through Dec. 21.
“We will be specifically praying and fasting for an end to COVID-19 and for a transfer of presidential power absent of armed conflict,” said Jerry Taylor, founder of the center and associate professor of Bible, missions and ministry at Abilene Christian. “We pray for a unified dedication to a spiritual pursuit of America’s social healing as a nation.”
Just days after the Nov. 3 election, The Christian Chronicle asked readers how they were feeling about the contested outcome.
“I’m OK with whoever wins, but I don’t want it to be stolen either way,” said Nicholas Belcher, a member of the Central Church of Christ in Amarillo, Texas. “It does not appear to be fair at this point, and it feels as though our voice is being silenced. Justice cries out.”
The Chronicle also asked how people of faith can foster healing and unity in their nation and in their churches in the months and years to come.
“We can listen to other people’s opinions that are different from our own,” said Amy White, a member of the Palmetto Church of Christ in Irmo, S.C. Especially when dealing with problems like racism, “as Christians, we must acknowledge pain and be empathetic to what someone else is going through.”
Belcher agreed that listening is important. When he and his wife of 14 years disagree, they jokingly ask, “Is this a salvation issue?”
“The answer is usually no,” he said, “and we agree to love each other and not expend the energy to argue or disagree. We must focus on relationships and love.”
Following are excerpts, published with permission, from survey respondents:
“Pray! We need to be more like Jesus was with the woman at the well (John 4). Find people where they are and give them hope by sharing the gospel. Show grace, mercy and joy. You cannot help people up if you avoid them or look down on them.
“By speaking to those with different views rather than Bible-beating them and telling them they’re wrong, we help people find the joy, peace and contentment that only Christ can bring. We all need to put our faith in God rather than man, government or country.”
— Kandi Holbrook, member of the East Point Church of Christ in Kentucky
“While I do respect each American’s right to protest, to speak freely and to vote or not vote, we must get back to the mission of souls for Christ, even in ever-changing circumstances.
“Our traditions and cultural norms have changed but not our mission. Baptism is still required. Teaching, hearing, unwavering faith are still required. Teachers, elders, ministers, deacons and ministry work dedicated to a local congregation are still the pattern of church leadership.”
— Andrea Lorick, member of the Inner City Church of Christ in Baltimore
“We need to be able to speak the truth without being unnecessarily offensive. Our social media posts do not need to completely avoid the controversies of the day, but we must not be characterized by misinformation and insults.
“We need to challenge the stereotypes of our society. A Christian in the Democratic Party should be able to participate in a local March for Life. A Christian in the Republican Party should be able to participate in a local march for racial justice. A pro-life Christian should be known for caring for people in poverty. A Christian committed to fighting against injustice should be known for living and promoting sexual morality.
“When we break the stereotypes, we have a chance of bringing healing to our society.”
— Terry Laudett, member of the Contact Mission Church of Christ in Tulsa, Okla.
“We are not going to solve the political divide, and that is not really our job. We can hold firmly to our biblical convictions and yet treat those who disagree with respect, not with compromise. There are moral issues — including abortion, homosexuality, worshiping God, etc. — about which there is no compromise of principle. We must treat people with kindness, the way we want to be treated.
“Issues like the economy, for instance, are important in the political realm but really make no difference from the Christian perspective. Paul makes it clear that our speech should be seasoned with salt so that we can know how to answer others.
“I believe that Christians have the right to have opinions in the political realm, but they are still to act like Christians in every realm.”
— Dean Kelly, minister for the Highland Home Church of Christ in Alabama
“In Acts 16, Paul had Timothy circumcised so that their message would reach the Jews they were preaching to.
“As Christians, we should be able to lay any earthly point of pride down for the sake of the Gospel.
“If a BLM shirt or a Biden-Harris sign inhibits my witness, I shall cast it down. If a Confederate flag or a MAGA hat inhibits my witness, I shall lay it down.
“Notice that the Jews discriminating on the basis of circumcision were wrong in the New Testament. But to win their souls, Paul had Timothy undergo a very painful process.
“I think The Christian Chronicle should ask, ‘How much do you love your brother?’”
— Keith Mattix, member of the Jack’s Creek Church of Christ in Henderson, Tenn.
“We need to remember that we should be the example of love, not the example of hate and division that we’ve shown recently. Our King isn’t of this world, so why are we letting this world divide us?”
— Diane Clay, member of the West Side Church of Christ in Kalamazoo, Mich.
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