September 30, 2020

Our Joyful Responsibility

While I realize that the majority of our iMonk readers live in the United States, we do have many who do not reside in the home of the red, white and blue. (The Betsy Ross version, not the Union Jack.) This is for those of you who may not know just how important today is to us in the U.S.

Today is Election Day, a day when those of us who are over 18 years of age and bothered to register to vote can vote. Today we vote for various local issues, like whether or not to increase taxes to pay for sports in schools and what constitutes happily wedded bliss. We will be voting on judges and state senators and congresspeople. We’ll be voting for school board members and mayors. But the Big Thing we will vote for today is the next president of the United States.

For more than a year now we have been told why it is important that we vote for one of two men, the Democrat or the Republican. The Democrat, who is also the incumbent or current office-holder, wants us to vote for him because, as he has told us over and over, he is not the Republican. And the Republican says he deserves our votes because he is not the Democrat. Both men promise they will create more jobs, increase wages, land astronauts on Venus, and basically make life on earth paradise. And both men tell us that if the other is elected, we will revert to the Stone Age (also known as the days before the internet, cell phones, and Starbucks).

We have had many months to decide who we are going to vote for in the presidential election. And today we get to exercise our right to make that selection. In some states, such as where I live (Oklahoma, the land of red dirt, Woody Guthrie and tornadoes), my one vote will mean next to nothing. We are a “Red State,” meaning a state that is made up mostly of Republican voters. The Republican candidate will win my state. Whether I vote for the Republican or Democrat, it will be like breaking wind in a hurricane. But wind breaking aside, I will vote, for it is my joyful responsibility.

In other states, the election is very close, so close it could be decided by just a few thousand votes. These are the states the candidates have focused on. (Both the Republican and the Democrat have basically moved to where I was born, Warren County, Ohio. They have both promised that, if elected, the Cincinnati Reds will win the World Series for the next ten years in a row.)

One interesting aspect of voting in the United States is this. It used to be against the law to serve liquor on Election Day. Then most states realized that the only way anyone could vote for some candidates was to get liquored up. So you can now drink and vote, but you will need a designated driver to get you to and from the polls.

Ok … all semi-serious kidding aside, I do want to say this about today’s election. There is no “Christian” way to vote. You can be a Christian and vote for the Red guy, the Blue guy, some other guy (or gal), or not vote at all. You do not have to tell anyone who you voted for, or whether you voted at all. You can vote any way you want and still be your Father’s favorite child.

So today, you can exercise your joyful responsibility and vote for the Democrat or the Republican. Or you can vote for some other candidate. Or not vote at all. And when the day is over and our next president has been elected, God will still be God. Jesus will still have died and resurrected. The Holy Spirit will still be called alongside of us to lead us to the Father through the Son. And we will still be brothers and sisters.

And for those in nations where voting is not the way your leaders are placed in power, pray for us. We need it.


  1. I’m voting for Pedro so my wildest dreams come true.

  2. Should I be dismayed that a fictional ticket with an occasionally dead barfing cat and a small flightless Antarctic waterfowl still sounds better than the big two running today?

    (Although, “breaking wind in a hurricane” is my new favorite campaign slogan…)

    And, all snark aside, no matter who wins the elections (at all levels), we should pray for them.

  3. For me (anyway) the only joyful part will be that it is FINALLY over.

    The older I get, the more I am unable to stand the year+ political campaign season.

    One more reason to look forward to checking out of here.

    I will vote, though.

    • Finally over? Well, not really. If we should be so fortunate as to actually settle this thing today, the 2016 Presidential Campaign will kick off tomorrow. Names will be dropped.

    • Seeing as how I don’t own a television and reject the medium of radio on principle, the political season hardly ever started for me. Try unplugging in four years, see if your life becomes suddenly brighter.

      • That doesn’t protect my phone for calls 8+ times a day. I live in a swing state. :/

        • No, but the phone griping is something I just do not understand. Maybe it is a generational thing?

          Solution: turn of the ringer. Do not answer the phone. The purpose of the phone is for you to make calls, primarily to people who get paid to answer it.

  4. Thank you for ‘(Oklahoma, the land of red dirt, Woody Guthrie and tornadoes)’. For geographically-challenged foreigners such as myself, it’s very helpful to get a bit of context. When Americans hear the name of a state, I imagine there is a whole host of these associations which come to mind. For me, mostly it’s just a name, with sometimes a vague idea about where they might be.

    Europeans sometimes laugh about them ignorant yanks not knowing the difference between Switzerland and Sweden. I’m glad no-one’s ever asked me where Oklahoma is!

    • >” For me, mostly it’s just a name, with sometimes a vague idea about where they might be.”

      As an American, this statement accurately describes my knowledge of a very large swath of the mid-west.

    • My favorite though, is people who confuse Austria and Australia. Literally different hemispheres. Austrians stand the right way up, Australians upside down.

    • Oklahoma was also the seat of the Dust Bowl. The “Grapes of Wrath” and “Of Mice and Men” were both set there by John Steinbeck.

      And for the tragicomic take on this, there’s “My Oklahoma Home”:

      My Oklahoma Home, It Blowed Away
      (Bill and Sis Cunningham)

      When they opened up the strip I was young and full of zip,
      I wanted a place to call my own.
      And so I made the race, and staked me out a place,
      And settled down along the Cimarron.

      It blowed away, it blowed away,
      My Oklahoma home, it blowed away.
      It looked so green and fair when I built my shanty there,
      But my Oklahoma home, it blowed away.

      the rest can be found via google. I did not want to violate copyright.

    • I heard a joke about two American ladies traveling across Canada by train. They pulled into one train station, and the one woman remarked, “I wonder where we are?” The other woman opened a window and called out to a young man standing of the platform. “Excuse me young man, can you tell us where we are?” “Saskatoon, Saskatchewan”, he replied. “Isn’t that quaint”, the first lady responded to her friend, “they don’t speak English here!”

      • Now I heard that joke making fun of Australians, not Americans!

        • No, Australians don’t get confused about other countries speaking English. Sadly, US Americans do make those sorts of statements on a regular basis (I’ve heard it and know others who have too).

    • Check out this clip from the Bush – Gore election time frame to check out how “some” Americans are misinformed about Canada.

      • P.S. It is quite humorous… if you can laugh at yourself.

        • Mike, you have no idea how true that is.

          I’m on the coast of Maine and once in a while during certain weather conditions there’s a Canadian radio broadcast that cuts in. I like to leave it on and hear news about foreign-sounding places only a few hundred miles away, to remind myself, “Oh yeah, there really is still a Canada. It does exist.”

          I love your country but only get there every couple of years. Depending on the election, though, you may see more of me.

  5. “God will still be God”.

    I needed that reminder, and the corollary that He already knows the outcome, and what it will mean in a year, a decade, and a century from now—-and that it surely matters less than I feel it does at this moment.

    I also know that people I love and respect are as eager to pull the other lever as I am to pull mine….although I feel they are terribly misguided. They would shake their heads and say the same of me.

    I will perform my civic duty (I do live in a hotly contested ‘swing’ state) and pray mightily for justice, but when it all over (Thursday or Friday, maybe? Please God, not another 2000 goat-rope!) life will go on. You and I will do our level best to follow the Lord as He leads us, and if Christianity becomes an odd fringe group scorned by the bright people who lead society….then we are right where the Master told us we would be. And that’s ok…..

    • How can he already know the outcome if each voter has the free will to choose? I mean, I suppose he might know all the conceivable outcomes in all the alternate realities (there’s one where Stein and Hawkins win!), and therefore might be seen to have known, but in the context of this reality (the only one I am aware of), I don’t think he can know.

  6. I’m glad no-one’s ever asked me where Oklahoma is!

    From St. Louis drive southwest. When you think you’ve accidentally driven onto the worlds flattest land, you’re there.

    • You’re assuming I know where St. Louis is 🙂

      • Start at the east coast of the US.
        Head west. If starting north of Philadelphia head west south west.

        When you get to a river ask the name. If not Mississippi keep going. If Mississippi and it’s really wide compared to any other river you’ve seen, turn left. If really really really freaking wide turn right.

        When you get to a somewhat sleazy city with a 70 story gleaming arch across the river, cross the river. (Don’t mistake the Ohio river for the Mississippi. Just cross the Ohio and keep following the Mississippi. You can tell it’s the Ohio because the color is muddy gray, not just muddy. 🙂

        You are now at St. Louis. 🙂

    • And some of it is a startling red in color.

  7. “Breaking wind in a hurricane” – this line alone is enough to get you Australian citizenship Jeff 😉

    As an FYI we watch with amusement from across the Pacific. We elected a female Prime Minister who lives with a hairdresser she’s not married to, doesn’t have any kids and is a professing atheist. That’s as close as we got to electing someone with ‘family values’.

    (John From Down Under)

  8. “Breaking wind in a hurricane.”

    I like that too, Jeff. Well, I will contribute to that hurricane by breaking wind myself…vote!

  9. We’re thankfully at the end of an exhausting period of illusion and hyperbole. At the end of the day, and after all the dust has settled, what really will change tomorrow? Will Americans be a more (or less) moral people? Will the new (or same) leader be able to control/manage things to make us more (or less) happy? I like what Glenn Greenwald wrote in Salon, about “18 months of screeching, divisive, petty, trivial rancor so absurd, so distracting, so distorting. Yes, it matters in some important ways who wins and sits in the Oval Office chair, but there are things that matter much, much more than that — all of which are suffocated into non-existence by the endless, mind-numbing election circus.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      And don’t forget the losers’ blizzard of lawsuits challenging the election results — a custom originating in Indecision 2000 — “Heads I Win, Tails I SUE!” I understand the lawsuits are already ready to file in several states the instant the initial results come in.

      And once those lawsuits work their way up to the Supreme Court and we finally know who won, the 2016 Election Circus begins.

  10. Richard Hershberger says

    I embrace my state’s non-swing status. It makes things so much calmer. Though we have been barraged by ads for and against one ballot measure, to expand casino gambling. The ads for it are paid for by the moneyed interests who would benefit. The ads against it are paid for the moneyed interests which own casinos in neighboring states and don’t wand the increased competition. All in all, not a situation to inspire the warm fuzzies.

  11. Sorry Jeff,

    It’s a good sentiment, but I disagree. You might can be a Christian and vote for a Democrat that sees nothing wrong with the murder of the pre-born but you can not be a good Christian and do so.


    • Headless Unicorn Guy says


      And how well have Republican Presidents and Congresses done in outlawing abortion when they had the majority and the mandate?

    • Wow Austin, I didn’t know God graded on a curve. What do I have to do, other than vote Republican, in order to move from merely a Christian to being a good Christian?

      • Jeff it almost seems to me that to be a Christian in USA I only have to NOT believe in abortion or homosexuality.

        I just don’t get it!

        Isin’t there more to the Christian life than this?

        It seems to me the years of blogging on iMonk have been trying to get that message out.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Isin’t there more to the Christian life than this?

          These days, NO.

          All there is is Anti-Abortion, Anti-Evolution, Anti-Homosexuality. That’s it.

    • Dan Crawford says

      A “joyful” responsibility to choose which ones from a batch of sociopaths will cause the least amount of damage to a once thriving democracy? I guess I may have to change my definition of “joyful”.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        North Korean definition?

      • > A “joyful” responsibility to choose which ones from a batch of sociopaths

        Really? You need to get out more, or visit more prisons. Neither of these guys is a sociopath.

        > will cause the least amount of damage to a once thriving democracy?

        When was that? A range of decades should be provided, at least.

        • Dan Crawford says

          I get to a maximum security twice a year as part of a Kairos Ministry team. The convicts I deal with impress me as having considerably more personal integrity than the politicians we are urged to vote for. They at least know who they are.

          If you’re suggesting that there has been no thriving democracy in the US – you may be correct. I tend to disagree. On the other hand, I have been voting since 65 (previous century) and have watched us fight five overseas wars three of which were apparently abetted by lies told the American public.

          I can’t wait until we “justify” our next war.

    • Christian … good Christian… is it time to dust off the old Christianometer and take some readings?
      “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”

    • A view from abroad:

      The Democrat believes in abortion and many people believe they are bad for America. The Republicans get in and rain war down in other countries, so they do their killing abroad, they are bad for the world.

    • Have you read “American Grace”? It’s a sociological take on politics that comes out of a lot of surveys they did. Basically, what the authors found is that when the politics of a person (by which I think you could use that as a proxy for the philosophical leanings of a person. I’m a Dem and it’s because my philosophy derives from Locke, Rousseau and Voltaire) collide with their religion, they change their religion.

      Which is what I did. When it became a mantra of the anti-abortion Catholics to state that you couldn’t be Catholic and vote for Kerry, I decided, well, fine. I’d rather leave anyway. Plus I could see the same tactic being used against me down the road if I decided to try for higher office. Or just if I took an unpopular action with the Church (say I approved the expansion of the PP facility or denied the Church a variance)?

      Now, this conflict started the questioning process and I essentially took a Des Cartes stroll toward examining everything I’d ever accepted, and so I left Christianity when I found I could no longer believe in the Nicene creed (or the 2nd and 3rd members of the Trinity, for that matter).

      Pushing people to vote for one party or another (I have run into people who have left religion because they supported immigration restriction and the death penalty yet were members of liberal Christian churches) using religion as the club, seems to have an effect of pushing people away from religion rather than gaining votes for one party or another.

      • >what the authors found is that when the politics of a person (by which I think you
        > could use that as a proxy for the philosophical leanings of a person. I’m a Dem
        > and it’s because my philosophy derives from Locke, Rousseau and Voltaire)
        > collide with their religion, they change their religion

        Yep. Because ‘spirituality’ is what people claim they believe. But politics is about reality; what they want, what they fear. Politics, in the end, is about what people *actually* believe. So if your spirituality doesn’t align with your real condition – eventually you’ll replace it.

        This explains why so many politicized ‘religious’ (which they are not) talking heads sound so discordant; they are in a compromised position that prohibits them from letting go of spiritual sounding words that clearly mean nothing to them and admitting they actually love something entirely different.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      The thing is, people who support abortion being legal aren’t twirling their mustachios while cackling in joy at another dead baby. They don’t accept the premise that an embryo is morally indistinguishable from a baby. Thirty years ago (OK: thirty-five) this was the conventional opinion among Evangelicals, too. Abortion was considered a Catholic issue, and Evangelicals generally didn’t touch it.

      So what has changed? Lots of things, of course. But we don’t have any new scriptures, nor is there any new science that would lead to this change. There has been, however, a lot of politics.

      In any case, when you open the discussion with whether or not someone condones murder this brings the discussion to a screeching halt. There really isn’t anything to talk about, if that is your opening gambit.

      Riddle me this: while persons of good will might disagree on that moral standing of embryos, they ought not disagree on the moral standing of persons some nine months older and onward. Why is it that the party that professes concern for embryos is so unconcerned about lives and well-being of persons once they are born? Here we are, where the nominally Christian position is to be firmly against health care for the poor: just like Jesus, don’t you know? Or something. feh

      • “Why is it that the party that professes concern for embryos is so unconcerned about lives and well-being of persons once they are born? ”

        An agnostic friend of mine made that point during one of my conversations with him about abortion. He said something like this, “If you Christians would set up some sort of network and program to ensure that every un-aborted baby is brought into a safe, loving home and will be raised in a loving family, then yes…I would be against abortion. But until that happens, I’m not sure I can be against abortion. Christians are deathly silent on post-un-aborted baby support.”

        I thought it was a great argument, and certainly tempered my anti-abortion stance. Am I pro-abortion now? No. But I can understand one logical argument from the other side.

        • Dan Crawford says

          More potentially aborted fetuses have been saved by the Children’s Health Insurance Program which provides medical insurance for fetuses, babies and children (and their mothers) than any proposed amendment to the constitution, challenges to Roe v. Wade and all the money spend on “pro-life” candidates opposed to passage of CHIP. Your friend is very perceptive. He could also have mentioned the Southern Republican “pro-life” congressman who demanded that his mistress get an abortion while he campaigned on a “pro-life” platform.

        • > “Why is it that the party that professes concern for embryos is so unconcerned about
          > lives and well-being of persons once they are born? ”

          Including drone strikes on the poor souls who live in third-world countries. Or those held without trial [or under sham tribunals] in military prisons and the prisons of other regimes.

          The Right’s ethic-of-life is a straight-up lie.

          • Good point, too, about the folks who rant against abortions but turn a blind eye to the lives that are taken by military strikes.

            Now to be fair, I can also point to the hypocritical views of the liberal left, who seem to care more about whales and the environment than precious fetuses.

    • Marcus Johnson says


      aka I don’t have the courage to engage in a real conversation with anyone on this forum, or to confront why I think that someone’s relationship with Christ comes down to what they put on a ballot, so I’m just going to post my little nasty comment and bounce. Peace.

    • No one is good but God alone. Obsessing about particular social issues turns many Christians Pharisaical – your belief isn’t as pure and strong as MY belief because I have all the ‘correct’ moral positions. Of course ‘I’ also get to decide what is the right and wrong moral position so nobody can have a real discussion with me anyway. This is why Christians are dismissed as self-righteous.

  12. That Other Jean says

    My husband and I voted this morning. It’s a little unnerving to consider that, whoever wins, a fair number of US citizens will be convinced that the Antichrist is going to be President for the next four years.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Like that Bloom County strip from — 1988? 1992? — I’ve still got posted up in my cubicle:

      FOR PRESIDENT: Vote for One
      [ ] Wimp
      [ ] Shrimp

      Except in 2008 & 2012 it’s:
      [ ] Antichrist
      [ ] Antichrist
      (As long as we have to choose an Antichrist figure, the Brony in me is writing in Nightmare Moon. At least she has class.)

      • “Can I write in Margaret Thatcher?” “NO!”

        (I recently copied that strip for posting in my office…)

  13. This has been one of my quietest elections in years. I decided to keep to myself what I thought. Why? Too many “A christian can’t vote that way” comments made me re-evalute how I made my decisions.
    When I accepted that my being a christian was not the same as being part of the ‘christian’ religion, in my large evangelical church, things took on different values. (I think somewhere in N.T. Wright’s How God Became King he makes a comment that there is a distinction between christianity and religion, I just don’t remember enough of the details to expound on that statement.) That sure made pre-determined christian choices hard to swallow. Sitting down tonight at men’s group I will likely be the only one that voted ‘wrong’ on the major issue in our local election.

  14. I always laugh when someone tells that as a Christian I should do so and so>. They may make me consider changing Churches, but not giving up the Good News Of Jesus Christ Is my savior. My vote may not matter, but voting makes me part of a community.

  15. Jeff, I always thought red states were communist. What’s going on down there in Oklahoma?

    Oh, yeah, now I get it. Woody Guthrie. He must have won ’em over.

    “This land is your land…this land is my land…”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Ever since the media started the Red/Blue distinction in 2000 Election coverage (well before Halo or Team Fortress 2), I can’t help remembering the Red/Blue color code used by the US Military:
      Blue = US/Friendly Forces
      Red = ENEMY