We were in the security line waiting to submit our carryon luggage and bodies to the TSA screeners when I heard, “Yeh, you wouldn’t believe it, back of every election it’s just a struggle between various contingents of the demonic. Actually, it’s all clear if you just know how to de-cypher the universe. Did you know that if you divided the mass of the sun by the number of days in the Gregorian Calendar, it comes out to 911! Yeh, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m tellin ya, this election it’s between a Mormon Highpriest and a Babylonian demon god.”
Really. I tried not to listen, but on the one hand he spoke so loudly, like the cell phone talker who believes the whole world wants to hear this conversation. Then, again, it sounded so utterly bizarre, so unbelievably surreal, that I could hardly help myself. I vacillated between wondering how in the world he came to be in possession of all those strange facts (I mean, who thought of dividing the solar mass by the number of Gregorian days …? I mean who even knows such things?) and guessing at how long it had been since he suffered his psychotic break. He was seriously arguing that behind and underneath all political systems, whatever their nature, was a cosmic conspiracy. And, wouldn’t you know, this was one of the longest waits we had had in a security line in months.
As I thought about this strange one-sided conversation (the poor other guy hardly knew what to say, and frantically sent any number of verbal and nonverbal cues to the effect that he had really left the conversation some time ago), I then remembered another one in Nigeria four years ago. We had arrived there on the day that President Obama was elected President, to the delight of all Africans, at least all that we met. I was talking with some of our pastors there about the election and the differences between U.S. elections and those held in Nigeria. In the course of that conversation, I learned that many people in Nigeria believe that there is a small cadre of Tribal Chiefs who meet prior to the major elections to determine who would be authorized to stand for election and often who would eventually win. Since the nation was evenly divided between Christians and Muslims the Chiefs had decided to alternate the winners to satisfy each segment of the population. The precise details of all these matters have escaped me, many of which I probably never really grasped, but this is the gist of what they were saying.
I do not believe the ranting conspiracy buff nor do I believe in the circle of chiefs who determine how things will go in Nigeria. But I do believe that elections bring out the worst in people and in nations, sometimes to such a degree that one is strongly tempted to ascribe the whole thing to vast cosmic conspiracies or the demonic.
Here also are some other things I believe:
- That the world’s Lord is Jesus, the Messiah and King of all.
- That behind and beneath any dark scheming there may be there is a plan to bring all things to fullness of life and joy and love precisely through the victory Jesus has achieved.
- That, at the end of the day, what is good for one part of the world is good for the whole world—in the view of King Jesus.
- That the world eventually will belong not to those who have the greatest capacity to destroy but to those with the greatest capacity to love.
- That some things are right and good and true and beautiful even if no one can see them.
- That the measure of the good, right, true, and beautiful actually lived in human flesh in the person of Jesus.
- That a nation, anywhere in the world, can expect blessing to the degree that its policies and practices correspond most completely with the person of Jesus and his kingdom.
- That even if no nations really do correspond very well, still the person of Jesus prevails, and whatever blessing and good comes will be encountered along the path that Jesus walks.
- And, that the hope of the world is not the U.S. (as both the candidates in the coming U.S. election errantly asserted in their final debate) or any nation, but is the person of Jesus and the people who will follow that person relentlessly, as if everything depended upon it.
I do not believe that there is a vast cosmic conspiracy afoot in the coming election, though I do believe what the Apostle Paul wrote, that the real enemy we and the world face is not flesh and blood. I do not believe that everything rides on the outcome of this election, though there are huge issues, and how they are handled will have potential for the world’s good or ill. Thus, we should pray and vote. Then, we should expect that there will be much to do to help whatever party or candidate wins to correspond more fully to the fullness of life Jesus wants for all people.