The readers of my regular Blogs know that I consider the church, in its authentic sense, to be made up of the communities of God’s New Humanity, i.e., those who have embraced Jesus Christ for all that he came to be and do, and so to have their lives formed by him and his teachings. That would mean—take note—that in this weird political season, one’s political convictions and choices would have the character of that New Humanity. That has interesting implications, what with so many making the vacuous claims of being ‘evangelical Christian’ whose whole demeanor, and political demands are anything but those that that mirror Jesus Christ.

So let me propose that one might measure his/her political filter by one of the most famous and perceptive prayers that resides in the Christian treasury:


Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


God’s New Humanity folk, his church, are never called to be unpleasant negativists—though they have often fallen into this destructive trap, … (consider the anniversary this past week of the Battle of Antietam Bridge in the Civil War with over 24,000 deaths in one day, and the ostensible Christian passions involved in the pursuit of that war). The Prayer of St. Francis is a good measure by which to evaluate platforms and politicians. I readily acknowledge that the field of politics is hugely complex and fraught with issues that are ambiguous and complex, … sometimes sordid. In this election season there are cultural, religious, social, and global issues that demand wisdom, prescience, self-control, and character … none of which are perfected in any candidate ever, but from among which imperfect human beings and platforms we must choose. And St. Francis’ prayer calling us to love, to pardon, to faith, to hope, to be lights, to joy, to be consolers,  to understand others, and then back to love … to seek the welfare of all the community and in all conditions … I commend as a great means of evaluation.

For God’s New Humanity folk (i.e., those who are serious in their Christian calling) this is not a Democratic or Republican (or other) choice, but for us a choice of which person and which platform bodes to serve the total community, God’s design in making all things new, … by these measurements. Lord give us wisdom

About rthenderson

Sixty years a pastor-teacher within the Presbyterian Church. Author of several books, the latest of which are a trilogy on missional ecclesiology: ENCHANTED COMMUNITY: JOURNEY INTO THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH, then, REFOUNDING THE CHURCH FROM THE UNDERSIDE, then THE CHURCH AND THE RELENTLESS DARKNESS. Previous to this trilogy was A DOOR OF HOPE: SPIRITUAL CONFLICT IN PASTORAL MINISTRY, and SUBVERSIVE JESUS, RADICAL FAITH. I am a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, a graduate of Davidson College, then of Columbia and Westminster Theological Seminaries.
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