Today, I voted in the United States’ presidential election.

Tonight, we will know the results of the election.

Tomorrow, life continues.

“I’m moving to Canada,” say many in response to the choices that they have had and the results they fear from the elections. Few mean it. Although … from my brief visits to Canada and from my interactions with Canadians, that could be a lovely decision.

I also commonly hear, “This is the worst choice ever. … There really isn’t anyone to vote for.” Some leave the voting booth grumbling words similar to a friend of mine, “I voted today, but I don’t feel good about it.” Perhaps there is another way to look at political realities.

Tomorrow, I will renew my commitment, like I do each day, that as a follower of Christ, I will contribute my efforts to a global community.

The following is my wish list for political engagement. Not that I am advocating for or against a particular American political party, rather, I am advocating for the development of community, prioritizing concerns based upon gospel.

International affairs: The patriarch and matriarch Abraham and Sarah were called from the land of Ur, in Mesopotamia, to travel and live in the land on the eastern regions of the Mediterranean Sea. They were called by God to be a blessing to all peoples, all ethnicities (Genesis 12:3). The extension of this today would call for providing value, dignity, and uplift – to be a blessing – to all the peoples of the world.

War and Peacemaking: As a child I learned that “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.” The early church opposed war because war destroyed the lives and communities of those whom God loves. When Augustine first advocated what we now identify as the Just War Theory, war was to be a last resort and such war was to result in the betterment of all, including those whose aggression we desired to halt. The goal of the early church regarding war was not merely to advocate for the absence of violence. As the German theologian Jürgen Moltmann states,

peace is not the absence of violence, but the development of community.

Immigration: Sarah and Abraham were immigrants. The infant Jesus and his family were immigrants, strangers in Egypt. The gospel message expressed at Pentecost (Acts 2) advocates a gospel for all ethnicities. This is also an American ideal. My ancestors were French immigrants. As Huguenots, they came to North America for religious and economic freedom and opportunities. The Statue of Liberty in the harbor of New York, via Emma Lazarus’s “The New Colossus,” proclaims, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.”

Ethnic and racial reconciliation: The heavenly city of Revelation identifies the leaves of the tree of life as providing healing to the ethnicities (Rev 22:2). Early Pentecostals were multi-ethnic and multi-racial, at least in the ideal that they desired. Engaging a biblical and Christian tradition, demands valuing society’s marginalized.

Until the least among us matter, we as a society are devalued.

Gender reconciliation: The writer of Genesis identified women and men as image of God. Jesus advocated an egalitarian society. The gospel was first delivered and proclaimed by women. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, studying theology for the purpose of preparing for rabbinic work. When Jesus was challenged for accepting women for theological studies, he responded, this “will not be taken from her” (Luke 10:42). The Apostle Peter at Pentecost proclaimed that women and men would prophetically speak to our world for God (Acts 2:18). The early church valued community and economic leaders, such as Lydia, Phoebe, and Junia (Acts 16; Romans 16). Should we not similarly advocate for the full equality of women in church and society—ecclesially, socially, and economically?

The Sanctity of Life … from the womb until natural death: The early church was committed to caring for infants whom Roman society had exposed. Exposure was a legal, horrid, practice whereby infants who were not wanted were abandoned to die. Early Christians took the discarded infants into their homes. Early Christians were also known for their care of the elderly, the abused, the homeless, and the unemployed. To care for life calls for advocating the value, dignity, and social uplift of all. It advocates medical care, particularly for those who have the least access. This demonstrates our commitment to the sanctity of life.

The (dis)abled: A young child asked, “‘Will I be retarded when I get to heaven?’ The parents answered … There would be no sickness, no pain. Everyone would be perfect. To this she responded, ‘But, how will you know me then?’”[1] We need to value the full humanity of all, including those whom society marginalizes because of mental or physical (dis)abilities. We need to encourage and empower the alternately-abled to contribute their gifts to the church and to society at large.

Ecology: This world is God’s world. As one of the hymns of the church declares, “This is our Father’s World.” Caring for our physical world means that we care for that which God has created and for which God cares.

Further, care for our physical world is necessary for the care of humanity.

So concludes my wish list for the days that extend beyond the political season. Let us look beyond party politics to a body politic. Let us engage our church, our community, our nation, and the global community, seeing and loving our world with eyes and hands that are prompted by the love of God. In these ways, we prioritize our heavenly citizenship.

[1] Anonymous in The Pastoral Voice of Robert Perske, edited by William C. Gaventa, Jr. and David L. Coulter (New York: Haworth Pastoral, 2001), 132, cited by Amos Yong, Theology and Down Syndrome: Reimaging Disability in Late Modernity (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2007), 259.