Thursday, December 23, 2021

Wait of the World

The specter of another pandemic wave looms over this year's holiday plans. Broadway shows are canceled. Family plans are postponed. Even football games are up in the air. 

How long, O Lord? How long will we have to wait for a normal routine? When can we make plans without the if-there-isn't-too-much-COVID asterisk?

At first we knew that life would return to normal. Then we came to expect that life would eventually settle down. Maybe now we have resorted to hoping, or even praying.

This is the wait of the world right now. 

For Christians, Advent is also the season of waiting. We recall the long wait of the Jews, longing for a Messiah. They watched and waited for one who would free them from Roman oppression. Jesus came, lived, died, and rose again. But there was no freedom from military occupation. There was no change in the corrupt, exploitative religious establishment.

But a movement was born. Christ followers experienced an inward change of heart, a spiritual renewal springing from faith in the risen Jesus. This movement spread quickly and unofficially. These believers would not bow to political or religious pressure. They believed that loving God and loving neighbors would change the world. 

It has changed the world.

But we are still waiting for it to make all the difference in the world. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Harnessing Anger

Politicians are good at it. Facebook is perfecting it. Harnessed anger drives movements, like Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and the Proud Boys.

We can let others harness our anger, and we will most likely get played or used. We will share angry social media posts or write a big check. Harnessed anger drives nations to war, and pits people against other people. Politics today thrives on harnessed anger. Both left and right need angry people to drive their agendas. And they need a good enemy to help them raise money. 

What would happen if we harnessed our own anger? We can use that negative energy in a positive way, to fight cancer, human trafficking, or child abuse. We can harness that anger on a personal level, and hate poor health, foolish debt, addiction, and broken relationships enough to make a change.

If we start thinking about using anger in a positive way, we will take a closer look at that anger. Is it helping anything for you to be angry at that politician? that boss? that spouse? that broken appliance? that blind referee? 

If anger is such a strong motivator, why not use that to your own advantage? Be angry at the right things, and do something about it.

And, please, let's stop being played by all those people who thrive on the anger of the masses!

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Sterile Souls

Modern farming has sought to improve on natural soil. Weeds and bugs can be so annoying, so why not just kill everything? So we sterilize the soil and add the nutrients that we need. They say we only need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, NPK. That's what those numbers stand for on fertilizer bags, like 10-10-10. All the natural and unpredictable stuff is stripped from the soil. And plants flourish. They grow bigger, stronger, faster, with better yields than ever--in the short run. In the long run, it takes more and more inputs. The pests adapt and return with vengeance. And the soil becomes so poor that it washes away with the rain. All this requires more ingenuity, more engineering, and more intervention. And sadly, the nutritional value of these industrial farming products is far inferior to the old, natural fruit.

I wonder if the modern soul feels like that, like the sterilized soil. All the man-made inputs pervade life and leave us stripped of all the earthy, unpredictable richness of natural life. Virtual reality promises safe adventures to tourist sites and fantasy lands. It's just as good as being there. Virtual meetings promise to connect people, just like face-to-face, all done digitally. Social media algorithms feed us exactly what we need to stay engaged with our devices. Smart watches and smart mattresses tell us exactly how well we sleep each night.

Life can be bigger, stronger, faster, with better productivity. But what is the cost? We need more inputs. Vitamin pills fill in the gaps left by our processed foods. All this engagement stresses us out, but there's a pill for that. We have heart issues, high blood pressure, diabetes--but again, we have chemical solutions for all these problems. Oh, and the side effects can be addressed with medication as well.

Look at all our improvements. We may have more stuff and more convenience, but is life really better? How's the soil of your life? What would it be like to get back the richness that is so mysterious and so life-giving? It takes time, years, to restore sterile soil. Restoration begins with eliminating all the sterilizing inputs, then adding organic material, and sowing life-giving seeds. Over time, soil is restored. It becomes fertile and rich. And it gives life.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Prayers for Alec Baldwin

Mistakes were made. Consequences were horrific. So much went wrong on Oct. 22 when Alec Baldwin shot and killed a cinematographer on the set of "Rust." Two other people should have checked the gun before it landed in Baldwin's hand. And, clearly, Baldwin should have checked it too.

I've never been on a movie set, but I have shot guns many times. As a Boy Scout I heard repeatedly, "Never assume a gun is unloaded." Never. A corollary to that advice would be, "Never assume a gun has only blanks in it."

It is easy for me to claim that, of course, I would never have made that mistake. But I have made so many mistakes. I have so often been careless. I have left on stove burners. I have left gas caps off the gas tank. I have (accidentally) driven through red lights like they were stop signs. Just two weeks ago I had two mattresses blow off a trailer and block two lanes of US 220 in Madison. 

Never in these mistakes has anyone died. But they could have. I would have been responsible for a death. And I would have been horrified. My life would have been changed forever.

And so I pray for Alec Baldwin, for him to grieve, to respond, to search his own soul, for him even to grow. And I pray for all those devastated by the death of Halyna Hutchins' death. But only Alec pulled the trigger. That's a burden I can't imagine.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Edible Offerings

The holiday feasts are fast approaching. The threatened food shortages might make us think about food a little differently now! Food is so important to life, and it's also important to worship. 

Beginning this Sunday we start a series called "Edible Offerings," looking at the food of worship. Why did people offer food to God? How does God use food to deepen our relationship with him?

Food represents our work. Tending soil and caring for animals takes a lot of effort. Even our jobs today are done to "put bread on the table."

And food is essential for life. No one can live without food. Even with all our advances in science, we can't get around metabolism. 

Food also becomes an occasion for building relationships. Meal times are central to life in every culture since the beginning of civilization. Dining together brings people together. And good food makes for a good celebration!

Join us for Edible Offerings:

October 24, Sibling Rivalry, Genesis 4:1-12

October 31, Entertaining God, Genesis 18:1-15

November 7, A Meal to Remember, Exodus 12:1-14

November 21, The Meal, Luke 22:14-20

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

This is Our Moment...

After the resurrection of Jesus, Christianity spread around Jerusalem like wildfire. It spread so broadly that it strained the religious establishment. They could not stomach a resurrected Leader who reached out to undesirables everywhere. Finally there was a breaking point. A vocal Christian leader was stoned to death and the floodgates of persecution flew open. Christians fled the city, scattering across the region, seeking safety. Only the apostles stayed put in Jerusalem. 

Everything changed.

They still had the message about new life in Jesus. But...

They had no place to gather. They couldn't meet at the Temple.

They had no weekly routine or meeting times. For safety's sake they hid and fled.

They had no day-to-day leadership. The apostles stayed in Jerusalem.

They had new kinds of people to evangelize. The common people in the countryside were not like the urban elites.

They had new problems to solve. Their old way of thinking could not meet the new realities.

God used those changes to bring the gospel to new people in new places in new ways. The persecution was tragic, but God used it to send the good news around the world. A new generation of Christians rethought systems of gathering, encouraging, reaching out, sharing love. The world had changed, but their response changed the world.

Today is our opportunity for new meeting places, new routines, new leadership, new places to share good news, new problems to solve.

We can reach this changing world with the hope of Jesus. But we can't stay stuck in our old ways of doing church. Change is upon the whole world. How will we respond?

Thursday, September 16, 2021

See things as they are...

Driving down the familiar road,
You get lost.
You don't know where you are,
It's foggy.
Finally the sun breaks through,
The fog lifts.

You see things as they are.

They've always been that way,
Or have they?
Now you see the pasture and the cows,
The farmhouse.
You recognize the intersection,

You see things as they are.

The friend disappoints and leaves you stranded,
They don't care.
The doctor brings the bad news from the test,
Could be worse.
Sarcasm hits a tender target in your soul,
She meant it.

Do you see things as they are?

Fog lifts and now we see all there is to see,
Can it be?
Plain as day to me, so obvious but,
There is more.
I see things as they are to me,
Not to you.

I can see things as they are, but you cannot.
Or maybe there's more than I can see.
I need to see with humility.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Theology Police

There is good theology and bad theology. There is right theology and wrong theology. Some theology is based on the Bible and some is based on human reason. "Theology" means the study of God. It is our human effort to understand who God is and how he interacts with his creation.

I assert that theology based on the Bible is more accurate than theology based only on observation and reason. But we have problem with the term "biblical." When someone holds up an idea as biblical, often he or she means, "I can point to Bible verses to prove my idea." That's how we have people holding "biblical" positions that contradict other people's "biblical" positions. We like to find verses that support our ideas and ignore verses that do not. It's almost impossible to do systematic theology without finding numerous areas of tension.

This leaves us wondering who is right. The answer to that question is simple. We are right and you are wrong. At least that's how most theological warriors frame the issue. Often these warriors are self-appointed theology police, pointing out flaws and misinterpretations in the beliefs of others.

I caught myself doing this a few years ago. I was in a foreign (to me) language worship service in NC, in a church outside my denominational tradition. As the worship was getting exciting and into full swing, I was feeling the joy of the Spirit. God was powerfully present. Then the thought occurred to me, "I wonder how much more God would love these people if their theology was better." In that moment I was stunned at my own arrogance. I decided to resign from the theology police. I turned in my badge.

I still believe that some theology is better than other theology. But I'm going to trust God to set people straight. I'm sure I have plenty of messed up ideas about God, some of which come from misreading his word. I have to trust God with that too.

In the meantime, I do know that God wants me to love people and to love him. This much I know, and that's challenge enough for me. The deeper my own theology grows, the more I see his love.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Weight of the World on a GOAT

I marveled at Simone Biles' composure a few weeks ago. Everyone knew that she would take the gymnastics world by storm again. She would effortlessly hurl herself through the air, twisting and flipping and sticking her landings. The Olympics seemed like her own stage for showing off.

But then her 24-year-old mind took a look at all the expectations. It's hard to be the G.O.A.T. The glare of the spotlight becomes blinding. Or maybe it shines light on the faint possibility of failure. 

Routines can't be effortless when you are over-thinking. Biles said that she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. What if she let down her team, her family, her coaches, her country? One false move could cause her whole world to collapse.

No wonder she hesitated. 

You may not compete on the world's stage, but you probably feel the weight of your world on your own shoulders from time to time. Maybe you can buckle down and take the heat and rise to the occasion. Maybe you have done that many times. But the time may come when it's too much. The thrill is gone, the joy has become anxiety, the reward no longer worth it.

You want to step back, but you can't find the way to do it. What will people think? Who will step up when you step back?

You know the easy answers: It will all work out. Just have faith. Trust God. Say a prayer. Ask for help. 

It all sounds easy, but it's not. We have to rethink, adjust our expectations, acknowledge our limitations. This may be the hardest work of all.

Cut yourself some slack. And while you're at it, cut somebody else some slack, too.

When Simone stepped back, Suni Lee stepped up to gold for the Americans. Maybe it will all work out.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Cancel Culture

We can't listen to anyone who ever did or said something we disagree with. It doesn't matter if it was a long time ago. It doesn't matter if they have changed their minds. It doesn't matter if there is a good explanation for the offense. It doesn't matter what the context was.

If we look long and hard enough, we can find some offense in anybody's life. 

Here are some thoughts on cancel culture.

We need to allow people to change their minds and mature over time.

It is far too easy to condemn others without really looking at their context or specific circumstances.

Jesus wants us to extend grace to people. That's one way of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Dead people have no opportunity to defend themselves. Let's have a little respect even when we find fault.

Cancel culture works for and against people of all ideological stripes. 

We all stand to be cancelled at some point, especially with the scrutiny of today's critics. The only thing that protects us is our own obscurity.

Maybe the day will come when society will reject people who have been doing all this cancelling. That will be ironic.

We should look harder for our own faults (with the goal of correcting them) than the faults of others.

People have been trying to cancel Jesus since he walked this earth. I'm glad that he never cancels us.

Monday, June 28, 2021

The Elephant in Your Soul

The room is tense. Everybody knows what everybody is thinking. But no one wants to say it. It goes unsaid in a room full of pretenders. And everyone knows that everyone is pretending. 

Occasionally in such a situation, a brave soul may name it, causing a cascade of relief that the elephant has been named. Finally we can talk about it.

Naming the elephant always feels awkward. We don't know if others will acknowledge it. We don't know if we will be affirmed or rejected. We don't know if we will make enemies or allies. There is a risk in mentioning the elephant in the room. But once it has been mentioned, it has to be dealt with.

Sometimes there is an elephant in your soul. It may be an unhelpful pattern of thinking, a decision that must be made, the inevitable that you have been postponing, a habit to stop or start, a difficult conversation, a trip to the doctor. When the elephant is in the room, you have to consider the reaction of others. When the elephant is in your soul, you have to face something (potentially) much more frightening--your own response.

Once you finally face that elephant, you force yourself to deal with it. The internal battle is the hardest. You may become angry, fearful, or ashamed. You may have to get alone, or cry on someone's shoulder, or go for a long and sweaty run. You wrestle with yourself. You may wrestle with God. It is painful, exhausting, and scary. 

But when the internal battle is won, you can do the hard thing. Jesus will walk with you. He knows all about doing hard things. And he knows about the elephant in your soul.


Monday, May 24, 2021

Bob Ross and God

 He's one of the most soothing personalities ever to appear on television. Joy and peace pour forth from his words. Bob Ross inspired countless viewers to paint, and he brought joy to the rest of us with his canvas magic.

Watching Bob Ross leads you down a constant path of cringing and relief. He begins with ugly blobs of color that quickly become recognizable and then beautiful. When the scene takes shape, he inevitably mars the beautiful landscape with destructive, oil-based funk. Then a few strokes later, the new image immerges. With a few more strokes the scene is more beautiful than ever.

On our vacation earlier this month we pulled up a Bob Ross episode. He went through his predictable, jarring pattern, time after time. At one point as he ruined his masterpiece, my daughter said, "Well, this is Bob Ross, of course, and I trust him." Bob knows what he's doing. He mixes odd colors together on his palette and makes new and beautiful shades. He takes errant brush stokes and turns them into "happy little trees." He puts formless paint on the canvas and quickly brings it to life. Then he adds depth and reflection.

So is the work of God in our lives. Unexpected circumstances or people come our way, and mar the landscape of our lives. The colors of strange experiences mix together to make hues we never desired. Ugly colors coat our preferred happiness. Then over time we can see these problems turn into something beautiful. The ugliness gives way to beauty, a deeper beauty than we ever imagined. Mistakes become happy little trees or grand mountains of meaning.

This is God's painting and we can trust him. And with that trust comes peace and joy.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Rest for Your Soul

I enjoy information, learning, processing. But I also struggle with getting to it all. I want to know about current events, biblical archeology, theology, gardening, literature. I enjoy reading, but it's hard for me to keep up. I am notorious for letting magazines--about stuff I care about--just pile up, month after month. When I finally get around to the magazines I often find issues that are over two years old. Has it been that long since I sorted through this stack?  

At some point, all this good information becomes a burden. I find this especially true in my email inbox. I subscribe to plenty of ministry newsletters. They all have so much compelling, important information. They have current events in evangelicalism, the latest leadership techniques, ways to set goals and improve communication. Many of them want to sell me this Bible study program or that sermon series. Does ministry need to be so commercial?

Then there are all the farming and gardening newsletters. Improve your soil. What to plant now. How to get rid of weeds. How to make market your produce. How to care for your livestock. How to take care of your equipment. How this successful farmer does it all.

It's all good. But it's too much. At least it's too much for me. Clearing out my inbox feels like a full-time job. I find a lot of freedom in deleting newsletters without even reading them. I have unsubscribed to many.

I need some space, some time, some breathing room. In this pandemic, it feels more important than ever. 

I keep coming back to the words of Jesus: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." --Matthew 11:28-30

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Experiencing Time

It’s coming soon: that weekend when we lose an hour of sleep. We lose an hour so we can save an hour of daylight. Have you ever saved an hour of daylight? Hmmm.

 I do like saving time. When go on a long trip in the car, I try to see how quickly we can arrive (without really speeding, of course). I like to beat my previous record. I might save 15 or 20 minutes. Yay! I like short cuts and learning how to avoid heavy traffic. And I can save time with a microwave oven and a cordless drill. I can save time with careful organizing and delegating.

Where is all that time I have been saving?

What have I done with all that time? The shortened travel time, the organization, the planning, the delegating, the proper tool usage—surely these have saved me hours, days, weeks over my lifetime. So what have I done with all that time. Maybe I had more time to read, more time for conversation, more time to relax. Usually, though, I take that time and try to cram more tasks into it. The never-ending list of responsibilities never gets fulfilled. I might tick off another thing or two, but the value of those completed tasks is often so fleeting.

Maybe I could stop being obsessed with saving time and start experiencing time. Live in the moment. Don’t obsess about the next thing. Be here. A wise person said, you can't manage time; you can only manage yourself.

If I can experience time, it comes alive. I experience it and remember it. I welcome God into the moments and he takes charge. That time is more than saved. It’s invested.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Losing Leverage

I am learning to spot my patterns of thought. I am constantly working to turn things to my own advantage. Any object, situation, relationship, or circumstance could be an opportunity for me. I can harness it, build something out of it, network with it, preach about it, or share it with a friend. A sunny day needs to be leveraged for outdoor stuff. A new acquaintance builds my network of friends. A fallen tree is firewood or building material. A cancelled meeting gives me time to catch up on my reading. My mind is bent on maximizing every opportunity.

 That is a matter of stewardship, of course. Paul tells the Colossians to make the most of every opportunity (Colossians 4:5). But this way of thinking also becomes a burden. I even feel like I have to maximize my times of quietly sitting in the Lord’s presence. What did I get out of that 20 minutes? Could I have gotten more?

Working to leverage everything becomes tiring. It keeps me from purely enjoying the moment—its depth, wonder, beauty, peace, simplicity. I miss out because I have to make sure that I don’t miss out. I’m focused on myself, not the Holy Spirit.

At some level I feel the pressure of Jesus’s parable in Matthew 25. You probably know it. That’s the story of the man who plans to go out of town. Before leaving he entrusts sums of money with some servants. He apparently expects them to invest the money and make more. When the master returns, some of the servants had doubled the money. The master praises them, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The servant who failed to invest his money is treated harshly and called “wicked” and “lazy.”

I want to be a “well done-r,” not a “wicked lazy-er.” That creates a relentless drive to maximize every opportunity. That drive can get us out of sync with the heart of God. We can work so hard for his commendation that we lose sight of his love. We want to make ourselves look good, especially in comparison to others. So we turn the work of God into competition. And we lose the joy. We actually miss opportunities to express and share the love of Christ.

I want to stop leveraging every opportunity to make myself look good. It’s not about me. I can stop engineering circumstances to my advantage. I can enjoy the beauty of a day or a flower without stressing over how I can use it. I can welcome friendships as opportunities to love others, not enrich my network.

I never really feel like I measure up to the, “well done” commendation. Maybe if I truly seek to love God and to love people... maybe that will be doing well. Jesus seems to say so.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Ready for Resurrection

This pandemic-induced season of hibernation makes us long for resurrection. We are ready to come out of the grave. We are ready for new life. This may be the most profound Easter season of our lifetimes.

Our most powerful experiences come after seasons of preparation. "You get out of it what you put into it." 

I went to see TobyMac in 2006, probably my favorite concert ever. He was featuring songs from his new album "Portable Sounds." It was a small arena, with probably 2000 people there, no seats, standing crowd. It was great music, great vibe, a great connection between artist and fans. I got into it. I had bought the album about a week before the event, and had listened to it a couple of times. After the concert, I listened to the CD over and over. I really let the songs get to my heart.

Then I realized that the concert would have meant so much more to me if I had really known the songs before. It was a great show, and I loved it. But I would have experienced it more if I could have freely sung along and danced with abandon.

That's how it is with Easter. The more we prepare our hearts, the more we can sing along and dance with abandon. The season of Lent encourages that effort of preparation. We look more deeply in the mirror, so that we can gaze more gratefully at Jesus.

We are beginning a new series at Crossroads this Sunday, "Ready for Resurrection," based on Genesis 3:17-19.

February 21, Humble Dust
We remember how frail we are and how prone to mess up.

February 28, Cursed Dirt
We dig into the frustration of having to fight for survival against the elements of creation.

March 7, Food Fight
The struggle of finding food is often lost on us today. But this battle is real, and it's heating up now.

March 14, Work of Work
Making a living means toil and sweat, but it still should be a blessing.

March 21, Life Cycle
Death is now part of life, and it's all part of a much bigger story.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

What's Lent all about?

I remember Lent from my teenage years. My friends at school would talk about what they would "give up for Lent." I didn't know when Lent started, but I knew that it was somehow connected to Easter. At  least I knew that my sacrificing could stop after Easter. In recent years, Lent seems to be catching on in wider circles among believers that I know. So, what's it all about?

The word "lent" literally means "lengthening (of days)," and the German word for spring is "Lenz" (from According to, the exact origin of the celebration of lent is uncertain, but it seems to date back to around A.D. 325.

Baptisms were often done on Easter, and candidates for baptism were encouraged to fast leading up to the ceremony. This linked the fasting of lent with Easter. People may fast from certain foods, beverages, or practices. The 40 days of lent recall the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert, being tempted by Satan. There are six Sundays in the the season of lent, and fasts may be broken on those Sundays. So the whole season of lent lasts 46 days.

Today lent is celebrated as a time of preparation for Easter. In order to experience Easter fully, you need to have the right frame of mind, body, and spirit. The practices of lent help a Christian better understand the suffering, sacrifice, and compassion of Jesus. 

More about preparation next time.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

The Lure of Certainty

What really tempts you? Recognition, wealth, health, power?

Reading about the temptation of Jesus in Matthew (4:1-11) this morning, I noticed something. There are three temptations. First, Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones to bread. This temptation makes sense. Jesus had been fasting for 40 days. Obviously he was hungry. There's no reason for the Son of God to be hungry, now, is there? We easily understand the temptation of food, even when we aren't hungry.

The third temptation in Matthew is also easy to understand. Who would not want all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor? Satan offered this to Jesus, if only Jesus would worship the devil. That's a big payoff for a mere gesture of worship. 

But the second temptation is curious. Satan told Jesus to throw himself off the highest point of the temple mount in Jerusalem. Why would he be tempted to do this? Most of us have little difficulty avoiding throwing ourselves off tall buildings. What could Jesus possibly gain from this stunt? Worst case, Jesus would be dead, from apparent suicide. But Satan assures Jesus that God will command his angels to save Jesus. So the best case is that Jesus is swept up from the fall by angels and safely placed on solid ground. This would certainly boost Jesus' fame, and potentially spread his message faster. But maybe the real temptation was something else.

Maybe Satan was tempting Jesus to gain certainty. If he jumped off and splatted on the ground, it would all be over. But if he were saved miraculously, then Jesus would know for certain that he really was the Son of God. There's proof positive. Notice that Satan's temptation begins with "If you are the Son of God..." The payoff, the temptation here, may not be fame but certainty.

Jesus was willing to find his certainty in his trust of the Father. He did not need a stunt to prove anything. His certainty came from relationship.

Many of us want certainty now. We want to know that we can take that vacation this summer. We want to know that we will have a job again in three months or that we will still have a job next week.

I don't know what stunt we could devise to be sure about the future. But I do know that God calls us to trust him. Living by faith is trusting God, especially in times of uncertainty.

Jesus told his followers that he would be with us until the end of the age. Let's live like we believe it.

The Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The pile of stones in the distance is the rubble
of the Temple building, thrown down from the Mount
in A.D. 70 by Roman soldiers.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

An Epiphany to Remember

January 6 is the feast of Epiphany on the Christian calendar. It marks the visit of the Magi to baby Jesus in Bethlehem. The word means "manifestation," and the Magi's visit marks the Lord's first manifestation to the Gentiles.

Epiphany also means "a sudden...perception of the essential nature or meaning of something." I wonder if Americans suddenly realize how precious is our republic. We take for granted that our votes matter, and that our democratically elected representatives will defend the U.S. Constitution and stand for the rule of law.

When a new administration moves into the White House, news commentators always note that in America there is a peaceful transition of power, regardless of the party going in or out of power. Since 1789 we have had peaceful transitions of power. Even at the brink of the Civil War, no one stormed the Capitol. 

We must not take our republic for granted, as Benjamin Franklin famously implied. We need to uphold the Constitution, even when we disagree with the outcomes of elections. There will always another election. Or at least there always has been.

Christians in America also need another epiphany: the governments of humans will always be flawed and can never bring in the kingdom of God. As Jesus said, his kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). He reigns in the hearts of his followers, transforming our lives from the inside out. When his love rules in our hearts, this world really becomes a better place. It takes time, centuries, apparently. And one day he will return to rule on earth.

Until then, we must let his love rule our lives and work to make these earthly governments as just and peaceful as possible.