It’s official – the clown car is full #election2016

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downloadSo this morning I’m going to take a break from my usual content and talk a little about national politics and cynicism. It’s a short distance from throwing around well-timed jokes to sabotaging the entire process, and I think that although it’s far too early to be running a political campaign, it’s never too early to look critically at ourselves as media/political consumers, and to talk about how we can engage this coming election with both intelligence and grace.

I thought of the clown car joke a few days ago (evidently I’m not the only one), and then the Fox News debate announcement provided the opportunity. Quotes like this one in Tuesday’s US News and World Report just made it easier: “With the largest field of contenders in modern memory, organizers say something had to give to ensure the debate in Cleveland didn’t turn into a nationally televised circus.”

Well I’m sorry, the cynic in me says, it’s a little late for that. Granted, a circus is entertaining, and the presence of Donald Trump – while deeply troubling – has certainly ramped up the interest level for many people who would otherwise tune out. Like it or not, this parade has people’s attention.

DISCONNECT: All this brings me back to a good conversation I had with my friend David over brunch last week. We’re both in the same men’s Bible-study group at WFPC, and we were talking about the dangerous disconnect we see between “politics as usual” and the people our government was designed to serve.

“Being disciples of Jesus is all about moving from the affiliation of church membership to the intentional, day-to-day, practice of transformational faith,” I said. “I’d love to see our Bible-study group evolve into a leadership training ground, where the guys become catalysts for positive change everywhere they have an influence – as fathers, husbands, friends, employers, employees, team members, consumers… And voters too.”

Clown-CarSo how do we move beyond enjoying the humor of images like “the clown car,” set aside the understandable temptation to fall into consummate cynicism, and become intelligent consumers, game-changing participants in the political process? And how do we do this without becoming so party-oriented we lose our objectivity?

As followers of the Living Way of Jesus, it is our responsibility to work actively for a world where all God’s children have the opportunity to thrive. We can’t do that and not participate in the political process, and we can’t make the kind of difference our faith – our radical trust in Jesus – requires of us unless we allow our cynicism to be replaced by love.

IMG_1364So I’ll be on my knees – not so much to make sure I vote correctly, but that I engage the process in the spirit of Jesus. How are you going to approach the 2016 elections?



  1. One of the things I see often that is deeply troubling to me is some version of the exchange:
    “I believe ‘this person’ thinks this way or agrees with me on (topic).”
    Why do you believe that?
    “Because they said it and I liked what the said.”

    That is not evidence. It’s been said that belief without evidence is one of the dangerous aspects of religion. I think, rather than religion, human nature is more to blame. We believe because we want to. In politics, that can have disastrous consequences. I’ve had multiple conversations recently about Trump with people I love and respect. They say they support him because of his stance on immigration. But, with just a cursory glance at how Trump makes his money, it’s pretty clear he’s okay with illegal immigration. A deeper look implies the only reason he would build a wall is to trap people on this side of it. Lay out the evidence and you’re met with blank stares. Concrete evidence contrary to a baseless opinion doesn’t even make a dent.

    To me, it’s more like a magic show (or professional wrestling) than a circus. We know it’s all sleight of hand and illusion … but some of us want it to be real, so it has to be real.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Helpful analysis – as usual – Adam. Everything in me wants to be cynical… but an equally compelling force wants me to trust. So I’m with you – education with grace must be our byword.


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