There are many lessons that we as church, we as Christians, can learn from the USA elections. I’ll put some here, in no particular order, and you can add your own insights in the comments. I’m not going to let comments degenerate into polarising, adversarial heat. On Twitter if I even mentioned Obama, I received attacks questioning my integrity! I guess that leads to the first point:

  • USA comes across as terribly polarised. Divided. Just look at the popular vote numbers. Mitt Romney gave an extremely gracious speech. The Chicago crowd booed. When Obama was similarly gracious, towards Republicans and Mitt Romney, his followers palpably dropped in enthusiasm, and you could see disappointment in the President’s face as he paused to give them a moment to follow his lead. It was only towards the end of his speech that his crowd warmed to his, “I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.” The church is also terribly polarised. We should be showing the world how unity is done. We should be the sacrament of unity. We may yet have to learn to pay attention to God’s Spirit working in the world.
  • Church is a lot about words. Often too much and too many. Here are examples of how to give addresses. Are we paying attention in our seminaries? In our training and formation processes? I come across far too much we’ll train them after ordination, following an on-the-job training model. And so worship services that should sparkle are spoiled by poor training and formation in leadership. We don’t do it with doctors, we don’t do it with teachers. Continue training – of course. But train and form rigorously – then ordain. Again, pay attention to God’s Spirit working in the world.
  • Many commented on the different crowds and supporters. Older and white. Younger and mixed. The younger and mixed are the look of the future. The older and white have their phones on cables. The younger and mixed have aps. Am I the only one who notices Mitt Romney only has 1,765,913 followers on Twitter. Barack Obama has 22,247,272. The old, white way of doing things is still here for a while, but the young, mixed, twitter, facebook is the face into the future. Church, here at least, is more old and white than young and tech-savy. What are we learning?

What other reflections do you have for us as church, as Christians?

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