Last week, John McCain and Sarah Palin were at a rally 5 miles from my house. On a whim, I decided to drop by. While I was there, I overheard the following statements:
"John McCain will save America."
"McCain is my only hope for America." (Star Wars, anyone?)
Vendors strolled freely selling buttons and t-shirts, hats and bumper stickers, and anything else you can think of, all proclaiming "McCain & Palin '08".
I was in the "overflow" area, a large grassy lawn on the south side of the building. Trees lined the back of the lot. There were kids in the trees, and then I saw a man walk by and say, "I'd just like to see him once." He climbed the tree to be with the kids.
There is a group out there rallying "Jesus for President." By this, they mean that they want America to be "saved." If people would just get "saved," then terrorists wouldn't attack and the AIDS epidemic would go away and the economy would turn around and we would live safe and comfortable lives. They have t-shirts that read "JesUSAves." They really want Jesus to sit at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
There is another group out there campaigning for Jesus as President. They have toured the country and are reimagining what life as a follower of Jesus looks like. They are convinced that Jesus came for all people, and is not interested in sitting in the White House. They believe Jesus really meant it when he said, "Love your enemy." They believe Jesus really meant it when he said, "Sell your possessions." They believe Jesus really meant it when he said, "Deny yourself, take up your cross, and live my life."
Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw published a book called Jesus for President. It is an incredible read, and talks about the subversive, countercultural, alternative way of life that Jesus brought to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear.
So, I'm wearing my button until election day. I might even continue wearing it after that, I haven't decided. There is significance in the stars and stripes, but it's not what you think. This button is not proclaiming Jesus to come make my life comfortable and protect my preferred way of living.
It is by his stripes, we are healed.
And I am supposed to shine like stars in the heavens.
I ran into a lady at the McCain rally who was all decked out in McCain paraphernalia, holding signs and all that. She looked at my button, looked me in the eyes and said, "Really?"
I looked back at her, smiled, and said, "Yeah."