We slipped to number 3. Wyoming and Utah pushed Oklahoma down to number three as the reddest State in the Country after Election 2012. Reading Tweets and Facebook status updates by some friends and acquaintances left me wondering if we did not need to offer interventions.

The consistent consolation sounded like a therapist had suggested better self-talk, “Just remember, God is on his throne.” Post after post seemed to offer a variation on this mantra. I wonder if anyone realizes how this sounds? Defeated. Distraught. I am pretty sure the Apostle Paul did not have an election in a Democratic Republic in mind when he wrote,

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

I realize the polarization of the Country and the conflict Christians, at least many conservative Christians, felt choosing between President Obama and Governor Romney. I know many who not only did not care for the choices but in protest chose not to make such a decision. Many a conservative sounded like Hollywood Stars whose penchant it was to say, “If Bush gets re-elected we are moving to another Country.” They didn’t. Conservatives won’t.

Most troubling is the tonal quality of dejection. “Well,” kicking at the rocks under foot, “I guess we’ll just have to get back to doing what we ought to be doing.” That sentiment should be deconstructed, if conservatives were given to such.

We betray our citizenship with Jesus when bowled over by what should not have been a surprise. I cannot even get my mind around the idea that Ed Stetzer received negative comments for suggesting someone should expand their news sources beyond Fox News if they were surprised by the outcome. But wait, “They are fair and balanced.” Right.

Part of me wonders just what have Christians been taught they should be doing if after an election all we have to appeal to is God’s sovereignty over all things and that we must get on with the call of God in Jesus. Was it not Jesus who mentioned what one does once the hand is on the plow?

Rooted deeply in my conservative upbringing in Southern Baptist life is a vein of fear. Over the years of reading the Scripture and keeping a keen eye on Jesus, it appears those who should be fearing are those who should be getting it but don’t. This is the way Michael Card sets up his thematic work through the Gospel of Luke. The corollary is that those who should not get it do.

Back in those days, and very present in these days, was an appeal to the fear of every imaginable crisis accompanied by exhortations to “work ‘til Jesus comes.” The world was still quite cold in war. The one thing that may be said about the Cold War is that there were fewer instances of collateral damage from errant drone missiles. We have hot zones in highly volatile regions and terrorism has visited our land of freedom. Fear has not decreased, only increased. What about Christians who read Jesus who tells us only to fear him who has authority to cast to Hell? Or, be anxious for nothing?

Fear motivated us to constantly parse our words used in prayers for salvation. Get the wording wrong and you likely jeopardized your chances at streets of gold.

Several years ago I was chatting with Brett, my longtime Christian Counselor friend. I know, you knew I needed a therapist. On occasion we have permission to work together to help people who appeal to us. We talked about anger. He pointed out that in recent reading on the subject he now believed anger was not itself a root emotion. Fear, he said, lay at the root of anger. In a cause effect relationship, fear gives birth to anger.

Maybe this is why conservatives come off as so angry many times. They are fearful. Out of a sense of self-defense, or protection, people act on that fear with anger. Think about this. What if this is the case? When we read the Sacred Text that reminds us that complete, perfect, love casts out fear, it takes with it anger that blossoms from its seedbed. If conservatives exhibit anger, could it be they need love too?

It dawned on me. We need not get back to doing what we were doing that produces the same sort of disappointment when in this world things do not go as we hope. Instead we need to appeal to the Apostle Paul who in the face of much more dire experiences noted that we should in our bodies manifest the life of Jesus. Remember, one of our favorites, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son.”

Maybe in our discipleship to Jesus we talk more about the way and manner of Jesus’ love such that it becomes the thing that we do when putting the hand to the plow. Rather than looking back and re-investing in the fears from which we have been freed, we move forward plowing the ground with the incomprehensible love of God that shows up in the way we live our lives with and for others.

Our steadfast love in the face of any and every opposition will remove the antagonisms that come from our own fears expressed in anger and would indeed demonstrate the material realities of God in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to himself.

Image Credit

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

10 comments on “Conservatives Need Love Too

  1. As Keller says, “All of life is repentance.” If the election and dashed hopes create an occasion for us to repent of putting our trust in political candidates and parties, then I think that the call to trust God and pray for our leaders is a good thing. I wrote a Christian lobbyist today and offered help on crafting a rethink of Alabama’s Draconian immigration law. I have not heard back from him yet. But, if we can move away from putting our hope in politics and truly put our hope in God, then perhaps we might better represent the gospel. If now is a time to rethink that, then I think it is a good thing, even if what brought us to this point is quite negative.

    1. Tom Parker says:


      I think Southern Baptists have for too long put their trust in the Republican Party instead of Christ.

      What happened in this most recent election could be a real good think for SB if they will return their focus to Christ.

  2. Tom Parker says:


    You said:”I realize the polarization of the Country and the conflict Christians, at least many conservative Christians, felt choosing between President Obama and Governor Romney.”

    Will the SBC and SB ever realize how much their witness for Christ was hurt by voting for a Mormon.

    I know this had to be very difficult for these folks, but it was a compromise of their Biblical beliefs and the lost world watched in amazement because of the previous view of Mormonism being called a cult.

    If the shoe would have been on the other foot and Obama was a Mormon and the Republican candidate a born again believer the issue of the Democrat’s Mormonism would have been a major issue.

    The hypocrisy here is plain to see for those that want to see.

    IMO politics got put in a higher priority than being faithful to the scriptures for the SBC and SB.

    1. Tom,

      1. The SBC and SB realized what they should have in the primaries. They were voting for President not on the merits of one’s chosen faith.
      2. The consequence of their positions during the primaries became problematic which in turn should teach us a lesson that we should focus on the politic of the candidate over against their faith commitments. The incident with Pastor Jeffress and the BGEA were unfortunate at best. Pastors and religious leaders do not always make good pundits. Eventually we betray the complexities of decision with over-simplifications.
      3. If the shoe were on the other foot, the same mistake would have been made.
      4. I am not ready to label the move hypocrisy. The underlying move of hypocrisy is intentional deception. Play-acting with the intent to persuade one is not as they seem. I don’t see that in this move. I do see ideologically driven decisions that, as with any ideologue, requires some very odd decisions to maintain commitment to the idea – no compromise.
      5. There are certainly illustrations that politics became a priority at the expense of charitable rhetoric.

  3. Tom Parker says:


    You said:”They were voting for President not on the merits of one’s chosen faith.”

    I do not understand this at all. How did Southern Baptists vote for Mitt Romney and ignore his Mormonism.

    Are you suggesting if President Obama was a Mormon Southern Baptist would have been able to overlook this?

    1. Tom,

      Your incredulity toward the SBC and SBs seems to be clouding things a bit.

      Let’s say two people were running for President who held no religious faith, none. Not antagonistic, simply no self-identified position on any world religion. The choice for President turns then on one’s position on the size of government, economic philosophy, and foreign policy (Hawk, Dove, Isolationist, etc.). Questions would explore leadership qualities, style, and substance. Others will look at ethical formulations – Idealist, Pragmatist, etc. How the candidates view issues of life – from beginning to end? Do you see what I am proposing here.

      At this point, insert both recent candidates and scrub their religious affiliations. That is what I am describing.

      Your interest is acute at this point. What about Obama and Romney? Were this about choosing a person based on their religion, some suggested that to make more of their religious position is akin to making this not a vote for President but a vote for Pastor-in-Chief. The decision was on its face a choice of differing visions for how government works.

      What problematized the entire issue for me was that some in the SBC chose to make Romney’s Mormonism and issue then publicly flip-flopped. In this instance, you rightly note that the move appeared to be political expediency. While that may be true for some, it was not for all. So, we cannot make a sweeping generalization. The matter for SBs tends to boil down to issues of life – abortion and gay marriage. If those two issues serve as the litmus test, it is not hard to see why SBs chose Romney. It really serves no purpose to continue to lump all SBs and the decision to vote for Romney as a vote for Mormonism. In this instance, stridency becomes a vice not an attribute.

      1. Tom Parker says:

        Am I following you well enough to hear you saying a SB would never vote for President Obama because he is a Democrat.

        1. Tom,
          No. I am working hard to set up why many SBs voted for Romney despite his Mormonism. I know SBs who voted for Obama.

          1. Tom Parker says:

            Ok. Thanks. I’m following you now. Thanks for your patience with me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.