On Culture

I want to speak as a pastor about the presidential elections. I believe that the gospel applies to all of life, even the way we think about things like national, state, and local politics. What I have to say may surprise you. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for since for me to do so is wrongheaded for all kinds of reasons. I learned a long time ago from Billy Graham that ministers of the gospel need to stay focused on their primary calling—preaching the gospel.  So let me provide what I think is some helpful pastoral counsel for all of us during this year’s election. I want to encourage you.

While my oldest son was home from college on spring break, we spent our evenings together watching Frank Coppola’s classic screenplay The Godfather (1972), followed by The Godfather II (1974) and The Godfather III (1990).  I find watching these films entertaining as well as educational.  There are lessons about history (how immigration changed the landscape of large cities), culture (how values differ from one culture to another), and human nature (how people “take care” of each other).  But there are also moral lessons to be learned from The Godfather.  For example, sometimes “bad guys” are charming.  Don’t think of ‘Evil’ as always parading around with a pitchfork!  And, you can’t keep your private life ‘private’ – thinking that it will not affect your family – no matter how hard you may try.  And, ruthless Machiavellian schemes may make you rich, but there is a price to pay – guilt, loss, regret, betrayal – and damnation.