(The following post is taken from Mr. Dunham’s address at our November Recitation on Friday, November 4.)
In case you hadn’t heard, Tuesday is an important day for our nation, as voters go to the polls to elect our next President. I realize it’s usually considered bad form to talk about religion or politics, so let me just go ahead and do both (consider this your trigger warning).
Regardless of what one thinks of the candidates in question (and there are many questions) or our political process in general (again, many questions), we must recognize that politics are always downstream of culture, and culture is always downstream of religion. In other words, out of what we worship comes a culture that tends to worships those things. And this worship results in attempted political elections of those who promise to secure those things we worship, or die trying.
And we are dying trying.
“Our Constitution,” Founding Father John Adams wrote, “was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
This is because our Constitution was written with a view of establishing a Republic representative of the people it governed, but if the people represented are of an immoral character, it doesn’t take a political scientist to tell us what said Republic will turn out to be.
Now let me get to the question you have been asking yourselves since I began: “Mr. Dunham, why are you troubling our already troubled hearts with this talk of politics when we simply came to see and hear our kids at Recitation?”
I mention the mess we are in – here at Recitation and just five days before the general election – because, believe it or not, I want you to have hope. I want you to have hope not in a candidate nor in a political party, not in a government nor in its Founding Fathers, not even in a set of documents inspired by and composed in line with the ancient world’s Western thought built on the foundation of the Judeo-Christian teachings we love.
No, I want you to have hope because our children are being trained – by you and by us – to love what is true, what is good, and what is beautiful. For not only are politics downstream of culture, and culture downstream of religion, but our kids are as well, and here at Petra, they are learning to love the Lord their God with all their heart, mind, and soul, and their neighbor as themselves, growing up in a school culture in which Christianity is not merely an add-on but an essential for how we live and move and have our being.
I want you to have hope this morning because of what your students are learning, how they’re learning, and from whom they are learning. And I want you to have hope that, regardless of the outcome of this or any other election, we will, by God’s grace, continue to strive to awaken love and wonder for all that is true, good, and beautiful, not only in your kids, but in your grandkids and in your great-grandkids as well, should Jesus tarry.
So yes, pray for our nation, that God’s Will be done. But do so with the knowledge and hope that an answer to your prayer is right up here on stage this morning, learning to love the God who loves him or her, and who we are praying will grow up to obey God’s Word and be part of the redemption of his world, for the flourishing of humanity and the renown of Jesus the Christ.