A Vast Cosmic Conspiracy?

We were in the security line waiting to submit our carryon luggage and bodies to the TSA screeners when I heard, “Yeh, you wouldn’t believe it, back of every election it’s just a struggle between various contingents of the demonic.  Actually, it’s all clear if you just know how to de-cypher the universe.  Did you know that if you divided the mass of the sun by the number of days in the Gregorian Calendar, it comes out to 911!  Yeh, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I’m tellin ya, this election it’s between a Mormon Highpriest and a Babylonian demon god.”

Really.  I tried not to listen, but on the one hand he spoke so loudly, like the cell phone talker who believes the whole world wants to hear this conversation.  Then, again, it sounded so utterly bizarre, so unbelievably surreal, that I could hardly help myself.   I vacillated between wondering how in the world he came to be in possession of all those strange facts (I mean, who thought of dividing the solar mass by the number of Gregorian days …?  I mean who even knows such things?) and guessing at how long it had been since he suffered his psychotic break.  He was seriously arguing that behind and underneath all political systems, whatever their nature, was a cosmic conspiracy.  And, wouldn’t you know, this was one of the longest waits we had had in a security line in months.

As I thought about this strange one-sided conversation (the poor other guy hardly knew what to say, and frantically sent any number of verbal and nonverbal cues to the effect that he had really left the conversation some time ago), I then remembered another one in Nigeria four years ago.  We had arrived there on the day that President Obama was elected President, to the delight of all Africans, at least all that we met.  I was talking with some of our pastors there about the election and the differences between U.S. elections and those held in Nigeria.  In the course of that conversation, I learned that many people in Nigeria believe that there is a small cadre of Tribal Chiefs who meet prior to the major elections to determine who would be authorized to stand for election and often who would eventually win.  Since the nation was evenly divided between Christians and Muslims the Chiefs had decided to alternate the winners to satisfy each segment of the population.  The precise details of all these matters have escaped me, many of which I probably never really grasped, but this is the gist of what they were saying.

I do not believe the ranting conspiracy buff nor do I believe in the circle of chiefs who determine how things will go in Nigeria.  But I do believe that elections bring out the worst in people and in nations, sometimes to such a degree that one is strongly tempted to ascribe the whole thing to vast cosmic conspiracies or the demonic.

Here also are some other things I believe:

  • That the world’s Lord is Jesus, the Messiah and King of all.
  • That behind and beneath any dark scheming there may be there is a plan to bring all things to fullness of life and joy and love precisely through the victory Jesus has achieved.
  • That, at the end of the day, what is good for one part of the world is good for the whole world—in the view of King Jesus.
  • That the world eventually will belong not to those who have the greatest capacity to destroy but to those with the greatest capacity to love.
  • That some things are right and good and true and beautiful even if no one can see them.
  • That the measure of the good, right, true, and beautiful actually lived in human flesh in the person of Jesus.
  • That a nation, anywhere in the world, can expect blessing to the degree that its policies and practices correspond most completely with the person of Jesus and his kingdom.
  • That even if no nations really do correspond very well, still the person of Jesus prevails, and whatever blessing and good comes will be encountered along the path that Jesus walks.
  • And, that the hope of the world is not the U.S. (as both the candidates in the coming U.S. election errantly asserted in their final debate) or any nation, but is the person of Jesus and the people who will follow that person relentlessly, as if everything depended upon it.

I do not believe that there is a vast cosmic conspiracy afoot in the coming election, though I do believe what the Apostle Paul wrote, that the real enemy we and the world face is not flesh and blood.  I do not believe that everything rides on the outcome of this election, though there are huge issues, and how they are handled will have potential for the world’s good or ill.  Thus, we should pray and vote.  Then, we should expect that there will be much to do to help whatever party or candidate wins to correspond more fully to the fullness of life Jesus wants for all people.

Comments 18

  1. Dear Bishop,
    Thank you for the reminder that Jesus is the Hope of the world and that our frame of reference as followers of Jesus is the kingdom of God. This frees us from the tragic result of blindness following blindness and the bazaar opinions of those who can only see darkness everywhere. You have reminded us that we are children of light and that gives us an optimistic and hopeful view of the world and the future.

    Pastor Ron White, Stanwood, Mich.

  2. Thanks for sanity and for pointing to who we really are–God’s People, Christ’s Kingdom People regardless of who is elected. While most believers don’t descend to the level of the person in your blog, we are often swept away by fear and misinformation.

  3. Thanks, Bishop Kendall! Too often we get pushed by time and circumstance into thinking that what others tell us is really important is important (like elections) when what God wants most is a relationship with us (the last bullet point).

  4. Thanks for the good words of hope and balance. I will probably share a quote or two from the pulpit. And, really, the conversation you overheard was not a lot worse than some of the horrendous forwarded emails I have received recently professing to give illumination regarding whom I should vote against.

  5. As Americans we have a right and responsibility to vote our conscious. Living in West Africa, I appreciate that right more than most. Pray and vote. However, my real boast for being an American is that I can, freely without repercussion, choose to believe what I believe and I firmly believe in the final bullet. Thank you Bishop Kendall. From a Free Methodist heart in a muslim world.

  6. Thanks, Bishop Kendall: I hear the voice of God in Christ–come let us reason together– in your lucid and caring essay, a clear alternative to the too many voices of fear–the sky is falling syndrome–if certain persons are not elected, or are elected.

  7. It is disappointing that a leader of a church cannot take a firm stand on anything in the fear of dividing the people of the denomination. The theology that you write is just fine, but you have not helped the people if you don’t give practical guidelines for their voting. If one candidate is telling the truth and the other is telling a lie, is it not right for us to come down on the side of the one telling the truth? One of our candidates has shown himself to be a friend of Israel’s enemies, while the other upholds Israel. Should God’s people not come down on the side of Israel? It’s not helpful just to give mushy guidelines, if you can’t help people apply those guidelines in specific ways.

  8. Your writing sounds as if you think all candidates are equal. They aren’t. The fact that Jesus is our king does not release us from our duty to work for good here on earth.