The Bigger Reason I’m Weary of the Election and COVID

I feel weary today. Many of us feel the weightiness. I know it’s a Monday, and Mondays can feel wearisome in normal seasons. However, I am weary on a different level. Our current times are fraught with so much turmoil over the election and COVID. I am utterly exhausted and saddened for an even bigger reason. So many people are still struggling to work with the truth. It’s happening in the rascally nexus of both science and politics.

Working with truth in science

I find it utterly frustrating that individuals and their networks continue working double-time to discredit the work of solid researchers, reputable doctors, and those who speak out for safety measures. Yes, I am talking about mask-wearing, quarantining, and additional wise protocol. As a leader in the public service sector of faith and values, I am stymied by how many people who claim the Christian faith have chosen to sow seeds of doubt regarding the veracity of scientific research and best practices. I am weary of people’s apathy and disbelieving looks when I explain I have loved ones who have battled COVID, and I have officiated multiple funerals for families affected by COVID. Really. For real. Precious people I know have died. I have stood at COVID gravesides. That’s the truth.

Let’s cut to the chase. The struggle for such anti-science individuals is largely born of personal inconvenience and self-absorbed expression of freedom, not genuinely solid ideology. “Masks just feel too restrictive. And if I want to gather with my big group of friends for that party, well dang-it, that’s my right!” Personal rights and American freedoms should supposedly trump love of one’s neighbor and even a healthy love for self that might actually mean long-range preservation of lives. I find such thinking and behavior so strange for people who readily claim to be pro-life. Yes, I am weary.

And I have a serious hunch there’s something else in play. Too many Christians still have a deep-seated aversion to science, too often still grounded in their mistrust of evolutionary teaching. Christians often rush to categorize, and the thinking trail often goes like this:

Faith is grounded in the Bible; therefore, faith is good.

Science is grounded in evolution; therefore, science is bad.

And so never the twain shall meet.

With such a trail, too many people jump to the conclusion that scientists and their advice should be resoundingly rejected. Especially when their strong advice is inconvenient and requires uncomfortable self-sacrifice.

What if part of God’s original call to humans actually included science? Many of these same Christians are quick to focus on the good teaching of God’s wondrous creation as depicted across the opening two thirds of Genesis 1. But why is so little attention given to the closing verses of Genesis 1 and the divine call for humans to “rule and reign” over all of it? The ancient language includes the masterful work of royal-like leadership in all sorts of expressions, including arts and sciences, social endeavors and politics. We are called to be career-ready in numerous fields. So many Christians are quick to use the opening sections of Genesis 1 to refute classic evolutionary thinking, especially in support of literal days of creation versus an evolutionary timeline. But then they resoundingly ignore the implications of Genesis 1:26-31.

What if more Christians would join Francis Collins’ perspective? Collins is a rigorous scientist, the leader of the Human Genome Project, and a man of devout faith. (And yes, Collins is currently Dr. Fauci’s lead supervisor and counselor. Gasp! Stay with me, please.) Collins has said:

Aren’t the scientific and spiritual worldviews antithetical? . . . for me the experience of sequencing the human genome, and uncovering this most remarkable of all texts, was both a stunning scientific achievement and an occasion of worship. Many will be puzzled by these sentiments, assuming that a rigorous scientist could not also be a serious believer in a transcendent God.

Collins proceeds to argue that “belief in God can be an entirely rational choice, and that the principles of faith are, in fact, complementary with the principles of science.”[1] In my own deep weariness, I wonder why so many Christians forget that “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2). Science and faith do coincide.

Working with truth in politics

It seems much of the same anti-science crowd also struggles to accept the mathematics associated with the current political outcomes. In spite of the vote count conducted, verified, and now being certified by reputable individuals, judges, and other authorities, so many Christians are doggedly touting conspiracy theories.   

With legal action taken by President Trump, many good people just shrug and say, “Well, he’s a fighter and law suits are his modus operandi.” That’s true, and there is no doubt that the current President has been on the side of conservative politics, successfully picked justices matching the pro-life cause, and has reinforced platforms in support of religious freedom for the Judaeo-Christian population. But with the seeds of doubt sown about election count, including proliferation of conspiracy theories, people everywhere are left scratching their heads. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who actually won the White House? And how can we know?

I am personally stirred to consider what lies beneath the pursuit of our answers. I believe there’s a bigger reason we should all be worked up about the election results. Again, cut-to-the-chase. Reality involves this vital thread: evidence matters, and truth matters.

It is not sufficient for either the right or the left to make their claims to winning the election, but then supply no substantive evidence. This is a principle known as burden of proof. T. Edward Damer explains:

In many cases, of course, one does not have to supply such proof, for we are not always called upon to defend our claims. But if the claimant is asked “Why?” or “How do you know that is true?”, he or she is logically obligated to produce reasons in behalf of the claim . . . one at least has the responsibility to provide evidence for the main thesis and for any questionable premise, if asked to do so.[2]

In our current election outcome, President Trump claims there was election fraud. It is important to note that this was a concern he vocalized numerous times prior to his victory back in 2016. Burden of proof means that he and his team are obligated to produce reasons, substantive evidence that points to such fraud. It’s not sufficient to just claim fraud if you don’t like the election outcome.

Across these post-election weeks, many Americans have been open to seeing the situation with democratic vision, sincerely open to such Trump-side evidence potentially being produced. I wholeheartedly echoed the same sentiment. If such true evidence exists, by all means, it should be brought to light. Fraud should be held to account. The election should be decided based on genuine evidence.

Truth matters. Thoughtful, engaged, integrated Christians grasp how genuine faith is not a blind faith but a reasoned faith. (This is what Francis Collins is advancing in his statement above.) A reasoned faith is well-founded, credible, and grounded in the evidence of eyewitnesses.[3] This issue—truth matters—is where things get very slippery today. In our current culture, people readily think truth is ultimately subjective. “Make up your own truth; you do you, and that’s what is true.” These are common mantras, prevailing thinking in our day. As a result, math, science, morals, and business ethics just don’t hold steady validity, even for some people who claim to be on the side of truth and faith.

In classic Christian understanding, all truth is God’s truth, whether it’s in the Bible or not. But under current popular thinking, actual objective counting only counts based on each person’s individual count as it coincides with one’s preferred outcome. So, premises, opinions, claims, and principles become highly subjective. With such current-day approach, truth is relative. You get to make up your own end to the story, even if history says it was different. You can make up your own math and craft your own science. You get to make up your own end to the election based on what you wanted for your candidate, your own sense of power, your worldview, and financial safety, even if substantive evidence says otherwise.

Evidence matters; truth matters. After all, if truth is simply “you do you,” then who can you believe? Who can you trust? It is never sufficient to simply make a claim. It would be like a head football coach of an NFL team who suddenly claims the outcome of a down-to-the-wire game was rigged and riddled with fraud. “WE won that game last night!” It would be that coach and team’s responsibility to produce credible proof that negates the calls of the officials and those other eyewitnesses to the game’s outcome. We know it in football. Credible eyewitnesses are essential to substantive evidence.

It’s vital we be open to our own biases when it comes to politicians and elections. I know I have biases. I was raised in a right-wing, conservative family. Our tribe voted for Ronny Reagan and lots of Bushes. Along with passionate friends, I snuck into a Clinton rally in Scranton in 1992. We held up STOP Abortion signs and almost got beat up. I am still a registered Republican, but in recent years I have modulated my political engagement and voting. I have aimed to be more integrated in my faith expression in politics, more prayerful and thoughtful in how I vote. (I’ve written about why and the theological underpinnings in previous articles.) I know, this confuses the heck out of some people. However, by many people’s criteria, I am still highly conservative in perspective, even with such modulation.

With honest recognition of my own biases, I have to be willing to affirm the evidence, because truth matters. The last time I checked, true Christians still believe in working with truth. If there is ample evidence from President Trump’s side, it should be allowed to be heard and win the day. Tough reality is, truth in outcomes can also go the other way, contrary to what you might wish or want. Because evidence is vital when working with burden of proof, I must be willing to accept an outcome that does not match my own biases, either way. And each of us should be willing to accept the truth, especially if the outcome rests squarely on solid math and ample evidence from multiple election officials across numerous states and credible vote counts. Let’s keep in mind, Secretary Clinton was not permitted to make up her own truth in 2016 when she won the popular vote but lost the electoral college. None of us just gets to make up his or her own truth.

Friends, whether you like an outcome or not, evidence and truth are so important for the health of family, coworkers, and neighbors during a pandemic. Evidence and truth matter for the ongoing health of democracy, for confidence in future elections, and for the peace and flourishing of people everywhere. God forbid anyone gets pushy and spills blood over this election’s outcomes. God forbid that families fragment and friends are sundered. God forbid that any leader, either leader, be allowed to lead a coup against our nation’s long-standing democratic process.

Please, please, friends, let’s be rational, committed to working on the side of truth. Let’s be honest, mature, calm, and steady when working with both science and politics. I’ve spent a chunk of time pondering my weariness over Christians’ reactions to both the election and COVID. I am reminded of Jesus’ insight when he noted there are times “the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light” (Luke 16:8). What an indictment. Let’s be wise enough to set aside our own biases, our self-absorbed opinions, and stand with wise truth, even when it feels uncomfortable.


[1]Francis S. Collins, The Language of God. (Free Press: New York, 2006), p. 3.

[2]T. Edward Damer, Attacking Faulty Reasoning. (Wadsworth Publishing: Belmont, CA, 1987), p. 4.

[3]Andreas Köstenberger, Darrell Bock, Josh Chatraw, Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World. (B&H Publishing: Nashville, 2014), p. 12-14.

Why washing feet is now a must-do during Covid-19

Following the CDC guidelines, I have scoured my hands a gazillion times and used Clorox wipes like never before. Along with friends and family, I am aiming to stay vigilant and healthy.

Amidst all the call to strong attentiveness in hygiene, I am stirred by the ancient call of Jesus Christ to his disciples.

“. . . you also should wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).

Christ was in the Upper Room that night, just a few hours before he was arrested. He had just washed all of his disciples’ feet, including self-confident Peter. Still today, Christians around the world practice washing one another’s feet. It serves as a powerful picture, a potent reminder of risky love, of moving outside ones’ comfort zone, and of genuine, Christ-like humility.

But here’s the kicker: Jesus never intended it to stop with the mere ceremony and symbolism of loving service. Washing feet should motivate us to very tangibly care for others, even and especially during this current season of crisis.[1]

How to care, how to share

What I’ll share right here is in no way exhaustive. It’s simply a starter list of ideas—something like a toolbox. Please feel free to comment and share your own ideas for “washing feet” during this unique season:

Take good care of yourself. In a Christ-honoring way, love yourself well—so that you can love others effectively. Embedded in Jesus call to love your neighbor is the little clause “as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:34-40). Jesus expects we will engage healthy, proper self-love to undergird our selfless expressions. For a great article, applicable to more than just pastors, see Tom Nelson’s advice.[2]

When in doubt, DO. Too often under normal conditions, we are all too prone to hold back and second-guess. But ours are no longer normal conditions. So when in doubt, do. Do reach out, do give a call, or send the text. You can simply say, “Hey, how are you today? Just thinking about you and wanting to touch base.”

Listen more than you blab. Some of us, especially those of us with “fixer” tendencies, tend to jump to solve things, dispense wisdom, and otherwise straighten out others’ thinking. Now more than ever, it’s crucial we follow the advice of Jesus’ little brother, sage James: “be quick to listen, slow to speak . . .” (James 1:19).

Yes, distance. Steer clear. But learn to say, “I love you” more. I think in the midst of all the distancing dynamics, one of the potentially dynamic upsides might be that we learn to vocalize more effectively and profusely. Tenderness and vulnerability are born by saying those three little God-like words. They mean so much to hurting, lonely, seeking souls. That includes all of us these days.

Know the basics of sharing Jesus’ loving story. Christ’s lavish grace, forgiveness of sins, abundant peace, and new purpose. Such gifts are life-changing. Watch for and pray for opportunities to share the Gospel with others. You don’t have to force anything, but you can be bold. Get familiar with key Bible truths like John 3:16, Romans 3:10-23, Romans 6:23, Romans 8, and Ephesians 2:8-10. Review how to share your own story of encountering God’s loving salvation. Think in three scenes: my life before encountering Jesus; how I came to know and follow him; what’s new, changing, and growing now in my life.

And when in doubt, do share your story. Simply share how Jesus’ story is changing your story.

What to say, even when you don’t know what to say

Here are several simple but profound things you can say with compassion and confidence:

“Yes, this all seems very hard and dark right now. That’s true. And there is even greater truth. God is still good. Christ Jesus’ light and love are bigger than all of what we are facing.”

“Things seem so uncertain, indeed. And we have the certainty of knowing his love and faithfulness.”

“In times like these, we all feel overwhelmed. That’s a normal reaction, totally typical and appropriate. It’s okay to feel sad and not okay.”

“It’s very important to determine you won’t let yourself stay stuck, endlessly thinking about how you are ‘sad and not okay.’ Tell someone when you need help. Go ahead, open up. Take the risk. Tell a friend or family member how you are feeling. Getting it out there really helps.”

In VERY dark, desperate situations

If someone reaches out to you or otherwise opens up about desperate feelings, listen, listen, listen. Let her/him just talk. Affirm what the person is saying. Don’t rush to correct what he or she is saying. Just listen and affirm. If what is being said sounds extremely dark and headed in the direction of self-harm or violence, ask the person if they will allow you to help them get some further help from someone else who can also help them.[3]

Washing feet with your prayers

The Psalms in the center of the Bible provide a plethora of solid examples of how to express heart-felt cries to God. For a very measured, engaging, emotionally and spiritually responsible approach to being authentic during this crisis time, see Tom Wright’s article in TIME. (Don’t let TIME’s headline throw you. They designed it as clickbait.) Wright actually offers very solid hope via lament.[4]

Pray simple, honest prayers from your heart. And when you have the opportunity, be bold with others. Offer to pray with someone else. During this Covid-19 crisis, every person will likely need another person to be their pastor. Don’t worry or sweat it. You really are allowed to pastor someone else, even if you’re not officially ordained. One of St. Peter’s core teachings, known as the priesthood of all believers, reinforces how important it is for each of us to re-present God to others (1 Peter 2). One way we can do that is by offering to pray—over the phone or in text—on behalf of someone else.

So consider doing this today, perhaps as you wrap up talking with a friend. Say, “Hey, before we go, can I pray for you and for all of us, in light of all that’s going on right now?” Deep breath. It’s highly likely the person will say, “Yes, please!” (So many people are really, really open to such encouragement right now.) And then simply say something like . . .

Lord, we want to thank you that you never leave us. Especially in times like these, we need you. So please help us hold on right now and trust you more than ever. Please supply for us—and others today—all we need. Please bring your comfort, your love, your peace, your healing, and your great big hope. We are trusting you and counting on you. We thank you that you are always good, even when things feel so bad and sad. We thank you that the story is not over. We praise you, Jesus. Amen.

Simply something like that. Put it in your own words. Nothing flowery is necessary.

Okay, this is just the start of ideas for “washing feet” in these desperate days. Please feel free to comment and share. What do you want to add to our toolbox? I have added below a few additional links to helpful, encouraging resources.

Thank you for all the ways you are already loving others, washing your own hands, and washing others’ feet. 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

and https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/neighbor-love-covid-19/

(Certain stat’s are already outdated, but the gist of this TGC article is very solid.)

[2] https://www.madetoflourish.org/resources/pursuing-pastoral-health-in-the-middle-of-a-crisis/?fbclid=IwAR19FWn7_zyAAzctysM24od8VBmUiSNTv594dZ2WCgzzzClJeWTtzNGxd04

[3] https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

[4] https://time.com/5808495/coronavirus-christianity/

Additional helpful resources:

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/10-ways-christians-can-exemplify-faith-and-peace-during-covid-19.html

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/prayer/powerful-prayers-for-the-coronavirus.html