Like most of you I am truly ready to move beyond the election season. November 6 cannot arrive too soon for my taste. As I have listened, watched and studied this particular election I would now like to reveal my decision.

1. I do plan to vote. Some months ago I was unsure about voting at all. I even expressed this to some friends. I am still not entirely enamored with the way our system works, at least at this point in our national history. I have read President George Washington’s warnings about the danger of two parties and see why he was concerned that we would devolve into such deep partisanship that our freedom and way of life could be lost. Blame both Republicans and Democrats if you will. Indeed, blame all the sides in this partisan context but in the end our present system fosters mistrust, even outright cynicism.

2. I have finally made up my mind. I will vote for the person who I think is best qualified to be a competent leader of the most powerful nation in the world. My judgment is based on a leadership test that I apply to such elections. Sometimes I am just not sure I have a good sense of who that person should be, at least a clear sense that satisfies me as a voter.

3. Ideology has a little to do with my choice and party has even less to do with my vote. I hold views that are considered moderate on some issues and slightly more conservative on others. I remain deeply pro-life but I am opposed to most American ground wars. I am especially opposed to the the terrible way that we use the death penalty. I am also in favor of serious immigration reform. I  believe that we need to grow business and create private sector jobs. We are in a crisis that could go backward again very soon. I further believe we need a leaner federal government and we need to reduce our national debt or it will destroy us. I am not sure either party grasps how real this problem is but someone needs to address it and we need a leader with the courage to actually lead us. I have done my best to decide who I think can/will really address the problems that we face, problems that I believe loom very large. Neither of the major party candidates, or even the lesser known ones, meets my own criteria to the letter.

4. I believe the kingdom of Christ will not come on November 6. The day after this election I will still be laser-fcoused on what really matters: making thoughtful and serious followers of Christ who will be whole-life disciples, people who are living well in both their private and public life. The problems that we face are first problems to be addressed inside the church. The church is bankrupt, morally and financially. We have built buildings we should not have built, spent money on foolish wasteful competition with one another for “transfer” members and virtually lost an entire generation (millennials) to the faith. If the salt has lost its savor then the world will trample it down just as Jesus promised. Can anyone doubt that we, God’s people, have lost our savor in this present culture? We are despised and hated and the reason is not because we are filled with Christ’s love and truth. We care little about the weak and the poor. We value our earthly treasures more than our heavenly reward. We are too worldly minded to be much real good in the world!

5. The fact that both candidates are flawed does not trouble me at all. We will always choose a flawed leader and then Christians should pray for the best outcomes. This is a nation where I hope and pray e plurisbus unum remains true. I fear it is being lost in the 21st century. The idea that we could even dream of some kind of messianic leadership coming through an elected politician is completely foreign to deeply biblical faith.

6. I urge Christians to end the ceaseless campaign rhetoric of the last months and to build bridges of gospel hope that will unite us all in Christ’s mission, not in our partisan ideologies and parties.

7. So, who specifically will I vote for? Like my parents years ago I will not publicly reveal my choice. I love people, especially God’s people. While I believe elections are important I am a minister and the director of a network of missions and ministries representing a broad coalition. Because of this role I will promote healing and real freedom when this election is over. We will have our collective say in the election and the choice then will be to remain in a constant state of debate or to return to some form of normalcy. I believe the true solutions to our myriad set of problems are faith-based. I do count it a gift to be able to vote and believe this gift should be used responsibly. To the best of my understanding I will vote for the man who I think can best lead our nation.

May God save us from our destructive passions and desires. And May God heal and bless our land regardless of who we choose to lead us next week. I hope you will join me in this prayer and I hope you too will vote as you feel that you should. And regardless of who you vote for I invite you to put this debate aside after November 6 and move on with building up your brothers and sisters, regardless of your vote.