It will take more than one post to respond to the presidential election of 2016.
I voted in the morning on election day, then boarded a plane with three other representatives of the La Crosse Area Synod to attend the ELCA Latin American Consultation for Companion Synods in Lima, Peru. During a layover at the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport, we watched the polls close in three time zones. Few states were awarded as many were too close to call. It was serious. And we boarded our jet for Lima. We landed at 6:30 in the morning and learned that Donald J. Trump would be elected by the Electoral College as the next president of the United States of America.
It was interesting to spend my first week with this news in Peru. Friends, members of our synod, and colleague bishops were filling social media with fears for the future – some most real, some yet to be seen.
If President Trump is true to his campaign rhetoric, I have fears for my LGBTQ friends, for the female leaders with whom I collaborate, for my Muslim neighbors, and for those who do not have the “privilege” that comes from having white skin. Already there are stories of hate speech on our Lutheran college campuses, of Latino/Latina workers asking for their pay and leaving Wisconsin farms, of documented immigrant children going to sleep each night with their documentation papers under their pillows, and on and on and on.
How I live in this new reality and how I lead as a bishop will take more than one blog to discuss. I aim to do so.
For this page, I am a Christian – a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America – the elected and called bishop of the La Crosse Area Synod. I must be the person this synod elected. I am called to preach the word of God and to care for those in need – the marginalized, the poor, the abused, those different from “the norm.” I pray those who elected me will continue to support me as the person I have been doing what I am called to do.
I follow the one I know to be the Living Word, Jesus the Christ. I know the reality of Christ through the written word in the Bible. And so… I will lift up the poor – Jesus tells me so. I will welcome the stranger and alien – Jesus tells me so. I will not fear – Jesus tells me so.
This is where I start. [On to Part Two…]