Preparing for the 2020 Election: ‘Gentlemen, this is a football’

This post by John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera at Breakpoint is excellent — I’ve bolded some text for emphasis:

In his book When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, David Maraniss tells a story about how the legendary coach opened the Green Bay Packers’ 1961 summer training camp. The year before, the favored Packers had surrendered a fourth-quarter lead to the Philadelphia Eagles to lose the championship, but rather than focus in on what had gone wrong then, Lombardi took his team back to the basics. “Gentlemen,” Lombardi said, holding a pigskin in his right hand, “this is a football.”

I was reminded of this Lombardi story recently after a discussion at one of our regional Colson Fellow gatherings. The conversation was trying to get at the root of why younger Americans are increasingly attracted to socialism.

. . .

Add to those two realities that the emerging generation was never taught history or civics or economics, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that socialism has re-emerged as a live option for younger Americans.

Our best response to this, for all of the issues that lie at the intersection of faith and public life, will have to be Lombardi-like. When it comes to politics, to what it means to be a citizen shaped by Christian faith, to those issues that matter most right now, it’s time to go back to the basics.

This will include reflecting on what God intended for human governance, what we can and should expect from those who lead us, and what the limits of government should be. We’ll need to relearn the pitfalls of what Jacque Ellul called “the political illusion,” the belief that all problems are political and therefore require only political solutions.

Today, the political illusion is seen most clearly in those who think elected officials are either the sole source of our best hope or the sole source of our imminent doom. Ellul wrote about the political illusion more than fifty years ago. I can only imagine what he might make of our politics today in which people on both sides of the political spectrum, including Christians, treat political leaders with near-messianic deference.

At the same time, political realities matter. Elections have consequences. The stakes in November’s election seem higher than ever, and everywhere we turn, we’re being told to pin all our hopes and fears on its outcome.

Read more: Breakpoint

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