By the end of Tuesday the people of New Hampshire once again will have had our say in the presidential selection process. Whether or not the pundits’ predictions of a lopsided win for one candidate were on target, the exact order and final margins among the field of candidates undoubtedly will remain a surprise until the day is done and the votes are tallied. That’s what gives our first-in-the-nation primary its distinctive flavor: not only its early billing, but the fact that in New Hampshire so many voters stay on the fence for so long, with up to a third not settling on a firm decision until election day. There’s something about keeping our options open that appeals to us — which keeps the pollsters guessing, and perhaps helps explain why almost forty percent of New Hampshire voters are registered as independents, more than either of the major parties.
Sitting on the fence may work for us when it comes to our politics. But sitting on the fence is ill-advised when it comes to our relationship with God. It has become popular in our culture to be seen as neutral, non-partisan, open to diverse ideas. But the issues involved in the things of God, by their very nature, require a measured choice. An early leader of Israel challenged people to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) It was one or the other: the one true God, or the gods worshiped by their neighbors. Neutrality was not an option. Jesus likewise pressed for a decision and insisted that failure to choose is still a choice by default: “He who is not with Me is against Me.” (Luke 11:23) God calls each of us to get off the fence, make up our minds, and respond to His truth.
This post will appear on Primary Day in the column "Salt & Light" in the weekly newspaper the InterTown Record.