The late Oswald Hoffmann began as a young Lutheran clergyman, professor of Greek, and dean at Mankato’s own Bethany College. He went on to become the world-renowned preacher of the international “Lutheran Hour” and chaplained presidents in Washington, prime ministers abroad, and both U.S. troops and their commanders in Vietnam.
Bethany probably still carries his autobiography, “What More is There to Say but Amen.”
Hoffmann mused during an election season long ago, “As a general rule, politicians do not make good preachers and vice versa.” It struck him “a bit strange when people can push or press a commitment to a certain candidate or issue like a religious duty instead of committing themselves to the central message of Christ and His church when the Biblical message is clear: ‘Trust not in princes but solely and alone in the living God.’”
A bygone sage is helpful again these latter days when churches are split over voting issues. Christians remind us that no one nor any political party is closer to God, yet God passionately draws close to us.
Thankfully, most church lawns are not sprouting campaign signs — the coercive council or bishop notwithstanding.
George Will described years ago how Protestantism influenced much of what we in the West call democracy and within it, an individual’s freedom of conscience. Meanwhile, those of us experiencing icy stares from friends with whom we’d rather be laughing over a cup of coffee, or diverting our own eyes from others at mass, can take heart; in a month we’ll be able to muse with the long-loved Hoffmann, “What More is There to Say but Amen.”
Until the next election, of course.