This excerpt has been edited for length and clarity.
CURTIS CHANG: Tim, to me, the emotional center and tug of this book is your relationship with your dad. And your dad was a pastor when you became a journalist, and there’s this great scene where your dad says, “Hey, don’t let this go to your head.” And then when you pick up his mantle in this book, you are preaching. You’re also reporting. You haven’t stopped being a journalist, but you are also pastoring and preaching to the church as well.
I want to invite you now to take off your journalist hat and put on the pastor’s hat that I think has been bequeathed onto you by your dad. Given all these disheartening realities, given how deep the rot goes, nevertheless, what is the pastoral word to your people?
TIM ALBERTA: Well, I’ll do my best, Curtis. I am not half the man my dad was and I don’t think I’ll ever be, but I’ve tried to make him proud here. And I guess I would start by quoting him directly. Something my dad always said, especially around election time to his congregation, was, “God does not bite his fingernails.”
CURTIS CHANG: I love that.
TIM ALBERTA: You and I have spent a lot of time today talking about fear, talking about the grievance and the anger that flows from fear.. And I think it’s important, really important for everyone listening to understand that God is on his throne and that His plan for the ages does not revolve around America. It certainly does not revolve around the next election in America. He is in control of these things and He is good and gracious and that He sends His rain on the righteous and the unrighteous alike.
And I think I would close by pivoting as I do in the book towards the end about my own favorite piece of scripture that I memorized as a kid. Maybe we memorized it in Sunday school – I don’t know. I do know that it’s the first verse that I ever really remembered. And it’s Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians in chapter 4, verse 18 where he says, “We believers fix our eyes on that which we cannot see.”
CURTIS CHANG: Preach it, brother.
TIM ALBERTA: Sometimes when you say that to people, they’re like, “Huh? Wait, say that again.”
We fix our eyes on what we cannot see because the things that we can see are temporary, but the things we can’t see are eternal. And that’s the enduring gift I received from my dad – that perspective, as Jesus said, “In this world, you have many troubles. But take heart, I’ve overcome the world.” Those troubles are never going away. We’re all going to go through heartache and pain and breakage and we’re all going to experience fear in different ways. And I understand why some people are particularly afraid in some of these moments, but if you trust in Jesus and if you keep your eyes fixed on the things you can’t see, keeping your identity rooted in that citizenship in heaven, your eternal home, I think we’ll all be a lot better off for it.
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