Participants begin the course by exploring common identities that prevent Christians from adopting the posture of a disciple in their political engagement. The After Party calls Christians to move from their particular starting point toward the posture of a disciple – a “learner” who views Jesus as their primary teacher.
This first session shifts our attention away from the “what” of politics–parties, candidates, and policy–to the “how” of politics–the virtues espoused in Micah 6:8. This leads to a discussion of how Jesus unified people with extreme political views by elevating their common identity in Him. Allegiance to Jesus transcends political identities, and political engagement that reflects biblical virtue is a testimony to the world.
In this session, we discuss the law of group polarization, how the “Big Sort” and social media normalize homogeneity, and why discipleship requires openness to difference.
A disciple is someone who learns from Jesus. Session 2 dives into two virtues that characterize a disciple: humility and hope. Disciples acknowledge complexity; they recognize they don’t know everything and can’t always be right. They also view Jesus as the only one worthy of their discipleship; He teaches us “what is good” (Micah 6:8) and enables us to change.
When we recognize our vulnerabilities and follow Jesus toward greater humility and hope, we cultivate the capacity for relationship with people who are different from us.
Combatants are predisposed to wage headlong into cultural and political battles. In this session, David French explains his own vulnerability to partisanship, which pits people against each other, erodes our witness, and serves as a barrier to discipleship. The antidote isn’t political change, but humble submission to Jesus. Rather than viewing ourselves as “at war” with those we perceive as our political enemies, disciples recognize how to resist the “devil’s schemes” that seek to divide us.
In Jesus, combatants find the perfect model of humility. By replacing the partisan mindset with the mind of Christ and grounding themselves on the gospel of peace, combatants become disciples ready to take a stand against the true enemy.
Unlike combatants, this group tends to recede from cultural fights because engaging in politics feels too exhausting. In session 4, Russell Moore explains how placing our hope in Christ alone combats a tendency to give up on people and institutions.
In this session, we discuss how social media fuels hopelessness and exhaustion and offer practical advice for healthier civic engagement in the pursuit of discipleship.
Cynics are prone to both pride and despair. In this session, Curtis Chang, who identifies as a recovering cynic, explains how a pursuit of the common good wards against cynicism. By leaning into the pursuit of justice rather than standing back in indifference and judgment, cynics can cultivate the dual virtues of hope and humility.
The session includes practical steps in the pursuit of biblical justice, situating the conversation around local efforts requiring shoulder-to-shoulder work among neighbors rather than national, politicized issues.
In the final session of the course, we explain how a partisan mindset over promises and under delivers, inevitably leading Christians toward combativeness, cynicism, and exhaustion. The outcomes we ultimately seek aren’t found in a political party, a particular candidate, or a policy outcome; They are found in the person of Jesus. Christ’s return–the ultimate after party–will resolve what politics never will. Contemporary politics are a mere signpost to the ultimate after party, where we will witness Jesus’ restoration of all things and worship at the wedding feast of the lamb. This is the true Christian hope.
Rightly ordered affections and hope ought to relativize our political affiliations and identity. Politics point us toward the hoped for reality, where everything that is broken will be mended and every knee shall bow at the feet of Jesus.