Disheveled Theologian: Jim Anderson to the rescue

I'm writing this early in the week. So early that the elections haven't happened yet and the airwaves are still filled with campaign ads and everyone is worried. Worried that so and so won't win. Worried that so and so will.

I’m writing this early in the week. So early that the elections haven’t happened yet and the airwaves are still filled with campaign ads and everyone is worried. Worried that so and so won’t win. Worried that so and so will.

I was to spend Tuesday morning as an election judge in Bigelow, the precinct where, until August, we lived and voted for the past 11 years. I liked voting there. You don’t stand in line because there aren’t very many people. I don’t like lines, so this works well for me.

Tuesday was to be only my second time working as an election judge. My first time was at the primaries and as I walked into the Bigelow Fire Station on that day, I couldn’t help but think of the time, 24 years ago, when I walked into an even smaller town’s polling place with my parents.

Mom and Dad had recently returned to the United States from Berlin, Germany, and they weren’t yet registered to vote. I had briefly joined them after graduating from college in Oregon so I, too, wasn’t registered. In Wisconsin you can just walk in and register on Election Day, so that’s what we did. We arrived at the polling place, identification in hand, all ready to exercise our civic duties.

We walked into the room in this town of approximately 200 people.


All conversation ceased. Every head turned our way. Every head was staring.

“Hello,” Mom said. “We’re here to vote.”

Silence. More silence.

“This…is the right place, right?”

A tentative “Yes” from an election judge. Suspicious eyes all around.

“We brought our passports!” Mom said brightly, waving around the little blue book, which was so important to us overseas and would legally prove our identity now, here, in this tiny American town where we had lived for a matter of just a couple months.

If Mom thought that the word “passport” would open doors, wow, was she wrong. The silence fell more heavily than ever as everyone scrutinized us, doubted us, sought for invisible alien antennae on our heads.

Truly, I have never, ever, felt so awkward in my entire life.


Finally, Dad spoke up.

“We’re living in the Andersons’ old farm house,” Dad said in his deep, gentle voice.  

A light clicked on and our alien antennae retracted back into our little alien heads.

“Oh!” Every single person in the room exclaimed at once. “You’re the ones!”

Suddenly hands were reaching for passports, pages were flipping, pens were handed out. People smiled. People talked again. People nodded their heads.

Yes, we might have been freakish with our passports and unknown faces, but we were OK because we had connections. Jim Anderson was a relative. Jim Anderson was known. Jim Anderson approved and, therefore, we were approved.

It’s good to have a mediator. Someone who speaks on our behalf. Someone who leads us to acceptance.

Thanks be to God for Jesus’ mediation on our behalf.


“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” 1 Timothy 2:5,6 NIV

What To Read Next
Parga and fellow SWIF staff will lead the foundation’s Grow Our Own framework, focused on helping southwest Minnesota kids and families reach their full potential from cradle to career.
The event will include viewing a live webinar hosted by the U.S. Department of State over Zoom, followed by a question and answer session with community members and Kivu Law staff.
Everyone is invited to bring in a photo of their pet, friend or partner, or a favorite card or memento, so that the library can make it part of a display.
Members Only
"We’re not the biggest, but we’re a big ship, you know — it is really hard to move it. But you can gradually, and with perseverance and good leadership, you can make those changes.”