intensely trivial



Religion and politics

Let’s just get two of the biggest taboos out into the open today: religion and politics. I imagine, over the course of this blog, I will write about a lot of taboo subjects. In general, I am not afraid of taboo subjects, but I am afraid that I’ll lose people’s approval if I say what I really think. But as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m going to try to be honest here – uh, without unnecessarily being inflammatory.

Kudos to Todd, our pastor, for an excellent talk today on “biblical suggestions for political involvement.” With this election affecting me more viscerally than anything else political I’ve observed, I was really hoping for some good, biblical direction, and I think we got it today. I can only imagine Todd’s anxiety as he prepared to say a bunch of things that could easily have annoyed a lot of people. (And who knows, maybe they did.) It wasn’t a comfortable talk to listen to, that’s for sure, but since when has Jesus made people comfortable?

Todd explained three common views of Christian engagement in politics: 1) focusing our efforts primarily on political change, that is, seeing the primary role of the church as building the kingdom of God on earth via politics; 2) withdrawing from political involvement at all, emphasizing solely evangelism and personal discipleship; and 3) focusing primarily on Jesus’ instruction to go out and get other people to follow Jesus, but wisely and strategically getting involved in the political process. I bet you can figure out which option Todd was advocating. Yep, you’re right! The last one!

He explained a few guidelines for our perspective on politics:

  • Reject the temptation to create a utopia. . . for the sake of the gospel (John 16:33)
  • Recognize that we live in a “mixed field” (the grain among the weeds). . . for the sake of the gospel (Matt. 13); we need to live redemptively among people whose lives and goals are different from ours
  • Move beyond an us vs. them mentality. . . for the sake of the gospel (Mark 10:42-45)
  • Preserve spiritual unity with other believers by respecting diversity of political opinions. . . for the sake of the gospel

The crux of the matter is that we must stay united on one thing: the message of Jesus. I believe he is God, and I believe in the end, all our political striving, if it isn’t motivated by God, will crumble. Meanwhile, we have an obligation to choose God’s values on earth. We have an obligation to love each other, whether we agree with each other or not; this is how we distinguish ourselves from those who don’t know Jesus. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t paid attention until this election, but this time there has been so much hateful invective spewed from the keyboards and lips of people in both major parties. I can imagine how grieved God is by our hatred of each other.

Todd left us with some questions for us to ponder:

  • Where is my hope?
  • Am I going into Tuesday with fear or faith?
  • Most of all, is this fear or faith stoking my desire to go into the world with the gospel?

As for me, even though my political decisions have met with a lot of disagreement, with full integrity I can say that they have been forged in the fire of the gospel. After all my personal agonizing of this election season, I am more aflame with the possibility of reaching the world with the good news than I have been before. God knows the outcome of Tuesday’s election. No matter which candidate gets the most electoral votes, God will become more famous and look better during this presidential term.

Am I going to go with whatever flow around me and vote for the one everyone else thinks I should? Am I going to resign myself to everyone else’s decision without letting my voice be heard? No, on both counts. I wholeheartedly want my chosen candidate to win. But you know what? If he doesn’t, I’ll be OK – eventually ;). (And if you don’t know who I’m voting for, feel free to ask. I’ll tell you.) There are true believers on the other guy’s side. My ultimate leader is Jesus, and it’s going to be OK in the end.

(And here I was thinking that the advent of this blog was timed so propitiously. I was going to avoid writing about both Halloween and the election. It would have been so easy. I think I might still manage to avoid writing about Halloween. But I just had to respond to today’s message.)

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. finally, some political conclusions « passage pingbacked on 9 years ago

Comments

  1. Wonderful article.
    I already know who you voted for – no need to ask. 😀
    I can’t wait to read more of your blog!

    Posted 9 years ago


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