Tuesday, November 07, 2006

election day

It's election day again here in the United States. Here in Michigan we've had what's becoming the normal fare of "go after your opponent" politics. It seems like the candidates have a hard time respecting each other in what they say. It's all about showing up their opponent. Instead of thoughtfully being engaged together in a discussion of the issues. And with charity, debating their differences. Not.

I have to say, for myself, that while it's an important day here, I think we as evangelicals are missing the boat in some ways. We have exalted to some kind of canonical status certain positions, that while good in their place can blind us to other issues. And most importantly, what we say, and how we conduct ourselves on the political stage, conveys something to the world that I think, all too often, is less than Christ-like, as in following the Jesus of the gospels. He is, after all, the Jesus we follow.

For myself, personally (to emphasize it!), I am in a kind of funk over my quandary as to how to vote. Voting, as has well been said by an eminent blogger, is a messy thing. More messier than we evangelicals often make it out to be. If I'm to believe my ears, this is all about "black and white". But unfortunately I can't see it that way. I can't say that if I do vote on certain races, I'm going to be happy with my vote. But I vote, and seek to do so in prayer. Praying that God's will will be done as I try to think through issues. And I am sure this can be the case for us, even as we vote for opposite candidates or differently on proposals. This is good to at least get us engaged in prayer, and perhaps at times, in actions in our endeavor to follow Jesus.

My hope and prayer is that we would learn to see the political side as one way in which we express our faith in Jesus. That we would move away from either "the religious right" or "the religious left", into a far more thoughtful and kingdom of God-oriented political view, ethic and practice. And that above all, in all of this, we will be more and more in sync with our status and calling in God as the "holy nation" in Jesus, that resides in every nation throughout the earth. Lord, help us to that end. Amen.

14 comments:

L.L. Barkat said...

Just got finished saying elsewhere (albeit for something different)... "thy kingdom come, thy will be done." This is how I approach voting too. But, the kingdom is not always an easy thing to consider the shape of...

preacherman said...

Ted,
Great thoughts.
I believe as Christians we need to remember and understand that no party has a corner on God and religion. There are committed Christians who are republican, democrat, independant. I encourage my congregation to just vote. It is a personal matter. Just vote.
I think as Christians we should understand that whatever the outcome of the election that God had a hand in it and to pray for our leaders.
Thank agian for this great post. I came across your blog through Scot's blog. I have been encouraged through your posts.
I enjoyed reading your blog.
Look forward to reading more.
God bless.

Anonymous said...

Ted
Elections are an illusion. We think we are controlling the politicians, when really we are giving them power to control us. You should feel uneasy.
Ron

John Frye said...

Ted,
Some thoughtful comments about this day. I did vote, but it seems to be a messier event each election cycle. Thanks for your thoughts.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Ted:

Great post!

I was just working on a book proposal last night in which the first essay is on 1 Peter and what it means for the church to be a holy nation.

Your post confirms my thoughts.

Thanks!

Ted Gossard said...

L.L.,

You're so right. It's likely to work out in a way that we can't predict, seeing it's the kingdom of God.

Thanks.

Ted Gossard said...

Preacherman,

Thanks much for your kind words. I think the counsel you give to your church is exactly what's needed. Good thoughts there.

Ted Gossard said...

Ron,

Thanks. You make an important point. This is especially true when voters/citizens in democracy feel disenfranchised from the government. Which here, is supposed to be "by the people".

But citizens do make an impact here, when they're unhappy with their elected officials, for good or for ill.

Ted Gossard said...

John,

I finally got peace on how I would vote this morning. Maybe it was the Lord's leading for me. I really do think God can lead Christians to vote differently, especially thinking of candidates and parties. We need our salt and light spread everywhere! Thanks, brother!

Ted Gossard said...

Allan,

Thanks! And all the best in that book to come.

DLW said...

I think it's wrong to say that elections make no diff in the political direction of a country.

I think their effect is commonly overstated for political reasons.

I hope you can draw more attention to my house church model for political activism in the coming years. I think it is a critical way to bridge the anabaptist and other approaches, which focuses on local ministry/activism and limited group-centered advocacy at the state or nat'l level. I think part of what would make it work well is that it would shelter the group from the manipulations of the media, provided they pick representatives who care enough to dig deeper and pick targets that are less spinnable....

dlw

Ted Gossard said...

dlw,

I don't know. I like your idea in some ways. And overall more than not. But I do believe we need committed Christians participating in both Democrat and Republican parties, in this country.

Somehow your thought could still be integrated where this was respected and even encouraged, surely.

I didn't intend to convey that elections have no impact on the political process or in the lives of people.

Thanks for your good thoughts.

andy said...

I don't know if you saw this post by David Kuo, but it's worth reading in light of this:
http://www.beliefnet.com/blogs/JWalking/2006/11/evangelical-opportunity.html

Ted Gossard said...

Andy,

Thanks much. Some good thoughts there, with which I concur.

We evidently don't have a clear view of the original, so we can detect forgeries when they appear. (And I say this sadly, knowing too, that I speak of brothers and sisters in Christ who often love the Lord, but are mistaken.)