Monday, July 02, 2007

the divisiveness of politics

Lately I've come to see that my avoidance of the news altogether is not really Christian, in fact I'm shirking part of Christ's calling to me, I think. Though there may be those special seasons of getting away from it, for me especially the political campaigns and much related to that.

John R.W. Stott believed Christians and particularly pastors were called to be students of Scripture and of the world in which we live. I believe he's right. How can we become all things to all people unless we know what that means? Only by getting to know others and really caring about what's going on in our world, can we truly follow Christ and bring his good news to bear on it.

At the same time I'm saddened by the divisiveness that politics can cause between Christians who equally love the Lord. I think we need to accept our differences and after trying to persuade the other, continue to love one another. I want to be open to correction, yet at the same time I have to do so only after thoroughly thinking through issues.

Take the abortion issue. What issue is hotter in Amerca than that one? I look at the paradigm set forth in Scripture and in Jesus of the kingdom of God, then I look at what is set forth in Washington D.C., and elsewhere for the answers to abortion and everything else. Then I make up my mind according to what I perceive from Scripture and from the world of politics, in this case in Washington D.C., and precisely on the abortion issue.

I was raised in a staunch Republican area in Ohio and was that for years. In Michigan I registered as an Independent, my thinking curbed considerably, though my ballot was still marked the same. Next time around (and last here in Michigan) my ballot may not end up the same as in the past. I try to take everything in consideration, abortion, the poor, world affairs, etc. I believe we have the freedom and grace from Christ to vote differently come November 2008. And we need good people in both the parties as well as elsewhere, who challenge much of the status quo everywhere.

I can't vote just on the basis of one single issue. However my vote is never cast without consideration of every issue or of the whole. Now I'm not saying I'm a great student of these elections, I hope I do well with what I actually do, but I realize it's very limited.

I know this is scattered. But what might you like to add to this barrage of thoughts on politics? How can we avoid letting it become divisive? Maybe we need to take that initiative on ourselves and not assume there has to be division. Or maybe we just remain silent, certainly wise on some occasions at least. What's your take here?


Peter Davidson said...

This is a very nice blog! Have you had a chance to look through the many testimonies of our Savior at You certainly may enjoy this too. God bless!

L.L. Barkat said...

I understand that some people vote single issue, for the sake of a culture of life. Here's the thing... life is long and multi-faceted. So a culture of life involves birth, yes, but also far more. Thinking this way helps me vote in ways that go beyond single issues.

Ted Gossard said...

Peter, I must say that the Church does not accept the Mormon faith as a viable expression or as a part of orthodox Christianity. Here is a summary of Mormon belief, with documentation.

The Spirit has guided the Church in interpreting Scripture, and the revelations given to Joseph Smith, etc., are subsequent and deny the orthodox faith, therefore Mormonism is not a part of the community of God in Christ, or the Church.

Ted Gossard said...

L.L., Thanks for the good which though few are helpful words.

What I would like to see is not some insistence that if one doesn't vote for a "pro-life" candidate on the abortion issue, but rather a "pro-choice" one, that they are not sinning or to be held accountable for such "error".

The abortion issue does weigh heavily on me, since I believe human life begins at conception. And I recently was told that considering the numbers of abortions, etc., there is no justification for voting anything but for a "pro-life" candidate on this issue, even if you disagree with them on everything else.

Biblically, I myself have a hard time with that since it is not only the infants sacrificed that is detestable to God, but also over and over again, God's passion for the poor is made known. How can we not vote with that as well as other things in view?

Bob Robinson said...

Divisiveness is so difficult. For so long, the Religious Right has had such a strangle hold on the evangelical political conscience that we have the tendency to swing the pendulum too far to the left and then dig our heals in again for a fight.

Civility is much needed in politics. And if it isn't the Christian community leading the way as an example of what this can look like, then what is our hope?!?

Ted Gossard said...

Bob, Excellent points, all.

Yes, this is a real problem. And then this really, as you point out makes it harder for us, in ourselves, to readjust our course, since we see ourselves entrenched in a tussle or fight. But to be willing to change on both sides and above all to listen and respect the other side is so important. And we in Jesus ought to lead the way in this, for sure.