Thursday, August 28, 2008

What is it about politics?

Some say we should never talk to others about politics and religion, because it's so divisive. Where I work at RBC Ministries, there is probably more talk than usual on politics lately. I have found my views as a registered Independent, and neither sold to the Democratic or Republican party, not fitting there quite often, and sometimes unwelcome. So I steer clear, and usually don't speak my mind. Though I do have a tendency to speak my mind when I think others are amiss in some way. Though as time goes on, I am more and more reluctant to do so, and want to do so gently when I do.

Politics has its place and much good has been done through it, or prevention of evil. But I think much of the confidence in it by both the religious right, and the religious left, is misplaced. Where is God's work of the kingdom in Jesus, today? Scripturally, I think it's in the church, Christ's Body on earth. Not in any government or nation. Not to say God doesn't use nations, because he most certainly does. But the church is the people of God; America never has been nor ever could be the people of God. We're not one nation under God, and we never have been. At best our Christianity has been a cultural one. Yes, true Christianity has been here, but that has not played out in making our nation practice true Christianity. Though I don't necessarily see eye to eye or follow everything in this book, I have found it interesting. Written by a professor at Liberty University- Michael Babcock, who was friends of Jerry Falwell to the end of Falwell's life, who as I recall, changed his mind around 2001.

We do need some good Christian thinking on this subject. I like to put my thinking elsewhere, and part of that is the turtle syndrome, in which I'd rather hide under my protective shell, and not be engaged in every controversy, or cause a controversy in some matters. And unlike some of my friends who see everything as cut and dried, black and white, I find complexity in this issue, and in many areas of life. For example on abortion, I don't find it a slam dunk in knowing which way to vote, as far as the two major parties. I'm unconvinced of "trickle down" economics, which while having some truth is definitely not the entire truth. The number of abortions beginning to drop started in Bill Clinton's presidency, and continues going down to this day. Of course it would be nice to see Roe v Wade overturned which would simply send the issue back to the states to decide. And we need bipartisan work against the tragedy of abortion. I'm glad Senator Hilliary Clinton has said that every abortion is a tragedy. We need to work to cut down the number of abortions. I don't believe in a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy which means terminating a human life. But neither do I believe in voting for a party because of this issue, which has done little to end the holocaust. And I think Democratic policies tend towards less abortions. Though the whole matter is complex, and is a mirror of our national moral crisis.

So there you go. Just a quick glimpse of where I'm at. So I'll likely have the television on tonight. Yes, I wish I would have caught Michelle Obama's speech, and I will try to get it some other way. I'll have book in hand, and will be interested in the speeches, particularly Barack Obama's. Politics has its place. But our hope is in God, never in a nation, or a leader. Our allegiance is to God in Jesus, as the one holy nation scattered throughout the earth.

What might you like to say on this?


Anonymous said...

politics is a weird game, fer sure.

Crowm said...

Wow - what powerful thoughts in one post! How many times did I want to say "Amen" ?- too many to count.

I enjoy discussing the two taboos of religion and politics. However, I realize that not everyone does, and for that reason, I attempt to guard my opinions until asked.

You bring up a very valid point in both major parties believing in themselves and their ideologies more than they believe in God. I can think of several people that have always voted "blue" or "red," just because that's what they were taught to do.

I believe in limited government. I believe in the state's rights rather than adhering to everything federal. I also believe in the authorities God establishes (Rom 13). As you say, true Christianity is serving water, providing clothing, visiting prisoners, etc., rather than having a selfish agenda, attempting to become wealthy, etc.

Tonight, I'll join you in being glued to the television. We'll see a candidate (and one next week) treated as almost a Messiah -one who can solve all of our problems. Sadly, too many people believe that!

Dave J. said...

I'll give you credit for taking the thoughtful, practical road. I like to think I'm in the same camp as you.

Its harder to do...takes more thinking and more doing than just going 'red' or 'blue'. Must make folks like us purple, then?

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes. And the older I get the less I care to know about the weirdness. But for those called to be in it, they need to know, I think.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes. I concur. And way too much confidence is placed in a person. I do look forward to hearing the speech here in a bit, and to McCain's later on. I'll probably tune in at least some of the time to the debates, but am not really wanting to spend alot of time over this election.

I'm not solidly sure where I'm at exactly theologically, as I've leaned Anabaptist, and in many ways, and some important ones, I think I still do. But some, particularly one, through "Jesus Creed" is challenging my thinking on this. But I am convinced that many of us Christians are putting too much weight in what is important, but limited in its importance, and also some wrong significance into this.


Allan R. Bevere said...


Good thoughts here. I have been watching the DNC and will watch the RNC as well, knowing that I will agree with parts of each and disagree with parts of each; and also knowing that neither the DNC nor the RNC embodies the Sermon on the Mount.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Dave J.,
Thanks, and you're so right! That is a good reminder that I really do need to put some serious thought and prayer into all of this. I do think the color purple is okay. I really don't think I'm either red or blue. My heart is into neither, though we need good Christians involved in each of them, and more. Because there are good, legitimate ways to do so, though I'm sure it's not easy.

I'm glad to be in the same camp as you, brother!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks so much. I've been drowned in this and that, and so much look forward to going over to your blog and catching up on the excellent series and stuff you're sharing there.

I probably should be listening more, but will definitely catch the speech just in a bit here, and the other major party candidate when he's on.