Saturday, May 02, 2009

politics: what to do

I have a certain ambivalence when it comes to politics. On the one hand I think we Christians should be impacting the world as salt and light, and that impact will certainly include the political sphere. On the other hand I'm afraid we end up losing our identity as salt and light, too easily in the political sphere. Over and over again we see this I believe, both with the Religious Right, and with those who want to espouse another vision too often in step with the other extreme. Nor am I saying there's some right middle.

Life is messy, and none of us are going to negotiate it perfectly at any turn. Mistakes will be made. Better to make some mistakes in seeking to live out our faith as the new Israel in this world, rather than washing our hands of it, which is not in keeping with the call we have in Christ.

Discernment is needed all the way around. To evaluate what we're doing as God's people, what needs to be corrected, and where to go from here. Of course we won't all agree. We know in part in this life and part of that is involves not only differences of perspective, but differences in undertanding. And we need to impact all sides. So we need to always have humility.

Yet there needs to be a clear vision from our differing theological perspectives on just what we as God's people should be doing in bringing the gospel both to individuals and to the world. It is a gospel that has ramifications well beyond personal conversion, though it must start there.

Just some preliminary, seed thoughts on this. What do you think?

6 comments:

nAncY said...

politics is a strange creature.

i agree, humility before God is a good place to start.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I'm afraid I have to be forced to partake in politics as I have a basic loathing of it!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Yes. I both like and hate it, depending on what you mean with regard to it. But I tend to shun it, as I think too much emphasis is often put on it. But my reaction isn't good, either. But yes, humility in everything. Something I often don't see in politics, but is noteworthy when it is seen. One thing I like about our President among other things, I do think he has a measure of humility, and speaks in terms which would promote that. I certainly dont' agree with him on everything, and he and other elected political officials need our prayers.

Thanks.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Susan,
Thanks. I'd be interested in hearing more. But if you're thinking about some of what I think of, than I most readily concur. For example I'm tired of the diatribes against the other side. There's no civil discussion. A recent post I did touched on that and other things related, and I think you'd much appreciate the book mentioned on it, by Os Guinness.

nannykim said...

Politics and the Christian---I think we need to be careful. I do get tired of the differents sides going at each other and never listening to each other. Jesus and later the disciples didn't get involved much with the Roman government except when it came to trials, but then they were not in a democracy. However, I do believe each Christian is called to a certain sphere of influence----some as doctors, some as lawyers, some as moms at home, some in the area of politics. So certainly a Christian who is called to work in the area of politics will be deeply involved. My youngest son loves politics and involves himself in different areas.(He has met Pres Clinton, Obama, and McCain--HA!! but he has not graduated from college yet). We do need to speak for truth, yet the way to change society is to see people come to the Lord---but this is the ultimate way --the perfect way. We still have other areas we can be at work--I do occasionally call my representatives, and have even called the White House to tell my view on something--it is part of being in a democracy. ...and as Christians we should be good citizens. On the other hand we can get unbalanced. ;-)

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nannykim,
Good points, all. And interesting to hear of your son.

Yes, it is a sticky business. You've been much more involved than myself, and for that I commend you. I think my Anabaptist background, and commitment to some extent now, might make it a little more challenging for me to get involved from the perspective (or lack thereof) I have from that. Not to blame Anabaptists. Some are much involved, I think in politics, though it's a bit more tricky for them (believing in Christian pacifism).