PRIMARILY SPEAKING

 

Have you already had enough or are you a political junkie?

Obama, Hillary, Huckabee, Rommney, McCain- they have taken over the news media. Their every move in every Iowa town and New Hampshire burg was breathlessly documented. And so it will be as the primary season hits full stride.

But it is not just the media who is captivated. Conversation about favorite candidates fill the coffee shops, cooperate offices and yes, even the church foyers with the latter now being an all important demographic for politicians to court.  Indeed, every presidential wanna-be has already touted their “faith”.

So as this dance with the church for votes continues- here are some of my very own political and theological observations. (Yea, I know, just what you have been waiting for!)

  • Presidential politics has always been cutthroat.  Our current crop of candidates still have a lot of mud to sling to catch up with some campaigns of the past. “Going negative” has a long, ugly legacy in American presidential politics. So why pretend to be shocked now?
  • Religion has been politicized. This really has not always been the case in past presidential campaigns. It can possibly be traced back to JFK’s run and the proposed Catholic scare, but that was nothing compared to the climate today.  Separation of church and state? Apparently not when it comes to votes! Is this a good or a bad thing? You tell me.
  • America is not God’s country. With apologies to the patriotic song- it never has been. Many of our founders (Jefferson and Franklin for instance) were deists whose primary goal in separating church and state was to protect the state from the power and influence of a single monolithic church (think Church of England here).  The resulting religious freedom has certainly been a blessing and definitely helped shape America into a country open to revival and God’s leading at times, but God has never ordained America as his country.
  • God’s Kingdom will always reign. God’s kingdom is his country and always has been regardless of geopolitical posturing. His kingdom reigned through the flourish and failures of Israel. His kingdom reigned during the rise and fall of the invincible Roman Empire. His kingdom reigned even when the ages went dark. His kingdom reigned as Europe colonized the world. His kingdom reigned through worlds at war. His kingdom is still reigning and the 2008 American presidential election will not change that.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. “Righteousness” still “exalts a nation”, but my faith is in God not in our political process.  I will vote and think everyone should, but I look to no politician to be my or my country’s “savior.”

Besides if we want America to genuinely honor and turn to God, it will likely be more about what happens in our house, rather than in the White House.

Your thoughts?  

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17 Responses to PRIMARILY SPEAKING

  1. Brian says:

    “Besides if we want America to genuinely honor and turn to God, it will likely be more about what happens in our house, rather than in the White House.”

    yep and Amen!

  2. Trey says:

    Love your last paragraph!

  3. mkjergaard says:

    Good thoughts brother!

  4. benoverby says:

    I, too, agree with that very strong closing statement about our house. Whatever happens, our goal is still the incoming of God’s kingdom. Perhaps an old-fashioned, religious fundamentalists will do more to suppress the spread of the kingdom than help it.

  5. dannydodd says:

    Thanks for the input guys.

    And Ben- ever provocative- makes a strong point of his own.

  6. johndobbs says:

    I like it.

  7. alsturgeon says:

    “Politics and Church” remains a fascinating subject.

    (And thanks for your 3rd bullet by the way.)

    I just received Brian McLaren’s new book, “Everything Must Change,” with a long subtitle about Jesus, Global Crises, and Hope. I’ve just read the first chapter, and he remarked that many Christians are beginning to believe once more what theologians have long said – that Jesus has much to say about what happens “on earth” as well as “in heaven.”

    IOW, our traditional meal of “all politicians are crooks” and “we’re just waiting on heaven” is insufficient.

    What to do is the kicker.

  8. dannydodd says:

    Al. I was depending on you to tell me what to do!

    Really that is the question. Many Christians have become very politically active- campaining for the candidate they beleive best embodies Christian values.

    Others ignore the whole process (spiritual anscestors of David Lipscomb perhaps?)

    What do you do?

  9. Donna says:

    Good post. I like to stay away from politics. I used to work with a guy that said you could put a monkey in the white house for 4 years and it wouldn’t make any difference……who knows?

  10. odgie says:

    Thank you for posting this.

  11. alsturgeon says:

    I don’t dismiss Lipscomb, etc. completely, Danny, but I just can’t buy total withdrawal either.

    My opinion is that we (Americans) are given some measure of power (the people rule), and just like with money, we should be good stewards of the power we’ve received. That is my opinion.

    To extend it a bit further, I should explain two different perspectives that I think are misguided:

    #1: The side that says we need to fight for power to make this country stand for godly values, etc. (this is not the way Jesus approached things – “my kingdom is not of this world”)

    #2: The polar opposite side that says that “power” is inherently bad according to Jesus (which is the best way I can approach Lipscomb, John Howard Yoder, etc.).

    So bottom line, I think we should vote and offer our voice… AND… if your talents/position in life, etc. leads you into governmental / public service -type work, you should govern/serve with the ethic of Jesus (not seeking power, but practicing self-emptying love)…

    This is what I think. There are many dissenting opinions.

  12. alsturgeon says:

    Oh, one other HUGE thing…

    I think the Christian’s main job is two-fold: to break down walls that divide people, and to serve hurting people.

    So… in that work, we will inevitably come into conflict with the “powers that be.” When that happens, we are called to stand up for people. Vote. Go to jail. Write letters to the editor. Whatever.

    But never for selfish reasons (i.e. lower my taxes). And never believing that we’ll “fix” the system and usher in nirvana.

  13. Ilia says:

    Heavenly Father, we come before you to ask your forgiveness. We seek your direction and your guidance. We know your word says, “Woe to those who call evil good.” But that’s what we’ve done.
    We’ve lost our spiritual equilibrium. We have inverted our values. We have ridiculed the absolute truth of your word in the name of moral pluralism. We have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
    We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
    We’ve exploited the poor and called it a lottery. We’ve neglected the needy and called it self-preservation. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. In the name of choice, we have killed our unborn. In the name of right to life, we have killed abortionists.
    We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it political savvy. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it taxes. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
    Search us, oh, God, and know our hearts today. Try us. Show us any wickedness within us. Cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of the State of Kansas, and that they have been ordained by you to govern this great state.
    Grant them your wisdom to rule. May their decisions direct us to the center of your will. And, as we continue our prayer and as we come in out of the fog, give us clear minds to accomplish our goals as we begin this Legislature. For we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen

  14. dannydodd says:

    Great points Al- I like the balance of them. With these perspective you should be a good Barrister.

    And Ilia from Vilnius, Lithuania chimes in quoting (I think) the Kansas preacher who prayed before their state assembly. Interesting.

  15. We, as Christians, have the responsibility to vote for the person who we feel will help move our country back toward to basic values, morals, and integrity put forth in the scripture. I believe our country was founded so that people would have the freedom of religion (like someone already mentioned – not be forced to be a part of a certain church like the Church of England) but it was not built on the premise of complete separation of church and state. Our forefathers obviously thought that God had some importance otherwise they would not have put “in God we trust ” on our currency nor would His name be engraved on so many of the original buildings in DC…Those are my thoughts for what they are worth.

  16. Gordy! says:

    Great post , Danny. I totally agree with you about starting in our own house in order to turn our world around. However, I’m not so sure that you’re correct on the who founding-fathers-being-deists thing. You should look at a href=”http://www.thebible1.net/audio/silencingofgod/” title=”The founding father were not deists.”>The Silencing of God by Dave Miller. It’s an outstanding thesis on this country’s foundations and why modern culture is trying to eradicate God. It’s a lengthy listen, but well worth it. I promise.

    in Him,

    gordy

  17. Gordy! says:

    Sorry the link didn’t work.

    Here’s the address: http://www.thebible1.net/audio/silencingofgod/

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