It is election time! Everything now seems to be so over-politicized. How should we as Christians respond? James Hunter has written a challenging, refreshing, and thoroughly researched book entitled, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, & Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World, addressing these questions.
He examines how Christians in the twenty-first century commonly engage politics- from the right, from the left, and from an approach of radical withdrawal (that he labels as “neo-Anabaptist”) and concludes that while each approach has its merits (as well as problems) none really fully embrace the most powerful biblical way of “faithful presence” (using Jeremiah 29:4-7 as his foundational text).
It is through “faithful presence” Hunter argues- not by becoming entangled in partisan power politics that Christians can best impact the world. It is not by grasping for power that Christians will influence culture, but rather by a quiet yet steadfastly faithful living out of God’s presence in community through every aspect of our lives, our businesses, and our relationships.
Here is just one excerpt that represents his challenging ideas: “To be sure, Christianity is not, first and foremost, about establishing righteousness or creating good values or securing justice or making peace in the world. … But for Christians, these are all secondary to the primary good of God himself and the primary task of worshipping him and honoring him in all they do” (pp.285-286).
I recommend this book to you- especially now that it is election season. Just know, it is not the easiest of reads and you will not always agree with Hunter’s conclusions, but it will likely challenge you to examine your motives and involvement concerning all things political.