flagsI cannot tell you how many times I have seen posts on social media start with, “I don’t normally talk politics, but…” It seems the current political condition in the United States is not looked upon favorably by many and is inspiring many to write about something they typically avoid. Some fear that this is the continued slide of the loss of influence by Christianity in the United States. Others see it as a widening of an inevitable gap that exists between Christianity and the world. Still others see it as a grand opportunity for Christianity to take root in rocky and unsettling times.

One thing we know for sure, God didn’t wind this world up to set it on the shelf and leave it alone. No. God is involved in these processes, systems and power structures. Ultimately every knee will bow. In the meantime we wait. We groan. We long for something better. We figure out how to interact with a system, that is not a theocracy nor was it ever intended to be, from a Christian perspective.

That is quite the wrestling match and it is very hard to do this well and in a way that doesn’t widen the gap between people. So let us share our thoughts with each other on how we navigate politics as a Christian. Do we take a posture of involvement or avoidance, participation or isolation? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

4 Responses

  1. Since leaving legalism, I have been able to take a step back to observe how the Church of Christ sees itself in the political world. What I have noticed is that the CoC, even many of those who consider themselves progressive, have more sympathy for conservatives using politics for “righteous” ends, than they do for liberals. Military strength seems to be the “understood necessity”, needing the political support of the church, while social programs that deal with things like healthcare are viewed as potentially dangerous, and are even sought to be dismantled by some politicians in the name of “keeping the nation righteous”. My main concern is that we have church members who take full advantage of wonderful programs such as Medicare, Social Security (as I do), and will eventually need Medicaid if they find themselves in a nursing home (because most Christians do not have more than ten thousand dollars to pay monthly for long term care), then seethe with anger toward others whom are less fortunate for using the same programs. Of course, most of the objections we hear from such members is, “Well, I’m angry because they do not deserve these programs”. But it is my conviction, as I observe the Jesus of the gospels, not the Jesus of culture, that Christians should be the LAST people to speak of deserving.

    1. Just to emphasize my point regarding our needed social programs, I am shocked when I hear young conservative Christians express support for politics and politicians who desire to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid. I have asked some of these personally, “Just how do you plan to live once you are out of the work force?” Often, I just get a blank stare. Most of them are so caught up in destroying “evil socialism” that they do not think ahead, of how Medicare will be their main source, for many of them, their only source for healthcare. And as I mentioned above, unless a person has more than ten thousand dollars a month to pay for long term care, they WILL need Medicaid when they have to enter a nursing home. The “surrender of thought” that has taken place with many in the church is fascinating and frightening.

  2. Whatever posture one takes, may it be based on civility and respect for those who disagree with us. Having come from a much more diversified political system (36 parties, 6 week election cycle, months of haggling, in the end a working government), I am amazed at the amount of mudslinging and half-truths are passed around. Not only that, people take these for “truth,” without even having the thought that they should do their own research rather than take the opponents descriptions of each other.
    This morning was one such example. Ms. Clinton was asked the question, “Can you be trusted?” A valid question, since both Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump score extremely low in that category. Long answer – which was no answer. None of the interviewers reminded her that the question was not answered!
    Listen critically. Research. Be polite, respectful and courteous in the conversations you have with those who are “on the other side…”

  3. Ever so briefly, I will say that though the saints parrot “the things written beforehand were written for our learning” but that is about as far as, for instance, the lessons of Israel will inform our decisions of faith and government.

    It has become common for the saints in Christ to rail against national leaders and government in a manner indistinguishable from those that have no hope and know not God. Here is another sound bite parroted from scripture: government is a minister of God.

    The saints are deep in the muddle of the party spirit of politics. If government is a minister of God how is it that the saints have no clue about how that minister of God, in what the saints call the secular world, serves his purpose to accomplish his will?

    Government, as a minister of God, is a living reminder of another sound bite the saints are given to parroting: God is in control. If government is, like the church, a minister how is it the saints are at a loss to see and understand it as a work of God to faithfully care even for those who know not Jesus as Lord and Savior?

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