October 24, 2008

Politics & American Jesus

Over the last year I have thought many times, "When is this election going to hurry up and be over?" And now, ironically, I can't believe it's already here. As we have lived through the debates, the campaigning, the sucking up, the promises made, and everything that comes along with a presidential election, I have done more soul searching and praying about the issues and candidates than ever before. I have come to some realizations.

First of all, I hope that everyone (and "Yes" I mean YOU) has come to the enlightening conclusion that NOTHING is really what it seems. Most of us at this point have hopefully begun to focus in on the candidate that is going to receive our push of the button on November 4th. But make sure you know that 1/2 of what you think you love and support about your candidate is probably a facade or mirage. And in contrast, 1/2 of what you think you hate about the other guy is probably misperception, misinformation, or just plain flat lie. Because if you've gathered your information from the mainstream media or these ridiculous mass emails that circulate from one-track minded psychos then you've probably been duped. In politics, nothing is as it seems. Period.

Also, to those of you who are followers of Christ, are you still voting on the grounds of ONE issue? Hear this loud and clear: Abortion is wrong. It is murder. It damages, belittles, and wounds the hearts, souls, minds, and bodies of women. And I believe the doctors who perform these operations will one day answer and pay for it. But it seems to me that maybe the "HOW" has finally come back to haunt us. Is it possible that "Christians" have been standing on street corners with signs and bullhorns for so long, pointing fingers and spewing hate, that many of us have failed to realize that countless numbers of these same people are advocating the death penalty and totally OK with the collateral damage of war? Does this make any sense to you? Is it possible that the church is producing the greatest army of hypocrites to ever assemble?

And have we somehow allowed it to slip past us that the TRILLIONS of dollars we have spent fighting this war (to protect and defend OUR way of living) could have already eradicate the world's water crisis and put a very large dent in the fight against hunger and poverty? And before you get all "You're anti-this & that" on me, make sure you understand that I am all for us defending others, who can't stand up for themselves. I am all for liberation and protecting freedom. But what I'm not all for is us becoming so obsessed with defending the American way of living and claiming that it's a "God-ordained right" to live the way most of us live. FREEDOM - God ordained. Wealth in the face of poverty, obesity in the face of world hunger, drunkenness in the face of someone dying of thirst, consumerism in the face of an economic crisis...NOT God ordained. Some speak of a "moral compass". What moral compass? Some ask "What Would Jesus Do?" Well, that depends. Are you talking about the American Jesus or the one in the Gospels?

And make sure that if you're even tempted to think this is a political endorsement for anyone, you're mistaken. No matter who receives my vote on November 4th, it will be cast with much conviction and a prayerful burden along with it. But at the same time, there's another mistake I beg you not to make. Don't begin to think that if one man or another fails to be elected that it's all going down the toilet. Because if you think this way - if you allow yourself to buy into that fearful reaction - then you must be following American Jesus. The Jesus I know didn't come to defeat Rome - He came to defeat sin. Jesus called us to a NEW way of standing up, protesting, defending and doing things. And Paul said some things about this in Romans 13 as well. Don't panic. PRAY. Don't fear. TRUST.

I believe the Church here in the West has spent way too much time demanding and coercing legislation and way too little time investing in people's lives. We want the government to do our job. We want the government to demand what people can & can't do so that the burden of example is not on us. We have taken Matthew 25 and Luke 14 and said, "Surely you're not serious about this Lord!" All the while not realizing that even questioning the authenticity and demand of what's being said and asked...that questioning negates our ability to even call Him "Lord". 

It is time that the Church - the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ - start awakening to a NEW way of living. It is time that we start radically loving the world and stop expecting Washington to set the moral tone for HOW we should be living. 
Because if we start loving...they might start listening. No, some won't. But some will. And they are the reason that we're still here. At least, they're supposed to be.

For more:
Matthew 5-7
Luke 14:25-35
Matthew 25
Romans 13 & Daniel 2:21
Mark 12:29-31
Matthew 28:18-20

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