Politics and the Pulpit

Politics and the Pulpit November 2, 2012

So, here is Dallas’s own Robert Jeffress opining about politics and the pulpit.

Although he does not name the name, Jeffress makes it clear that Christians either vote for the candidate he clearly supports or they are voting against the biblical values of family and traditional family roles.

Now, there are a whole other set of Christian thinkers and writers who affirm a different candidate, whom we shall also not name, believing that their candidate has a far better understanding of the biblical values of justice, compassion and mercy.

I’ve been careful when speaking from my position as pastor not to give my opinion as to the worthiness of either presidential candidate.  I did write this piece on The Ten Commandments of the Political Season and affirmed several times in there, “The President is NOT the Savior,” but that’s been it.

I stand by that phrase.  No matter who wins, that man will not be the savior—or downfall—of the nation.  Nonetheless, he will be important and what he says and does will affect all of us.

One thing I can say for sure:  again, no matter who wins, about ½ of the electorate are going to be very, very unhappy.  Many will look askance at anything the man who will be inaugurated in January will do or say for the next four years.  That man will be blamed for everything that goes wrong, including hurricanes, tornadoes, personal problems, and fights between warring countries on the opposite side of the world.

However, that unhappy half of the electorate will be unable to give that man credit for anything that goes well, including good weather and robust harvests, personal prosperity, and anywhere peace may be found in the world.

We each view the world through lenses that both enhance our visual clarity AND which bring total blindness.  Those lenses, rarely examined for their biases and foundational truths—or untruths, drive our thoughts.

The political machinery does everything possible to keep those biased lenses in place, for an unthinking voter can be bought by the highest bidder.  That is the history and legacy of US politics.  There is not one thing new here. It’s part of our system.

Do I worry about our direction as a nation?  You bet I do and I write about it frequently.  I think many of the character values that actually built something profound in this place we call the United States have been seriously eroded in the name of self-interest.

We have defined prosperity only in terms of material possessions and our ability to consume more and more and more.  The idea that prosperity might be defined as soul competence, a deep sense of both personal responsibility and community connection, a willingness to see radically different others as worthy of respect and awareness of a Holy One who does have a call upon our lives has been lost.

The church does have a role in the political process.  Our primary task is to actively work to teach people to be authentic followers of Jesus. We are to shape them so they might integrate deep into their minds and hearts the understanding that to be a Christian is to be willing to go all the way to death for our enemies so that the resurrection becomes our common experience. We are to teach them to think as holy and spiritual people, to examine their prejudices and their souls, and to make informed decisions.

Then we send them out into the world in as many different ways as possible.  Those shaped followers of Jesus, from the least noticed to the most powerful, become the aroma of Christ to a world steeped in ugliness and despair.  They go into those ugly and dark places, living faithfully, offering forgiveness, reconciliation and hope, and seeking to change systems that degrade others in the name of personal power and prosperity.

This is called “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

Those are the politics of the kingdom of heaven.

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  • Linda D. Schwartz

    Christy~I too think the morals and character values held so very high in the past are on the brink. Yesterday while shopping in Austin, Bill and I stopped at a well known restaurant to eat and actually waited for a table where we could “watch” the truck and our purchases. While shopping at “The Domain” (the nicest, upscale mall in Austin) I clutched my shoulder bag making sure it was tightly held to my body. How unfortunate we’ve come to this in the United States. And look at Chicago…the city with the most gun laws, has the highest crime rate in the US. Life is thrown away every day with abortions. What’s wrong with us?

    As for me and my house and all I have around me we will serve the Lord. We must show God our willingness to accept his Grace, profess our sins and lead faithful lives. And pray unceasingly.

  • Linda D. Schwartz

    Christy~I too think the morals and character values held so very high in the past are on the brink. Yesterday while shopping in Austin, Bill and I stopped at a well known restaurant to eat and actually waited for a table where we could “watch” the truck and our purchases. While shopping at “The Domain” (the nicest, upscale mall in Austin) I clutched my shoulder bag making sure it was tightly held to my body. How unfortunate we’ve come to this in the United States. And look at Chicago…the city with the most gun laws, has the highest crime rate in the US. Life is thrown away every day with abortions. What’s wrong with us?

    As for me and my house and all I have around me we will serve the Lord. We must show God our willingness to accept his Grace, profess our sins and lead faithful lives. And pray unceasingly.

  • Vicki Attaway

    I was in the darkness of my mind for quite some time, locked into an abysmal state of internal mental affairs. But because of the Kingdom of Heaven living that my parents shared with me growing up, I was able to survive. To thrive. To vote my conscience in many different ways. It is nice, as a Christian, to have the choice of goodness.

  • Vicki Attaway

    I was in the darkness of my mind for quite some time, locked into an abysmal state of internal mental affairs. But because of the Kingdom of Heaven living that my parents shared with me growing up, I was able to survive. To thrive. To vote my conscience in many different ways. It is nice, as a Christian, to have the choice of goodness.