Sunday, September 28, 2008

UnChristian - Part 5

Here's the next perception that Kinnaman deals with: Christians are primarily motivated by a political agenda and promote right-wing politics.

In this election year, I've personally really struggled with the level of involvement a Christian should have in politics. I've had conversations with other pastors about how much the church ought to get involved in politics and/or patriotism. Should we celebrate the 4th of July in the church for example? I'm looking forward to reading Shane Claiborne's newest book that deals with this topic. But anyway, back to UnChristian.

Where does this perception come from? Statistically, Kinnaman shows that people outside of Christianity "recognize Christians in politics more readily than in any other sector, including music, movies, sports, or business" (154). The reality is, there is no other sector of life that Christians jump into more than politics. It's where we make the most noise. And I think that's because there is an underlying belief that says that politics and legislation are the way that you change the world, and/or it's the way to protect and uphold our Christian freedoms and worldview. Some would say that the way to make the world a better place is to legislate and enforce a Christian morality. But is that really the case? Because it sure doesn't seem like Jesus believed that. It seems to me that Jesus believed in a kingdom that was subversive in a whole different kind of way. In the garden just before his crucifixion Peter cuts a guys ear off in what was no doubt a struggle for power. What does Jesus tell him? "Put your sword away!" And Jesus heals the guy. In fact, he basically tells Peter, "If I wanted to play the power game, don't you realize that I could call millions of angels right now and these guys would be toast!?" Instead, Jesus realizes that you can't change the world by playing by its rules. It's done through love, service, sacrifice, generosity, grace. The old saying is true, that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We can legislate behavior, but it's no way to change the heart. And isn't that what God is really after anyway?

So what do we do with this perception? Do we bail on political involvement? No! In fact, I think we embrace it, but we do so in a different way. A more holistic way. For one thing, as Christians we're basically known as speaking and voting on two particular issues -abortion and gay rights (marriage, etc.). Certainly those are important issues. But when was the last time the church was passing petitions around for the sake of the poor? The single mom? The HIV infected? The homeless? Isn't all life sacred? I think this is why this year we are seeing way more evangelicals singing the praises of Obama. Many are tired of being in the pocket of the Republican party, simply because they throw evangelicals a bone or two with the abortion or gay marriage issue. For one thing, let's let our candidates know that we care about the poor, the outcast, the orphan and the widow. Let's be known for coming to the defense of the defenseless. Let's stop promoting one particular party as if it is somehow the party of Jesus. Let's be clear on this - Jesus is not a Republican. He's not a Democrat. He cannot and will not be co-opted by any political party. And let's be known for how much we support our government officials, whether we agree with them or not. That's still biblical right?

But mostly, let's live in such a way that says regardless of any election, or any law that does or doesn't get passed, or who is sitting in the oval office, we will love people, serve them, and stand up for those who suffer injustice because that is the heart of God.


The expectation of Jesus when he came to redeem man was by over throwing the ruler. Instead he came out of love and on a very low key level. Because of this many people turned away from him and still don't believe that he is and was the savior. Political power and the overtaking of the white house isn't the way to change the world. FBCY sings praise songs like "God Bless America" and "The Star Spangled Banner", i think its a legit worship service. Love you.

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