Friday, October 24, 2008

Picking sides

Anyone else tired of all the political banter yet? The commercials are killing me. It's finger pointing, blaming, vilifying, scaring, etc. The candidates can't stop talking about each other, and it seems like many voters are boiling over as well - ready to explode on each other at the drop of a hat. I've recently been reading comments from a couple of friends as they go back and forth against one another, one even accusing the other of not being a Christian because of his political views. It's crazy isn't it?

I was thinking about this need to pick sides. Are you with us, or are you with them? Are you in, or are you out? We want to box people in, identify them, and either bring them into the fold or ostracize them. All the while, both sides are claiming that God is on their side. Have you noticed how God always agrees with us? Whichever side we are on, it's God's side. It's funny because in the New Testament there are often two competing groups as well. The Pharisees, and the Sadducees. Or sometimes it's the Pharisees and the Herodians. Each side is often coming to Jesus with some sort of issue - assuming that Jesus will be on their side. So it may be about taxes, or about resurrection, or about how to enforce the law, but each side assumes Jesus is on their side. And then Jesus does something cool. When faced with an "A or B" situation, he often comes up with C. Jesus refuses to take sides. He refuses to join in on these useless arguments that vilify each other. He's much more interested in hearts, in community, in unity, in grace. I heard someone say once that you know you've made God into your own image when He hates all the same people you do. If the way of Jesus isn't difficult for us, then I wonder if we've missed it altogether. It's difficult to love people that don't agree with us. It's difficult to respect and obey authorities that we didn't vote for. And yet, it seems to me that the Bible calls us to those very things.

It makes me wonder, what if Jesus were to be interviewed here in our political climate. What if he were part of the Saddleback forum, right between Obama and McCain. Many of us assume he would join forces with one of these candidates. But I wonder if He wouldn't surprise us. Maybe Jesus would take the discussion in a totally different direction. Maybe he would address our hate for each other, or our pride in being so righteously moral, or our arrogance. Maybe He would remind us that it doesn't matter who is the next President, but that He's still in control. One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Isaiah 6. It starts out like this "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on the throne." King Uzziah is this long standing great ruler in Israel. And suddenly he's dead. You can imagine the sense of panic, the feeling that things are out of control. There must be questions about who the next king will be, what kinds of things might change, what new laws might be coming. And here is this subtle reminder that amidst it all, even when the earthly king is dead, the real King is still sitting on His throne.

So how do we forge a different path? What does path "C" look like for you?


dang. i wish i could have grown up listening to this guy preach. oh wait...

ROFL Jared...

Yeah Jeremy, love this post. Amazing.

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