This summer has been one of the most enriching as a pastor that I can remember. Our church has been on a journey to read through the entire New Testament this summer. The main goal was to read each book of the New Testament as a book. Get the overall view without trying to dissect things verse by verse first.
For those who have taken the journey, I’ve watched a whole new world unfold in front of our eyes. Last night we had a small group session and discussed what we’ve been learning overall. We’ve been challenged.
One of those great areas where we’ve been challenged has been our own culture and the political climate. One thing that came out of our conversation last night was this: when you truly read and understand the New Testament and begin to understand the implications of the Kingdom of God, it makes voting tough. Now, there could be many who think that is a ludicrous statement. I have liberal Christian friends and conservative Christian friends who read my writing and right now each one of you are thinking, “It’s not THAT tough.”
Yet, both sides are thinking that exact same thought… and you will each vote for a different candidate based on what you think is a clear biblical view.
What we are finding is that it isn’t so clear cut. Back in the 80s it was the great hope of the Republican Party. A new generation has grown up and seems to be thinking it’s the Democratic Party. And I’ve come to the realization that this new batch of thinkers will be as greatly disappointed as the old group.
It’s because our true allegiance isn’t found in this culture. It’s not found in any earthly culture. There is a higher allegiance calling out to us. And we should be announcing that.
NT Wright in Surprised by Hope walks us through the Book of Acts and explains that is exactly what Paul is doing. Paul is confronting Caesar’s empire with news of a new Lord.
There could not be a much clearer statement of intent: the kingdoms of this world are now claimed as the kingdom of Israel’s God, and of his Messiah.
It still doesn’t make election day any easier. Paul didn’t do elections. He didn’t get that freedom. But what he does offer is far greater than a theology of the ballot box. It is the theology of the Kingdom of God. In the end, it’s not the Democrats or the Republicans who have the answers for what ails us. It’s King Jesus. This world, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, has turned a great corner, and we, as the people of God, need to announce it.
3 thoughts on “Why Election Seasons Should Be Tough”
I was challenged by our conversations last night and again this morning. With Paul Ryan being announced as the VP pick, there was lots of political coverage by the regulars this morning. I had natural and immediate response to the coverage and to the conversation that was taking place. But then I was reminded by what I have been challenged with this summer in this NT journey. Is my life one that is Christ Like? The Spirit has been using that question to really point out how BADLY I still am in need of God’ mercy and grace in my life! I can so often get on my pious kick, but then am reminded about how much I need Jesus still in my life. It is not about what I can do for Him, but what he has already done for me. As we talked last night and then again as I was listening to the coverage this morning, the anger the “right” has with the “left” over infringement of “freedoms” and “rights.” The accusations the “left” makes of the “right” regarding not caring for the poor or middle class.
I thought about my amazing Savior, Jesus. Who freely gave up all He had, humbled Himself by becoming human and then serving people, and ultimately allowing himself to be the subject of ridicule, beatings, and death on a cross. He gave that up for my benefit, for your benefit. Christ-likeness then for me needs to be a willingness to surrender my “freedoms” and my “rights” for His benefit and glory. I need to surrender my agenda and how I think the world needs to go to Him. I’m not sure what this means about my political view, it may not change how I vote, however it gives me great perspective in how I see “rights” and “freedoms.” Is my right to bear arms greater than the human lives taken by guns? Are my rights as an American citizen threatened by passage of a Freedom Bill? Who am I that I am unwilling to even have a conversation about giving up a little bit of rights when my Savior gave up all His for my benefit.
Christ has come, not with corrective legislation, but with life changing and life giving Words and Deeds. We vote in this world, but our allegiance is of another Kingdom. Thank God for His mercy as we try to figure it out.
You’re both provoking my thoughts again. lol