Saturday, October 11, 2008

Back to that always comfortable and non-divisive subject of politics

It has been a while since I posted anything; I have been swamped with work and moving and school (and we didn't get internet again until yesterday). I haven't had the time to contemplate until recently.

Last week or so I had lunch with a few leaders in our church to discuss some political issues. It was a very good meeting; I felt like my voice was heard. Whether it was listened to or not is a different story :)! In light of that I want to write about some of my reflections on the Christian and the vote.

The world is complicated, nuanced, ambiguous, and uncertain. It is not black and white, but contains a lot of gray. We see but a poor reflection int he mirror. Now, this could be taken a number of ways. I am NOT saying there are no facts about right and wrong or good and bad. What I mean is that sometimes there facts are not clear. They require nuanced judgment and, especially in the type of government we have, it involves compromise and give and take.

Morality is broader than sex. We evangelicals are good at bringing moral concerns to bear in the public arena. However, our conception of the scope and breadth of morality can be too narrow. It needs to encompass everything from concern for the poor, the oppressed, justice in all its forms (distributive, equality, fairness, punitive, restorative, etc...), living up to our responsibilities (e.g. ours to creation, an employers to thier employees, the father to his family, etc...), compassion, and peace.

We must recognize that we do not have a handbook for liberal democracy in the bible; however, we must negotiate and apply the numerous biblical injuctions concerning right and wrong to the governance of the state. There are the examples of the prophets such as Amos that must be balanced against Peter's injunction to not be a meddler or a busybody (i.e. a self-proclaimed public guardian of morality). We must be in but not of the world. We must honor the Lord and treat others as we want to be treated (e.g. supporting religious freedom). We must work to make the world better but not place our hope in the things of this world (it's politicians and institutions). We must be peacemakers, love our enemies, value creation, preserve life, and pursue all of this with humility.

On a less preachy note, my kid is quite the Democrat. He sees Obama on the TV and says "Barack Obama" (actually, it sounds more like "Bakabama"). He doesn't know who John McCain is, and it is not like we feed him liberal propaganda every night before bedtime. Conservatives in my audience need not be concerned, even though Chicago will let him vote I will not.


Dan said...

Hey now, the residents of St. Boniface Cemetery in Chicago resent that comment. ;-)

Heather said...


I appreciate your thoughts on politics and life in general and agree wholeheartedly. But you probably already knew that.

Miss you