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“Getting a Grip” on Politics

I am conservative in my politics, my morals, my finances and my theology.

As of November 6, 2012 Barrack Hussein Obama was re-elected to his second term of office as President of the United States.

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In reference to my opening sentence, President Obama is my president.

He is my president because I know this is the path God has chosen to allow for this country.  Did God do this because Mitt Romney is a member of a cult?  Was President Obama re-elected as a means to punish American believers for their lack of trust and commitment to Him?  Does the Lord know President Obama is uniquely qualified to avert an upcoming disaster only God can see?  Or is it God has prevented us from becoming a nation of bicycle-riding, white-shirt wearing missionaries from Salt Lake?

I mean, really?  Seriously.

Evangelicals have perhaps over-invested themselves in the political process.  We feel we must mould all of society into our likeness and everyone must believe our beliefs.  We far, far too often forget this is not a Christian country; it never was.  Oh, there was a time when a Judeo-Christian world-view was not only accepted but practiced, but one should never equate the acceptance of the Judeo-Christian world-view as equal to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Of course this brings up the question, “What is best for the country?  I mean, shouldn’t we be about the process, as Christians, of expanding the kingdom of God (I am speaking to believers here), for seeking to pass God-honouring laws and to ‘fight the good fight’?”

Yes . . . . and no.

I am convinced (not by polls but through the study of God’s Word) we are as professing believers to seek and promote God’s laws and to expand His kingdom; yet we are never called by God to legislate change for the cause of Christ through the ballot box!

This doesn’t mean we do not support those who we find in agreement with biblical principles.  As many times will occur, we are often called to decide the lesser of two proverbial evils.  My thought about this has always been rather straight-forward: who better to determine which evil is indeed “less” than those who know what is indeed righteous and moral?

We should view our calling as believers in Christ as being about the task of performing political triage.  I do not believe Christ is best served through single-issue voters who base their support of candidates on a single issue whatever they may be.  This is not a call for either compromise or a call to become political chameleons; it is a call for us to live lives of holiness while making the best decisions possible for a pagan, pluralistic dying world and for it to be the best place possible for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to accomplish its task of changing people!

Christians far too often are afflicted with the hubris of ignorance; we fail to remember the basic tenets taught by Scripture.  The Pharisees sought to fulfil every aspect of the Law personally and attempted to convince others they must do the same—all to no avail!  Just like the Pharisees of Christ’s day, believers today are too invested in arguments regarding life, policies of sound economics and legislation promoting our moral values.  The Law only punished unacceptable behaviour and highlighted the reality no one could follow it perfectly—and we have forgotten the importance of living a life changed by Jesus Christ!

We, as believers in and followers of Jesus Christ, must realize who we are and where we live.  First, we are sinners saved by the grace of God.  As such, we are commanded to convince others of the truth we believe by living lives changed and empowered by God’s Spirit!

I have pastored some incredibly hateful and bitter people who proudly proclaim they are pro-life.  While doing this they make everyone around them to desire their life will quickly end and in the process they further polarize the world around them.  If we desire to see our world change, to see laws passed which honor God and His Word, then we should heed Peter’s warning in his New Testament letter: judgment begins in God’s house!  God’s blessings are not contingent on everybody being obedient to Him; God states, “If my people, who are called by My name!,”  If God’s people would obey, then He would bless and heal the land!  The whole country does not have to obey God’s laws, just God’s people do.

Second, Christians in the United States need to get over themselves!”  We live in a pagan, pluralistic culture and we, as those who carry the name of Christ, are minimally culpable if not outright responsible for the condition of our nation!  All believers are expected to be a “sweet smell” of Christ according to the Apostle Paul.  Unfortunately, too many who profess the name of Christ just stink.

Far too many Christians act like their whole salvation—this country’s, its economy and security—is dependent on who we elect!  Have we so quickly forgotten the One on whom we believe?  If there are those who are convinced God has given us “the government we deserve” in order to bring about punishment, have we chosen to ignore God’s call for us to “turn from our sin” and therefore receive His blessing?

If we desire our country to change, believers must be changed by God.  If we desire security, we must draw closer to God in obedience.  If we want real change in our government and our leaders, then we better pray passionately for them!

Then if we are indeed faithful in the little, God may choose to bless us with the “much” we desire.

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Let’s Pretend

Let’s pretend.

There is nothing past this life.  There is neither heaven nor hell.  Whatever we put into this life is all we will get back; we answer to none other than ourselves.

Life then becomes a series of experiences; occurrences which may or may not fall under our control.  We vacillate between conqueror and victim depending on the circumstance.  If we plan well, things should go well unless events transpire beyond our ability to see or plan.  If we find ourselves in situations we find inherently unpleasant, we either become another statistical anomaly subject to actuaries and their tables or we must rely on humanly devised coping mechanisms: personal, pharmaceutical, psychological or other remedies of self-medication.

Now since we have developed over the course of countless tens, if not hundreds, of millennia (remember, we’re still pretending here) and the ever evolving ability to rationalize our environment and milieu to some balance point so we can function normally (defining “normal” as a comparative Bell curve of society, longing to be included into the ever-present sixty-eighth percentile), we have no other longings or desires beyond the moment, the “now,” the “what is.”

If all of this is indeed true (yep, still pretending here) should we not see less stressors in our world, less discomfort at one’s death (since death is nothing more than the evolutionary outworking in our midst) and more equilibrium in society as a whole?  Would not crime become self-regulating since evolution would have naturally de-selected those whose motives were not more toward equilibrium and balance?  Would we not see a greater emphasis on relationships knowing they alone give intrinsic value to life?

Yet none of these musings are true; none of them have any basis in reality.  They cannot since we are merely “pretending.”

Our world desperately pretends there is nothing other than the “now.”  Society screams individualism yet demands compliance to the accepted norms.  While no long-term, objective, evidence exists for the evolutionary model, it remains the “holy grail” of science; all the while its very existence is morally and logically self-defeating.  As one writer claimed almost 2000 years ago, while they “profess themselves to be wise they [become] fools.”

Every single person in this world longs for the eternal: more time, more life, or simply just “more.”  The time we have alive is fleeting and never long enough.  The desire to live is paramount, yet to believe we only desire to avoid death for the sake of more and greater experience is as simplistic as it is puerile.  It is not the experience of things but of relationships which make our “time” possess its intrinsic value.  Time has meaning because of the relationships we have with others.

If what we “pretend” to have is true, why do we still long for “more” beyond what we have and will be given?  Would not “natural selection” and “survival of the fittest” have long ago removed those who think such things from humanity’s midst due to the weakness of such characteristics?

I do not advocate religion.  I do not advocate following a set of rules.  What I do advocate is a relationship extending beyond this life into eternity.  Jesus Christ invites people “Come to Me,” not “Come to those who claim to follow Me.”

When we trust in what He has done, what He has taught and what He promises, we are not changing merely our minds but we embark on a relationship which changes who we are!

No one can keep pretending forever.

Who would want to?