Me with my lovely wife, Kathy:

Friday, August 31, 2012

Politics, Let's Let the Church Be the Church:

I just published this on my STTA blog.
This one, though is less "daily" than a lot of what gets put there, so I'm posting here as well.

Politics is a horribly messy business.  I have frequently found myself voting for people that I don't think I would really like, if I had the opportunity to get to know them.  In past local elections--where I actually do know some of the candidates--I have found myself voting against people that I actually do like.  On one occasion, I remember trying to talk myself into voting for a guy.  "He's nice."  "He means well."  I remember a politically active lady asking me--sincerely and somewhat plaintively--concerning issues regarding the sanctity of life.  "Can't we make room for just a little of this?"  The woman was caught in the messiness of politics.  She is committed to the Biblical position of human life from conception onward being sacred, yet, at the time of our conversation, she continued a life-long 
allegiance to a political party that is overwhelmingly "pro-choice."  My dad put food on the table through his labors in a steel mill.  Not only did he wear a hardhat, he gave old discarded ones to me and my siblings so we could play with them.  So I sympathize with the voters in my predominantly blue-collar area.  Some of my neighbors sat on the knees of grandfathers who wheezed out stories of mines, and miners, in the days when virtually every underground miner contracted blacklung.  It was just a part of business.  Folk with that kind of a background tend to see politics along the lines of "Us and them."  It was the alliance between certain business interests and certain politicians that resulted in labor being exploited in times past--some would say, still today.  And it was an opposing alliance that brought better conditions to working people.  It's complicated.

Our national election, almost four years ago, caused the messiness to explode in many homes and some churches.  Lot's of older evangelicals said, "How could you vote for a platform that doesn't honor the sanctity of life?"  Many younger evangelicals said, "Here is an opportunity to decisively speak against the greatest injustice in the history of our nation.  How can you not vote for that?"  There was, and is, a strong case on each end.  Knowing my characterization is a great oversimplification, I present it as one more illustration of the messiness of politics.

As one who has led a church for all of my adult life, and who has sought to influence the church.from my seat in my modest study in a small church in a little town, I put out a warning/challenge:  Let's not allow the messiness of politics to sully the church, the Bride of Christ.  I plan to say some more but here is a starting place.  Let us know with rock-solid, unshakable certainty that the relief people desperately need does not lie primarily in the political realm.  That is because the problems are primarily spiritual.  We deal in the Word of God.  We offer the water of life.  We represent the King of kings and Lord of lords.  Let's not allow the church to be seen as the lackey of a political party or movement.  Let's let the church be the church.

Here, is an excellent article that says much of the above better than I say it: