AHHHHH OBAMA blahblahblah ANGRY blahblahblah ENDOFTHEWORLD blahblahblah
Jesus was (and is) political. Wherever two or more people are gathered in Jesus' name you've got politics... I mean, uh, Jesus. Which is political, which can divide people. This post is the second part of this post - and I'd encourage you to read that one first before taking this one on, because it is about to get fun.
If Jesus is political, I, as a Pastor, should be political. Wait wait... let's back up before you get too excited.
When I say we are political I really mean that in our democracy any American Citizen of at least 18 yrs old can vote for certain laws or government officials (federal and on down) that execute, legislate, and judiciate (I made that last one up) that which defines our government. We get to participate. Once we have participated, like any democracy, the majority vote is divided from the minority, and the majority is what is put forth as law (or an official). This vote divides people. It divides the majority from the minority.
This is the beauty of a democracy - Majority rule. Better than a single guy running things I guess? Two quick thoughts: 1.) We are great with majority rule....as long as we are the majority. 2.) The Kingdom of God is not a democracy - it's a kingdom that is "governed" by a single benevolent and perfect Will (if only the USA were so lucky, eh?). On this earth, that would be a frightening thing indeed. We usually call those folks dictators. But in God's Kingdom, we people cannot be wronged, because the ruler is the standard by which all other rulers are judged.
From this point on I'm going to say that being "political" in its purist form for an American is to vote. I believe Jesus would want us to participate in our government as much as we can, and voting is participation. I have two things then to say with regards to a pastor being a divider within politics. It's not because I'm meant to be a divider, but because when I take a stand, I better be with Jesus. Hopefully that won't divide me from some people I love. :)
First, Jesus is better than politics. Bishop Willimon agrees with me. Shane Claiborne agrees with me. When I say Jesus is better than politics I mean the faith, hope, and love I find in Jesus Christ speaks louder in this world (to me) than the politics of America.
I find my hope not in the candidates that are in office (or standing in line to come next) but in my Savior. He's still my savior, regardless of whether there is a Republican or Democrat in the Oval Office.
I find my faith not in the power to vote, claim American citizenship, or the freedoms "given" to me by our wonderful country but in my Savior. My faith is in the power of Christ's life, death, and resurrection.
I find love not in the freedoms given by a constitution but instead in the grace of Jesus Christ. I am set free from sin and death by Jesus - not a government.
Of course it should go without saying that the faith, hope, and love I have in Christ is so much stronger than the fear, despair, and hate one can easily find in politics. Yes, we can have faith in America, hope in America, and we can find plenty to love in America. Just not more so than in Jesus. Thats idolatry (for me).
So I'm not going to wig out because of my enemies. Or your enemies. I am a follower of Jesus Christ first and an American second. It's so freeing to be able to tell you where my allegiances are.
Now, because I follow Jesus and because I am blessed to be American...
Second, I will vote my faith. This may be a different perspective than you are thinking. When I say, "I will vote my faith" I don't mean that I'm going to vote to make everyone in America into Christians. Laws do not turn people into little Jesuses. God loves people into those relationships - it isn't something you legislate. In other words, a law to make everyone give all their money to the poor people doesn't make them more like Christ in their hearts...cause, you know, he advocated that...giving your possessions away I mean. You give your possessions away not because someone forces you to, but because you want to.
The best laws give people the ability to choose. I say that of course because the best gift God ever gave us was free will. (First post, remember?) Setting someone up so they can choose correctly... that is the best gift we could ever receive.
I'll vote my faith because it boils down to this...
Like all the gifts God has given me, the ability to vote should be used to bless those around me. Politics, as bombastic, dividing, and hopeless as they may feel now, is a gift.
I live with amazing freedoms. The liberties of my life go largely unappreciated. I have the intelligence, money, social standing, etcetcetc (resources) to really do whatever I put my mind to. Some people vote to maintain their freedoms. Some people vote to keep themselves secure. Some people vote to help themselves pursue happiness.
I'm going to try to vote to give other people freedom. To help others be more secure. To help others pursue happiness.*
I think thats how Jesus would vote.
So I really don't know what else say other than this:
You might have expected me to tell you to vote straight ticket or make things easier for you, but alas, our Jesus cannot be controlled by our politics. But our politics can be controlled by our Jesus.
Thank God, eh? The politics of the Kingdom are not swayed by divided agendas - because in Heaven, all of God's children share the Father's agenda. And that is love. May we all be political as Jesus is.
* - occasionally the freedom to vote degenerates into which name you think looks cooler. This, sadly, is not being political or patriotic. I'm pretty sure Jesus would frown upon such flippancy. Christians are supposed to be smart.