Back to blogging for a bit……
As we approach conclusion of this current electoral cycle, I find myself increasingly disconnected from the blur of political conversation and opinion. Not much more than a year ago, it would not be unusual to find me embroiled in ideological debate. I was resolute in my opinions, listened to and read my commentators of choice on a regular basis, and could articulate the assured correctness of my politics with a fair measure of coherency. If one were to list my most frequently visited websites, one would find a fairly large sampling of political pundits. Before I continue, I want it be abundantly clear that I am not making any kind of overarching blanket condemnation of all political thought, talk, and activity as it emanates from everyone. I do not infer that all political conversations are always inherently unhealthy to ones growth as a disciple of Christ; nor do I infer that one’s interest and involvement in politics is always and in all circumstances detrimental to the purpose of the kingdom of God.
Now that I have that disclaimer out of the way, I want to testify to the transforming power of God in individuals and exalt and affirm His sovereign hand on the affairs of the world.
I think about the political climate of the 1st century Palestinian Jews and then compare it with the political milieu of 21st century America. Please forgive any error in detail and accuracy because I write from my fallible memory, but I recall reading about 30,000 Jews crucified, immediately prior to the birth of Jesus, by the Roman Empire in response to an uprising by Jewish zealots seeking to overthrow the rule of Rome over Israel. I think of the horrific persecution of the early followers of Christ under Nero and Diocletian. No matter how bad one may think the choices are come November 4, America under Obama or McCain will be a bit less oppressive than Judea in AD 70.
Having said all that, the New Testament canon, authored in times and places of political upheaval, is remarkably apolitical. We are told that disciples of Christ are in the world, but not of it. We are sojourners. We are to render to Caesar the things of Caesar and the things of God to God. Our Kingdom, our allegiance, is not in the here and now. We are not promised political stability. While being salt and light, we affirm that our hope lies not in any temporal political process, personality, or agenda. Our zeal for politics may often (but never should) mask our zeal for Christ. There is a danger that outspoken political agendas may overshadow the Evangel.
While the organized political momentum of 1980’s evangelicalism may thankfully be on the wane, our speech as individuals still reverberate in the lives of others. Will people, after engaging me in conversations, label me, remember me, as a conservative or liberal, or will they recall me as someone who seeks oportunity to exalt the One who spoke creation into existence from nothing, the One who redeems the lost. I am not always faithful, I know, but when Christ redeemed me by way of the Cross, He redeemed my tongue that I should use it to His glory.
I simply and thankfully find myself led to a place where I no longer care too much about politics. For me, politics was an idolatrous pursuit. It may not be such for you. I know that, left to my own devices, I am spring-loaded to a position of idolatry. That statement, I believe, is true for all of us.