Note- I wrote this prior to any fresh political victories or defeats…
I recently met with a group of good, solid Christians from six different states. I consider each of them a friend.
Like most gatherings of Christ-followers, imperfect, all of us having partial knowledge as the Word of God says in 1 Cor. 13, and varied in our beliefs both spiritually and biblically when you dig down into some of the issues of our times, yet friends!We DO have more in common than we do not… and further, what (and Whom) we have in common is a lot more essential than points in which we differ.But in that safe place of friendship which has taken time and much discussion to forge one part of the dialogue dealt with politics. Religion and politics, now you’re talkin’ ! :)I found myself stating something about like this:”I believe in the free-market system but capitalism as it is often practised in this country is something I neither believe in or even find scriptural.”What I meant and mean by that is simply that many western economies strike me as far more individualistic and self-serving than truly Christ-like in scope, especially regarding treatment of the poor, the widow, the orphan, the culturally “different”.Major business elements bankroll candidates which win elections which upon taking office are then beholden to do the bidding of those who put them in power- from any side of the political spectrum you’d care to name by the way. This, in my view, is simply the way our present system is, like it or not.There are those congregations who do business much the same. The principles of truth, caring for “the least of these”, consideration of how a decision will affect everyone including the most broken and needy- all of these huge issues. There are often no simple nor “everyone was satisfied” answers.While there is no doubt that I, others in leadership whether in various denominations, local churches and ministry centers have at times have made foolish, unbiblical and self-centered decisions that caused hurt to others -it is equally true that in nearly any situation all won’t be pleased, will not agree, all will not and do not think they got “a fair deal” in this or that decision which affected them regardless.Some reading this will certainly take umbrage with what I’m writing here. You may think me quite the “leftist” though my thinking as well as voting is far more broad and multi-faceted than along any one party line.Yet in any society, local congregation, political system or otherwise, when our individual sense of wealth and power (however you choose to define these) seems to get crimped, often hurt, anger or both surface.We think “Hey, if I RULED THE WORLD it would have gone like X, Y or Z… not like it did.” Yes, and if truth either began or ended with either you or I the world, the church and even political systems would still be bankrupt due to our own self interest and capacity for personal corruption.SHARING among those we dislike or would rather figure out of the equation is hard. It’s expensive. It drives us nuts because of course you and I are “worthy” to win, worthy to get our way, worthy to get and maintain control. Hmmmm.Natural disasters, illness and other issues of life remind us that none of us are truly in control or will ever be. Being truly safe isn’t about winning. In fact according to the New Testament and the words of our Lord Jesus, quite the opposite.”Whoever loses his/her life for MY sake and the sake of the Good News will find life.” Jesus wasn’t tossing out a glib principle, simple theory or dogmatic concept. He spoke certain, penetrating, in fact lethal truth here and elsewhere. Dying to self is winning. Demanding control is a losing proposition in the end.YES there is joy more abundantly, YES He paid for us fully that we would find eternal LIFE, YES there is a heaven no matter how some of us run toward hell and YES no body will “come to the Father except through ME” (that is, Jesus).Was Jesus a capitalist? By any stretch of the biblical record, was He?Did Jesus ever seem to “play politics” with or among His disciples? Ever?He laid His life down for them when each and all of them fled. Love gives, serves, shares, cares about -us-, about the “them” among us, not only “me.”Indeed, the one with the most toys loses. For “if you try to gain your life, you WILL LOSE it.”Capitalism is often more about control and gain-gain-gain than it is sharing. I am not saying capitalists never love, never share nor are not true Christians simply due to some capitalistic default. History shows rich people have often been the greatest philanthropists and many of them were indeed believers. The wealthy Joseph gave a garden burial vault for the body of Jesus… heh, even though He only used it for a sort stay!I am saying that the individualistic gain principle behind the system as it is most often practiced, and the “love of money which is the root of all evil” should inform us more than our personal ambitions or hell-bent desire to WIN- in the church and in the political and economic spheres.”To whom much more is given, much more shall be required.” YES. Exactly right. Those with the most should give and share the most.It will not be our church leadership roles or lack of them, political gains or losses or our bank accounts but rather how we did or did not deal with “the least of these” that will measure our love in the end. God help us!