Here come the U.S. elections once again. My thoughts follow-
First let me say I just about fully Hate “church politics”.
With understanding why/how folks have to make decisions in any association, at some level there may well be and need to be a framework/grid for any association, therefore politicizing the issue/s.
Yet the motives can be (“all have sinned”, do sin) suspect and at times the petty personality clashes, unwillingness to truly hear one another and come to (yes) that sometimes evil/maligned term “compromise”… means some will end their association. Certainly that is EXACTLY what God Himself wants in some cases. Scripture speaks to this.
But the very same goes for any group of people in any part of spiritual OR civil society. People are imperfect, decisions get made you/I/we don’t like and perhaps even seem deal-breakers and so separation results.
There IS a time for that (Ecclesiastes and other Bible texts are clear.
Then there are the piddly little disagreements and all-too-often “pecking order”, who gets THEIR WAY is often the deciding factor as opposed to God, His Word and to the best current ability of all involved, let us continue, grow, move on as opposed to split.
Face it, marriages, families, near and far relatives, churches, civic organizations, businesses, bands, fraternal orders, sewing clubs and of course entire nations have fought Civil Wars (of some sort) over such things.
So we might say “UNcivil” is the way things have gone on the U.S. (and other national, regional) political scenes over the past couple decades. Some reading this last line will say “Really? How about since Cain and Abel?” -and I wouldn’t disagree.
TO VOTE OR NOT TO VOTE
First off, there is the sad view- understandable… that many have just given up, refuse to engage in studying candidates and who will not show up in any (or most) elections to cast their vote.
While I have on rare occasion abstained I do not believe anyone has right to complain nor castigate candidates and positions who have themselves removed their voice by removing their vote. If one truly has zero opinion or sees absolutely no candidates anywhere (write-in??) in sight for a particular post, sure, don’t bother. But hush when it comes to voicing complaints later because unless you are literally DOING something locally to help meet the needs you are most concerned about which the presiding office-holder/s seem to be botching up, you are (here comes my only harsh slam in this post) essentially a whining windbag rather than someone who actively participates in the (in the U.S.) democracy you likely think the best form of government.
If you are very young and support a hardcore anarchy, I would say by abstaining you effectively gut and sterilize your own ability to effect actual change. Then again, other anarchists may disagree with your own chosen view on issues… hmmm?
That last point also goes for Democrats, Republicans and Independents -and I fall into the last category and have for the majority of my voting years.
See, I do not publicly support a presidential candidate because my own over-reaching concern are the views, policies and most of all, faith, hope and love of Jesus Christ.
Like many in the world, we are “damned if we do and damned if we don’t” when speaking to a larger public audience.
I have stated consistently that I personally think I can drive very large trucks through BOTH U.S. political parties platforms, in at least four areas re. both sides of the aisle.
Those who believe political positions are “words for FIGHTIN’ Bubba” have only to check FaceBook, etc., to see what political nastiness, propaganda and mud-slinging does for anyone caring about faith, hope, love and any real sense of justice in my nation or for that matter, the world which our nation truly and deeply affects.
Our own people are so sharply divided on issues that for me to voice a hard political position not only divides them from myself, but one another yet further.
At this point (if you’ve read this far) you may think “Glenn- dude, you’re copping OUT man”. My response to that is you’re not listening. “A listener, a learner” is the core meaning of the term Jesus uses in the Gospels for “disciple”.
I take issue with both parties as there are agendas (beyond the personal agendas possible, perhaps probable) I find fault with as I survey the width and depth of the Bible’s clear teachings about love, mercy, forgiveness, patience, and at core, GRACE which is essentially UNearned favor.
I hear a great many shouting, demanding people who seem to be talking out of rage and/or fear, not faith. CERTAINLY there are practical issues both parties are talking about, but in the end- in my personal view, it must come down to “love your neighbor as you love yourself” rather than tacit agreement or self-defense to the point of brutality and for that matter, a “bunker” mentality which decides that other guy/lady/kid/group isn’t WORTHY of kindness or grace.
Neither is anyone reading this WORTHY… and unless we learn how to live out “love is patient, love is kind, does not demand its own way” when at times that last point is the gut-motive-fact in our choices, we will likely make the wrong choice both at the polls and in our own personal lives, families and communities.
I have a great many longtime friends all across the political spectrum and I seek to remain friends though at times I fully disagree on what I consider major points of policy but more so, attitude and behavior towards people who do not share their views. It is a very difficult thing loving your enemy, but it is the very command of Jesus Christ.
What have I done, shall I do this election season? What I have done most of my days:
Pray. Study the issues. Listen to all sides of a divisive issue. Try to put myself in the shoes of both people/groups. Try to get a handle on the character of the candidates. Work at considering the content of the points raised understanding the old phrase “They’ll say ANYTHING to get elected” and yet voting in accord with my own conscience for those I think may best (in NO WAY fully) line up with Christ’s Own core policies…
Again, I have zero interest in people piling on either candidate with “more heat than light” statements and I have friends on both sides of the divide who think they “do God service” by doing so. Nothing new under the sun.
May WE have mercy on one another… I am not half as concerned that God will forget to.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn