Where I Stand Politically

I know, you’ve all been wondering.  ;)

This quote from Greg Boyd brilliantly sums up my views.

How we need to be freed from the illusion that we’re doing anything kingdom by voting a certain way every couple years!

How we need to wake up to the truth that we vote for or against the Kingdom every day of our life.

We vote by how we spend our money and time. We vote by where we live, who we hang out with, the kind of car we drive and the kind of clothes we wear.

In the Kingdom, we vote with our lives, not in a booth expressing our opinion about what Caesar should do.

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25 thoughts on “Where I Stand Politically

  1. Um… here’s my addition…

    “how you need to realize that you just contradicted yourself.”
    “How you need to realize that writing cute poems doesn’t make the words true.”

  2. Just to clarify… The following two statements utterly contradict each other….

    How we need to be freed from the illusion that we’re doing anything kingdom by voting a certain way every couple years!

    How we need to wake up to the truth that we vote for or against the Kingdom every day of our life.

    I do believe that voting on election day is one of those days of “every day of our life”. Both statements can not be true at the same time. Clear example of the law of non-contradiction.

  3. I have voted in most elections I have had the privilege to participate in. Voted when I turned 18, a few short months after my birthday. There was a time when I refused to vote simply because I was fed up with the limited choices offered or the perceived lack of real improvements in the political arena when I did vote.

    There will be “good Christians” that will argue for a prayerful, passionate, informed voting approach as if God needed a particular political party or figure to secure His blessing on this country or at least avoid Him cursing it.

    I do not believe the kingdom is thwarted by the political powers that be. The political choices offered are more like different make or model of automobile & not “pro-God” or “anti-God” as some bill it.

    Both sides will use the fear tactic to get leverage over their opponent. Fear of the same. Fear of undefined change. Fear of warmongering. Fear of tax increases. Fear of this. Fear of that. No matter the outcome of the Presidential election the work of the kingdom will not be negatively affected. God’s agenda the same today as it will be November 5th. Regardless of a donkey or elephant stabled in the White House, God’s plans & purposes for His people in the world are going to remain unchanged.

    I hope the church in America refocuses on those kingdom priorities regardless of economic crisis or terrorist threat or energy woes or environmental concerns. And if it can address these issues with the love of God & the unselfish motivation to help their fellow man then God will be glorified whether or not our particular party representative inhabits the White House in 2009…

  4. ia,
    Well I won’t try to speak for Greg Boyd, but for myself, I wasn’t trying to say that we shouldn’t vote, just that we keep it in perspective.

    Good thoughts joseph.
    The church in America may be forced to refocus its priorities because of economic and energy woes.

  5. I have to agree with Boyd’s and your take on ‘keeping it in perspective.’ I’ve become a little bit of a political junkie these past weeks, and I fight it and fight it, and then return to the papers/reports for my next fix. Somebody help me! ;)

    While I agree, I’m glad that ia helped to clarify, since voting is part of our everyday responsibilities. I’ve tried to make that decision from a global social perspective, but it no way do I think that institutions of political power are the kingdom’s answer to the issues of social justice in the world today. However, maybe one leader would do less damage than another to the cause of justice.

  6. Sarah said:

    However, maybe one leader would do less damage than another to the cause of justice.

    When we have 2 major choices in a democratic election such as ours, is there a political advantage of one over the other that does ‘assist’ in kingdom priorities?

    And if so, does God really, truly care? I mean if we get a room full of Christians together that claim they have prayed about the candidates, studied the issues & felt a ‘conviction’ (however it is they would describe it), would it be safe to assume there will no concensus?

    And if we use the political choices of fellow believers as a litmus test (red or blue) of being kingdom minded, do we do them a disservice?

    I happen to keep my political views wider than any one party line. And I do not reveal my voting selections once I seal up my write-in ballot. I do not tell my wife or anyone else. It is a personal matter for me & really not intended for others to take offense at. However, I will gladly interact with anybody prior to an election about the pros & cons of a particular candidate & what I think about them at that moment. But like praying in secret, only the Father will know which candidate this saint votes for come election day :) …

  7. I’ll be pleased when November has gone – we will think for one little moment we had some control when we placed a ballot into a box –

    HA!!!

    Greg Boyd reminds us – how we live, declares how we vote EVERYDAY of our lives. I vote for the Kingdom – living in the here and now, there’s an outcome I came have some control over ..

  8. There remains a mystery between the sovereignty of God and the free will of man – and even this issue get tucked into that mystery. Man’s choices do matter (individual or corporate), but they do not ultimately overrule God’s eternal plan. Thus, perspective is the key. Jesus said to a representative of Ceasar “My kingdom is not of this world.” The politics of this world is not, and will not be, the authority by which Jesus uses to usher in His kingdom. Minimally, political authorty in this world should punish evil and reward good (Romans 13). We have priviledge (many do not) and responsibility to attempt to choose political authority that will function in such a manner.

    The presence of His Kingdom is to be found in the attitude and activity of His followers functioning by the empowering grace of His Spirit. He does not pour out His Spirit on a particular nationality or political party, but on a people who accepts His position as Sovereign King. In this case – He chooses. He still does today.

  9. sarah and mark,
    I have my head in the political sand. I just don’t want to watch it this time. I think that I’ve reached a level of disgust and distrust with all of it that makes participation for me frustrating.

    As Ken said, I believe that in a free country, voting is a privilege, and therefore I see it as an act of responsibility and stewardship (although I know there are believers who feel differently about that).

    So on Nov 4 I will reluctantly go to the ballot box, remembering with gratitude my father-in-law and so many others who fought for my right to place that vote.

    Wilsonian,
    Glad you liked it. The link will take you to Greg’s complete post.

    ken,
    That was beautifully expressed. I wish the church expressed and understood more clearly that the politics of this world are not the way of the kingdom.

  10. Oh, I like the Boyd quote! Thanks for sharing.

    Ken: I love your observation, “He does not pour out His Spirit on a particular nationality or political party, but on a people who accepts His position as Sovereign King.”

  11. someone wrote
    “I do not believe the kingdom is thwarted by the political powers that be”

    maybe not – but people may lose their homes and not get paid enough for a working week and have to have 2 jobs – and not see their kids much…

    isn’t that a Kingdom concern?
    I thought it was.

  12. smudge:

    Since when did the kingdom become hamstringed by the goings-on of Wall Street or Pennsylvania Avenue?

    Does the government tell you not to charitable? Hospitable? Caring? Giving?

    Do you really believe messiah Obama or maverick McCain will represent the kingdom’s interests in their political machinations?

    That is the problem with politics. It is simply not able to represent the kingdom as the King intended. But if you feel one candidate or one party is going to be the one that does represent the kingdom accurately, I will choose to disagree.

    If the early church not only survived but thrived under the most oppressive of governmental rule, then am I to believe the church in America is going to be hindered by our democratic form regardless of which party/candidate is in power?

    You want government to do the work of the kingdom?

    Or do you believe the kingdom is really not of this world?

    Politics in this country truly is a “rob Peter to pay Paul” situation when you start using tax dollars for social programs. No governmental program will be truly altruistic in its function. It is a matter of special interests, squeeky wheels, & the most expedient method to get a desired result.

    Remember the bread giveaways in Rome? The Coliseum events? All meant to appease a very fickle Roman citizenry.

    “Good” government or “bad” government does not thwart the kingdom. God still does work in & through any situation to express His priorities. Even the most oppressive governments cannot stop God doing kingdom business through his saints in those very countries. Of course the cost for those saints may be more than the loss of a house or loss of job or loss of retirement savings.

    I was just pointing out that the kingdom was designed to remain autonomous from any earthly governmental entity & its purpose cannot be thwarted by those very entities.

  13. Joseph:
    you wrote:
    Joseph Ostrander // October 10, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    smudge:

    Since when did the kingdom become hamstringed by the goings-on of Wall Street or Pennsylvania Avenue?

    Does the government tell you not to charitable? Hospitable? Caring? Giving?

    I can see you have firm beliefs about this and feel you have it figured out…[as I would have said in the past [I know that can sound patronising, but how can we avoid that and yet be clear in some things?]

    what you say…well, maybe we have to live through it, and actually experience it to understand what someone means…
    and, I am in the U.K. which makes much more provision for those who ain’t healed physically than many of my American online brothers and sisters who have had the humility and reality to write what they go through [that I have read]

    you may be young, healthy, who knows?

    just be aware…things change..especially if we are serious about God.

  14. smudge

    It may look like I have it figured out, but I don’t. ;)

    I am not one to look to government to be the hope I cling to. I do believe the government can ‘govern’ in such a way as to address the big cogs of economy & finance & abuses in the system that I simply cannot. It is so removed from me & my one vote every 4 years. As an American I do believe it will be Americans in office when the balloting is done. How they address the big issues will eventually impact the citizen in the street. I am still going to be in a kingdom run by different rules & priorities. And however the big issues are addressed & dealt with in Washington it will not keep the kingdom from being effective no matter what the situation is.

    Having political viewpoints about how to address the big issues is part of our democratic form of government. Has been that way f rom the beginning. I opt for less government but concentrated in the right places. I opt for less taxes & a growing economy. Simple ideas that can be good or bad depending on the people that take advantage of any situation for selfish gain.

    So we can disagree on political issues since they are of atransitory nature. And certainly there are much more passionate saints that do get very animated about the condition of our nation & how the American dream & the pie piece is dwindling at a rapid rate. Like the New Deal programs of the 30’s during the Great Depression, government made great strides in stoking a stagnant economy. Unfortunately, it was a world war that stoked the economy but brought about global devestation. I want to believe that the next President & any newly elected Senators/Congressmen put party bickering aside & truly work to fix what is broke without wasting any more of our tax dollars or putting short-sighted policies into law that then prove fruitless. One good thing about the shake ups we are experiencing: it does attack that complacency in most of us & gets us to reevaluate our lifestyle & our priorities & how our neighbors are affected.

    Anyway…I am neither young nor a source of boundless health. And thanks for the exchange.

  15. Joseph
    I will make my point more simple.
    When a person, [a Christian even], becomes ill, or disabled and cannot work, or simply cannot find adequate work, in these times we live in [unlike the early Church] the Church does not provide a living for these people. It is a rare church community who does.

    THIS is the reality – even though we might believe in an ideal which is something else.

    Therefore I happen to believe that it is good if government provides [which is, after all, not the government providing, but fellow citizens providing for people who are ‘the least of these’].

    for example; I happen to believe that the N.H.S. provision here in the U.K. is actually from God’s Provision – from His mercy…based on the Christian influence that has been in our nation for almost 2000 years seeping through, even to so-called ‘secular’ people.

    you wrote
    You want government to do the work of the kingdom?

    Or do you believe the kingdom is really not of this world?
    I am not sure what you think the work of the Kingdom is, but you seem to be ‘spiritualising’ it too much.

    I believe the Kingdom is ‘not of this world’ in the sense it is not of this world’s evil and patterned after that.
    But there are different meanings to ‘world’ in scripture. We do not have to reject human things and needs and responses as not being of the Kingdom.
    The Kingdom is to pervade this world in word and deed…and if some of that is through government resources which represent the people so be it.
    After all the Church is also ‘the people’ – and of this world, as we are human.
    and people are made in God’s image and, unless totally depraved, [which is thankfully rare], can show His qualities and concerns at times…even if they are not in the Church…

    basically, we need to believe in the Church and Kingdom influencing the world and not fear things being the other way around…
    and I am not speaking of Theocracy – there is a balance…

    but we mustn’t be so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good [to coin a cliche].

    God has not rejected the world and Jesus is in the business of transforming the world, not destroying it.

  16. smudge

    Good exchanges. Your perspectives keep me thinking…

    I do agree government can be a good steward of the tax revenues it receives from the citizens that support it & benefit from its governance.

    And when there are needy people of all stripes it is godly to address those needs & provide even the most basic of necessities for them: food, shelter, transportation, clothing, medical care.

    How we approach such a concern is where the different forms of government either are viewed as a handout or a hand up. I am not going to accept the argument for a socialized form of government such as you have there in the U.K. or France, Canada or other European countries. Not that those benefits that you describe are under-appreciated by its citizens, I just don’t want to see that occur here in the USA.

    If we want to view the God-given blessings of government based on health care, then I would still believe our form of republican government making sure a free market economy thrives trumps the social form of government that oversees the health care programs there in the U.K.

    And even with its problems I still believe less government the better of God’s blessings. But we will view our particular national approach as one that is best for our needs no matter its form or level of involvement.

    Would the citizens of America be willing to pay higher taxes to ensure everyone health care under a nationalized program? Or are there other options available that limit government involvement but secure the same results? I think that is possible. And I hope our elected officals from both sides of the aisle can forge such a workable solution in the next 4 years regardless of the Presidential election.

    Either way, one candidate is not the be all or end all for addressing such issues. It is our Congress that needs to get busy being good stewards of my tax dollars that go to support it. Trim the fat. Get rid of bloated programs & waste. Focus on more strategic areas of goverment & get out of other places where it does little or no good. And if those elected officials do not get the job done, vote in other people who will…

  17. Joseph,

    I read through your conversation with Smudge and you seem to be arguing from your conclusion, rather than to it.

    A Free Market economy is certainly not a charitable one, it does not provide for those in genuine need, but rather pays out to greed. The recent economic crisis ought to be evidence enough of this – hedge funds and selling packaged debt are the epitomy of Free Market capitalism, but are (a) based almost entirely on greed, rather than charity (a primary Christian virtue I trust you will agree?), (b) the reason for the crisis.

    Let me say at this stage that I am no communist, not even a socialist as such. I have chosen to remain as neutral to specific religious denominations as possible throughout my studies, but as a student of theology I cannot see how you could argue TO free market from Christianity.

    The fact of the matter is that the Church was -the- charitable, or socialist, function within society for centuries. In the Early Church of the Apostolic to Post-Nicean periods it provided to its own in a way that it no longer does. The Catholic Church has ever been a body for immense charity, its greatest virtue and one overlooked often, in my opinion. The modern, and postmodern, Churches have failed in this mandate however – and charity must come from somewhere, so if not from the Church then it must come from the government.

    “Would the citizens of America be willing to pay higher taxes to ensure everyone health care under a nationalized program?” No, they would not, but the question is not a question of the greedy intentions of a nation condemned for its morals by the rest of the world – it is a normative one: what OUGHT they do, give up some of the vast excesses they possess to help those who need it, or spend it on a Playstation 3 for their obese, spoilt, intellectually stunted child?

    I realise that last paragraph was very confrontational – I do not mean to direct it specifically at you, but level a challenge to what is percieved as the ‘standard afluent American’ by the rest of the world, to consider his fellow man before wasting countless billions a year on mind-rotting rubbish. Healthcare is a question of life and death, extra spending money is not.

    On an unrelated side note, most Brits would be offended at being described as European given that we are not part of continental Europe, merely a participant in the EU.

    Lorna,

    I will not disagree with you on your points, however did you know that the origins of the idea of ‘mattering an iota’ is actually not perhaps one you would want to use in that way from a Christian point of view?

    The phrase originates in the vast importance of the ‘one iota’ to Christianity, concieved as trivial from the outside.

    It is the difference between the Greek term for ‘of like substance’ and ‘of same substance’ when referring to the substance of Christ in Christology – thus to count the iota as of no importance is to deny the humanity or divinity of Jesus.

    In a traditional Christian reading, to say an ‘iota of difference’ is to say something that seems small, but is in fact monumental. After all, the decision of the early Theologians of the Church to have Christ maintain divinity and humanity consubstantially has shaped the Christian faith ever since, and thus the world.

    I realise you aren’t using it in this way, and were probably unaware of the etymology, but it is interesting to know the history.

    -Ben
    (Apologies for the length!)

  18. Ben

    “On an unrelated side note, most Brits would be offended at being described as European given that we are not part of continental Europe, merely a participant in the EU.”

    praise the Lord

    LOL

    me and my husband even campaigned for the Referendum party in about 2000…how right wing can you get? LOL
    encouraged by your understanding…of what I meant [I think] and how it’s not Commie

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