“For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female, since you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Well, that was…anticlimactic. I stayed up until about 11:30 last night watching returns come in from the election and this morning when I checked back in I knew basically nothing more than I did when I went to bed. At least, that’s the case in terms of the results of the election. What I did have confirmed for me is something that I already knew. If you’ll stay with me for a few minutes, I’ll tell you about what that is.
The day has finally arrived! Are you excited? Are you anxious? Today is the day when…the political ads finally stop rolling in like the waves of the sea. Oh wait, I mean this is the day when we in the United States of America get to exercise our right as citizens of this great nation to cast our vote. We get to decide who our leaders will be. Consider what a unique thing that is in the history of the world. Ours is a heritage unlike any other this world has known. No other nation has ever seen as long and unbroken a string of peaceful transfers of power from one person to another, one party to another, one political foe to another as we have. As we move forward together into this momentous day, here are some thoughts and a prayer to send us on our way.
We’ve been talking for the last three weeks about how followers of Jesus should think about engaging with the politics of their culture wherever they happen to be. The short version is that our engagement should always be considered through the lens of the Gospel. But, how should we actually think about the various issues at stake in this or any election? That’s what we’re going to talk about today. Thanks for tuning in as we continue our series, Being Good Kingdom Citizens.
Let’s Talk about the Issues
We need to make this election about the issues! How many times have you heard a politician use that line before? Probably more times than you’d care to count! And when a politician says something like that, what is usually the furthest thing from his mind? The issues, right? If you’re like me and more than a little bit cynical about politicians and politics, you hear that phrase as a kind of code language. It’s a code for: I know I’ve got this gigantic personal or political scandal going on over here and which should probably totally disqualify me from running for office, much less actually be deserving of your vote, but I’m not willing to give up this chance for power, and so I’m raising the red herring of talking about issues on which I disagree markedly with my opponent in hopes that it will distract you from paying attention to the man behind the curtain and rile you up to vote for me anyway.
For the past couple of weeks as we have started this conversation about Christians and politics called Being Good Kingdom Citizens, we have talked about the fact that Christians are different when it comes to politics. We must be because our first allegiance is to something other than a political party or leader. Being different, though, will make us stand out. This week we talk about how to handle this in ways that honor Christ. Thanks for tuning in.
On Being the Tallest Nail
Sometimes some of the most powerful films get the least amount of attention. Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that movies like anything Marvel puts out these days shouldn’t get the attention they do. As a dedicated fan of the superhero genre, I’m for all the attention they can get. There are some films, though, which fly under the radar, but which are truly terrific pieces of storytelling. One example from a few years ago is the movie The Good Lie starring Reese Witherspoon. Has anyone in the room seen The Good Lie? Has anyone heard of the movie, but hasn’t seen it? I figured that would be a pretty small group which just proves my point.
What do we do when we are facing leaders we don’t want to follow issuing orders we don’t want to keep? The response by most people throughout history has been either passive acceptance or else violent rebellion. As followers of Jesus, though, there is another option. As we continue our series, Being Good Kingdom Citizens, this week, thinking together about how we need to respond to the current political climate as followers of Jesus, we are going to join the apostle Paul as he lays out what this third way is. Thanks for being a part of the conversation.
Getting in Line
Have you ever been faced with a rule you didn’t want to follow? I suspect so. I remember when I was a sophomore in high school, and we took the standardized science tests for the state at the end of the year. I remember thinking the whole test was a joke in terms of covering ideas and topics we hadn’t touched on at all in the previous nine months, but the question that took the cake for me was this: Draw a picture of the universe and mark the approximate location of the earth. By this time, I was beyond frustrated with the content. We had never even come close to talking about the shape of the universe. I was a science geek and didn’t know the shape of the universe. Modern astrophysicists only have guesses about it (incredibly educated guess, yes, but guesses all the same). The rule was, though, that you had to answer all the questions. So, I sat there and for five continuous minutes put dots all over the page with my pencil, added a random X, and then moved on to the next question. I’ll confess that it was not one of my finer moments in academia.