Saturday, August 26, 2006



I just read an interesting article the other day about how Jesus avoided the religious and political agenda of His day in favor of a radical system called "The Kingdom of God", which was intended to transcend religion and politics and drive straight to the heart of the individual person. His revolution was about personal "regime change", not political reformation or even religious. Jesus was concerned with how you and I, how everyday people, needed to experience an internal revolution where they surrendered their kingdom to His.

I've already written about the difference between political agenda/parties/candidates and the sort of social system that Jesus was interested in - The Kingdom of God. This was not a political party or system, but a way of life that transcended culture, social systems, politics, religious affiliation or any other form of human sociology.

The Kingdom of God is God's Way of life, not our own. We must conform to the Kingdom, we must NOT conform the Kingdom to fit our ideology or system.

This is why I disagree with Jim Wallis when he takes his message of social justice and alligns himself with the Democratic Party (all the while claiming that "The Right doesn't get it and the Left gets it wrong"). Because when Jim Wallis makes the issue a political issue, and not a moral, ethical, or Christian issue, he gives people permission to dismiss him as a Liberal and therefore, dismiss the overtly Biblical Mandate from God Almighty to care for the poor.

To be clear, I love Jim Wallis. I've interviewed him twice and I love what he has to say to the Church about their Biblical mandate to care for the poor. When he's on that soapbox I'm cheering all the way. It's when he turns political that I leave the scene.

At the same time, I disagree with people like James Dobson and Pat Robertson (and all the rest) who try to make the Republican Party equal to the Kingdom of God. Their message seems to be that, to be a good Christian is to be a good Republican. I disagree. Very much.

Again, just so I don't get a lot of hate mail on this, I love Focus On The Family. I love what they do for families and for encouraging Moms and Dads to parent in a more loving and intentional way. What I take issue with is when their founder steps into the media spotlight, shares the stage with political leaders, and makes declarative statements as if he were speaking for all of Christendom. I disagree with the idea that all good Christians are Republicans.

Many Christians in America will be shocked to discover so many Democrats (and even, "gasp", Green Party Members) living next door to their mansions in Heaven. Heck, we'll even see Socialists and Communists there too! Oh my...

First and foremost, I am a follower of Jesus. My only allegiance is to Him and to His Word and to His Kingdom. I am a citizen of this Kingdom and all that it stands for. I am a stranger here. This world is not my home. (You know the songs).

I care for the poor because God commands me to, and because when I exercise compassion to others, I am following in the footsteps of Jesus Himself. It is not about a political system or party. It's about Jesus.

I do think it's a good thing to be involved with politics when appropriate. Call your Congressman, ask them to vote for the right House Bill and to deny the wrong agenda. Yes. Do that. But do not get confused about where the real solutions lie. Do not allow your mind to get blurred between that and what it really means to follow Jesus.

If you vote for the Green Party, but you never personally care for the environment in your real life...(ie.- you don't recycle your paper and plastics) are not actually someone who practices what you preach.

If you vote for the Democratic Candidate who wants to improve the welfare system and up the minimum wage, but you yourself never get in your car and spend any time with the poor, you are not someone who cares about social justice.

If you vote for the Republican Party because they support an anti-Abortion platform, but you never even pray for unwed mothers, or take the opportunity to show compassion to an actual under-age pregnant girl, you are not someone who values an unborn life.

Our actions, our everyday, actual actions, are what really determine what we believe and what we value. Our votes, our political affiliations, our bumper stickers, do not communicate anything more than an opinion or a position.

Furthermore, as far as our faith, if we say we love Jesus and we hate our brother (or any other human being), we are liars. Are we practicing love? Are we actually working to show kindness and compassion to the poor, to our neighbors next door, to our own, irritating family members? If not, we are not really "Believing" in Jesus, because the word "Believe", as Jesus (and Paul, Peter, etc.) uses it refers to listening and then putting into practice.

"Now that you KNOW these things, you will be blessed, if you DO THEM" - Jesus (JOHN 13:17 - emphasis mine)


1 comment:

Wade Huntsinger said...

Good post Keith. I agree, however, if for example James Dobson is doing what he feels God is calling him to do, how can we comment otherwise. I do understand your point that one who says they are for or against something and then does nothing to change it is of no use anyway. I just feel that there are some who are called to use the platform god gave them to annonce to the body what is going on. Just a thought. Praying for you a job, Wade