Thursday, September 4, 2008

On Christians and Politics

Let the topic of politics come up among Christians, and it won’t be long before someone accuses those with strong political opinions of thinking "the state is the means to advance the Kingdom" or some such.

While there are Christians on both sides of the aisle who make that mistake, I think they’re relatively few. For my own part, let me be clear:

The state cannot bring in the Kingdom, but it can really screw up the world, and that’s why we try to influence it for the best as much as we can.

If we love our neighbors as ourselves, we have to be concerned for what crazy economic policies will do to them. You can’t love your neighbors and watch silently while your country gets dragged into a senseless war or ignores a dangerous enemy. Our neighbors, their children, and their children will be affected by the decisions made by the next Supreme Court justices. These issues are real and important.

But they are not of eternal importance.

We can all fall prey to excessive interest in worldly things. I don’t watch sports. Politics is my football, and the outcome of the next presidential election will be slightly more important than the outcome of the next Super Bowl. Passions run high. (That’s one reason I’m glad the internet gives you the chance to think twice – in person, my mouth will occasionally outrun my manners.)

We can also fall prey to insufficient interest in meaningful, temporal things. Medicine will pass away, just like prophecies and knowledge, and so will politics. That doesn’t mean we’re obligated to ignore any of those things. We shouldn’t spiritualize politics or lack of interest in politics.

In every case we need to agree to hold each other to Christian behavior, careful thought, and a spirit of love. And we do need to remind each other of those things are of ultimate import.

But in the mean time, the Republicans are a second half team, and it looks like this game is about to kick into high gear. Pass the nachos.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Yeah, we pulled out the tater chips at our house...
Can't wait for the debates!