If I were to entitle this post anything else, I suppose it would be something like, “The Last Will and Testament of a Young Republican.” That’s right; I was once a Young Republican a long time ago. But things are different now and it doesn’t have anything to do with age. Now before my “Lefty” friends out there get all excited, you need to know that I’m not defecting to your political party either. Rather I’m pressing the cancel button on the whole system as far as my involvement goes. While this doesn’t mean I’m never going to vote on issues I believe in, it does mean a drastic and purposeful decision to refrain from direct political involvement and commentary. Even on my Face Book page I’ve listed the “Kingdom of Heaven” for my political views. As followers of Christ we have to keep in mind that we’re part of His eternal Kingdom which supersedes the greatest Kingdoms of men. But is this stand of total avoidance too radical? After all, it would seem from the scripture that politics is a freedom issue. We even noted in Part I. of this series that we can’t separate the sacred from the secular and this would apply to politics as well. Yet considering the transitory nature of this realm, I do believe that this is an issue that Christians should seriously wrestle with. As for me, I’ve drawn the line in the sand to abstain and here are at least four reasons why.
This week America will be watching the Super Bowl in Dallas and though my team won’t be in the game, I’ll be getting together with friends Sunday night to take in the match. While it’s going to be fun watching the game, it would sure be a whole lot more exciting to actually be able to play in the game. (Which is what the Dallas Cowboys are feeling about now) But when you think about it, what we have in the Super Bowl is a select group of professionals out on the field playing while the rest of us chug our cokes, eat our nachos, and dream of a big day when we could be in a big game. But that’s the point: they play and we watch.
Tonight the President of the United States is slated to give his annual State of The Union Address. I’m not sure which one will be more fun to watch; his speech or the bantering on Face Book that will follow. When it comes to dialogue on politics, it’s interesting to see all the Christ following friends I have who sit on opposite sides of the political aisle. They claim allegiance to Christ, but are polls apart in politics. But that will be part of our discussion next week when we wind this subject down and look at some of the personal reasons why I don’t swim in this pool much anymore. It is also worth noting that Jesus actually spoke very little about politics even though Conservatives and Liberals claim Him as their guy at times. In fact, we see virtually nothing of Jesus giving a commentary on the Roman government of his day. That’s because the mission of Christ is beyond that of any temporal regime. Yet we noted in Part I. that as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven we’re not to cloister ourselves away from society, but rather to influence it. So what does the Bible say about our relationship to the Kingdoms of this world? Here are some pointers we should consider and while my list below is not exhaustive, it’s something to start with.
I just got this clip from Craig Whitney with ImpactPoint. Fascinating tech and info from Hans Rosling on the changed dynamics of the world over the past 200 years. Good info going into 2011. Imagine the possibilities and responsibility for sharing the love of Christ the world over. There are a number of factors that Rosling did not talk about. But consider transportation, language, and shared tech around the globe. It took 19th century British missionaries months to get to China and India. We can do that now in hours. English has become the Koine Greek of the 21st century and anyone who wants to do business learns to speak it. I can now communicate with folks on the other side of the globe via phone and email instantly. I know Rosling wasn’t thinking Kingdom perspectives, but I sure was. I love this stuff. How do you think this kind of info should change your world?
btw, in case I don’t get to it, Merry Christmas everyone!
I was blessed to be part of the Crossings “Share Fair” 2010 event this past Saturday. To me it was just another wonderful example of a local body of Christ putting their faith into practice by coming up with creative ways to serve their extended community. The “Fair” was a great success this year as we gathered donations and gifts and networking with a local school, were able to get them into the lives of families in our area who are struggling. A HUGE thanks goes out to Larry Foster who handled the goliath share of the details which made everything come together. I also want say thanks to everyone who helped with the setup, teardown, and serving throughout the day. In all, “Share Fair” was just another reason why you rock Cypress Crossings. So keep up the good work and have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Alright, show of hands here. How many of you actually enjoyed taking history classes in High School? Yup, that’s probably about right. History is not the most popular subject with a lot of folks and that’s ok. On the other hand, I’m one of those wired guys who actually enjoyed the study. Don’t know, but maybe it’s just because I liked blowing an hour going to the film room at Tascosa High to watch a WWII documentary instead of sitting through Geometry. But history does have important lessons to teach us in creating a more successful future. If we take time to examine the good and bad decisions and the lives of those who have gone before us, we can learn from their victories and mistakes. So it is with the CHURCH.
Well we’re just a couple of days away from a huge election here in the US and I figured now was a good time to address an issue that a lot of folks are thinking about: how are true followers of Christ to respond to political issues? While political discussions are not the purpose of Kingdomology, we still live on this side of eternity and we do move in and out of political relations as with any other aspect of day to day life. Authentic followers of Christ don’t shut themselves up in a monastery, but rather engage the world around them with the love of Jesus. So with that, I want to start this discussion by addressing a serious misunderstanding which is rampant in our day of Politics verses Piety.
I’m excited to report that “The Christ Proposal” is going public this weekend at the “First Friday Art Walk” in Amarillo, Texas. We’ll also begin offering the book here at Kingdomology starting this Saturday along with some other outlets. What is The Christ Proposal? Well I’m glad you asked. It all really began as somewhat of an academic discussion just over a year ago when we were in a transitional period of our ministry. We had finished up a church plant in Nor. Cal. and having passed off the baton to the leadership team there we were basing in Amarillo while we waited for clarity on the next move. During this time I was doing some manual labor for a friend when he brought up a discussion he had heard on the radio while traveling. The focal point was a minister’s comment about Jesus Christ making a proposal to his Bride; or the Church. It was a fascinating thought as scripture does refer to the Church as the Bride of Christ. Out of these discussions, a book was born. The Proposal is a devotional book using direct scripture references and scriptural allusions woven into a first person narrative as though Jesus Christ were speaking directly to His Bride; the Church. But the greater implication is the personal impact of how Christ is also speaking to us as God’s children.
I got a new book from a friend the other day to look over and I think it has some potential. The Next Level takes an honest look at the struggles in our lives and points out that we have a choice to either see them as a prison or as a testing ground in which God can develop our character. The author outlines his plan by examining the tests of 31 biblical characters and then brings some application to our lives. It’s not a bad idea and fits nicely into a month long devotion plan. But I was a bit disappointed early on when I saw what is so prevalent in countless spiritualized self-help books today. In part of the introduction, one of the authors describes his church as a place where they want to help people be “better husbands and wives, better parents, better children, employees, friends and neighbors and ultimately, better people.’” Better people? I read that and thought: I don’t want to just be better. I want to be different; radically different. I want to have a change that is way above anything a simple 5 or 10 step plan can accomplish. I want transformation.
I wasn’t planning to weigh in on Terry Jones and his plans to burn a boat load of Qurans this Saturday; September 11th. But when I saw a number of folks commenting about it on Face Book this morning I changed my mind. I hardly ever dive into politics anymore and may actually blog about that decision in the future. But I do want to discuss current issues of the day and relevant ways citizens of the Kingdom of God can respond to them and process them. On this issue, it would seem that “Pastor” Terry is a bit misguided here in interpreting exactly how Jesus would have handled the situation and what the spiritual ramifications are.
To begin with, I find the whole thing humorous if not sad on at least three points.