Today the United States will change. After Americans go to the polls and ultimately the Electoral College vote is cast, one direction or the other will be set in motion. Either the governmental philosophy of President Obama will be fully confirmed or the direction of Governor Romney will set another course. Either way, we are looking at monumental change. I have friends who are cheering for each side of this debate. I have friends from all across the political spectrum who will either be throwing a party tonight or settling in for a somber night’s sleep. Indeed this is a serious election. But after you go to the polls, here are two main principles followers of Jesus Christ need to keep in mind at the end of the day.
I’ll be honest. This election season has been a hard one for me. It was just over four years ago while planting a church in Northern California that I made the firm decision to never run for political office. While that commitment has been relatively easy to keep, the question of debate has been quite another story. The last 2012 Presidential debate has come and gone. But many of us are still debating with our friends, enemies, and even sometimes with our own souls. Debate is a great principle in our culture. However, it seems to be a whole lot easier to simply debate than actually do something. It’s easier to debate about what the government should do than actually getting out and doing something ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not turning Amish here and as noted in a post from a while back, I do believe that sometimes folks are called into public policy molding just like someone might be called into law enforcement. The great William Wilberforce from the UK is a prime example. But as a Christ follower we are all to be Salt and Light in our world even if we are not in public service or making public policy. We are called to be his hands and feet from wherever we stand on the political debates. So while this debate could take off in innumerable directions, let me simply ask what it is that we are all going to do ourselves instead of expecting someone else to do for us. Consider these to begin with:
I have a love hate relationship with politics. Mostly hate. But yes, there are times when I get all hot and bothered and want to run for office. Then I calm down and get refocused on eternal matters. The grab for me has never been on issues like taxation or economic policies, but rather the social issue hot buttons. Today with all the comments in dissent of North Carolina voting to ban Gay Marriage coupled with President Obama’s announcement on his position of Gay Marriage is just another one of those examples. As a follower of Christ I have to remind myself that America is not my first home, the Kingdom of Heaven is. But we do live in the here and now and intersect with the world around us. Even the first Christ followers addressed social ills of their day. During the Roman Empire people would leave unwanted babies at the city dumps. Today, we abort unwanted babies. The Christians in the first century would save those babies from the trash heaps and care for them. Today Christians can work to stop the killing of infants and support women with unwanted pregnancies in ways other than abortion.
Ok, I’ve wrestled with the question of how to surf the wave of social issues on this blog for a long time. On one hand I don’t want to get distracted from our mission. On the other hand I don’t want to pretend that the Bible or Kingdom citizens don’t have anything to say on the social issues. The fact of the matter is that the Bible is very clear on these issues. The problem is that at times Christians can be “jerks for Jesus” and blow the whole discussion apart even before it is started. The real answer for followers of Christ is first to pray, and then speak the truth in love. Are there Christians who are called to run for office and attack these issues in public? Yes, I believe so. But the real answer is one of heart change and not policy development.
So with that I’ll make a few statements to consider on the present social issue of the day.