Friday, January 11, 2008

Political Involvement.

Should followers of Jesus be involved in American politics? If so, to what degree? If not, why?


peterkevinson said...

The question isn't whether or not we should be involved in American politics or not, because we are. So many of the decisions we make every day are political in nature whether we realize it or not. I would even say the Amish are involved in politics. The question we must ask is how much do want to be directly involved in the election system and the government it produces. I would again say we are involved in that no matter what we do, but do we want to make active choices to get even more involved then our normal life would lead us to.

I respect Christians who distance themselves from it as well as those who engage even more in it. At different times in my life I have been all over the spectrum on the issue and not because my opinion has necessarily changed, but because I thought it was the right oppurtonity to get more involved.

To be honest, I've been more involved in the last week than I have been in the last ten years. I struggle with my involvement. I struggle the most when I find myself putting hope in someone or some issue and not completely in the King and His Kingdom.

Lee Y said...

Are you assuming that a follower of Jesus has to be American? Or maybe you think that a follower of Jesus who happens to be Russian, living in Papa New Guinea should be involved in North Dakota’s gubernatorial election. Guess I need clarification of some of the assumptions implied in the question before I could provide a thoughtful response.

PK said...

yes, and to various degrees.

What would the quality of life be for all Americans if all followers exited the political process? I think the quality of life for ALL would be worse.Thus, we participate.

Government brings "order" of some form to society. If all Christians abandon politics, who will be the light within this dimension of our culture. Should we abandon "a field of harvest" or do we go into all the world except for city councel, the court house, etc.

Definitely followers should vote. Not on the stereo typical position of the label "conservative evangelical" or on single issue positions. Candidate positions should be considered as a totality; i.e since it will be a long time reversing Roe v Wade, the one who will fight more radically for adoption, welfare,tax,immigration, and other social reforms deserve more consideration.

Thus, the key becomes "to what degree?". This is so broad I tend to think it falls under the position "each must work out his own salvation.." Simply, to each his own with His guidance.

But!!!! Remember the tables in the temple? What would Jesus do with the campaigner in the pulpit?

I think Billy Graham has been a good example for all of us. Involved but distanced, open to both parties even many Presidents.

If we do lifestyle evangelism, should those in politics be excluded? If a politicians accepts Christ, should he immediately leave the political arena?

joe said...

Well, i think it is virtually impossible to walk out your faith if you are involved in politics. it all deals with matters of the sword which we are called to distance ourselves from.

as a regular person (not a politician) we are called to hold our govt in check. We as followers of christ are to be a prophetic voice to our nation. The question is how do we do that if we are in bed with it? sorry for the analogy.

This is where the religious right (and left) dont get it. your voice is marginalized when you draw party sides. your dismissed as the "christian right" or a "liberal christian". There has to be a way to transcend politics.

Matthew as a tax collector and Simon the Zealot in the same room seemed like it should of been a ticking time bomb. but they, as far as we know, transcended politics and treated each other out of God's Kingdom ways. Not Rome's or Israel's.

for what it's worth...

Daniel Coutz said...

hmmm... this one is a hard one. I've been back and forth on this for a while. I'm not sure if its right to vote for a candidate that holds a view contrary to your faith such as abortion, supporter of war etc. but it is rather hard to find a candidate who is line with my religious beliefs completely. I have a hard time believing that its right to throw my support to someone who has a striking difference of opinion on key issues. On the other side I was always taught that participating in elections and other things of that nature was what a good community member did. I'm enjoying reading other people's comments, I'll be checking back for more.

Ryan Schmitz said...

Okay here come one of those Conservatives (AKA Right-wing nut job)...

I grew up in Canada, a country that leans a bit more to the left than the US. There is a visible push, in Canada, for everyone to be tolerant, multicultural, politically correct, a socialist, green, and a pacifist. I understand that to some, a few of these descriptors sound great. But I can honestly say that a lot of the reasoning behind these practices are not based on Christianity at all. They are rooted in Humanism and I'm sorry to report, my birth place is growing further from Christ each year.

I know that nobody wants to read the ramblings of a Christian who is solidly conservative, because it leaves no room for a 'discussion' or a 'journey' or whatever you want to call it, but I vote my ideology. I know that I will be hated for it and scoffed at for it and I will even be call 'stupid' or 'ignorant' for believing what I believe, but that is what's nice about freedom, in this country and even more importantly, in Christ.

Amanda Anastasia said...

You admitted an interesting fact; you've been more active in just this week than in the past 10 years. For most people, that's the way politics filter in and out of their lives. I didn't really find politics all that appropriate in my life until I came to college. The world sorta just opened up for me. Americans have built upon a system that has, for the most part, directly affected their lives on the individual level.
If I revert back to the example Jesus' life has shown us: He walked among the religious leaders of the day, openly challenging the decrees they were handing down to the every day, average citizen. He challened their authority. Some have often used this example as to explain away any need for political involvement (seeing that he didn't openly seek to challenge Roman rule). However, I want to point out that the immediate authority the average citizen was subject to was the church of the day. Fast foward to modern time. Who is directly influencing our society? The church? The government? Who is decreeing devastating authority? Politics are just one dynamic in the sense of a much harder question. Jesus openly challened the authority that was shaming those around him. If we see our neighbors suffering and the church can no longer sufficiently provide (which I believe is where provision should-bud doesn't not always-come from), where else can we go in a Democracy? I'd like to think that looking to the authority that we've help build (or have allowed to be built) is the next step in the direction of change.

Dave Webb said...

um... check out Greg Boyd's blog entitled, "A Call to Christian Anarchy", you can find it over in the links division of this page. I am with Greg.

Adam said...

ryan shcmitz, you can apologize for being a goofy dude, but don't apologize for the way you vote...especially to all these wishy-washy, emergent, relative-truth people. just kidding, but don't apologize.

i really don't know what to say i think politically. on one hand, i see the need for godly people to be making godly decisions for our country...but i also see a system that is set up in such a way as to be almost stagnant in how fast it can actually change society. i feel like politics, while a necessity in a modern society like ours, is probably the least effective way to affect change. on top of that, a change in legislation does not change people's hearts.

if you've got a problem with abortion, give your own time and/or money to a group that works with unwed moms-to-be to help them find alternatives to doing away with their child. if you're so against gay marriage, go make friends with some gay dudes and love them to jesus. if you are worried about world peace and good will, go volunteer for the peace corps or help build a well with blood-water mission or buy from stores that sell free-market goods or go without cable and use that money to take homeless people to lunch or buy toms shoes instead of vans or chuck taylors...things that will help people directly. then, go vote for the guy (or girl) who will allow you to have the most fiscally sound next four years, so that you can afford to give more and do more for other people. (i think i sound almost more idealistic than ryan schmitz.

prove it.

Adam said...

i decided to take the debate over to my website, too.

joe said...

Dave Webb is right. Greg boyd has a great blog post. it is excellent. it would add to this discussion alot. you can find it here:

this is a great topic travis. instead of asking how we vote, we should ask if we should be voting at all.

Daniel Coutz said...

I read Greg Boyd's blog also. I tend to agree with him and find that idea interesting (though I'm still not sure if not voting is right or not)I want to look at some of the books he mentioned in his blog.

Matthew 5:38-48, NASB

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone want to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only you brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."