Democrats, Republicans, and this thing called the Gospel.
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” C.S. Lewis
Substitute “devils” for “politics” and I find this Lewis quote pretty well sums up most Christians’ response to political engagement: they are either way too involved and think electing the right people will make America a Christian nation, or they just try to ignore the glorified mud wrestling that is political life in our somewhat United States. But just as Lewis calls us to a balanced view of the devils, so we must take a balanced view of political life, and this year’s elections presents a unique opportunity for Christians to reflect on where we stand in relation to the governments of this world.
Jesus has called us to love our neighbors, and in a democratic republic such as ours that means we need to recognize that our political engagement is an act of love and service. Since our government rests on our consent, we do not have the option of ignoring political life. Our involvement can be good or it can be poor, but it cannot be non-existent. Yet, most of us are pretty jaded by what we see in the broader culture and by the examples of Christian political engagement that don’t look all that different.
Most churches have either been way too interested in politics or have shied away from it altogether, but the Body of Christ must recognize that it its Gospel is a radical political message: We call all men and women to recognize that Jesus is Lord and his Kingdom is come. Therefore, we are doubly engaged as citizens of this world and of the one to come.
On October 15, from 9am – 12am, I’ll be leading short seminar on political theology that has grown out of several years of my own reflection on how we as Christians can think and act biblically in the public sphere. It is open to those who love politics and those who hate it, those with any party affiliation and those with none. It is an opportunity for us to come together and see what the Scriptures have to say on the role of government in this life, and how we can build a framework to serve Christ in this topsy-turvy system of ours. We will explore how Christians throughout history have sought to live faithfully in a variety of political contexts, and what lessons we may take from them. No one will tell you how to vote, and the only goal is for us to learn how to think and live in a more biblical and less worldly way.
I know discussing politics on a Saturday morning may sound as pleasant as bamboo splinters under your fingernails, but this course will be nothing more nor less than an exploration of how to better serve King Jesus. You probably won’t learn to love politics, and you probably won’t have a clearer idea of what to do in the voting booth this November, but hopefully you’ll be a little less freaked out.
All Hail King Jesus!