Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Dear Stampeding Herd,

Somewhere along the line about 9 years ago, I came to a realization. I was being sold a lie. I was being fed fear and guilt. The American church had whispered in my ear and I was close to following it down a wide and dangerous path. The lie was complex and multifaceted, but it went something like this:

"You belong to a country that God loves more than any other of all the nations on earth. He loves this country, a new, even better Israel, because it has always been a ‘Christian nation.’ It is your responsibility as a follower of Jesus to be political, to vote Republican (other versions of this lie would say Democrat), and to make sure that the churches maintain power. It is only through that political power, through the legislation, the courts, and the government, that we can ensure that the country remain ‘Christian.’”

The “Moral Majority” that started this way of thinking had forgotten some key truths. These truths need to be remembered, especially if we want to stay on track as believers, following Jesus.

1. God is in control. He is not thwarted by supposed inaction of His people. He ordains governments. He has allowed kings, dictators, Caesars, and presidents to rise to power, always according to His plan. If you think God did not want Obama in office for this time to the glory of His purposes, then you have some messed up theology. If you think the next president of the United States will be a surprise for God, or will not be exactly who He wants there then you are not thinking of the same God as described in the Bible.

2. We are never promised a world in which we and our ideas about life will be the norm. In fact, we are told that we will be hated in the world due to our allegiance to Jesus. We need to expect a certain estrangement and rejection from culture. If we find we are in control and in a country where everyone agrees with our way of thinking, it ought to scare us. Because when that is the case, we are either on the side of sinners or Pharisees, and we do not want to be in either of those camps.

3. We have wasted the better part of four decades trying to maintain cultural standards through politics and legislation while the real cultural-shapers have been laughing at our efforts and been changing the hearts of the masses through more effective means. We have been in bed, always with the “lesser of two evils” but nevertheless with evil. Instead of pouring time and money into political machines, we should have been shaping the world as Jesus commanded: through relationships, stories, and genuine love towards everyone around us.

So, as you feel fret and fear creeping up in this political season, stop. Trust the One who is in control to work everything out right. Maybe not for this temporal nation, but for His plan and His glory. Laugh at how silly it all is. If you feel like you must, vote, but by all means don’t choose one “lesser” evil over another. Vote for someone you can really back 100%. Even if that means writing in the name of someone who would never really run (a quality that should top the list of any presidential candidate worth their salt) or for no one at all. Despite what other lies try to tell you, one vote doesn’t make a difference in our system. Especially when you think that the whole thing is in complete control outside our hands.

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