Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Christian in the Political Environment

Chris and I attended a small group session sponsored by our church last night where the topic of discussion focused upon Christians and politics. This entry is my personal (not the group nor the church's) view and take on what we discussed.

As you might suspect, the basis for the discussion centered upon Romans 13:1-7, where Paul reminds that God institutes governments and that we are to respect the governments God institutes by being in subjection and paying taxes.

But as Christians, what are we supposed to do? Be activists in politics or withdraw and be the best Christ followers that we can be? The Amish come to mind as an example of those who have chosen to withdraw.

If governments and leaders are instituted by God, then why bother to vote? God's got it in control! No matter whether Obama or McCain are elected, it is God's plan. (And that is more reassuring than you might think)

But wait! The expectation in the United States is that this country is "Of the People and For the People." We the People are the government. As Christians living to be subject to the government we have to accept this call and be involved--because if you read Romans again it is telling us not to resist authority and then by extension--we are resisting authority by not being involved in the government.

How can Christians be involved? The are many ways to be involved and they do not all require fanatical policital activism.

At the most basic level--be an informed voter and vote. On election day fall on your knees and ask God to guide your vote. This is the means through which God implements our Government--through us: We the People.

Live every day as a Christ follower. In that way you will affect others and potentially their votes and involvement in the government. Be a Christ follower first and foremost.

Then there is the extreme level--be actively involved in government and elections. Not everyone is called to do this, but some are. Be careful not to appear to be imposing your personal will on the system--because non-Christians are really good at identifying what Christians are against--but have a poorer grasp on what we are for. Personally, I'm a huge fan of eternal life.

We, Christians, need to do a better job helping non-Christians understand what we are for and what we believe and I will tell you it is certainly not a laundry list of "Thou shalt nots."

Be compassionate, respect others and understand that even as Christians we have different takes and views and that we are not carbon copies of each other. How boring would that be?

Being a Christian in the political environment is an important task that God gives each of us to, but we bring different talents and gifts. The only absolute about the task is that each of us as resident of the United States, are absolutely expected to be involved and as a minimum vote.

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