Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Someone I love once told me it's not smart to talk about religion or politics. I have taken to heart half of that advice. I talk about religion religiously. But I never feel quite right about showing my cards politically. What I find more and more, is that I really have very little in the way of a passionate leaning to share. I woke up this morning feeling, frankly, under-represented. But I would have felt this way no matter who had won last night's election. Because what I hunger for in the way of leadership is someone who will affirm the things that echo my faith. The things that help marriages and families knit together. Things that promote gentility and kindness.
So, as I caught myself kind of wistfully sighing this morning... I had to do a "reality check" with Scripture.
1. The role of government.
In truth, no living man or woman or physical entity or institution can be the image of God in our lives. Our nation is founded on principles that honor God but clearly separate Church and State. This has biblical precedent. In the New Testament, the followers of Christ were also citizens under secular rule and bound to submit to the governing body. (Romans 13). They had an ultimate moral authority and a day-to-day governing authority. Scripture reveals the philosophy of government is to maintain justice (1 Peter 2:13-14)--that is, to praise good (e.g., tax deductions for benevolence) and punish evil (Genesis 9:6, Romans 13:4). So, whether you rejoice this morning in the election of Obama or mourn the loss of McCain (or maybe you are simply too fed up to care), you have gained or lost nothing with respect to a personal relationship with the ultimate victor, Jesus Christ.
2. We are not powerless.
Friends from my Bible study group clued me into what's shaking on some of the prime time television shows we never watch. Prime time for us is get-the-kids-ready-for-bed madness, so we tend to catch a bit of news and call it a night. I like to think I'm pretty current on some aspects of culture, but I had to practically pick my jaw up off the floor as friends described some recent plot lines from Gray's Anatomy. It left me with a sick feeling for my children and their future. In my mind, I went straight to the presidential election and wondered who would be best able to lift the manhole cover off the sewer for us. But here's the thing. At some point, we have to realize that we all have a role to play in breaking society's fall (recognizing that there will come a time in the grand metannarative where the fall will be precipitous and irrevocable for some) . We can grumble and gripe about things, or we can avow to make a difference in the communities where we live and work. The starting point for the type of grassroots activism is not with a single human leader or with our own muscle mass, but with the indefatigable power and might of the Holy Spirit.
3. Prayers of the righteous.
I've heard so many people talk about how hard they've been praying over this election. But now it's time to shift the focus. We need to be praying for our new leaders, God's hand on their shoulders, and that His will be done through them. But here's the thing. I can pray until I'm blue in the face, but if I am simmering in unconfessed sin (1 John 1:9) and living hypocritically, I have broken fellowship with the One who can turn the tide. Do you want to make a difference through prayer on behalf of others and the nation? Then join me today in taking an honest look inward and acknowledging before God where our own houses need cleaning.
4. You can move and groove.
I know of people who are doing some pretty amazing things at the local level, including a woman who is leading a group of prayer walkers through a local mall to appeal to the vendors to pull down the seedy posters hanging in storefront windows. This is the kind of "spark" that has the potential to ignite a "fire." Do you see an area of need in your community? Get involved! Don't wait for a committee or an organization to tell you what to do. Ask God to give you direction and go after it!
5. The Bottom Line.
Are you stressed out or anxious? Read Psalm 46:1 and rest in the security of the One who is really and truly in control.
(Photo by BohPhoto... click here for restrictions.)
On my iPod... just kind of hanging out waiting for David Cook at this point...