My one political post

four years ago, during the presidential election, i wrote my one “political” post for the season.  i’ve written a few others through the years, but after i write them, i always tell myself “never again”.

well i’ve gone back on my word again.  but this is it.  no mas.

since the internet and air waves are starting to blow up with opinion overload,  i figured i should get my observations out early, so you all can get on with expressing yours.  here are some things i am thinking as i watch the GOP convention:

i will never let your political opinions affect my relationship to you.  our interaction is based on stuff that is way more important than politics.

i know why i have never run for president or any other position of civic leadership.  apparently, it’s ok for people to gossip, slander, viciously attack, lie, be divisive, call names, insult, accuse, think the worst, disgrace and demean…as long as it’s about a president or presidential hopeful.  my skin is not nearly thick enough.  i hope we don’t start giving people permission to treat pastors this way.  sheesh.

you will never know how i vote.  you may think you do, but you don’t.  i made a decision a long time ago that i would never, ever risk damaging my friendships or my ability to care for people, over something as inconsequential as my personal political opinion.  you can check out my post from four years ago for a deeper explanation, if you’re having trouble sleeping.

i’m not as dumb as i look.  i tend to play really dumb when the subject of politics comes up, but i’m truly not as dumb as i look.  i promise.  i read everything i can find.  i don’t just read stuff that reinforces what i already believe, but i work hard to understand the other side of every issue.   but i don’t do it so i can talk.  i do it so i can listen.  what you think matters to me.

i don’t completely trust any person, news , or information source to give me political truth.  in fact, these days there’s really nobody i trust to give unbiased or uninfluenced fact.   even the people and sources that i have trusted in the past have been sucked into the battlefield of half-truths and telling people what they want them to know.  “christian” sources are some of the worst offenders.  it embarrasses me.

i have a fundamental problem with the bill of rights and the constitution.  just hear me out.  it’s a personal thing.  i believe…with my whole heart…that all the “rights” and “opportunities” i’m told i deserve as a citizen of the united states have been patently redefined by my relationship to jesus.  in my redemption, i forfeited all my “rights”.  i am first and foremost a citizen of the kingdom…and in that kingdom, i have no “rights”.  i am a servant of the king.  my role and responsibility in the kingdom of god always trumps my “rights” as a citizen of this great country.  and that will always create tension for me.

people disagree.  but just because we disagree, it doesn’t make you ignorant.  and i wish how you interact with me didn’t insinuate that i am an imbecile because i can’t see what you see.   i want that respect from pentecostals, calvinists, democrats, republicans, and dodger fans.   and you deserve it from me.

i know what the bible says regarding this whole political mess we find ourselves in.  these words only apply to people who claim to follow jesus and submit themselves to the authority of the holy writings.  all of the rest of you are off the hook:

  • pray.  in 1 timothy 2:1-2,  paul writes

First, I want all of you to pray for everyone. Ask God to bless them. Give thanks for them.  Pray for kings. Pray for all who are in authority. Pray that we will live peaceful and quiet lives. And pray that we will be godly and holy.

citizens of the kingdom are held to a different standard than the rest of society.  as americans, we have the freedom to say whatever we want.  as slaves of christ, we have the command to pray for our leaders and to live in quietness and peace.  will you spend as much time praying for mitt romney, as you do criticizing him?  have you asked god to bless president obama and expressed your thanks to god for his service to this country…with the same passion that you have called his politics into question?  if you haven’t, you are simply disobedient to the one who has given you grace and mercy that you don’t deserve.  think about it.

  • live by a higher standard.  a simple paraphrase of 1 peter 2:17 is this:

Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by disobeying Him.  Treat everyone you meet with dignity.  Love your spiritual family.  Revere God.  Respect governing authorities.

don’t make a mockery of god by thinking, acting, or talking in a way that is contrary to the character and personality of jesus.  even though you have the freedom to do it…and the promise of forgiveness when you act in disobedience.  no matter what…whether a person “deserves” it or not…the kingdom citizen treats every person with dignity and absolute respect.  anything short of that tarnishes the reputation of the king and the kingdom.

in this political season, be wise…be diligent…be involved…and be committed to your principles and what you believe to be true and righteous for the good of our country.

but more than that, be humble…be gracious…be loving…be peacemakers…and be christlike in every way.

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6 thoughts on “My one political post

  1. I follow politics like most people follow football. If there is one thing I hate its how civil discourse has fallen by the wayside. I have friends who are staunch conservatives and friends who are just as staunchly liberal. I have fundamental disagreements with both sides. I don’t “fit” in a political party and for that I have been derided many times by people simply because I don’t think the way they do.

    When I was growing up, people from different political stripes could talk and disagree. Maybe if someone was lunatic fringe we might shake our head in dismay once they had left for home. I miss the days when it was ok to disagree and compromise wasn’t a dirty word.

    I’ve prayed for every president. I don’t want them to fail. When the president fails we all suffer. I just hope the American people can start looking past partisanship and start picking our leaders, at all levels, based on something more than a “D” or “R” behind their name.

  2. This topic is more volatile than the comparison between the fisherman and the businessman. I will offer one observation quoting a portion of your post: “have you asked god to bless president obama and expressed your thanks to god for his service to this country?” This president has not served our country. This president has used his office to serve himself and his friends. He has been a disgrace to both our country and the office of the presidency.

    On an unrelated note – Yes, we should get together again sometime. It was much easier when we went to the same baseball games.

    1. man, i’m so sorry you perceived my post on the fisherman and the businessman as something potentially volatile. that was not my intention at all! it was simply meant as encouragement for my church family to “live in the now”. there was no socio-political hidden agenda. i just saw it as a creative contrast. i will be more careful.

      as for today’s post, i definitely realize the most potentially divisive and volatile agenda facing the church in america is the passion that church members bring to the table of political opinions. your assessment of the president’s character, motive and performance is one that is shared by hundreds of thousands (probably millions) of american citizens. but if statistics are to be believed (and the vote later this year will tell us), there are hundreds of thousands (and perhaps, millions) of american citizens that disagree with your position. and each side believes their position is right. and the other side is wrong. very wrong.

      my role in the drama is to figure out how to shepherd both sets of people who share the same communion juice and sing the same songs of praise with each other every week. no small task. it’s why i treat people the way i do. it’s why i write the way i do. and it’s why i approach the political dialogue the way i do.

      it makes me a little sad that, for you, the highlight of my post was the “wrongness” of my assessment of the president’s “service” to our country. i thought there was so much more there of greater importance. but that’s definitely your “right” as a reader of my blog! as a fellow citizen of the kingdom, though, i hope the depth of your disdain for the president has fueled your prayers for him and his leadership…as well as your gratitude to god for permitting (or appointing, depending on your theology) him to be the commander-in-chief of our country. those passages seem very clear. to me, at least.

      god’s ways are certainly higher than our ways! thanks for being a good enough friend to challenge my thinking.

      1. My prayers for Mr. Obama is that his leadership is limited to 1 term of office. 🙂 God gives nations the leadership it deserves. I’m no student of Old Testament Israel Kings, but there were far more bad kings for Israel than there were good kings. One listing of Kings for Israel and Judah: http://www.gotquestions.org/kings-Israel-Judah.html

        Mike, I’m not trying to be a troll. I deeply value our friendship and would never try to disparage your published work. I read you often, and comment very rarely. I guess you just struck a nerve.

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