- Religion and Philosophy
I Am Centered In Christ, The Politics of My Faith
This writing has been heavy on my heart for some time now, months actually. It goes back to before the elections of Nov 2010, it began even before I had my heart attack on Labor Day. It wasn't quite "ready" at that point, but all of my "down time" allowed me to really get into Gods Word & Prayer and to fully "get" what God was laying on my heart and changing within my heart, mind & spirit.
It was roughly ready to be written 2 or 3 days before the election(s), but I hesitated, this was for a couple of reasons. #1) I wanted to get the wording right, #2) I didn't want it to be to long, and lastly #3) I "fear" how some are going to take or perceive it. This 3rd reason has caused the greatest delay, why? I don't fully know. I should seek only to please God, yet I think we all look for acceptance of some sort by people, especially "friends". Also I can see some arguements against this writing from the left and right. Yet, this is what God has laid on MY heart, what He has asked of "me". By no means am I saying that everyone (or anyone for that matter) should feel this way. So why even write it? Well, I asked myself that too and all I got was it's a burden on my heart and I feel like God is asking me to for what or who ever, so here is "Centered In Christ."
As God was working on my heart & mind I had a 2 week period or so where it seemed that every Bible reading or study that I did had the term(s) "Not looking / turning to the right or the left". I honestly don't know how many different times that phrase or a variant of it appears in the Bible, but I'm sure I saw everyone of them - some more than once. It was a constant and I knew in my heart that God was trying to tell me something.
Now I know, and I'm sure many of you will point out, that isn't what was meant when the phrases were originally used - I know. Surely God was using them to drive home a point (to me anyway). We as a people become consumed with many things in this world, most are meaningless in the eternal scheme (sports, music, movies & hobbies). Yet some how be it left or right leaning Christians we all to often see politics as some form of "service to God in Christ". Far to often we'll fall in behind a canidate or politician based on their stance / belief (mere words) only to be let down.
Then comes the "big" question / arguement - are we and were we ever truly a Christian nation? My thought is kind of / sort of - theres no denying it in much of our founding, from writings / inscriptions on monuments of old, the 10 Commandments in most (if not all - at one time) public & Gov't offices etc. At the very least we had the freedom to be Christian and the basic premise of Christianity was the foundational ground work for much of the nation.
Where we are today is being told that we can't "force" these basic moral principles on anyone - and sadly many have abused the Christian doctrine for their own agenda, hence fueling much of the distaste for Christianity. Many on the right claim a moral superiority (not a Christian principal BTW) for life, but often don't want to spend the money to feed, clothe or house it. Then there are those on the left that while fighting any form of "Christian" morality, claim that as a Christian nation we should take from the rich and give it to the poor. Theft isn't a Christian value either.
I don't believe any of the above was ever Christs intent, nor Gods for that matter. It's always been "free will", but there are penalties for the choices we make with our free will, sometimes the penalties come quick, some times later. They will surely be assessed when we answer for our lives actions. All of the giving and selling of all possessions and giving as each had need was done as a voluntary action as the Spirit moved hearts, there was never forced or legislated "giving" - also, it only applied to believers & followers of Jesus Christ, it was never a national mandate. If we are to be a Christian nation it's got to be all out 100% (and that isn't going to happen) because far to many want "ala cart christianity". it doesn't work that way, it's not a pick & choose buffet. This is why it's a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that we answer for, the corporate or "community" aspect can only come through a Church - not Gov't entity.
It almost seems unfortunate that the "Church" and Christians in general aren't persecuted in America today, Why? Well, the "Church" as a whole, all to often, seems to have become comfortable, lazy and self-serving. However, we'll answer for those actions and shouldn't be legislated otherwise. Part of what America was founded on was the Gov't NOT controlling the Church, thats what our anscestors escaped. But, why shouldn't the Gov't of a purported "Christian" nation have more say? Well, I think because the Gov't has become it's own "evil entity". One can argue for the left or right, but the truth is in the last 50 years our country has gone down hill, the Gov't has continually gotten bigger as has the deficet. The "power" has been divided just about 50/50 in that time, making both parties responsible. Politics by politicians, a Gov't that no longer represents "we the people", instead it serves it's own best interests. Sadly I don't see this changing.
Centered In Christ!
This is why and where I come to "Centered In Christ" my Christianity has nothing to do with politics. If I moved to another country tomorrow and became a citizen there, I'd still be a Christian, but no longer an American. My Christianity is eternal, my nationality is temporal. Please don't misunderstand, I am proud and thankful to be an American and I still vote (for now). However I find it very hard to apply my Christian values, feelings and opinions to voting and have to default to merely what I think is best for America as I don't feel "true" Christian values are represented in Gov't. it seems to often we choose between the "lesser of two evils" - ugh, not very Christian.
This writing can easily be torn apart from either a left or right standpoint, if one so desired they could likely even tear it from a Biblical standpoint. I thought and Prayed long and hard about loading this writing with scripture references, and was led not to. It would only start a "holy war" of dueling scriptures, many likely being used out of context. However, I do feel the point must be made that going back to the time of Jesus Ministry (& before) everyone thought He would come in a Kingship or political ruling to "set the world straight", as we all know, this wasn't the case. Jesus was all about personal relationships, teaching and evangelism. There was no attempt to "control or rule" through Gov't, or even controlling religious powers. Sadly power (and often money as well) corrupt. We've seen that we can't legislate morality, tolerance or genuine acceptance, love, care or concern. Instead of trying to change a failing Gov't to change a country we need to be doing our job as Christians, bringing the message of Christ (in both word & deed) to the individual.
Where Is Our Heart & Time?
I "think" if many of us spent the time being a Christian that we spend being political or campaining, we'd change the country in no time at all. Look at the impact that 11 or 12 guys had on the known world when they trusted and obeyed Christ. Once again I'm saying this is what God has put on "my" heart, mind & spirit. He may call you in a different way, BUT, you need to be Prayerful and honest with God and youself, what your doing for God what He called you to do, or what you want to do. This was a very difficult and uncomfortable change for me, some of what it took for me to come to this point is a whole other writing. Ask youself though, do you spend more time listening to political "pundits" and news than you do listening to God, speaking to God, Praying and reading His Word? If we are Christians that should be our "primary", everything else becomes secondary at best.
Often we do what were good at and we'll apply that to our "God works" as well. However throughout scripture God uses people OUT of their element, and often out of their comfort zone. When we aren't where our strength lies and we succeed, He is more glorified, to God be the glory. We need to be truly and fully obedient to Him, He may call us to give all and everything, we may even be asked to put a given Ministry or mission ahead of our own famly. Just think, if Paul hadn't been obedient to God in christs calling... look at how far Paul came from what he initially believed to his faith and belief in Christ and then all he suffered and endured for the cause of Christ. Are we as obedient and willingas Paul was? Are we willing to give EVERYTHING for even one soul?
Rep's & Dem's Godly?
I've heard the saying for many years now, "I don't know how you can be a Christian and a Democrat / Republican". I've now come to think that they may both be right. Why do we feel that we need to define ourselves beyond Christ? Politics is so VERY dividing, yet, within the body of Christ were supposed to be unified. I can't see politics being as important to Christ as we make it out to be, especially the way it divides Christians. I strongly doubt Jesus would be registered to any political party, I honestly don't think He would even vote. Remember, He wasn't an American either. I can see / hear Him saying something along the line of "rend to Caeser what is Caesers" and "eternal and spiritual supercede temporal and political". If were called to "like Christ" (hence Christlike) I believe this is something we need to look at very closely, honestly and Prayerfully.I'm pretty sure when we get to Heaven we won't be asked for our voter registration card OR our party affiliation.
No matter who is in power, no matter what the rules & laws are, no matter where I live, work or end up on this earth I'm a Christian. Nationality doesn't matter, skin color has no bearing, my gender makes no difference, I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord & Saviour, by His mercy & grace I am forgiven & redeemed. I am first & foremost a Christian, everything else becomes secondary as God in Christ must take 1st place in my heart, mind & life. Even things that "seem" so very important are moot & secondary and if I fail to acknowledge or recognize that I've lost my way.
Sorry this was so long, I tried to condense, but there was much to cover. I hope you enjoyed the read and found it at least "thought provoking". Thank you and God Bless
We must obey God rather than men ~ Acts 5:29
PS - Maybe it's time we get away from all the "isms" that we hold so dear, capitalism, socialism, conservatism, liberalism, etc... I think I know how Paul felt (sort of) to believe in something so deeply and strongly, to then have God just pound you and open your eyes to a very different view. Christianity isn't a left or right issue, well it shouldn't be, I truly believe that we should be "Centered In Christ".