a different way

Let me clarify a thing or two about what I am saying and NOT saying in the last post and subsequent comments:

I am not saying that people of faith do  not have an obligation to speak prophetically to and about the evil power systems of this world.  The last blog post, in a small way, does just that.

What I AM saying is that for people of faith to then go and dive headlong into that same corrupt political system is, in my opinion, a conflict of interest.  This is why non-Christians looked in disgust on the Moral Majority as they sought (and still seek, to some extent) to transform America through right-wing political legislation.  This is why some are beginning to attach the label “Religious Left” to people / groups of faith on the other end of the spectrum whose issues are different but whose tactics seem frighteningly similar.

What if people of faith stood up and said, “The system is broken, and we place no hope in it. We conscientiously object to participating in a process that seeks to do the same things over and over and expects different results. Our king is Jesus.  Our guide is the Holy Spirit.  Our judge is God”?

We preach a different way in every other arena of life, but why do so many people of faith become incensed when someone suggests that this extends to the political arena?

What if the church acted like the church with respect to issues of justice and mercy?


10 responses to this post.

  1. Steve,

    I tried to send you an email earlier this week but it just bounced back as undeliverable. Email me back…thanks!


  2. Posted by thepriesthood on February 1, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    I like the direction you’re thinking. I see some Lipscomb in there, and some Jesus. I’ve never attempted to faithfully navigate the political waters until now. After getting messianically caught up in following Obama’s campaign, I’ve for the first time dabbled in political discussion and thought. And I’ve been thinking, Jesus preached the kingdom of god, which is a political message, so Jesus was political. I have probably been reading that into Jesus’ ministry–he was quite subversive to the Empire, but in a quiet, underground kind of way, it seems. So perhaps Jesus wasn’t a political participant, beyond rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s.

    Anyway, I see where you’re coming from and thanks for sharing. I’m giving it some thought. But I’ll still probably cast a vote for Obama…


  3. i’m with you! i agree with your point precisely…

    but i reserve the right to embrace an enigmatic approach when the spirit moves me




  4. Posted by smhjr on February 2, 2008 at 4:41 am

    Love you guys!


  5. excellent thoughts


  6. What if people of faith stood up and said, “The system is broken, and we place no hope in it…”

    I guess then you don’t have any more Ghandis or Martin Luther King Jrs., or they all have to come from outside the church.

    A democratic system is a tool that can be used for good things or bad things. The basic bad thing about the religious right is that they want to impose their own religious law on the nation, and in a secular state, laws must be about human rights, not about religious morals. So rather than following the example of historical evangelicals and working within the system for things like women’s suffrage and the abolition of slavery, the religious right seeks to turn the entire system into a theocracy where they reign supreme because their idea of God reigns supreme.

    There’s a difference between working within the democratic system to pursue justice, and trying to create a theocracy. Christians (like Obama) should attempt the first, and respect other people enough not to attempt the second.


  7. Posted by osipov on February 4, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Matthew, you say the religious right attempts to impose their agenda on the nation. I’ll go you one further: it seems they attempt to impose their agenda on the world.


  8. Matthew,

    Is it not possible that the religious left, ie Sojourners, Larry James, etc are doing the same thing the religious right is doing, just with different ideology?


  9. I totally with you about King Jesus. Yet I was drawn in, first, by the Obama dude, and then by Ron Paul, oddly enough, to the campaign. I even voted in TN’s primaries and wore a Ron Paul t-shirt. Ron Paul may not preach King Jesus, but he really tells it like it is. He many not ever enter the “archy” of our Presidential office because of his truth-telling habits, but he will have more influence in a movement, like MLK, Gandhi, and others. Ultimately, I don’t take the vote too seriously–God has the last laugh. I vote, but don’t feel obligated to do so. Perhaps it’s an enigma.


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