I posted this last week but the WordPress analytics tell me not enough of you took a gander. So with the polls closing soon here’s some pastoral, Kingdom-focused wisdom from yours truly….
Every now and then I flirt with the belief that Christians should opt out of campaigns and elections, let the chads and voting booths, the empty soundbites and inane talking points lie fallow for a season.
It’s not that I don’t think certain issues are important. It’s not that I don’t think Christians should be engaged in the concerns of their given context. It’s that I suspect a mass Christian opt-out on Election Day might be a helpful and cleansing reminder to our politicians that A) the means by which they engage political conversation couldn’t be more divergent from our faith convictions and B) the notion that the teachings of Jesus fit perfectly into either party is what the Church has usually referred to as heresy.
After all, issues and elections may be important, but only Jesus will bring the Kingdom and Jesus’ plan to heal the world is neither the Democratic or Republican platform but the Church. The extent to which that notion scares you or strikes you as naive exposes both Jesus’ unreasonableness and your own lack of faith.
Every election year when well-meaning Christians either ask me voting advice or just post their silliness about ‘voting the bible’ on Facebook, I’m reminded of Martin Luther’s maxim that he’d rather have an effective pagan leader than an incompetent Christian at the reins of government.
When it comes to me, I’ve got conservative Tea Party types convinced I go to sleep at night beneath a portrait of Che, Mao and Jesus arm-in-arm. And I’ve got liberal Democrats who think I’m raging right-to-lifer. There are military folks who think I’m a Mennonite in name only and left-leaning activists who think my reluctance to believe in ‘rights’ language is proof I’m a backwards fascist.
Without trying to sound self-congratulatory, such ambiguity makes me, I think, a Christian. Or at the very least, a pastor.
As examples like Pope Benedict and Archbishop Rowan Williams point out, Christian convictions do not easily lend themselves to party affiliation despite those parties’ drooling eagerness to adopt ‘God language’ into their platforms.
Which is to say, as a follower of Jesus, you shouldn’t really care for whom I vote just as I, frankly, do not care for whom you do.
As Jesus might say, ‘render unto Caesar …’ or maybe he would say…’the law and the prophets do not hang on…’ or maybe he would say…’put away the sword…’ or how about ‘the Kingdom of God is like a tiny-not-as-significant-as-your-paid-advertising-mustard seed…or might he warn ‘you cannot serve God and Mammon…’?
This screed was prompted and brought to you by Jonathan Martin’s Election Day Communion meme: