Mar 302016
 

flag_and_Bible-300x199Several weeks back I wrote about how I hate politics.

Yet I seemingly find myself addressing them in one fashion or another.

Maybe I am a glutton for punishment.

 

This election season is very difficult to ignore with the constant and prominent news on the subject along with the proliferation on social media like we’ve never seen before. Perhaps I, too, need to take a vacation from media.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the concerns of taking our country back for God and the “Christianity” of America.

I suppose when I finish writing here, many of my conclusions will be the same. Consummated in the fact that our ultimate hope and assurance is in God, not our country.

But I do have concerns for America.

I do love my country and I am troubled about its future. America has been gifted with much material wealth and prosperity and the freedoms to live life mostly as one chooses and desires, at least relative to many other cultures and times. Many great things have been accomplished by many great people in this nation, both individual achievements and collective achievements. The land itself is just so beautiful and magnificent. Maybe others know better, but I do not know of any other country that has such a diverse majesty of landscapes and natural wonders.

In addition, when one studies world history, I would think one would be hard-pressed to find another nation or empire that has wielded as great of power and has been more gracious and generous with it and abused it less than has the United States of America. Yes, there are some ugly black marks in our country’s history. I am not ignorant of them. Some I wrote about in my previous article. But again, this study is all relative. Compared to all the great powers in our world’s history, it is hard to find one who was/is better than America in these regards overall.

I don’t want to see my country lose these things. I don’t want to see it go downhill. I don’t want America to become impoverished. I don’t want Christians to someday have to choose between their faith or going to jail. I don’t want it to become a moral morass. Where one “will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” (Sorry, Stars Wars moment.) Not so much for myself, but for my children. And for their children. I sometimes shudder to think what society may be like for them.

In many ways, it is probably inevitable. World history tells us as much. America as a prosperous world power will only last so long. The interconnectedness of our global society today adds even further challenges. Many signs point towards the vulnerability of our country.

This current election season really makes me concerned. The two leading candidates to become our next president truly make me question the mindset of the people of this nation. One is a man who leads with ridicule and vulgarity and disrespect and has a life full of all sorts of immoral behavior that he is proud of it in many ways. The other is a woman whose life and career is jam packed with lies and cover-ups and scandals. A woman who has consistently done and said whatever she believes she has to in order to gain political power and position and cover with no regard for those she needs to step on to do so.

Now, I usually have misgivings around just about any political candidate and rarely get excited about any one of them. They all have their issues. But these two are an extreme. Is this really the best we can do? Are we really saying that we’re okay with people of this character leading our country? A person’s character is not the only qualification for the presidency. But it should mean something. Shouldn’t it?

Once again I am brought to the understanding that our hope is not in this world. That we are not guaranteed to live comfortable lives. That we can expect trials and tribulations and persecution. We have been fortunate to live in a country with relatively good wealth and freedoms and standards. Spoiled in many ways. It may not always stay that way. I just wish it could. Not just for myself, but all the more so for my children and their children and their children’s children and all there after.

But our hope is in the living God.

Our hope is in the salvation He grants us and in knowing that someday He is going to set all things right and make all things new.

Lord, help us to stay centered on you who is eternal, and in living our lives in the way you would have us to, not on the conditions of this world which are only temporal.

  31 Responses to “KevinH: On Faith and Politics”

  1. This was well said.
    History shows that all empires deteriorate and fall.
    The church never will.
    My primary citizenship is in the kingdom of God and it is there that I place all my hopes.

  2. We might as well forget about politics and concentrate on Kingdom life because things in this country have deteriorated to the point that we must choose from:

    1. Trump, who I believe is an antichrist
    2. Cruz, who seems like a shark to me..
    3. Kasich, a nice man but hopeless
    4. Hillary, a thoroughly unpleasant person, also an antichrist, IMO
    5. Bernie, a likable commie.

    I can’t, in good conscience, vote for any of them except Kasich and him only because he’s a kind-hearted man who actually behaves like a Christian. I don’t really think he’d make a good president in today’s world.

    So really, none of the above.

    I watch the news and debates because of my fascination with history and I believe we are possibly at a turning point in America.

    Last night Trump said that he’d have all the delegates he needed if it weren’t for the existence of other candidates. “It’s not fair,” he pouted.

  3. I understand the longing for the day when all things are set right.

    That isn’t our present situation. We have much to reckon with NOW. Just because it is hard, the candidates are lousy, the complications deep and jagged doesn’t mean christians collectively throw up our hands and whine ‘come quickly Lord.’ We need to pull up our big-Jesus panties and start figuring out how to live like The Church and stop playing it. If we love our nation as we profess, the best thing we can do for it is follow Christ fully. Our entanglement with politics has compromised our message and credibility.

  4. I amen Xenia and her application to history.

    “Our entanglement with politics has compromised our message and credibility.”
    I amen that loudly as well.

  5. Wow. Kevin, were you rummaging around in my brain?

    Thanks for putting clarifying words to my recent thoughts.

    I tip my hat to you, sir!

  6. Xenia,

    I am pretty much in the same boat in how I view the candidates and the voting dilemma.

  7. I come at it from a different angle. I believe it’s a Christian’s civic duty to vote. I agree the candidates this election are less than desirable, and that’s being kind about it, but one of them is going to be our next president. I do understand if a Christian truly believes that it goes against their conscience. But I feel it’s a fine line. Democracy only works if the people participate in it. Plus, I think of those who have fought and even died for our right to vote.

  8. fil,

    “If we love our nation as we profess, the best thing we can do for it is follow Christ fully. Our entanglement with politics has compromised our message and credibility.”

    As a baseline, I don’t think there is anything wrong with Christians being involved in politics. In some aspects, it can even be a good thing. But when we compromise on being Christ-like during our involvement, this becomes a problem. Thus the compromising of our message and credibility which has happened far too often.

  9. Cash, I would love to agree with you but I think our democracy is already broken and my voting for someone who goes completely against my beliefs will not save it.

  10. Piney,

    If I were rummaging around in your brain, would I get sticky from the pineapple juice?

  11. Plus, there is the supernatural aspect.

    Rather than voting for a loathsome candidate in a strategic effort to thwart an even more loathsome candidate, I prefer to follow my conscience. If all us Christians followed our consciences maybe God will have mercy on us.

  12. Xenia,

    I understand your point if you feel like it’s broken beyond repair already. But how do we fix anything if we aren’t involved in any way? Please understand I am not arguing for you to change your mind, I’m just asking questions.

  13. Cash, I don’t intend to argue the point, but I see no Christian mandate to vote. I see a civic duty to vote as a citizen, but not as a Christian. Biblically, I render to Ceasar what belongs, I obey the laws of the land, I’m a peaceful citizen. If I choose not to vote, I’m willing to answer for that as a citizen, but not as part of a christian obligation. Too many times, church leadership has appealed to the membership not only to vote, but for whom to vote. We have been hoodwinked into thinking our votes will translate into a more Christian society. As we are salt & light, that will happen.

  14. Excellent and reasoned post, Kevin
    the morning news today included a report on other countries buying up our crop land and shipping the produce back home to their people and their livestock, too … Saudi Arabia is literally using up the aquifer along the California Arizona state line to water close to 100,000 acres of land they’ve purchased to grow alfalfa for their dairy cattle – THEIR cattle – the news item claims that this is being done by foreign enterprises all over this nation’s farmable lands… my point is that our government is neither of or by the people anymore… and most certainly not for the people (of this country)
    also, recently, i was struck by the silliness of a population that lights candles and puts flowers and teddy bears on the pavement when an atrocity such as Brussels just experienced… if that sounds harsh, i apologize… but if i’m blown up by a terrorist, i’d rather that it made someone mad – i don’t want bouquets wilting on pavement as a cleansing for your soul
    well, sorry for the pontification – every comment posted above this one of mine is full of wisdom – good and true in one aspect or another … amen

  15. fil,

    An interesting distinction indeed. However, as a Christian in everything we do, we do as a Christian. Or what we don’t do. That’s how I understand it anyway.

  16. KevinH,
    no qualms about a Christian participating in politics as we have the liberty, civically and in Christ, to do so. I have several friends who are believers and hold office at the city, county, and state level. I am supportive of their participation. To make participation normative is inappropriate, in my view.

  17. Cash–to clarify, there is no such thing as ‘the’ christian position on a vote for a candidate, measure, or law. Christians vote, but ‘the evangelical vote’ is ficticious. Look at history–white christians voted differently than black christians, mainline denominations voted differently than fundies, westerners different than easterners than mid-westerners. “A” christian position is merely mythology.

  18. I think things are pretty good compared to our past – we are no longer slave holders and we are not fighting a 4-5 yr bloody civil war.

    Although the welfare state has tilted too far, at least we make the attempt to care for the downtrodden. Even Obamacare (it doesn’t matter your opinion) the people (the government are at least concerned that healthcare is applied to those who need it.

    Everyone needs to turn off the TV – figure out life on your own

  19. “Everyone needs to turn off the TV – figure out life on your own”
    MLD, you obviously prefer to lounge in the deck chairs and let the crew run the ship of state… probably wise as we have a very big ship now…
    one thing you’re missing, i think, it was the sacrifice of the average citizen that righted that wrong back in 1861 – whatever the government contrives, if there’s a cost, it’s the average Joe that pays
    so? … i might tweek your focus advice a bit – as suggested up there somewhere: “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”…
    Psalm 27

  20. Em – I always love to ask cultural hand wringers this question. How have you been personally affected by this “our country is going to hell in a handbasket” society.

    Are you being forced to do anything today that you were not forced to do in the past? Are you forced to be immoral – say things you don’t want to say? Just how have you been personally affected.

    The answer I always get is “well not me but… and off into never, never land we go.”
    Hey we survived 8 yrs of Clinton, 8 yrs of Bush and soon to be completed 8 yrs of Obama.

    Look, what were the roaring 20s about? I don’t think we have fallen below that – drugs were legal, and abortion was legal (heck it wasn’t even a matter of being legal, there wasn’t anything one way or the other about it – folks just did it at will.

    We are just a messy breed – but now we have penicillin to take care of some issues.

  21. Cash, I am a proponent of localism. I feel that national politics have degraded to the point where I feel like my participation is meaningless and possibly corrosive to my own soul. But I can have an effect on life in my small town and that is where I focus my attention these days.

  22. I read political histories and biographies all the time. I think everyone should. You soon come to realize that no administration is concerned with domestic issues and get invoked reluctantly Foreign affairs is what consumes their time and focus – it gobbles it up in fact, overwhelms them and eats them up. Only during election time do they drag out the old “a chicken in every pot.”
    I am currently reading;
    http://www.amazon.com/Ike-Dick-Portrait-Political-Marriage/dp/1416587012/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459373894&sr=8-1&keywords=ike+and+dick

  23. Xenia,

    That’s wonderful. I’m glad you are involved at the local level. That is very important.

  24. In this book by Chris Matthews – I think I read it 20 yrs ago – he tells a story about Nixon coming to visit JFK a couple of months after JFK was in office (for the youngsters here, they ran against each other in 1960) – JFK made the comment to Nixon – everyone is after me to raise the minimum wage – I don’t give a F*** about the minimum wage I have the Russian spreading out through Europe.”

    http://www.amazon.com/KENNEDY-NIXON-Rivalry-Postwar-America/dp/0684810301/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1459374287&sr=8-1-fkmr1

    Great book if you are looking for one to read – the parralells between JFK and Nixon are astonishing. Believe it or not Chris Matthews at one time was the brightest bulb in the political media – now, not so much, in fact he has turned into a political shill – but that’s a different discussion. πŸ™‚

  25. #24 – yes, first lesson is that it isn’t good guys v bad guys where the political scene is concerned – not good v evil – not black and white – i think that the the last biography of a political figure that i read was one of Teddy Roosevelt (unless you count Robert Bork) – i think Obama is a mix of idealism and resentments and maybe a little inferiority complex thrown into the mix? these guys are all interesting studies … in many ways i think Nixon and Obama are cut from similar cloth
    just rambling… should erase this, but… pray for those in authority over us to bless and not curse us

  26. post script – being more than a decade ahead of you on this… i would say that, yes, i’m definitely being forced to do things to meet this society’s demands that were absolutely not part of the way of life in the 1960’s
    back then we could still burn our trash and we didn’t have to sort what went to the curb for pick-up… in fact… up here the trash collector came into the backyard, slung the can on his shoulder and carried it to the truck (2 man trucks then) πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  27. Em , ah the downfall of the American society – the ban of the backyard incinerator and to compulsory separating the recycles from the garbage.

    When I was a kid south of LA in the very early 50s, we had a backyard incinerator – my dad had a bad temper, so there is no telling whose bones and ashes were in that thing.

    We used to drink sulfur water also – did you ever had that – smelled like rotten eggs. Ah, the good old libertarian days.

  28. Cash, I’m hoping you can explain to me why it’s our “Christian duty to vote.”
    I hear this from my Evangelical friends, and I just don’t get it. The system is hopelessly broke, and corrupt (see the Bloomberg article that was just posted on this site). There are no candidates worth voting for, and no matter who wins, the same system that we’ve had under Bush and Obama will roll on (higher debt and deficit, more NSA spying, more stupid, pointless involvements overseas, more trillion dollar rips off of the American people, with the money given to Wall St fat cats, etc).

    You cannot read the any of the Gospels and conclude that Christ cared much at all about politics.

  29. “If voting made a difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” – Mark Twain

    “It doesn’t matter who votes, it only matters who counts the votes.” – Joseph Stalin

    Find an article from the Boston Globe from 10/19/2014 entitled “Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.” Fascinating article.

  30. There was a WordPress bug that added all those videos…I have it fixed for now.

  31. “We used to drink sulfur water also” … that explains a lot πŸ™‚

    God keep

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