As promised, I did something Sunday I said I would never do from the pulpit…talked about politics. It went fairly well. No one stormed out of the auditorium or accosted me after the worship. Although it was eerily quiet throughout the entire message. The last time I remember it being that quiet during a sermon was when I preached on Divorce and Remarriage. I think everyone was a bit on edge waiting for me to say something that would offend them. It wasn’t easy. This is the most politically diverse congregation I’ve ever been a part of. I would guess we have about as many hard-core Democrats as we do hard-core Republicans with a lot of us somewhere in between. I tried to be balanced in my examples and not favor one side over the other. After all, my primary point was we’re Christians, not Republicans or Democrats and Jesus is our Savior, not McCain or Obama.
Here’s a quick summary…
- Churches have primarily taken two approaches to politics. The apolitical approach (we won’t talk about it) and the pro-political approach (we will talk about it and here’s who you ought to vote for). Neither approach is entirely correct.
- Jesus had a political message as well as a spiritual one. The earliest disciples knew this. To say “Jesus is Lord” meant that “Caesar is not” and that would get you killed in the first century. The accusations against Jesus were also political in nature. “We found this man subverting our nation and he claims to be Christ, a king.” (Luke 23).
- We don’t feel the tension anymore between the politics of Jesus and the political systems of our day because we live in a “Christian nation.” But is that because the world has become more Christian or have the Christians have become more worldly?
- We need to be careful not to confuse the kingdom of God with the kingdoms of this world. Just because something is a national value or a democratic value or a capitalistic value doesn’t automatically mean it’s a Christian value.
- We’re electing a President, not a Messiah.
- It’s not enough to have political views, we need political actions (or political alternatives).
- How you vote on Tuesday is not as important as how you “vote” on Monday and Wednesday.
- So who would Jesus vote for? For you and me…for us (his people). We need to be the hands and feet of the kingdom.