This year, I have almost no idea what’s going on politically. I know one of the librarians at my local library is up for re-election to the school board. I know there’s some kind of anti-pornography state issue on the ballot. Beyond that, I’m not attuned to the scene.
I used to be a hardcore political junkie. Not anymore. I was already on the disillusioned side when I foolishly thought I could help a worthy candidate win, the only candidate in my nearly 45 years of life that I thought was 100 percent right for office. But as many times as I called his campaign headquarters, no one bothered to even send me a sign for my yard. Needless to say, my candidate got crushed. Demolished. Annihilated. Disintegrated down to the atomic level. He didn’t even leave behind a puff of smoke. Cursed be the fool who dares to speak his name in good company.
You know, that kind of loss.
I missed being able to cast my vote in the 1980 presidential election by a week. I’ve been casting them without fail since. But I don’t look forward to it like I used to.
I don’t talk about politics here at Cerulean Sanctum. Plenty of Christian blogs do. Despite the fact that Christians often love to mobilize on this political issue or that, I’ve learned a few things in my life that I wish weren’t true, but are:
- Christians love to get pumped up for politics, yet they’re nearly always disappointed with the ultimate outcome, even when they think they’ve initially won.
- You can fight, fight , fight against a perceived sin via politics, but even if the sin loses in the short term, it wins in the long term 90 percent of the time.
- It’s amazing how quickly a “Christian” candidate, who talks like Mr. Smith on his way to Washington, winds up compromised.
- On the most fundamental levels, today’s Republicans are yesterday’s Democrats, while today’s Democrats are yesterday’s Socialists. I don’t want to think what ten years from now will look like.
- It used to be about the power of ideas to shape the future. Now it’s just about money.
- When self-interest is all that drives candidates, then our political system no longer works. And it sure seems to me that self-interest is all that drives today’s politicians.
- It’s discouraging to think that the last great statesman this country produced may have been Henry Clay. Lincoln may be in that company, too. Still, that’s a long, dry spell with no hope of getting better if the current crop of midgets running for office is any indication.
- I wonder what the women who fought for the right to vote would say if they knew that every study done continues to show that women vote largely for the candidate deemed most physically attractive.
- It amazes me how congressmen talk about voting their conscience, yet nowadays every vote comes down to party line. Just where are they breeding these conscience clones with their polar-opposite magnetic drifts? And aren’t congressional representatives supposed to represent the will of their constituency rather than their own personal conscience?
- The devil’s bought a lot of souls through the political department store.
Politics used to be a big deal for me. Now it barely registers.
I guess, as I see it, the problem comes down to a kingdom issue. Which kingdom am I called to support with the time and skills God has given me? His Kingdom or some other kingdom?
It’s not about loyalty, either, but making the best use of the time we have. I can still be a good citizen of my country. I just don’t have to let my citizenship overwhelm me.
Evangelical Christians float adrift. Plenty of them are disillusioned with politics—and for good reason. It worries me, though, that they won’t drift back to what matters most to God, but will instead tie up to some other dock. Heck, even disillusionment is its own dock. Tie up to that one and any number of unfortunate outcomes may come to pass.
Politics isn’t the answer to our collective ennui in the United States. Getting back to the truths of God through His methods rather than politics is.
As conservative as I am, perhaps I’ve become more interested in conserving the granite-like truths of an eternal City on a Hill than the shadows and fog of an impermanent Capitol Hill.
14 thoughts on “Casting a Ballot for the Eternal Kingdom”
It is a sad fact that evangelicals often prefer a political voice over a prophetic one.
It is a sad fact that many evangelicals prefer a political voice over a prophetcis one (http://kansasbob.blogspot.com/2007/03/on-losing-our-prophetic-voice.html).
Ah, politics. I find the attempt by Christians to shape the morals of society through law to be mis-guided, to say the least. That many of the crusaders on the forefront of those political efforts are discovered to be practitioners of the very sins they crusade against, points to the fallacy of changing behavior through law. Law kills. Why Christians try to force non-Christians to ‘not sin’ is beyond me. Why we try to do it through our elected officials is one step further into the realms of fantasy.
Our form of governance was instituted with 2 things in mind: Man is evil, and because of that, government should do as little as possible. We have allowed government to run on the opposite of those two ideas. The result is a patronizing, centralized system of administration that ineptly reaches into nearly every aspect of our personal lives, and is hopelessly corrupt because of the removal of checks and balances so that the system could be more “efficient.” It is run by people with no grasp of reality; who believe that $200 for a haircut is ‘normal’, who have literally never stepped foot in a grocery store except for a photo-op, and who think that the unimpeded flightpath of a duck is more important than the life of a human being.
I am all for making our society better, but when the heroes of the modern civil rights movement are boys who got caught beating someone up, or having sex as teens, then our sights are abysmally low. Or worse, when our heroes are the people who put them behind bars. When the issues of the day have to do with the price of gas, or whether a Wal-Mart goes up in our neighborhood, then we have all become self-indulgent. When destructive wars drag on with no definable purpose, reason, or enemy, and the outcry is muted because of lack of interest, then our society is broken.
The thing is, these are not political issues, they are spiritual. As Christians, we should see war, poverty, drug abuse, violence, crime, illiteracy, injustice, abortion, even illness and the issues with our broken health system, as the manifestations of spiritual starvation, as much as we see stick-like limbs and swollen bellies in babies as manifestation of physical starvation. Our society is spiritually malnourished because the Church is hogging all the spiritual resources for ourselves. We seek the “Victorious Christian Life” but ignore the fact that it means laying down our life for our neighbor, the unbeliever.
Politics? Don’t get me started.
AMEN! I do find it most interesting that we expect “the world” to act like we do (or hopefully we do), with an understanding of right and wrong as God sees it. We do have to do our duty to vote our conscience, but I myself don’t expect much from that. God is the one who puts the people in authority over us. And anyway this is not the kingdom of God, it is the kingdom of Satan. He rules here. The only reason we as a country have made it this far and been so blessed is because of believers like you and I and millions of others. We do need to strive for, pray for—change, but when God lets it happen we just have to trust that it is part of His divine plan and one of those things we will not understand until we get to heaven. When we will see Him face to face. And then perhaps these things will be and most likely will be unimportant. “…occupy til I come.” Susan
I’d just like to see someone in office who bothers to even try to honor their Oath of Office. Is that really asking too much–not to fulfill it to my liking, but to even care to make the attempt? =/
Politics……oh, how I hate politics! My disillusionment came when I sat in Political Science classes in college in the 70s and listened to young men and our professor as they smoked and talked about getting elected by any means possible. Were I the woman I am today, I’d stand up and tell them what I thought of them in no uncertain terms and promptly go drop the class before I could be hit with financial and educational repercussions. Or maybe I’d just throw up…….preferably on the professor’s shoes.
Please forgive me for blathering on, Dan. You’ve really hit the nail on the head with this one.
That is exactly what I did. So take courage that another sister was able to do it on your behalf. When I dropped my poli-sci class my instructor was livid. He got right up in my face and I stood up to him! It was the first time I had ever stood up to anyone and believe me it was, and still is a fantastic feeling.
You surely won’t “take off” on sports next, will you? Please say that you won’t. Is nothing sacred anymore? 🙂
And I notice the recommendation for The Cost of Discipleship off to the side. Talk about irony!
I have become more interested in politics over the years. I’ve worked in gov’t most of my life. It’s been a good employer for me.
I admire greatly John Ashcroft. His biography is amazing and it would have been an honor to work for him.
Linda Smith is a former congresswoman and director of Shared Hope International. I admire her greatly also. ( to the chagrin of the patriarchs out there.) She is also a christian.
I think politics can be a genuine calling for christians. I would encourage it. If Jesus were walking this earth today in the flesh I think he might be killed even quicker now than He was 2000 years. Its not easy but we to keep fighting to make our voices heard and represented. How it all ends up who knows. But I know I want to stand before Christ doing what I could to make a difference. There are MANY things worth fighting for.
This topic raises so many things that I want to comment on yet restraint seems to be the cry in my head.
I, like you, am dissallusioned by politics and feel that the Kingdom of God should operate outside of political affiliations. I resent, as a Christian, being banished to a voting bloc.
There is a strange portion of me that wishes those who do not agree with me politically would win. I have strange reasoning behind it, but it mainly boils down to seeing the Church grow through the sure to follow oppression.
One of the things that helped me with my political disillusionment as a Christian was “City of God” by Augustine of Hippo. He wrote the work in response to the sack of Rome by the Visigoth, Alaric. Many Roman Christians were dismayed because they believed that Rome was God’s chosen political entity. Augustine refuted that idea, and asserted that God has no chosen political entity because His Kingdom is not of this world. Interesting read.
I have often wondered about the political militancy of the Christian right in America. God’s kingdom is otherworldly, a place where the last are first, the humble are exalted, and the meek protected.
I’m not sure that our goal should be to demand others (who don’t share our beliefs) to conform to our standards. I don’t think a demanding attitude reflect’s Christ’s nature. That being said, I DO think that a call to government (as a social arena) is as valid as a call to the arts, to health care, to academia, and so forth. I look at examples in scripture such as Joseph and Daniel. But the way God used them in political circles is much different from the attitude among politically active Christians in America today. Both Joseph and Daniel were immersed in the cultures where they served, but did not compromise their personal walk with God. They did not have an ‘us against them’ mentality, nor the arrogance that I see in so much of the Christian right. They were there to serve humbly and offer their wisdom and spiritual giftedness to benefit and bless even the wicked leaders they served under. This is the scandalous graciousness and goodness of God.
So while I do think Christians are called to government and politics, I think the way that Christians are going about that in America is not very reflective of the kingdom values that Jesus preached and modelled for His followers.