Friday, April 29, 2005

Post Election Blues
Thought I'd share some:
George W. Bush is a man who believes that God is on his side. Progressives and conservatives don’t agree about whose side God is on, but they do agree he was on the ballot this year.

In the aftermath of a hellish election, conservatives gloat. Progressives look for a culprit. Droves of evangelical Christians armed with bibles and ballots, fueled by GOP outreach voted to keep a president they once believed was too moderate to represent them. The Christian left, advocating peace, is dumbfounded. Where did it all go wrong?

The role of faith in politics should not be ignored. Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to love God and one another. Both the left and right seem to have a hard time doing both.

In this messy landscape it is easy to wonder if the church will ever agree on anything. While mainstream denominations loose members without replacements, evangelical movements and prosperity ministry grow. Both are battling for religious shoppers looking for something that fits their check list. Protestant Christians that historically supported progressive values stand before a fork in the road called civil rights not knowing which way to turn. Fundamentalists see abortion, and gay marriage, as opportunities to legislate “morality.”

My argument with the Christian right is that it thinks that God is and government are one and the same. (Some also think that God doesn’t love “losers.”) The poor, the afflicted, and the opposition are cast as Satan’s little helpers, and Bush as King David. If the state could bring about true peace by just rule it would have done so. There would be no need for Christ to die. Jesus shunned the theocratic establishment because it followed the letter of the law forgetting the spirit of love behind it. I hope the right realizes that Jesus was a loser before he was a winner.

My argument with the Christian left is that it thinks it can change the world without God. Leadership, even by the best and brightest is always subject to the fundamental human flaw; we are not perfect and govern accordingly. People need spiritual food to undertake social change. Christian faith relies on individual change rooted in a relationship with God. The world is a work in progress. We can’t become bitter and tell people to love one another. It is fruitless to leave God out of social change, and be upset when he doesn’t show up.

It is time for the church to plant the fruit of the spirit described in Galatians as, “love joy peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” Christians don’t need a new political covenant, we need to take the old one seriously. If churches can’t agree on candidates, agree to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and heal the broken. If we don’t agree on economics, agree it is a sin to see a hungry man by a church that has full refrigerator, a clothing box, and a phone. If we can’t agree on health care policy, start by agreeing that everyone deserves medicine when they are sick. Treat people kindly. Be more than pew warmers, bible thumpers, and theogogues. Walk in love with God and each other. Then the world will change. Then we can truly say that God is on our side.

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