Thinking about Politics

A conversation on the emergent village website got me thinking about Christian politics. Both John Mccain and Barak Obama are Christians - and they have extremely differing views on nearly every major issue in their platforms. Undoubtedly, their differing views comes from their denominational backgrounds and/or their interpretation of the bible.

So, I'd like to point out the problem of Christian involvement in government.

On one hand, Christians can be bold witnesses to integrity and honesty in an un-honest political climate. But on the other hand, Christians are imperfect people, and are wildly divided on the whole. This makes effective representation of Christ in politics difficult at best, and dangerous at worst. For example, Christians can't agree on whether or not it is ok to kill for a cause. In my mind, part of the problem is that past generations of believers encouraged us to believe in the book instead of the person however rightly or wrongly they understood what they read.

I get that as imperfect people we require direction, and the bible seems at first thought to be a good place to start. But I think that using the bible as a tool requires intense study, not just of the texts, but of the cultural and social contexts under which the books of the bible were written, and thus everything these contexts encompass. Without this crucial understanding, we cannot hope to be able to gain sufficient insight into the text on our own merit. Sound bleak? That's because it is ... However, (and this is a BIG however), many people have been gifted with the ability to interpret the bible, and many others have been given the gift to tell the difference between a good interpretation and a bad interpretation. Thus the spirit moves within us.

But as Christians, it is our duty, and our responsibility to be and stay sharp - to scrutinize everything with all of our intelligence and to constantly question whether or not we are hearing the voice of the Living God speaking through the human interpreters we hear on Sundays, or read at night before bed (or on the internet during breaks at work).

We should be willing to speak up when we hear mis-truths, or half-truths, but we also need to be ready to allow the barriers of our own understanding to be torn down. We must be always willing to look deeper, always scrutinize what we view, hear & see, and yet always be tuned in to the Spirit of God working and moving within us. This is the tension of being a Christian.

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