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Pastors and Politics

This is going to be a running thought post. Consider it a string of similar but not crafted thoughts. Here it is... raw.

In my last post I talked about the fact that I believe Pastors should feel free to speak up regarding which political candidates they personally support. I've also been clear that the pulpit (stage) is not the place to express these views. Additionally, I also believe that Pastors shouldn't feel compelled to speak about anything but Jesus.

This is obviously a touchy subject with my generation. In the minds of some people the gospel has been perverted by having some prominent Evangelical leaders cheer for the republican party over the last 28 years.

This election cycle has made apparent the divide which exists among two camps. Those who believe Christian Leaders should use their voice to affect change and those who believe Christian Leaders should only talk about Christ and leave politics to politicians.

I am one who obviously believes in being Salt AND Light. It is my belief that we should (as Christian Leaders) care for both the eternal and material redemption of our world.

So many people point to the idea that Jesus had no political involvement. To me this is short sided. Jesus certainly didn't live in modern day America and if he did his entire ministry could have occurred without seeing one presidential election (it was 3 years). In just 3 years he had a particular ministry to fulfill. It's amazing to me however that with such little time we sure read a lot about his care for the poor, the orphan and the widow. It seems to me that Jesus did concern himself with both spiritual and material needs of people.

The reason I believe that we should care about who is elected is NOT because I believe elected officials are saviors of any kind. I believe however that elected officials do have authority to make a difference in our society. Jesus didn't operate within a democratic society. He operated inside of a Roman occupation. In our day however if we are to show Jesus to the world one way can be through the laws and actions of our selected and elected officials. As Christian Leaders who have people looking to us for wisdom on how to select their mates and their friends (which we gladly teach them on Sundays), I see no harm in telling them why we believe certain candidates line up most with our values.

There is a trend among some to say "Well, God lifts up leaders and takes them down, so lets not worry with it." To me that seems rather shallow. In that case ChurchStaffing.com should be taken down. After all, God raises up leaders, not selection committees or resumes. Yes God raises up leaders but he never told us not to use wisdom or discernment in that process.

Here are some issues I believe every Christian should care about as we 'Render unto Cesar':
- Abortion/Adoption (What are we doing about it?)
- Poverty (More than food-drives)
- Homelessness (This reflects our values)
- The Elderly (protect them and help care for their life)
- Fatherless Homes (and the rest of the problems with the family)
- Religious Freedom (local and abroad)
- Jobs (The people in the pews need 'em)
- Environment (We were given this job in Genesis)
- Health Care (We must value life in all stages)

While these are not all of the issues that come up in government campaigns, they are some of the top ones. These are God and Cesar's issues. They are both/and.

In Jesus' day there wasn't an election every year to which Christians could affect change in their communities. In our world there is. The truth is that if Christian Leaders wanted to, we could see that the bible was taken seriously in nearly every county in this country.

How would your city or county look differently if our citizens modeled the values of Jesus? If your church saw your entire city saved, would your government change? Or do you believe that shining the light is good without your congregation becoming salt? Or is it that you think we're to be salt everywhere but in the world of government?

I sincerely believe that my generation of Pastors is rebelling against their parents. My generation feels that there was too much emphasis on being Salt so they want to be light. Another but smaller group of my generation feels there is room to be salt, but just not publicly. That segment is more interested in behind-the-scenes caring for people one on one.
I guess I'm out of sync with my generation. I believe we can do all of the above. I believe we can share Jesus with a city, meet needs one on one and see to it that our representative government represents the scriptures as we see it acted out in government. I figure that its my calling to bring the gospel to the world and part of that world happens to be government.

So my blog won't be a public relations tool. I will share with you what I like and what I don't like. I will endorse teams as well as politicians. I will share my thoughts about leaderships and specific leaders. I will lift up Jesus as well as my favorite coffee shop. I'm a human being who has been changed by God and called according to his purpose. I have a mission on this planet to see the gospel change lives... all lives. I also happen to be knowledgeable of politics and government. If I'm to take my calling seriously I can't turn my back on those things. I hope you won't either.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, January 12, 2008

1 Comments:

At 6:02 PM, Blogger Oak Leaf Church said...

have you read "jesus and politics" by storkey. if so, i think you'd like it. lots of background about the politics of jesus' day and the politics woven through his teaching.

 

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