Friday, January 15, 2016

Intersection of Faith and Politics: Fighting the Real Battle in 2016!

Did you watch the Republic debate last night? I did. Barely. Not much of a debate, more like a brawl again. What really gets accomplished in these verbal sparring sessions? 

Now the 2016 Presidential Campaign kicks into high gear with the start of the Primary Season (February 1st to June 15th). It will be a contestable and no doubt civilly detestable 5 months from February to June. Battles will be fought among candidates even more ferociously, pundit will battle pundit and their Social Media followers will battle each other. 

It’s going to be a glorious time…if you still think politics are important. I certainly used too, especially in 2008 and less so in 2012. But if the past eight years prove anything, they prove that politics aren’t really all that important. Politics today accomplish little good, if they ever did. Worse, politics are often destructive. 

That’s not to say good governance is not important to the welfare of our nation. It is. But politics are “the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.” 

Politics aren’t important__ imperative, central__ today because of the level of anger and rancor associated with the “debate and conflict” among the opposing parties and even within the party.  Politics has become a noise that drowns out reason and reasonableness. The Apostle Paul tells us to have nothing to with "foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels." 2 Timothy 2:23. Politics fits that really well.

Politics today have become less issue driven and more personality driven. Today’s Presidential politics provide empty rhetoric like “Hope and Change” and “Making America Great Again”. And, as such, our politics have been rendered unimportant…and always have been in the cosmic scheme of things. (Psalm 2:1).

As Groucho Marx quipped, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” To think that more politics is the answer to anything is akin to the definition of insanity – doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. 

To quote my least favorite candidate, “what difference does it make!?” 

What we do need are real world solutions to a myriad of societal issues and creative thinking about new social advances for the common good. What we do need is more coalition building and bipartisan collaboration. 

What we don’t need is more empty rhetoric about returning our nation to the “glory days.” That just isn’t going to happen. History moves forward. What we don’t need is irresponsible rhetoric about shutting our borders to all Muslims or “carpet-bombing” cities.

But, as Christians, there are some things we definitely do need and that are worth battling for: 

We do need repentance by Christians turning from the ways of nationalism and consumerism back to the ways of God – service and sacrifice.

We do need Christian witness of love and grace extending from sea to shining sea to all peoples in our land. 

We do need to be praying for our neighbors, building community, and serving “one another” for the good of our nation. 

We do need to be people of Good News to all people regardless of the various ways we categorize ourselves as One Nation Under God. 

We do need Christians fervently interceding for revival in churches across the continent.

We do need to have a global mission vision because we serve a global God. 

Then our battles are not fought in the political arena but in the prayer room. Then our battles are not fought against other people but against those forces that seek to divide and destroy (Ephesians 6:12).

Thankfully, I see God moving in 2016 with several streams of prayer developing. I was blessed this week to be at a meeting to Revive Dallas. The year ahead could be glorious as we focus on the important things.

If we fight that battle in 2016 we’ll be a much better place come 2017, for Living Sent Today. 

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