Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Care About Jesus More

Legislation will never change hearts and it will never save souls.

I struggle with the circus surrounding politics.  I struggle with the intermingling of Christianity and American patriotism.  I struggle with the seeming interdependence of american evangelicalism and right-wing politics.  From having a "pastor" tell me that he didn't think you could be a Christian and vote Democrat to seeing famous "pastors" abandon any semblance of Biblical authority on issues of morality, this politics-religion hybrid throws me for a spin.

I am not patriotic.  I'll come out and say that.  I do not think the USA is the end-all and be-all.  I do not see the US in any biblical texts and easily can see it crumbling well-before the return of Christ.  I do not see this as God's country anymore that any of the other countries in the world.  This country has been a blessing to the people of God and to the world, but at times it has also been a curse.

So, maybe there is a bit of anti-patriotism that shades my thinking and how I deal with issues like the evangelical uproar over same-sex civil unions.  That being said, I do feel I have some genuine concerns over the Christian response to these types of situations.  My struggle is manifold, but a couple of issues creep to the front.

First, as Christians, we have to make sure the things on the periphery never become central.  It is so easy, as a Christian and as a human in general, to "major in the minors".  It is such a crippling temptation to take things that are important and make them "of first importance." Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is what we are to focus on.  The Gospel message is "of first importance".  All other issues must be addressed in light of the risen Messiah.  All other causes, all other efforts, all other distributions of our time must be looked on in light of this.  We have a sincere and Biblical desire to see change, but only He can bring true change in the life of a person and the life of a nation and that is by the power of His Gospel, not our efforts and not legislation.

A big part of my reservations is the utter hypocrisy of both sides on  issues like this.  I always wonder why those on the right are never as incensed over the plague of divorce and the attack it is on the institution of marriage as they are with the evils of same-sex civil unions.  Government endorsed civil unions, as far as I can see, bear little threat to the institution of marriage.(Maybe there is a "slippery slope" argument to be made, I'll grant that).  Yet, the greatest threat that has faced the institution of marriage is the act of divorce.  Why is this so accepted and same-sex unions so derided?  Why aren't we spending as much time, energy and credibility, attacking the plague of divorce, especially Christian divorce?  I am afraid the answer is all too obvious.  Divorce effects far more evangelical Christians than gay-marriage ever could.  And if this is the reason that same-sex unions have become an evangelical whipping boy, that the hypocrisy is too much to bear.

I am equally as put off with those on the left who present equality for all as tantamount, unless you happen to still be residing in the uterus of another person, in which case your very existence hinges on whether one person thinks you are worthy to be born.  To scream and cry about equality, equal rights, injustice, etc... while promulgating policy that results in the extermination of the most helpless among us, is the cruelest form of hypocrisy that I have ever seen.

I do not see political activism in the life of Jesus.  I do not see it in the book of Acts or the early church.  They seemed to be too way too engrossed in the mission to get the Gospel to the ends of the earth to get bogged down in worldly debates and politics.  This might not be a bad model to emulate.

That is not to say Christians have no place in politics.  But the question is, "What is your involvement meant to accomplish?"  If all you are aiming for is that homosexuals do not get to marry because it is weird, icky, or immoral, then I think you have missed the Gospel purpose of this cause.  If you are so caught up with defending the sanctity of marriage that you never actually express why marriage is supposed to be sanctified(because it is a shadow of the relationship between God and His people), then what have you really accomplished other than defending your traditions and culture?

Nevertheless, Jesus Christ lived and died to set sinners free.  Straight sinners, gay sinners, left-leaning tree hugging hippy sinner, right wing gun-toting redneck sinners, and all us hypocrites in-between, he died so that we might live.  If we hold this as truth, lets never let it get shoved to the background.

Care about politics.  Care about the goings on of the world.  But Christian, we most certainly must care about Jesus, and our neighbors, more.