The Body Politic
Our of Ur's best faith & politics posts from 2006

Last night I received an automated phone call warning that the Democrat running for Congress in my district wants to take my house and give it to illegal immigrants. I've received similarly ridiculous calls about the Republican candidate - apparently he wants to ban Dr. Seuss from the public schools. With mid-term elections just a week away, and the rhetoric speeding toward absurdity, we thought this would be a good time for a more intelligent political discussion. Here are some of the most popular posts from the last year about the intersection of faith, politics, and ministry.

From: Kingdom Confusion: Is the quest for political power destroying the church?

by Greg Boyd

I believe a significant segment of American evangelicalism is guilty of nationalistic and political idolatry. To a frightful degree, I think, evangelicals fuse the kingdom of God with a preferred version of the kingdom of the world (whether it's our national interests, a particular form of government, a particular political program, or so on). Rather than focusing our understanding of God's kingdom on the person of Jesus - who, incidentally, never allowed himself to get pulled into the political disputes of his day - I believe many of us American evangelicals have allowed our understanding of the kingdom of God to be polluted with political ideals, agendas, and issues. Read more.

From: Kingdom Confusion 2: The danger of believing in a Christian America

by Greg Boyd

The myth of America as a Christian nation, with the church as its guardian, has been, and continues to be, damaging both to the church and to the advancement of God's kingdom.

Among other things, this nationalistic myth blinds us to the way in which our most basic and most cherished cultural assumptions are diametrically opposed to the kingdom way of life taught by Jesus and his disciples. Read more.

From: Reaching the Liberal Next Door: Are conservative politics a barrier to the gospel?

by Wes Haddaway

Two years ago our church was growing at the rate of about a hundred people per year and we were all very excited about what God was doing. As the pastor responsible for evangelism and assimilation, I had a unique perspective. One night after visiting a family that was new to our church, it occurred to me that no matter what walk of life a person came from to our church, there was one thing that I could be sure of; they had all watched the O'Reilly Factor on Fox News within the last week. They all voted for the same candidates and had conservative social views. Read more.

November 01, 2006

Displaying 1–7 of 7 comments

Richard

November 21, 2006  9:32am

I suggest that once every four years we draw straws... now where did I hear of that happening before. Certainly not in a civilized setting. Also, you would have thought God to be morally responsible in not having those 2 year old and under children slain by Herod's command way back when. Oh well, he made His acts known to Israel... His ways to Abraham. Cheers

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Mark Goodyear

November 07, 2006  1:07pm

What a great summary of material! Sheerahkahn, it's a scary thing to post your political beliefs in a blog comment. I'm not going to do it. Mentioning my political beliefs at my sister's house is uncomfortable enough. I've heard too many people think of me as evil because of the party I vote for. I'll talk issues, I guess, but I always worry that they will affliate me with one party or the other. I did want to say, "Everybody be sure to vote!"

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Jonathan Schellack

November 06, 2006  10:47am

It seems clear that Christ, from what we see in the Gospels, was mostly apolitical. However, Jesus, when he said to "render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's," was not instructing people to totally remove themselves from their association with the worldly government. We are to pay taxes. But how far should our involvment go? How involved in the worldly political process should Christians be? Jesus's mandate to go and make disciples of all nations should certainly trump our work in the political machine – as individuals, our priorities should first be focused on discipleship. More positive change can/will be achieved if we work on discipleship than if we stump for a political candidate. It makes sense that we should vote, as our votes can go in the category of what belong's to Ceasar. Beyond that, however, we need to be careful of where we place our priorities.

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J.W.

November 04, 2006  10:10am

It used to be that politicians had to sell their constituents on a vision, as well as a plan to implement that vision. If you believed in it, you voted for them. Now, they have no vision, and work rather to demonize their opponents into political oblivion. It is time for the Church to walk away from this godless blather and take up the challenges of this world, not by might, nor power, but by the Spirit of God. As long as the Church remains content to trust in the chariots and horses of men rather than the power of the Almighty to fight their battles for them, it will continue to reap the tainted fruits of such an unholy affiliation. The problem is that for too long the Church has spent most of its assets on vanity and religious pride, thus emasculating itself from being able to effectively take on the challenge of truly becoming the hands and feet of the Lord to a desperate world. Therefore, it has been left with no choice but by, as Isaiah prophesied,"forming alliances but not by the Spirit of God." It would do the Church well to consider those passages from Isaiah 30, as they are quite relevant today. It just might give some an idea why the Church is looked upon so disdainfully. It might also give some an idea why it has become so easy for some of our leaders to fall. As long as we think we can build God's Kingdom with stone, brick, steel and marble, rather than by unconditional love, compassion, mercy and grace, we will have to resort to outside influences to fight our battles–most of which, if we would just think about it, we shouldn't really be fighting in the first place. And as long as we continue to build with earthly material instead of the latter, we will remain spiritually empty and unfulfilled. I am becoming more and more convinced that our worshiping at the altar of 501c3 non-profit status prohibits us from generating the kind of capital needed to reach the world with love, compassion and moral principals on a scale that can actually matter. There may have been a time when it was advantageous, but with the changing economy, I think that any more it serves little more than to tempt the Church's with reliance on government-policy-mandated morality–all of which is but a lie that should be an embarrassment to any thinking believer. There is a much Better Way, but few church leaders are willing to pay that kind of price. It is sad.

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Daniel Springhill

November 03, 2006  2:21am

God does not bless bombs or troops, God blesses all people and expects the same of you. With the coming election I believe that we are morally responsible to bring an end to this immoral war. Too many so-called morally responsible brought it about. I believe that the people of the U.S. should take a serious look at what happens when an administration, Senate and judicial branch are all weighted to the right. Weighted to the right, the Supreme Court ran out the clock on we the people in George Bush's first election. After taking office, two new justices were added. Then came the Kelo decision, which gives the rich developer the right to take away your property, regardless of how long you have owned it. If a corporation wants to develop your neighborhood. They put a notice on your door that your house has been purchased by them and you have 90 days to leave. "Here's your money for the property at fair market value, now get out." Period. Ross Perot once said that the people must learn to ask the question, "Whose Watch did these things happen under?" What else happened while they have been running things? Here's something spooky; If you go to a public library and happen to check out any one of a certain number of books that are on a special list put together by Homeland Security. The Librarian is required by law to make a phone call to Homeland Security and inform on you; your name, your address and any other information because you are now being watched. You may have just saw a title on the book that looked interesting, so you checked it out. Now what are they, Homeland Security checking out about you? That's just the tip of the iceberg that this little organization put together by Bush is doing. There used to be an old saying that "These things only happen in Russia." The most important point I really want to make is that Iraq never so much as threw a stone at the U.S. and yet Bush as Commander and Chief started an immoral war against them. What has he taught the smaller countries of the world by doing this? He has taught them that they had better get their hands on nuclear weapons as quickly as possible if they don't want to be beaten up by the bullies, Bush and his cronies. Sweep this party out now while you still have a chance. I'm not saying that all Republicans are bad, but too many real bad things have happened on their Watch. It's like a cancer; the surgeon has to remove good tissue along with the bad in order to nip it in the bud. Remember that on the day of judgement, you are going to want the judge to be extremely liberal in his assessment of your life and your mistakes.

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Sheerahkahn

November 01, 2006  5:48pm

Well, my, this topic certainly has brought the crickets out. As has been proven time and time again, the things of Ceasar's has little to do with the things of G-d. Perhaps we, as a national church, will get that through our thick skulls, and if not...perhaps a harsher lesson is needed to take our focus off of man and put it back on G-d.

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Sam

November 01, 2006  4:10pm

When the Church confuses God's mission and the breaking for the God's Kingdom with that of any nation-state, the church looses and God moves into reformation...that is what is taking place at this very moment in the West. We have a church that is dying because it is strangled by institutionalism and consumerism which have averted the massess from Jesus' mission in Luke 4. The Good News is that God always resurrects his church.

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