Gordon MacDonald's 2008 Questions

A bumper sticker I saw the other day asked, "Is it 2008 yet?" From the other stickers on the car, I surmised the political change the driver wanted - and soon. My reaction, after the chuckle, was the desire to skip a year of pointless arguing and name-calling. Can we simply hit fast-forward, and cut out the campaigning and haranguing by 12 or 14 months? Umm, no.

Gordon MacDonald's desire for the next year would appear to be the commitment by Christians to true scrutiny of the candidates, a year of asking hard questions about what really matters. His insight is below.

The other day I read this headline in our newspaper: "Christian Right Leaders Struggle to Find a Strong Candidate for President in '08."

It turns out that, a few weeks ago, there was an unpublicized meeting in Florida at a five-star hotel during which "Christian leaders" discussed who they would support in the upcoming presidential race. I worry about a situation in which a few people who are very adroit at seizing the microphone presume to make a movement out of all of us and then speak on our behalf.

I was not raised (by parents or mentors) to think politically or to participate in public political dialogue. My generation of men and women who felt called to the Christian ministry were told that our task was to develop deeply rooted Christians who would transform our discipleship into action items such as work ethics, family strength, financial responsibility, moral choices in entertainment, and responsible political decisions. It was not "ours," we were taught, to form or join political organizations and use our privilege as Christian influencers to pick and tout candidates from our pulpits or TV/radio shows or print publications.

But the rules seem to have changed.

And people like myself who are a bit unhappy about this may have to speak up a bit more. Thus, in an idle moment I imagined myself invited to the Florida meetings, and I began writing down issues and questions I would like to have raised had I been there. I am somewhat confident I know what others who did go would have talked about. So on my list I went in other directions.

As the various names would have been raised at the table in Florida (Clinton, Romney, Obama, McCain, Edwards, Giuliani - please note the randomized sample offered without prejudice), these are the questions I would have raised:

1. Can he/she give us a government that will recoup our reputation in the world as a generous and compassionate nation? And could he/she take more seriously the fact that a large part of this world now finds our country distasteful? And this goes for Christians in other lands also. (I'm embarrassed every time I go abroad.)

March 06, 2007

Displaying 1–10 of 68 comments

Eugene Maddox

December 30, 2007  5:22pm

Well I guess it is time I came out of the closet. I am a.... Republican! And, as best as I can tell I am also a Christian. Have I just committed an oxymoron? But I am not responding to my brother Gordon's content. There's plenty of room for disagreement among Christians regarding all his opining. Rather, I am far more concerned with what he did NOT write. My brother, Gordon, What About the Unborn? We (USA) have now legally committed about 50 million abortions since Roe. I must ask, "Is the deficit a greater concern to God than the plight of the unborn?" "Is Social Security?" "Is Climate Change closer to God's heart than the 50 million our nation has legally terminated?" My brother, why have you not mentioned them? I ask this "why" question seriously. What possible (good) reason could you have for omitting them? Though I am a Republican I gladly acknowledge that the Church - not the Republican Party - is the only true hope of the Unborn. For, have we Christians not historically called the unborn our "neighbors?" Are we not commanded then to love them? These least of the least of these are by far the most helpless of the helpless. If Christian leaders place issues such as climate change and deficits ahead of them... or virtually dismiss them altogether... if we are silent... My brother, for the sake of the 50 million and for the sake of God's heart, please rewrite your points and generously include the unborn. God bless you.

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Gerald F. Chase

April 26, 2007  3:12pm

I can only hope that Christians can put aside their obvious and strong differences with Mitt Romney's religion, because he is clearly the far-and-away best choice to be our national leader, our president. His ethics and reputation are above any reproach. His track record of academic and business achievement if far better than any. It's unusual for such a clearly superior choice to emerge so early, here in 2007; but it remains true: Romney is the best choice for Christians and for Americans.

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Kris Couchey

April 08, 2007  8:32am

A friend of ours had a dream months before Bush became president. In this dream Bush becomes president and has a choice of whether to go to war or not. If he chooses to go to war it would be a choice that caused many bad things. She didn't even know who Bush was or if he was running for president at the time. I informed her he was a canidate for the presidency. I then marveled as history unfolded with Bush's election and the development of the war. I saw Christians raise up with patriotic pride under the banner of America to "live by the sword". It seemed for a while, that if you were against the war you were less then American or Christian. But all along I knew what God had revealed to us by that dream. It seems to me that Christians are not listening to God and His perspective on things when He so clearly seemd to be warning of consequences of war. Christians were among the ones loyal to, promoting, and looking down on anyone opposed to the presidents agenda and war councils. This does not mean all Bush did was wrong. He just personified the fallacy of trusting in and giving allegiance earthly system of government rather then the kingdom of God. And now prepare for a pendulum swing that will change this nation forever. No election will solve the issues of this nation, none ever will. But Christians keep wasting time thinking they can get back something they lost. They are fighting with the arm of the flesh, a battle they cannot win, and God WILL NOT let them win. But of course like the Pharisees; religious men and women will keep trying to "restore the kingdom" and resist anyone who tries to get thier focus off the world and unto God's perspective.

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April 06, 2007  6:15pm

It's hard to address a nearly 6000 character posting in 1500 characters or less, so I will answer one a day, and see how long it takes... I'm not sure I agree with his assumptions as to what the government's responsibility is. It seems in many of them he is confusing the church's responsibility with the government's role. It reminds me of an ongoing discussion I have had with my brother-in-law, as to whether the church has abdicated it's role in its social responsibilities to the government, or the government has seized it from the church, offering the same thing the church once did, but without the moral teaching that traditionally went along with it. (through it's social programs). As I read the article, I was also surprised to see the subject of abortion was not even mentioned. That's a pretty drastic oversight considering that every hour, 155 children die from abortion. I have several books by MacDonald, and he is usually very insightful, but I think he is swallowing the "worlds" bait hook, line and sinker on this one. I will quickly go point by point… 1.Can he/she give us a government that will recoup our reputation in the world as a generous and compassionate nation? The fact is Actual dollar contributions reveal that the U.S. is the world's largest donor. The OECD calculates U.S. development assistance (based on bilateral assistance, humanitarian assistance, and contributions to multilateral institutions like the International Development Association of the World Bank) in 2003 at $16.2 billion—more than double the amount given by France, Germany, or any other European nation. And that doesn't include private (church related) giving. (Heritage Foundation, Dec 30, 2004). I think those with an agenda have falsely sullied our "reputation". In Christ, Tim M.

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March 28, 2007  2:43pm

Why has this struck a nerve? For me, I am really struggling with myself as to how to vote, how to even understand the political scene here in America, or even what are good questions to talk about. I am not comfortable with either party or most candidates. Hillary may be prochoice (which is wrong but to the best of my knowledge she never had an abortion) but Rudy (somewhat? prolife?) had flagrant affairs known all over New York. I pray hard and ask the Lord for mercy over our country, our leaders, and ourselves. I go back to my place as a follower of Jesus in community-am I living out his life? Maybe we should ask that question of ourselves as much as we want our leaders to do at a national level?

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March 26, 2007  5:06pm

The sadest thing is that Ms. Clinton can probably answer most of those questions positively. Unfortunately she has no regard for the life of the unborn. It appears to me that we may be better off with a Republican reprobate who seems to be very familar with the divorce laws and feels quite comfortable to confessing adultry in a very public way . Perhaps its time to pray for a good leader who models justice and truth to both the nation and his family. Just a thought

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March 23, 2007  10:19am

Grace, What you say proves my point. We do not make the correct distinction between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world. You are wanting Government to do kingdom work. It can't happen. Government is not Project Compassion. It is about keeping order in society. The church is about forgiveness, compassion, works of mercy. Let's keep it straight.

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March 22, 2007  8:01pm

Great questions. It is time for American Christians to stop thinking that all good Christians should vote Republican. The question needs to be asked, how would Jesus vote. I suspect he would look beyond the party and look at the man. Compassion and justice are important, the Sermon on the Mount is still in the book. The price of war is almost always paid for by young men, many of whom are poor black young men. I don't suspect Mr. Bush or Mr. Clinton would allow their daughters to go off to Iraq. As a Canadian and a firm believer, I cannot understand why so many American believers refuse to accept the idea of climate change. It seems to me that God calls us to care for the environment. I must confess I have never been a big fan of Gordon McDonald, but I am now. I hope that you will rework those questions for Canadians. Sometime soon we will be having a federal election. Your Servant, Dale

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March 22, 2007  6:38am

So many comments look upon the issues in such simple terms. If I support this, then I am against that. If I am against the war, I don't support the troops who are giving their lives. If the US had a great track record in helping other nations who were oppressed, then I would applaud our efforts in Iraq. But we have a history of not of helping the oppressed, but of serving our own interests - even when it has meant supporting terrorists in the past. And yet, I don't think we can leave Iraq now. Too much instability (that we helped create.) But can we change our focus? Can it be less about the war on terror and more on the love of others? Jesus isn't a republican or a democrat. And, no I don't think he would agree with abortion or other main issues of the religious right. But let's put our focus on the things Jesus put his focus on. Jesus spoke most about the poor. About stewardship. About how a society treats its most vulnerable. It is time that the US changes its reputation of being the bully. We have the money and the power. Let's really change the world, Jesus style. Let's do something great for Africa. Let's close the gap between the rich and poor in our own nation. May Jesus concerns be our concerns.

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March 21, 2007  9:35am

If Mr. McDonald is ashamed and embarassed by his country when he travels abroad, maybe he should spend some time visiting our troops and ask them what this struggle against radicl Islamic ideology means to them. It sounds like he doesn't understand the cost of freedom; or the lessons of history. In the beginning of the 19th century, Jefferson stood up to the Barbary terrorists while Europe paid protection money to those Islamic pirates. We won!

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