Perhaps one of the reasons believers so often lack credibility in our society is that - when others examine us - so few find us to be different. We know the right things to say and repeat the Christian mantras to one another, but they ring hollow when too many of us live lives devoid of Christ's impact.
Let's not fool ourselves into believing that, by "voting Christian," we are somehow released from the personal responsibility to do what is right. We cannot expect our government to fix all our social ills.
If we - the Church - really believe Christ is the hope of the world, we need to start acting like it. Rather than hoping for social programs to provide for our poor and oppressed, perhaps we need to relinquish our fierce hold on personal consumption and wealth and provide for those who have nothing.
We should be appalled by our materialism and selfishness. It should shame us into action to realize that, if the rest of the world lived as lavishly as Americans, it would require several planets to sustain us all.
We need to step up to the plate and begin living sacrificially. While doing so, we must address some challenging questions:
? If Christians care so much about life, why do we fail to provide adequate support to women (and men) who make life and death choices, often in the face of seemingly insurmountable circumstances?
? How can we maintain a biblical perspective on war? If we believe war is a "necessary evil" to bring democracy and freedom to the oppressed, why does our government militaristically ignore the atrocities in countries where we have no economic interests?
? Can we agree that God is concerned with blessing and securing ALL nations, and not just our own?
? How can believers who give lip-service to issues of poverty, social justice and AIDS essentially continue to materialistically consume, charitably give and volunteer at the same level as non-believers?
As we face these and other complex questions, we must refuse to be enveloped by a partisan ideology or be swayed by its dialogue. We must not allow the term "evangelical" to once again get politically hijacked.
We need to carefully consider and pray for our political leaders, but we are the ones who will ultimately change the world. Christ with us - in us - through us can make the difference we too-often depend on our vote to create.