Some thoughts on politics

Posted: January 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

One of the major things that has caused my shift in thought on politics was reading a book titled “Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road” by Timothy J. Keller.  In this book he is driving home the point that the Bible commands us to do more than talk about theology in an abstract way.  The Bible commands us to live out the theology that we are talking about through deeds of mercy.  Part of this process will ultimately lead you to wonder- who do you give mercy to?  Or Who is my neighbor?  As the lawyer put it to Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is the basis of Dr. Keller’s book.

Eventually Tim Keller gets to the question of politics.  If you are a liberal, you give help without discernment whatsoever, and for an unlimited amount of time.  If you are conservative, you tend to have a “get a job you bum!” mentality.  Both are incorrect.  And this shows how looking at things through a strictly political worldview will lead us into error, on both sides of the aisle.  To quote at length,

“. . . Francis Schaeffer said, Christians at times may be co-belligerents with the Left or Right, but never allies.  ‘If there is social injustice, say there is social injustice.  If we need order, say we need order…But do not align yourself as though you are in either of these camps: You are an ally to neither.  The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is different from either-totally different.’

The ideology of the Left believes big government and social reform will solve social ills, while the Right believes that big business and economic growth will do it.  The Left expects a citizen to be held legally accountable for the use of their wealth, but totally autonomous in other areas such as sexual morality.  The Right expects a citizen to be held legally accountable in areas of personal morality, but totally autonomous in the use of wealth.  The North American “idol”, -radical individualism- lies beneath both ideologies.  A Christian sees either solution as fundamentally humanistic or simplistic.

. . . Neither a simple redistribution of wealth nor simple economic growth and prosperity can mend broken families;  nor can they turn low-skilled mothers into engineers or technicians.  Only the ministry of the Church of Jesus Christ, and the millions of mini-churches (Christian homes) throughout the country can attack the roots of social problems.  Only the gospel understands that sin has ruined us both individually and socially.  We cannot be viewed individualistically(as capitalists do) or collectivistically(as communists do) but as related to God.  Only Christians. . . can transform a nation, as well as a neighborhood, as well as a broken heart.”

These words ring true to me.  I still have my political opinions, and I am still conservative.  I now recognize, though, that both parties are incorrect in some ways, and both parties are correct in some ways.  This is not relativism because they are wrong/right in different areas, and to a degree balance and compliment each other.  I would also encourage all Christians to consider what distinguishes them from their non-Christian friends within the same political party? It seems that a man who is born again and a conservative would have a slightly different view of politics than one who is not.  The same goes for “bleeding-heart liberal” Christians(you know who you are-we already talked about this).  How are you different from your liberal friends? Is your worldview being influenced by your Bible or by your politics?  I look forward to any comments, and I apologize for how mixed up these thoughts are. It was hard to put it all into words correctly without it sounding, well, like this.

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