Much has been made over the last year - and especially the last few months - about our upcoming Presidential election. It is most certainly one of the oddest Presidential elections in our history. Everyone has an opinion about which candidate will be the best for our country and for us, and many have not been shy about sharing their opinions.
I recently read an article entitled Have We Forgotten the Point of Christianity?The author, Stephen Mattson, asks a series of questions about how our Christian faith informs our political perspectives. I suspect that for many people this may present a real problem, and in fact, I would argue that it is a problem for many, whether or not they realize it.
As the author points out, Christianity is being used under the guise of supporting quite a few political stances that are not at all Christian:
Because in the big scheme of things, is the purpose of having a Christian faith primarily for gaining political power, or creating and enforcing laws, or hoarding wealth, or living as comfortable a life as possible? Or is it ultimately about bettering - and saving - humanity?
Let me be clear. My intention in writing about this is not to sway your vote for one candidate (or party) or the other. My intention is to raise to you the question, does your faith inform your politics or do your politics inform your faith?
As Christians we are called to serve others - especially those on the margins of our society and who are struggling to survive - not only when it is safe, or comfortable, or profitable for us. Serving others is about the other and not at all about us. This is one of the greatest characteristics of Jesus and of The Gospel. Jesus and his gospel are countercultural. Jesus turns the mainstream of society upside down and on its ears and commands us who follow Him to do the same.
Another nugget from Mr. Mattson's article says this:
A Jesus-centered Christianity is illogical in that it requires inordinate amounts of self-sacrificial love - to the point of being absurd: absurdly gracious, hospitable, kind, patient, peaceful, self-controlled, and giving. And doing all of this - following Jesus - is hard.
Serving others is a major tenant of Christianity. Perhaps that has been lost in many instances in American Christianity today. Serving others isn't sexy, it isn't profitable, and it isn't easy; but that's the point! Loving God and following God isn't easy, either - that is until we let go of our own preconceived notions and self-motivating willfulness. We must seek the will of God, not our own. Being a follower of Jesus won't gain you any glory, or fortune, or fame. And it is likely that it will even be a bit painful at some point. It is not hard to see why we so often choose other paths.
When we are confronted with the issues we face in this world during this time, we have to put aside our personal agendas and wants and listen to what God calls us to as humanity - as created beings of the Most High. So I urge you, as you consider who to vote for in this upcoming election, search your hearts, prayerfully seek God's guidance, and pray for our country and the whole of God's creation.
May God help us. Amen.