Once upon a time...
there was a rich, famous man who became political,
who was known for regularly building huge structures,
who barked at people regarding what he thought
and who generally didn't care what they replied back to him.
His name was Pharaoh.
Pharaoh was popular among a certain segment of people who liked those things about him.
Then again, there were other people who wished some sort of plague would swoop in and take him out of the spotlight.
Once upon a time...
there was a man who was a public servant known for slamming the wealthy.
Some people nicknamed him Robin Hood.
Remember Robin Hood? He was either a villain or a hero, depending on who you spoke with.
Maybe he was both.
Perhaps it was an appropriate nickname for many reasons, for by all means he was within the system yet outside of it; he had resources but didn't take resources.
In fact, at the end of the day he was sort of a hard guy to pin down.
Should he really be in power?
Hi, my name is Tony Myles and I am politically homeless.
What I mean by that is I have no interest in living under the roof of a particular political party.
Can we still be friends? I ask because I can already hear some of you cracking your knuckles to reply.
I wrote the two anecdotes above not to stir up trouble but to make a point - every human leader is flawed and can be stereotyped away so we don't have to pay attention. To top it off, messing with someone's candidate is like messing with that person's family. I get that.
But... do you?
Do you get how they aren't your family, but you think they are?
Voting never has, nor never will, overpower the pure truth of God or His standards.
What's common isn't Normal. What's Normal isn't common.
Another hurdle is there are many people who aren't sure that they fall into one camp 100%, if even 10%. Rather than jumping into another round of "WE'VE GOT SPIRIT, YES WE DO! WE'VE GOT SPIRIT, HOW 'BOUT YOU?" they elect (pun intended) to not elect.
I'm not sure that's entirely the best approach either.
Here's what I believe about all of that, right or wrong:
- The issues matter more than the candidates: You'll likely never in my lifetime hear who "my candidate" or "my party" is. God is my leader in all things, and I believe what He cares about and proclaims transcends party lines. In fact, to be even clearer - what God cares about and proclaims transcends even my personal preferences or previous affiliations. If you or I are inclined to vote on something a certain way that conflicts with something He's made clear, then we are the ones who are to change - not Him.
- The Gospel matters more than the parties: Jesus' teachings are highly political yet incredibly bi-partisan. As a follower of Christ and a Story-teller of His Story, I am called to do what I can where I can while realizing I can't do it all. No human platform, speech or rally cry - not even the snarkiest of Internet/meme graphics - can overshadow even the smallest punctuation marks of the Bible.
- The Church matters more than the government: Someone just got really angry reading that. Again, apologies... but not really. I can't use the title "God" without letting Him be God. Makes sense, right? He gets to be first in all things. His agenda matters more than anyone's agenda. He says everyone in the whole world matters and not just one country. He says we're to go all into the world to make this known because eternity is a bigger deal than the next four years. Granted, the next four years play into eternity, but the mission of the Church must always take precedence over the mission of government. They work hand-in-hand sometimes, and we can show our faith in how we treat our rulers, but again - they are different.
- The faith matters more than the skills: While I know none of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are perfect, I have a sense that many of them are teachable. You have to be in order to follow God. I'd like to see that in a political candidate a bit more than mere skills. Meaning, I'd love to see an "all-in" follower of Jesus who nods His life before God every day than someone who speaks well and plays political games better than others. If we only vote for the lesser of two evils, we're still voting for a form of evil.
Why does any of this matter?
- I have strangely angered people simply by talking about politics. There are people in my life who constantly post about political topics, from the economy to sexuality; from health care to the poor. It's all worth talking about, because these are issues God does have perspective and guidance for us on. My hurdle is I sometimes find that if I even dip my toe into those waters I lose friends. Literally... I can think of five people right now who scaled back their friendship from me simply because I said, "You know, here's another way to think about this." For real.
- People want to know what I believe. As a pastor I understand that this is not my role in their lives. While I will happily give people a framework of things to think about, I've found that promoting a party or a candidate is ridiculous. I'd rather introduce people to Jesus and let Him work inside of them and reshape how they handle the political piece of their lives. To top it off, there are legit Christians in both of the major parties - and following Jesus together is one thing we can agree on.
- I see too many of my friends just recycling what they already think and labeling others who think differently. If you assume someone else is idiotic, stupid or anything in this realm for not thinking as you do then you're missing out on a key truth in the world - everyone generally is trying to do what they think is right, whether or not it actually is. If we can speak to one another personally versus with punchlines, perhaps we could form a real relationship that transcends the topics.
have you read all of this up until this point to simply see if you can I match up so you know what to write in the comments?
I'd suggest instead we keep growing, praying and developing.
The main way God wants to change the world is by changing people.
Maybe we can be two of them?
"But the people refused to listen... 'No!' they said. 'We want a king over us.'" (1 Samuel 8:19)