Can we dialogue for a few minutes? This might be too much to ask, but is there any way we can put aside our political opinions, and agendas, and have a conversation between a pastor and normal, rational thinking people? Can we put away our MSNBC or FoxNews talking points and think for ourselves for a few moments?
By the way this is not a post to the church I pastor. I need to make that distinction because this post does not reflect Next Level Church, the staff, or anyone who is a part of the church. My blog is read by Christians who go to various churches. No matter what church you may go to I think we need to talk.
As I’m writing this the song, Slumber by Needtobreathe is blaring out of my computer speakers. The lyric that sticks out is, “Wake on up from your slumber. Baby, open up your eyes.”
As a Christian there is something that is bothering me and I will attempt to put it into words the best I possibly can.
I will get some things wrong. I will show my ignorance to politics. I will be wrong about something in this post. But the goal of this post is not to get you to agree, it’s to help you understand my frustration. Maybe together we can do something about it.
I hate politics. I really do. For every year since I turned 18 my political research extended to asking my dad who to vote for and then doing it. I’ve never wanted to get into politics or political debates. Watching political shows on TV is like black coffee to me. I know people have acquired a taste for it, and really like it, but it is so gag nasty to me. When I do try to choke it down it gives me a rumbly in my tumbly…if you know what I mean.
I’m writing about politics for a second day in row because there has been something on my heart since Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton received the votes necessary to become the Republican and Democrat nominees. Here’s what I might get really wrong. From my standpoint elected officials are a reflection of the people that put them in office.
We don’t have kings.
We have the opportunity to vote.
In our country we had lots of other options. We have the two we have now because they got the most votes.
Upcoming rabbit trail/rant alert.
Now, I was told it’s impossible for a third party to win this election. I’ve been told it’s stealing votes from Hillary and at the same time somehow it’s also stealing votes from Trump. Side note. Forgive my ignorance, but I’m not sure how this is impossible. It reminds of the TV show from many moons ago, MADE. They would take a teenager and give them a makeover to achieve their dream. One of the few episodes I watched was about a so called nerd who wanted to be Prom Queen. In the episode the idea was shared that there are way more nerds than popular kids. The nerds could rule the school, but they simply go along with the handful of popular people. If the nerds united they could have the Prom King and Queen every year. In this episode they united and had their very own “nerd” prom queen. It was magical. When I heard a third party can’t win this election, I thought about that episode of MADE. But this post is not an endorsement of a third party candidate. I digress. Rant over.
My point is we are in this situation because enough Americans showed up to put the two primary candidates in the position they are in.
Donald Trump and Hillary have not shown maturity in this election. The narrative that keeps being played is, Trump is awful…oh no…Hillary is worse…OH NO TRUMP IS WORSE. The goal of each person is simply to show how their opponents depravity is worse than theirs. I watched a lot of the last debate and I don’t understand what either candidate is going to do. I just know they both hate each other.
And we…collectively…we put them there.
Trump’s behind scenes comments about what he does and can do to women because he’s “a celebrity” broke my heart. Have you read them? They are disgusting. But there have been a bazillion posts written by others about him and his comments.
The articles I’ve read about the corruption and behind the scenes antics of Clinton are shameful. I read one article that said if she was in office currently she would be impeached for her actions. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but I read it on the Internet so it’s probably 100% factual. I kid, I kid.
The heart of this post is that we, collectively, as Americans, have put ourselves in a position where we have nominated two candidates who are both unfit for President and both look a lot like the culture.
We don’t have kings.
We have politicians who we vote into office. Often they flip flop on issues because…they don’t get elected if the people don’t like or support them. We impact what is important. If the “salt” and “light” of the world is silent someone will speak up. The politicians will become passionate about whatever “The people” who vote are passionate about.
And for way too many Christians the answer is, “God is in control.”
We say, “God is in control” as we don’t show up to vote. Over 50% of Christians don’t vote. I’m guilty of not caring. Politics isn’t my thing so I’ve often done nothing in the name of “God is in control.”
I believe it.
God is on the throne no matter who gets elected.
But we cannot sit back passively and then complain about the state of our country.
God was in control when the Israelites turned their backs on Him. God was in control when their poor choices led to their cities being destroyed and their men being carried off to slavery. God was in control then and He is in control now. But control doesn’t mean we won’t suffer because of poor choices.
If our elected officials are corrupt or crass or down right offensive it is a reflection of the people. And it’s so easy to say, “That’s not a reflection of me.” But when the “Light” doesn’t get involved because we have justified laziness as “God’s in control” then we do play a major part in what is happening in our country.
I love the quote by Eugene Peterson, “We live in a society that is in slavery. Maybe not institutionalized, but slavery, nonetheless. Freedom is on everyone’s lips. Freedom is announced and celebrated. But not many feel or act free. Evidence? We live in a nation of complainers and a society of addicts.” – Eugene Peterson
So what do we do? You and I cannot control anyone. We can’t force people to think like us, act like us, or vote like we do. We shouldn’t just sit back and complain.
What we can do is a take a long hard look in the mirror and see how we are contributing to the problem.
What double standards are we allowing in our life? Do we get offended by Trump’s statements and then laugh at incredibly crude comedians, listen to explicit music that degrades women, and look at porn when no one is looking over our smartphone? Are we ready to lynch Clinton as we are cheating on taxes, saying one thing in public and something else in private, stealing soda at Chipotle when we’ve asked for a free water cup? I see this happen all the time. Come on, America!
I personally was not surprised at Trump’s statements at all. In my opinion it fits his character. What is more surprising are the American’s who are quick to say, “That’s just guys being guys” or “That’s locker room talk.”
Please know, this is not meant to bash on my friends who are voting for Trump or Clinton. I am not writing a post to endorse anyone running for President. I’m still praying about who I’m going to vote for. I’m confused, and frustrated, and begging God for wisdom.
Vote for trump. Vote for Clinton. Vote for Johnson. Vote a write in for Daryl Dixon. Vote your conscious. Vote based off your opinion and not the opinions of the media, Facebook, or anyone else.
But as we go to the polls to vote, as Christians, let’s look at ourselves and ponder what we can do to make the world better.
Sitting back and hoping Jesus will come back is not the answer. God is in control, but there are consequences to apathetically sitting by and watching the world burn.
So because we cannot control anyone what can we do?
Let’s start with examining our own faith.
- As a Christian have you invested in anyone in the last year that does not have a relationship with Jesus? Not as a project. Simply because you are called to “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
- Do you regularly pray for opportunities to share your faith in Jesus with someone who doesn’t know Him?
- Outside of your own children (if you have any) have you personally discipled anyone to go deeper in their faith? The last command of Jesus was to “go into all nations and make disciples.” His last command is often his most ignored.
- Do you spend most of your time with Christians or do you intentionally make time to invest in the unchurched?
- Is your private life in line with who you are publicly?
- Are there TV shows, songs, or videos that you regularly enjoy that you would be embarrassed to watch with your pastor? If it’s not okay for him to watch them is it okay for you?
- If your church were to disappear instantly would the community you live in even notice?
I’m not trying to guilt anyone. That’s not my job. I’m asking questions. When I’ve seen the response by the supporters of both candidates it breaks my heart. This election is a reflection of America. Either you are part of the problem or you are part of the solution. I’m looking at myself. To do nothing is not what God has called you and I to do.
Wake on up from your slumber. Baby, open up your eyes.
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16 (The Message)