Monday, February 25, 2008

How Would Jesus Vote?

I've stolen the title of this post from this article, not for the stereotypical reasons (I think WWJD? bracelets are atrocious), but rather because it can be a thought-provoking question. What parameters should I, as an Evangelical Democrat (gasp!), use in deciding for whom to cast my vote? While Jesus of Nazareth didn't overthrow the political powers the way that the Jews were hoping for, he did indeed have an opinion about Caesar's rule and the Apostle Paul gives clear instructions about praying for and respecting our political leaders (of any and every political party--don't get me started on churches who only pray for the presidents who are Republicans).

I hate the dichotomy that has emerged between a right-wing approach to controlling the voting bloc and bringing pressure to bear on political entities--all in the name of "Jeee-zuss!" (the way televangelists pronounce the name of my savior makes me shudder), and the left-wing approach of a somewhat necessary but still inexcusable withdrawal from, and lack of engagement with, religion and politics. It's frustrating to find that my party doesn't at all represent me in matters of faith and that the opposing party doesn't really mesh with my views on issues of justice and the environment. When is it, exactly, that we Christians all forgot about Genesis and our call to care for the earth and its creatures, and decided that to be a Christian requires a certain apathy and a willingness to watch the earth self-destruct? When did we lose sight of Jesus' call to care for "the least of these" and the proclamation that "pure and faultless" religion was to "look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27)?

Maybe if we, the Church catholic, spent less time arguing (note: discussing matters of theology and orthodoxy is valuable, arguing over them is not) about hot topics and denominational issues, and more time being not "polluted" by the world but rather helping to redeem it--the two should be intertwined--there wouldn't need to be social programs that your average angry conservative so reviles. Perhaps if we voted on issues thoughtfully--not just because someone presses one of our buttons on issues of abortion, gay rights, the environment, etc.--there might be a higher standard set and met by political candidates. Although that may be wishful thinking!

Of course I'm going to have to vote for someone who I don't agree wholeheartedly on every topic. Jesus isn't running for president, because that isn't his way. But it's nice when I actually have more choices (and our two-party system is another discussion entirely) than Stupid vs. Evil. I'm glad that the Democratic party is starting to realize once more that we Christian Liberals (which is rather a different thing than a liberal Christian) actually exist!

Just because I believe that Christ will one day return to reign over the new heavens & the new earth doesn't mean I shouldn't care about the earth and its issues now. Rather than being two mutually exclusive viewpoints, they go hand-in-hand. Part of Christ's eventual return and redemption of all things is the work that he has started--in His church--and we are foolish to miss out on his call to be good stewards now. Man can't ever set things perfectly straight (sorry, modernism), but we can and should be a part of God making all things new.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Contrasts

I'm attempting a deep, meaningful, artistically chiasmistic post, so bear with me. Hee hee hee.

Chinese New Year:
a new beginning
enjoying dumplings and red envelopes
a time of well-wishing
a hopeful reprieve from bad luck and
death... Lent
the suffering and death of a King
a season of repentance
giving up good things with joy
a new creation:
Easter.

Happy Year of the Rat, friends! May the next >40 days bring you and yours a season of deep reflection and the true hope of being buried and resurrected with Christ Jesus our Lord.