Politics, Pain, and Patrick
I thought it might put the cat amongst the pigeons to post a political post -- and it did. But it also proved something: for all the talk about how we should be united and allow diversity of thought and speech, when someone steps outside the lines we have drawn politically it is hard not to jump all over them. Almost all of the comments -- even those who misunderstood me or took me to task -- were still irenic and thoughtful. Eight or nine had to be removed because of language, attitude, etc. I might one day create a political blog, but this isn't it. This one is about how we deal on a practical level with what we say we believe. My findings are what most of us would expect: we talk a better game than we play.
We talk about the spirit of Christ, about the evils of traditionalism and factionalism, but we react in sarcasm, personal attacks, and by piling on assertions rather than making arguments. NOTE: if anyone is guilty of this, I am, too. I find myself trapped in a Romans 7 lifestyle while my spirit wants to soar in chapter eight's truths.
I once mentioned in a sermon that I was not a member of any political party. A woman went out and said, "You may say you're not a member of any party but you're the most Republican preacher I've ever met!" Later a young man went out and asked if we could meet for breakfast the next morning. After that breakfast I asked him what he was going to do the rest of that day. He told me, "You don't want to know." I told him that -- yes, -- that was true before... I was only being polite, but that now I really DID want to know! He told me that he was going to work for President Bush's re-election. I asked him"Why did you think I didn't want to know about that?" He replied, "You've always struck me as a touchy-feely Democrat kind of guy.
Ready for the kicker? He was the son of the woman who made the comment about me being the most Republican preacher she'd ever met.
Fact is, I was once a member of the Scottish National Party from about 1979-1987. Since then I haven't been a member of any party. I voted for Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan (not in the same election....) and have never voted a straight ticket in my life. In my heart (and I am now bracing myself for incoming fire from my friends and worse from my... uh.... non-friends) I am libertarian. I believe in the freedom to believe what you believe and to live free from any rules or laws except those absolutely required. But notice I used a little "l" because the party that bears that name has too many anti-Christian principles for me to carry their card.
I can't be a Democrat for their concept of forced re-allocation of funds is offensive to me. I can't be a Republican because their "sink or swim" ideology doesn't cover all the bases and leaves too many people behind. I don't support gay marriage, but I think heterosexuals have harmed marriage far more than homosexuals ever could so which party should I rally with?
I believe in giving away my possession, money and time to any who need it. Those who know me know I live out that belief, sometimes to the point of irrationality. But I do not believe in forcing, by law, others to give to anyone. I find the Bible to be a book that will not make the left or the right happy. It requires a personal response to needs. The only corporate directives are to the group who have voluntarily placed themselves under the authority of God. We are never called to create a Christian government. We are called to be Christians regardless of the government. We are not asked to let the government do the church's work.
Last political statement and then I will return to the arena I prefer -- God and life (although, this is also God and life to me). I believe that the existence of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and vice laws are testimony to the failure of the church to take care of its own. I shudder to think of God's response to our failure to lavishly give to our needy, care for our elderly with respect and sacrifice, and provide homes for any who need them. I don't have time to bash Clinton or Bush. It is taking everything I have just to live for Jesus -- and I'm not doing that good a job yet.
I want to get better. I want to play whatever part He requires of me and I know that starts with the first step: giving Him access to everything I have and everything I am.