Saturday, March 04, 2006

Politics and Passing Through

There's a lovely old hymn that declares "this world is not my home; I'm just a'passing through." I love that song. I'm thinking of it while I wait in the Fort Lauderdale airport for an evening flight back to Detroit and my family. In the last two months I have gone back and forth from far south to far north: Detroit-Jamaica-Detroit-Louisiana-Northern Ontario-Florida.... and, while I have enjoyed meeting my brothers and sisters, I know I am not home.

Nothing against Florida, of course. I love the weather. I even enjoy listening to the Spanish language radio stations even though I know almost no Spanish. It sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Sitting in a strange place, waiting to go home is just another reminder of our lives -- we are all just passing through.

Nowhere is this clearer to me than in the world of politics. I know that many people think they know my politics, but the truth is far more complex than any generalities they might imagine. I vote in every election. I study the issues, read voraciously, pray, and then vote. But what party am I a member of?

I could never be a Democrat. In the name of compassion they create slave states where workers have to labor half the year to pay for entitlement and government programs. And if they choose not to pay? They never hesitate to bring the power of the State down on the protestor and squash them like bugs (think Ruby Ridge, Waco, Elian Gonzales, etc. ad nauseum). They pull away too many personal freedoms in the name of the State, community, and conformity.

I could never be a Republican. While I stand with them -- most of the time -- on the moral ground they say they hold, the fact is that most of them in public office do not live moral lives. The number of them who commit criminal or questionable acts is just too large for me to be comfortable wearing their name. I am repulsed by the slickness and greasiness, the corporate club-like nature of their policies, and by the lack of spine they show when push comes to shove.

I could never be a Libertarian (with a capital L) even though I am a libertarian (with a little l) at heart. While I agree with them on so many issues, they use their conventions to attack faith and morality; making abortion a holy grail. While they shout for liberty it seems that liberty is to apply to them far more than to others: they actively fight teaching intelligent design and against any public statements of faith.

So I am a pilgrim politically as well as bodily. I am just traveling along. I will continue to study, read, pray, and vote but I do not foresee a day ever coming where I will vote a straight ticket. My allegiance to Jesus makes it difficult to have an unquestioning allegiance to anything else. I don't regret that: it is the way it is; the way it is supposed to be. Just as I have never found an earthly home, I haven't found a political one, either. As a Christian and a pilgrim, an alien in this land, I will live as faithfully as I can -- including my participation in the political process. But I will not rely on any earthly party for my salvation. They aren't able to deliver on that, regardless of their promises. Instead, I will rely on Him who is faithful. And I will wait for the day when I can finally go home.

9 Comments:

At 3/04/2006 08:34:00 PM , Blogger DJG said...

I'm just glad politics stay out of the church....hah, hah, hah,


I truly dislike politics.

 
At 3/04/2006 09:41:00 PM , Anonymous Jonathan Moore said...

Patrick, I think that in general I understand where you're coming from with your political comments in this post. I'm not eager to identify myself with any party either. I too am generally disgusted with politicians.

That said, I guess it may be clear which party I tend feel most in common with when I point out some of the specific details of your post that I don't really get:

About the democrats you wrote, "In the name of compassion they create slave states where workers have to labor half the year to pay for entitlement and government programs."

You've lumped a whole bunch of good things (and some, perhaps, not so good) into the apparently pejorative phrase "entitlement and government programs." I know, you admitted that you're a libertarian at heart, but I think tax payers receive a multitude of benefits and services in exchange for the taxes we pay. If we don't think we're getting a good bargain, we're free to try our luck in a different country. Hardly slavery. About entitlement programs, of course we should strive not to encourage people to be chronically dependent on entitlements. But, have a look at the federal budget:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget%2C_2006

Sure, unemployment and welfare is a big chunk, but it hardly dominants nor deserves the scorn it commonly gets from angry tax payers. I've never been unemployed, but when that day comes I'm sure I'll be thrilled that our society/government provides a safety net.

You wrote, "And if they choose not to pay? They never hesitate to bring the power of the State down on the protestor and squash them like bugs (think Ruby Ridge, Waco, Elian Gonzales, etc. ad nauseum)."

You think the democrats are distinguished from the republicans in terms of a greater tendency to "...bring the power of the State down on the protestor and squash them like bugs..."? I don't see that at all. Again, the proper way to choose not to pay is to couple that choice with a choice not to enjoy the benefits that go along with payment...by going elsewhere.

You wrote, "They pull away too many personal freedoms in the name of the State, community, and conformity."

Again, you think that the democrats are worse than the republicans in this area? I don't see that at all either. I doubt our country's non-religious citizens would either.

 
At 3/04/2006 11:20:00 PM , Blogger David U said...

Ditto

DU

 
At 3/05/2006 03:17:00 PM , Blogger Debi said...

Well said! Thanks for the thought provoking post.

 
At 3/05/2006 07:48:00 PM , Blogger David U said...

For the record, I was dittoing Patrick. No offense, Jonathan.

DU

 
At 3/06/2006 08:43:00 PM , Blogger KentF said...

I and most Christian friends I know tend to vote Republican more often than not - probably a Texas-Bush thing. Lately, however, I, and, maybe we, tend to be moving more toward the middle. I also seem to be getting more annoyed with Dr. James Dobson's almost daily political message, which used to be Focus on the Family, which I guess is blasphemy for most conservatives.

 
At 3/06/2006 09:18:00 PM , Blogger LEM'S Politics said...

I have to agree with Jonathan, If we can't help the elderly and poor through our elected officials how are we supposed to make a difference that realy matters. my vote is influenced by those with concern fot the less fortunate.I try not to place such value on earthly treasures as to deny those in need. May God bless us all with thoughtful and prayerful decisions

 
At 3/06/2006 09:40:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

41: Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44: Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45: Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

 
At 3/07/2006 01:05:00 AM , Anonymous Renee Cutts said...

This past year I have had more difficulty than years past being able to distingish the differences in the parties. Last November I was so frustrated I didn't vote because both parties stood on platforms I couldn't concede my conscience to. I was tempted to vote for the independent just to spite both of them but the poor independent was voting on legalizing illegal drugs, so what's a Christian voter to do?

The Bible says the political powers that gain power are in power by God's hand to do His will on behalf of the the just and the injust. We, who are His followers, if we are seeking His will and not ours, will be moved to action or inaction accordingly.

I take my voting to God and tehn when I have peace about what to do, I do it, whether at the voting booth or in other political participations. The peace that passes all understanding should guide us.

Ok, this is bugging me. I don't understand why people talk about heaven as the end all home, when it's not. This earth is slated to be restored, granted after it's melted down first, but I do believe if you examine the Greek, the word is more like remade from the origial stuff, not created as in the beginning in Genesis.

From what I can see, God's dwelling place is then brought down here to the restored earth to rest, and we also have a restored universe or heavens?

So, isn't "Heaven" or rather paradise that's in heaven, a holding tank for the saved with the unsaved held in Hades, a holding tank in the earth, until God sets things right again and then brings His city down here and lives amoung us? Heaven on earth so to speak?

From what I read, this earth is going to be our home again, and what we call heaven, or paradise, is just temporary. Don't we belong to a kingdom that has it's throne above the heavens but is prophesied to be on the earth when all is said and done. Probably just semantics with regard to the context use of the heaven(s, but still it bothers me that we don't sing and refer to it accordingly or maybe I'm just not reading scripture right?

 

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