If you are a pastor – stay out of politics. This is a word I need to hear constantly, not quite as often as I need to hear the gospel but close!
You see I lived the life of politics for a long time. I made a great salary because of politics and there were moments when I felt like political movements could make a difference. But the gospel is more vital and fulfilling than politics any day. I grant that we need responsible politicians and even more responsible press to keep an eye on them, but for those in ministry politics should be treated like infidelity.
This is not to say that pastors can’t have political convictions – I know I at times twitch with political angst, but when you share that from the pulpit you are robbing your people of the gospel and distracting them from mission.
Justin Taylor has highlighted an exchange between Billy Graham and another fundamentalist leader on avoiding politics. Billy didn’t take the advice and today regrets is, perhaps we can head the advice a little better…
I know that the temptation to get into the political fray will remain and at times we might join the pointless conversation but let’s purpose to keep the main thing the main thing.
Election day in the U.S. I could come up with reasons why Christians should vote or why blatant civic duty demands we participate. But not today. I have spent the last couple of years telling myself that I am no longer a political person – and removing the profession goes a long way – but I can be passionate and am easily stirred by the banter. But today I am looking forward to tomorrow with hope of regular consumerism drenched commercials on television and the return to “sanity” as some might jokingly say.
In the midst of this hope though is the realization of the finality of political systems and debates, polling places and parties. There is upon us a new kingdom in a new city governed with justice and mercy and eternality. We are guaranteed a reign of permanence from our sovereign and there will be no challenge to his authority or debating his decisions. Peace will be the norm and longevity an understatement. Christ will sit at the head of all rule and authority as he does today yet in person lighting our existence with his radiance extinguishing the need for a sun or energy outside of him.
This is the monarchy I long for, exist in and expect. You can have your politics, and you should participate but not for one second should we hold hope in it for finality or completion. That role only belongs to our Lord, the author and finisher or our faith and our foundation.
It has been a long time coming but I am breaking up with politics. Yeah I might be tempted and weak one day (in November perhaps) and have a fling again but my intention is to say so long to the angry and ridiculous scourge that is American Politics.
Last night the United States House of Representatives (arguably not being very representative) passed the Health Care Reform bill and the divided vote has the city I currently call home up in arms – some with arms raised in rejoice and other calling this the end of the Republic. Thankfully the passion will die down, much like it does after every election or hot button vote, but I am done worrying about it. I do not want to be defined by my politics.
While I believe we are supposed to be responsible and participate in the process, I think we waste entirely too much energy on the arguments and not enough energy on the things in life that matter. Need I list them? I didn’t think so.
I shouldn’t be asked to advise any candidates or help over turn this or that… because I won’t… until tomorrow.