Thursday, October 18, 2012

Our responsibility

So this isn't supposed to be a political blog. I promised I'd stay strictly out of that arena when I joined the Christian blogging community. And I understand that. It's too easy to marginalize and alienate people, to make assumptions about what believers should and shouldn't believe. As disciples of Jesus, we are clearly told to be in the world but not OF the world. And our allegiance always flies over the muddy ground in which politics dwells.

However, it's difficult in this season to be an ostrich, to not mention what is happening in the here and now especially because my Holy Spirit given gift is to see the Spiritual in the daily life around me, to always look through the lens of eternity at what is going on in the world.

Therefore, I've had to sit on my hands to keep from writing about the presidential campaign in the US. And have done a pretty good job, you'll notice. It hasn't been easy because I'm nothing if not full of opinions and passion about...well, almost everything. Perhaps not NASCAR or any kind of auto mechanics, but almost anything else. And I'm no wall-flower about sharing those passions and opinions. Sometimes recklessly--without prayer or thought. I've been known to have to repent in dust and ashes and make my peace with those whose toes and feet and whole beings I've stomped on in my blasted certainties.

But about this campaign, and sitting on my hands. Done well enough until last night and the finger wagging and frigid air and mean-spiritedness and lack of respect between the candidates.  And the twisting, turning, bending and sometimes breaking of truth. It was a poorly done performance. Made a mockery of the concept of respectable debate. And a mockery of voters, who should be smarter than to fall for such tactics.

I'm disgusted by the whole affair. Have been for a long time, if truth be told. More work is done to see the other person (or party) defeated than to see the people for whom one is called to serve, actually BE served. We've been the victims of this system for more than one administration, more than one congressional session, but the animosity continues to worsen.  And each candidate, it appears, must step down into the muck and wallow around in it, throw wet, sopping, ugly clods of that mud on their opponent or not achieve their goal. Not win their prize. These are ambitious people we vote into our highest offices: that's what this mud they dwell in tells me as much as anything else. Anyone who's willing to be as mean-spirited, as intent on making another person diminish in order to elevate one's own position is ambitious indeed.

And, no matter how much either of any candidate professes a belief in Jesus, their words and actions do not line up with the gospel. Not during campaign season anyway. Not when they're stumping for our votes. When Andrew and John's mother came to Jesus asking for them to gain the special favor of sitting beside Jesus in the Kingdom, not only did Jesus say no way, no how--it's not mine to give, but told all the disciples, "The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. But not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first, must be your slave." Matthew 20:26ff

 This should be our model for leadership. Particularly among believers. We should expect more of those who profess to serve Jesus Christ. And evaluate them thusly.

It's okay, I think, to be disheartened by the rhetoric of this campaign. We should be. It should appall and frustrate us that there is no one in this nation who will step up with honor and approach it all as a Holy called one. Has no-one been called to such a task? Is there no one like Esther who might not have been born for such a time as this? To do rightly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God?

Pray with me. For an Esther. And for this season, for a dose of grace between the two left standing. Perhaps a shower of conscience that says, I will not enter the muck again. This far and no farther. In fact, this far was too far.
Our responsibility is not merely to vote--which we only exercise once and takes but an instant--but to pray that God interrupts, intervenes and engages in the work of the giant 'business' of running our country. We can do this, and thereby create monumental change, every day, no matter who wins the election in November.

And that, my friends, is our God-given right.