Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative,
in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is
not who we thought he was. His words are responsible; his character is
inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that
should put every centrist on notice. As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer,
wrote in The Financial Times, the Obama budget “contains no trace of
compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its
larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it
addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.”
The Mark Driscoll national media tour continues - NYT Magazine, Nightline and now he's on CNN this weekend with comedian DL Hughley.
What I liked about this exchange is that Mark was able to take a dude who's going to approach a topic like sex flippantly and get his respect and open the door to a conversation about Jesus. If DL was living in Seattle, I'd lay money that he'd be sitting in one of the Mars Hill worship gatherings this weekend.
Thanksgiving is miserable for those who spend the day feeling judged by family who barely knows us. Our hope and delight and joy and happiness is recovered and experienced when it sinks in that the Judge who knows us better than we know ourselves finds delight and joy and happiness in us.
'There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.' (Romans 8:1)
So I heard this rumor that a presidential election is going on. Maybe you’ve noticed. Two years of watching men and woman jockey for the right to become mistrusted and second-guessed by half of the country and hated by a good part of the world. And people think dog fighting is inhumane.
Part of the inhumanity of our modern political process stems from the fact that how we vote goes a long way in shaping our cultural identity. We gain the label of ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ – and while we only connect those names to social concerns and economic theories, the reality is that we’re talking about two very different ways of seeing the world and determining what’s valuable in us and around us.
In more liberal, non-traditional communities, who you are is determined by what you make of yourself. Instead of allowing family or circumstances to dictate what you can or can’t do, liberal communities value the individual’s unique and self-determined identity. Not only does this create a diversity of hairstyles and fashion statements, but it helps us understand why people can passionately insist on a woman’s personal right to choose abortion or to love whomever they want, however they choose.
But in conservative, traditional communities, your identity is fairly well predetermined because who you are has everything to do with how well you fit the unspoken standards and values of that particular community. Someone moving into town will be considered normal as long as they look like, vote like, and act like us. So you end up with school uniforms and churches that insist that everyone – including people who have no interest in Jesus and even less interest in the church -act like them on secondary matters such as the consumption of alcohol. Communities are formed with almost no racial and socio-economic diversity in neighborhoods that all look the same and everyone says hello but no one knows each other because you can learn all that really matters about someone by what they drive and what they wear.
So where does Jesus fit into our political world? Without delving into side roads and rabbit trails, I’m pretty sure that Jesus would have a difficult time embracing any brand of contemporary politics carte blanche. And while that shouldn’t be taken to mean that followers of Jesus should abandon the political process on a local, state, or federal level, it does mean is that Christians should bring greater balance and stability to an increasingly volatile situation rather than exacerbating the problem by insisting that faithful Christians must embrace a single political party or persuasion.
The truth is that Christianity is far too conservative for liberals and way too liberal for conservatives. The way of Jesus is equally concerned for the rights of individuals and the health of our communities. The message of Christianity that we call the gospel not only deals with the brokenness of individuals but the dysfunction of systems and the injustice of nations. Our identity as followers of Jesus is found in the call of God to make him known by joining him on his mission that emanates from the cross of Jesus Christ.
For churches, this means that we have no business involving ourselves organizationally and institutionally in endorsing political candidates. To do so stands outside our God-given purpose and is practically impossible given that no political party or candidate will consistently uphold both the rights of individuals and the health of our communities. For individual Christians, following Jesus in politics means that whichever political persuasion we’re drawn to, we must always champion those positions which declare and display the kingdom of God while seeking to reform, reshape, and redirect those which deconstruct the vision and values of God for his world and his people.