Thursday, October 16, 2008

To vote or not vote

As the political race draws to a close (it will close won’t it?), I’ve found politics entering the conversation almost everywhere I go. Now, I think there’s been some misunderstanding about my view of politics based on previous posts or comments I’ve made from the pulpit. I’m not anti-political or even apolitical. I’m simply against pastors being partisan from the pulpit. I have political opinions. I will vote for one of the two candidates nominated for president. I’m just not going to let you know who that is. Even if I don’t tell you to vote for that candidate from the pulpit, my de facto endorsement of the candidate may cause some people to think that I believe that all Christians should vote for my candidate of choice. I don’t, but I don’t even want to give that impression. When a pastor starts preaching or implying that one party or one candidate is the only “Christian” choice all sorts of bad things start happening both for government and for the church. That being said, I’m all for Christians engaging in the political discussions of our day and voicing their opinions.

I recently had a conversation with someone who said they weren’t going to vote because so many people mistakenly think that voting for this candidate or the other is going to save the world. He rightly noted, “Only Jesus is going to save the world.” While I agree with his theology, I disagree with his choice not to vote. We as humans often attempt to correct other people’s mistakes by making the opposite mistake. That is, we don’t like some of the things liberals do so we become ultra conservative (or we don’t like what conservatives do so we become ultra liberal). In this instance, we rightly recognize that far too many Christians worship America and think that if they just get the right person to run the country everything will be perfect. We rightly reject that type of thinking. No country, no political party, and no politician will prove to be the savior of the world. But we shouldn’t then fall off the track on the other side by saying, “Well, since some people make idolatry of this country or of politics I’m not going to participate.” Someone’s misuse of something shouldn’t cause us not to use it. The proper response to the misuse of one of God’s gifts is not to stop using the gift, but rather to receive the gift and use it properly.

Think about so many of God’s gifts (food, love, sex). Lot’s of people make an idol of these things. They misuse one or more of God’s gifts. Does that mean I’m going to stop participating in those gifts just because other people misuse them? Of course not. Out of thankfulness to God and as a signpost pointing towards his coming kingdom, I’m going to do my best to make proper use of his gifts for his glory. Having a voice in our government at every level is a wonderful gift. Should we worship the gift? No. But should we fail to receive it? In my opinion, equally, no.

To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18.

No comments: