April 2, 2020

Open Mic: Election Day

By Chaplain Mike

I have a mantra: “I am about the most a-political person you will ever meet.” That’s why we don’t talk much about the subject here on Internet Monk. Generally, I have little interest in politics, except on a pragmatic level. I like to think that’s a theologically valid perspective. As Paul wrote,

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1Tim 2:1-4)

The Apostle here places politics at the service of the Gospel, not vice versa. His chief concern seems to be that those in civil government will provide stable and peaceful conditions which will allow God’s ambassadors to spread the Good News.

Here in the United States (unlike the Roman empire), we have opportunities to take an active role in the political system. We can do more than pray. In our political system, “the government” is not someone else ruling over us, it is “we the people” electing representatives to speak for our interests and bring about our will. It remains an open question as to how extensively Christians should be involved in the political process and whether or not such participation is ultimately effective in bringing about salutary changes in society.

As for me, I am more interested in WHY Christians want to be involved in the political arena, whether simply on the level of citizenship or as active participants in political activity. That’s why I would like this election-night edition of Open Mic to focus on a simple statement made by Scot McKnight:

Somewhere between 6pm and 8pm, Central Time, on November 2nd, 2010, the eschatology of American evangelicals will become clear.

Eschatology is about where we place our hope. What part does working for political change (at whatever level) play in your hopes for the future?

A note to our international readers. You are welcome to participate, but I will acknowledge at the outset that I am primarily interested in a discussion of American politics here. The politicization of evangelical Christianity has been an issue in the U.S. primarily, and today’s elections here and the Christian response to the results will reveal a great deal about what the church in our country believes about this question.

Comments

  1. Saying that a mid-term election will reveal the “eschatology of American evangelicals” shows a complete lack of understanding of the terms “eschatology” and “evangelical”, not to mention a limited understanding of “American”!

    Yes, there has been a fair amount of talk about the politicization of evangelicalism recently. However, I would argue that with the internet and multiple 24 “news” channels, the political fringe element is getting more attention. Mainstream evangelicals haven’t changed that much. Most are still political moderates who demonstrate more political influence from geography than the church.

    And as to why a Christian would want to be involved in politics beyond the level of a citizen reminds me of the “real” answer as to why someone would want to join the pastorate: no one wants to join the pastorate, people are called to do so.

    Yes, I do believe that some Christians are called to serve in political office, just as some are pastors, nurses, scientists, engineers, literary agents, etc. Maybe some Christian politician can do good works for our neighbors, both fellow citizens and those in other countries. Maybe even someone can restore a little civility to Washington, D. C. politics (admittedly a long shot). Both of these could, in turn, serve the Kingdom.

    But my eschatology will not change due to politics in the US, regardless of which party is in power. I place my hope in Christ.

    After all, if the House and Senate leadership are split, Christ may be the only one who will be able to get anything done for at least the next two years!

    • I encourage you to read McKnight’s post. Not so much that the election results will be revelatory, but that the way Christians respond to those results will be revealing.

      • Fair enough.

        After reading McKnight’s post, I see his point. However, I disagree to some extent that the response to election results will reveal eschatological views. As on commenter on McKnight’s blog mentioned, a reaction, especially an immediate one, does not define one’s eschatology. After all, my wife has promised me a special dinner tonight. I can hope for certain types of food. If I do not get them, I may be a little disappointed, but it does not mean my eschatology is wrapped around steak and not chicken.

        The real eschatological revelation may be how people act in two or three weeks. A prolonged celebration or depression is probably the better indicator.

  2. I don’t have a lot of hope for the future. Every day, this country does a better job at full-blown worship of mammon. When Christians began embracing the teachings of Ayn Rand that greed is not only good at an individual level, it’s the best basis for society, we turned a corner and it wasn’t toward Christ.

    • Well, Fish, wouldn’t that depend on what future we’re hoping for? I join you in feeling a bit pessimistic about the future of this country being anything like its past, but is that really “the future”?

    • Fish,
      Could not agree with you more. Makes one wonder how Christians find such comfort in such a harmful worldview. Plutocracy doesn’t seem to fir in with the teachings of the master. (I’ll use a different screen name going forward so as to not confuse others, and myself)

  3. American politics is frustrating. To me, a limit of two choices is an ultimatum, which is a fallacy. If I vote for a nontraditional party that doesn’t show up in the national results, has my eschatology failed? Given all of the tea party candidate ads funded by Karl Rove, all they can do is hand power back to the Gingrich neo-cons.

    I keep running into evangelicals who see a Christian world view as a means to a political end. A true world view should be broader, more prophetic. It should call a spade a spade – no matter what party is involved. It should anathemize the secularism of the Republicans and the tea party as severely as it treats abortion. Both are examples of dehumanization. As Tom Delay, the “friend” of family values, heads off to court over money laundering charges, can’t evangelicals realize that politics is not the ultimate answer?

    • I agree and you’ve said it better. The problem (The Fall), which plagues mankind is not solved by political means. I wish all American Christians realized that deeply.

    • You sound like yet another conflicted liberal by demeaning only conservative candidates in your rant.

      • Yes, what better way to point out some one’s speck in their eye while not addressing the log in yours

      • Oh, no. I have voted mostly straight Republican tickets since ’84 – like a good, dutiful pro-life evangelical. Conflicted? Most certainly. Fed up with believing that Republicans care about the sanctity of human life? Oh, yes. Am I skeptical of the tea party providing any meaningful change, that they have no chance of wrestling power from the old Republican guard? Yep.

        In a way, I feel liberated. I will no longer vote for a candidate based upon their claim to be pro-life. I’m done.

    • It gets better…look at some of the darlings of the religious right. Let’s see…you have Newt Gingrich who was working on a divorce from his second wife while she was fighting cancer. You also have family moral crusader Bill Bennett who has no moral problem with gambling large amounts of money away, etc.. I find it amusing that one of the GOP leaders of the US Senate, David Vitter was embraced by evangelcals despite his involvement with prostitution. They never forgave Bill Clinton for his sexual indescrions. Nor Larry Criag…how sas ws that debacle….

      This is the thoughts coming from an agnostic. I am actually afraid that his election will have a more polarizing effect on the country. With larger conservative Republcian majorities I expect to see more social/cultural wars over issues such as abortion, homosexuality, prayer in school, creationist teaching, etc.. So take the issue of homosexuality many youth already have different views on that topic and when older evangelicals try and flex their muscle (I’ve already read of some indictions on Fox News..) I think that will contribute to the long term death of Christinaity in the US. People who are tired of the culture wars, who leave in droves, and the exodus will continue.

      Why do I say this..? Becuase a lot of evangelicals don’t “get it”. They can’t understand the differences betwen the two and they continue to use “ministries” such as Focus on the Family which only contributes to the indoctrination and excerabtaes the problem. (Maybe a more appropiate word would be brain washing.)

      Hey it was a contributign factor to my spiritual death! Surely it will be for others as well..

  4. The word “hope” is key here. The reason I am in the post-evangelical wilderness is that I lost hope that new calvinist or church growth movement or contemporary music or coffee houses or church in a brewery or christian movies…. can solve the problems of church in United States. At the same time and in the same way, I realized that neither political party provides hope. In both politics and in the evangelical church, it is all capitalistic marketing geared toward a certain population demographic.

    I know realize the being in the evangelical wilderness also means being in the political wilderness as well.

    • While I do not as strongly share the pessimism of the church as you do, I do agree with the connection between the evangelical wilderness and a political wilderness

  5. A little aside – Michael Spencer started Internet Monk as a political blog 10 years ago. (His words).

    If you go to Archives II, you will see many of his original political essays.

    • It amazes me how much his views changed over the years…

      • In my view a mark of his intelligence.

        • Or compromise

          • Hmmm. Been mulling this over for an hour and so here goes.

            Anyone who thinks they know all the answers at any point in their life is sadly mistaken. It takes real courage to stand up and admit that a past position might have been wrong. Maybe even terribly so.

            This “compromise” label gets tossed around a lot. Especially in the evangelical church at people who dare to say that maybe a widely held position is wrong. It may be. Or it may not be. But we have to be able to discuss issues without being labeled.

            Holding onto positions blindly can lead to really bad situations. We all know the phrase “drink the kool-aid”. It gets used mainly as a joke these days. But the blind obedience to wrong beliefs led the the mass murder suicide of over 900 people who refused to “compromise”. They drank the kook-aid and didn’t stop to look around and see if they might be wrong.

          • Or his courage and humility.

          • So was he wrong before or after.

          • I never understood why compromise was seen as such a negative thing. In order to accomplish anything, compromise is needed.

          • When was he wrong. I guess to answer that question you have to ask the people he agreed with before or after. And you’ll get two different answers.

            I tend to give more weight to later opinions when backed up by reasoned thought.

            But is it “wrong” to not be a Calvinist? Are the majority of Christians, even Evangelical Christians, wrong? Or do we just disagree about a non critical point?

            And yes I know that many Calvinists think that their principles are a core foundation of their faith. So unless you agree with these people you are indeed “wrong”.

          • “WRONG”, to me, is holding onto failed ideas and convictions long after you’ve discovered that they don’t work, or are not as “right” as you once thought they were. “WRONG” is clinging desparately to some version of evangelical absolutism where all pertinent asnswers are printed neatly in the margins of your bible. “WRONG” is saying ‘change is great….you go first…”

            yeah, Michael was often wrong, and he was quick (usually) to point that out, grow from it, write about it, and move on. He was not a relativist, just a human that saw through a glass darkly. I’m hoping to be “wrong” like he was.

          • Already sounds like you are.

      • At my wedding 20 years ago, I was described in a toast as being just slightly to the right of Attila the Hun. You wouldn’t know it today from what I write. I chalk it up to being open-minded and being willing to read and digest contrary opinions. Michael Spencer was the same way.

  6. It’s been my belief that the problem is not that the laity is somehow more politicized, but that the leaders of the church have taken to believing that they are somehow in charge of their congregations political as well as spiritual lives, and that politicians have discovered that pandering to religious groups is a good way to secure more votes. I think most Christians are the same as they’ve been for generations, listening attentively to their personal spiritual mentors. Why would any pastor (as mine has done) advise his congregation to vote for a particular candidate? That is the big question to me.

    As for my hope, it is always an will always be (in the political realm, of course) in the goodness of people. Call me naive, but I don’t think either political party is bad enough to bring the system crashing to the ground. My interest is in fighting the injustices of the church, in whatever capacity I have.

  7. I take part in politics because I think of it as how we submit to the government in America. Since we are the government, it is our duty to participate in it and make sure it doesn’t go awry. I also enjoy the intellectual tussle between two opposing views. I probably enjoy it too much, actually: I had a very nasty response to Fish’s post earlier, but decided at the last moment not to. Politics is one thing that can get me very heated, and I’m trying to work on that.

    • I think Fish had a good point about people in this country worshipping mammon. Were you upset at an opinion of his, or at the situation that he described?

      As for Ayn Rand, she looks pretty scary.

      Sojourners has a page on Ayn Rand vs. Christ in the November issue (entitled “Jesus Shrugged?”), and the feature article is entitled “The Theology of the Tea Party”. Available online with free registration at
      http://sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.home

      • How should I put it? Yes, I’ve noticed the rise of Randian philosophy on my side of the political spectrum, and that does concern me. But virtually all of it is from the atheistic libertarian branch of the Tea Party movement, as far as I’ve seen. From Christians, I have seen more of an attitude of “Render unto Caesar.” Caesar has overstepped his bounds, and we want him to back off. Obviously, there are a lot of opinions in the Tea Party, since we have no leadership and no formal structure. But I am getting rather sick of people thinking that we’re greedy because we don’t want the government taking massive amounts of the money we earned. Both sides care about the poor, but we disagree on the methods. People like Fish think that the government should take care of them. We think that people should take care of the poor, because the government always abuses them.

        Oh, and accusations of idolatry are especially grating, considering the Democratic Party is virtually the same as the Baal-Asherah cults in the Old Testament.

        • I’m kind of curious as to what you think about the government that was in power when Jesus told his disciples to render to Caeser what was Caser’s. Didn’t that government rather overstep it’s bounds?

        • Taxes are lower than they’ve been in my working lifetime. That argument falls flat. And if you don’t like government spending, my suggestion is to ask why the US spends 50% of the world’s entire military expenditures, rather than making our deficit the fault of poor people for not choosing to be rich just like John Gault.

          If you could show me one time in the history of the world that “the people” have provided health care to those who can’t afford it without involving government (an institution created by God through which we work together to do things we cannot do alone), you might have an argument there.

          I am getting rather sick of those who seek to perpetuate the sin of killing children through lack of health care. Our health care system is a national sin akin to abortion, and arguably morally worse, for people die surely and purely because they do not represent enough profit for insurance companies.

          The religious behavior that comes to my mind is the Mayan practice of sacrificing children to the gods so they’ll make it rain, except in this case the gods are corporations and the rain is quarterly earnings.

          It is ironic, and very telling, that a secular nation like Canada does a far better job of following the teachings of Jesus.

        • Dan Crawford says

          Since you are obvious a Tea Party disciple but claim that you care for the poor, perhaps you could provide some evidence of that in the policies advocated by the TPers? When Reagan talked about “trickle down” economics “helping” the poor, we soon discovered that he was really talking about pissing on the poor. You may think the TPers advocating “Randian solutions” are “atheists”; in point of fact, I haven’t heard one TPer say anything inconsistent with the views of social darwinists like Ms. Rand and Ms. Sanger.

        • Cipher, Fish never mentioned the tea party. I think you’re making assumptions here. He did mention Ayn Rand, and worship of mammon (which I took to be consumerism) but again, it was you who made the association of Ms. Rand with the tea party. Her ideas are not helpful and are not Christian, and anybody connected with the tea party should be aware of this. She more resembles Nietzsche than she does Jesus.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            And the Tea Party movement contains both Christians and Objectivists.

            It pretty much contains ANYBODY who’s had it up to here with the status quo.

            Historically, American politics cycles into a major “passing the torch” shakeup about once every generation (20-odd years) and into Messiah politics every 16-20 years. And right now both those cycles are peaking.

      • Interesting article, thanks. I’m no “tea-partier,” but I would note that the fact that “the Bible says that kings, rulers, judges, employers, and governments also are held biblically accountable to the requirements of justice” is not necessarily contradicted by the belief, held by some, that the government does not efficiently respond to this requirement. Nor should it excuse individuals from heeding this call. Taking care of those most vulnerable, shouldn’t be a political issue, it should be a personal, human issue.

        “I” am my brothers keeper, not my congressional representative. While I hope that our representatives in government act justly towards those in need, it is silly, in my opinion, to think that we can simply hand the ball off and wait for the government, with all its bureaucracy and power-grabbing, to get the job done. We are called to do this work and if we, as individuals and Christians, take the lead (and, believe me, I’ll be the first to admit that I fall way short in this respect) then maybe we wouldn’t have to worry as much about what the government is and isn’t doing in this arena.

  8. Isaac (the poster formerly known as Obed) says

    I’m a lot less political than I should be. By that I mean, while I vote, I don’t vote in all elections, and I’m rarely as informed as I think I should be. Truth be told, I rarely find out enough about the candidates to be as responsible a voter as I believe I should be. Take that as a disclaimer that what I’m about to say is ideological and theoretical in my own life.

    I think we should do as much good as we can in the world, even while recognizing that we will never bring the Kingdom by our efforts. That includes using our rights and privileges with regards to
    politics. We should approach the issues from a Christian perspective. We should vote accordingly. Christian faith and morals should inform every part of our life, including our politics.

    That said, we cannot let politics drive our faith, eschatology, etc. The purpose of being politically involved shouldn’t be a desire to make (or remake, depending on your view of American history) America into a “Christian nation.” Rather, the purpose is to do what is right, and make a stand for what is right in every way we can, despite the likelihood that we will meet with opposition in those efforts. That includes standing up for the poor and oppressed as much as it includes standing up for the unborn. Really, this is a radical call that transcends party politics.

    And that’s probably why I’ve done such a bad job of living up to that ideal. It’s freakin’ hard to figure out which of the candidates is the lesser evil. But the point is that our Christian faith has to touch on every aspect of life, including our civic lives.

    • 15 or 20 years ago I started trying to vote for the candidate that would tend to produce the best result long term. Say 5 or 10 years from the election. And ignore the immediate wedge issues. I’ve voted for heathens hoping they’d get toss out in the next cycle over fundy evangelicals who campaigned for city council on bringing back the gold standard. And it has been true many times.

      My Presidential votes over the last 20 years would get me thrown out of many evangelical churches but in hindsight I think I was right in most of my votes.

      As to the 08 presidential election, I’m still despondent in that I felt neither candidate would deal with the fiscal issues properly and so for I haven’t changed my mind on that.

      Oh, well.

      But as other have pointed out, elections and politics are NOT why we live the lives we do, they are just something we take part in to try and spread the Gospel via example.

  9. Scott McKnight is right; our hope is in God (Psalm121:1-2).

    But we’re still called to vote and take part in forming the system, or at least providing checks and balances on it.

    An example of disappointment, whether against Democrat or Republican–and how we can provide checks and balances: Here in Maine, the current (and outgoing) Democratic governor instituted some harsh measures in the educational system–in effect, socializing the administration of education statewide through consolidation of school districts. We got blindsided by this a few weeks into his second term, with no mention of it during the campaign. Tomorrow we’ll find out if his successor will be the Republican, who wants to institute other harsh measures—not to socialize, but to privatize, by allowing vouchers for private education and for charter schools (and all of this on top of Bush’s No Child Left Behind!). The consolidation weakened local control, and privatization will no doubt weaken funding for public schools. What to do?

    This Republican candidate is the front-runner because the Democratic candidate is up against a strong independent who may siphon enough votes from her to elect the Republican (this is becoming a trend here in Maine). Assuming the worst, it will be the duty of school boards throughout the state to protect education (yet again) by banding together and saying “NO” to the governor, as in the past with the Democrat or in the future, possibly, with the Republican. As we remember that good campaign promises are often not kept,, we also take comfort in the fact that draconian promises are often not allowed—by Congress or by the people.

    So yeah, vote. But also keep active after-the-fact in keeping these bozos in check. Have no illusions that they’ll do the right thing on their own.

    James4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

    VOTE! But reserve your hope for God.

    • David Cornwell says

      My daughter, who has taught in an elementary school for over 20 years now, has been sickened by what is planned for schools in Indiana. There is much turmoil and the real possibility of entire districts being turned into for-profit charter schools. Local school boards will be powerless and superintendents replaced by state appointed managers (or those hired by charter school companies). Teachers are being made the scapegoat, unions are under attack, and the responsibility of parents is ignored.

      If I get involved in any politics it will be at this level. I have a copy of the proposed rule changes if anyone wants a copy (in PDF format).

  10. I find more interesting the exit polls that reveal that two-thirds of Republican voters are tea party supporters. I have some mild regret that the checks and balances built into our system will almost certainly prevent them from actually experiencing what they say they support. I’m something of a believer that most of the time we get the government we deserve in our country — and that things tend to be more self-correcting when we do. Of course, if they really got the government many of those candidates claim to support, it could leave the country in a bad enough state that we would need another Teddy Roosevelt to kick start our way out of it. So maybe I’m happier that that’s not the government they will get. Beyond that, I don’t tend to expend a lot of energy on politics. I do vote. Even in school board elections. But that’s usually about the extent of my engagement.

  11. ‘The Two Kingdoms Doctrine’.

    No political gospels! The message ought be one of Law and gospel! Something much more important than politics is at stake!

    But we are free to support and advocate politicians of our choice for the betterment of our neighbors lives. Just NOT in the sanctuary during worship.

    The congregation that I’m a member of is roughly divided equally between Republicans and Democrats.

    It’s a small congregation and I have come up with that assessment from talking to folks there through the years.

  12. Since it is hardly fair for non-Amercians to have their future held hostage to the political circus that is U.S. politics, I can only pray for the economic collapse and political breakup of the U.S. regime. The occupying authorities will face the monumental challenge of systematically purging American society of its extremist elements, including religious ones, and integrating its people into a larger, fairer polity. (Just as happened with Nazi Germany.)

  13. I like Democracy. Though I am a partisan Democrat, I love it when everyone votes, even Republicans and those dewey-eyed third party supporters. For me, Democracy is an end in itself. A good end. We have the Supreme Court to try to keep government from going insane so we needn’t worry about people being disappeared or rounded up and put in camps (well, at least since the end of WWII one hopes we won’t make that mistake again).

    My ballot is my consent to be governed. I participate every election (even city primaries). I really like the new ability to early vote. I cast my ballot a couple of weeks ago.

  14. I love democracy. I love America; despite our problems I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. By the way, I teach world and U.S. history. My degree is in history and political science. I’m often frustrated by the choices we are given to choose from, but I love the process and think we are fortunate to have a choice. But having said all that, politics will always be inherently evil at some level. My hope for the future is certainly not tied up in it. Nations and empires rise and fall. From our perspective at this time, it would be a shame if the American experiment fails. But our nation is only a couple centuries old; in the great scheme of everything God has planned, it might not amount to much. I’ve preached entire sermons on how the United States is neither Old Testament Israel nor the Coming Kingdom.

    I vote in every election. I have served jury duty, and criticize people for helping others “beat the system” and get out of it. I teach the Declaration and Constitution to our prodigy. But all kings and kingdoms are established by God Almighty, maker of heaven of earth. He has ordained the events of history. I like to keep things in perspective.

    • Dan Crawford says

      I sometimes like to remind fellow Christians who are enamored of politics that the Messiah has already come; he was neither Democratic or Republican, what is more he was not even an American.

  15. David Cornwell says

    While I believe in participating in our democracy in whatever way possible, our first allegiance is to the Kingdom. These days I especially like this:

    “Most of Christianity in recent times – since Constantine, in fact – thought it needed to rule. I represent what I like to call the non-Constantinian, ‘peasant’ view of Christianity. I just want to know who’s ruling me and how I can survive them!” – Stanley Hauerwas

  16. Want to get a take on someone’s hope/eschatology ?? Look for their anxiety, anger, and passion. What get’s them really worked up, what gets them passionate. I know this is very subjective , and hard to pin down with clarity, but I think my emotion often lets people know what GregR holds near and dear.

    I’ve had many a conversation with ev. christians that were 10X more animated about gun control (or the threatened with holding of that), immigration, gay rights, etx. than they were anything explicitly centered on Jesus or the gospel. Hmmmmm; How’s that song go : ” MY hope is built on nothing less…..”

    Greg R

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “My hope is built on nothing less
      Than freeze-dried foods and Smith & Wesson?”

      • A true child of the Cold War.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          How about this one:

          “Within 48 Hours After Push Comes To Shove, The Most Plentiful Food Source In America’s Cities Will Be Human Flesh. Get Ready To Do What Needs To Be Done To SURVIVE!”

          That was probably the most extreme thing I heard during the big Survivalist frenzy of the early 1980s. There were guys spouting off on this and similar over all pre-Internet media back then. Most were 400+lb fanboy types with lifetime subscriptions to Soldier of Fortune (quoted chapter-and-verse). What a long strange trip it’s been…

  17. I recently voted. I am generally apathetic to what happens at the national level, since I feel that it is little more than a functioning plutocracy with little chance of change that reflects the values of people who have less than several million dollars to donate.

    In the recent California election, I cared enough to vote “yes” on prop 19 and i was disappointed that it failed. I voted against our current incumbent senator because she has been there far to long.

    I am generally a classical liberal when I vote. I would like the government to do little. I don’t want the government trying to decide what is “good for people” (espeically in education) or try to fix societal ills, like poverty.

    I simply don’t have confidence in it.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I have worked in and around elections. All California’s districts are carefully drawn by incumbents and their political machines as one-party, one-candidate districts. While everybody was watching and pontificating on the Governor’s race, in every other office the results were the same as they have been for 10-12 years: ALL INCUMBENTS RE-ELECTED. *NO* EXCEPTIONS. (We’re even starting to see Congressional and State Assembly seats being passed down from father to son.)

  18. Randy Thompson says

    Many years ago, an episcopal priest whom I respect said, “if this isn’t the end time, it certainly is an end time.” I don’t think most American Christians are prepared to live in “an end time.”

    There have been times in history where the people of God were called to do just that—to live in and to help bail out sinking ships—Jeremiah in Jerusalem, Augustine in Hippo surrounded by the Vandals, and the Eastern (Nestorian) Church, overrun by Genghis Khan’s hordes, for example. In such times, and, perhaps, in such times as these, we read Revelation as it is supposed to be read, as a reminder that God is bigger than Babylon, Caesar, and the Beast, whether they’re sick or healthy. Whatever else this election means, it is, for me, a reminder that I’m navigating by something considerably more stable than whatever the Republicans or Democrats are up to.

    The choice, it seems to me, is whether we join with those who are helping to sink the boat, or with those trying to bail it out, even if it’s sinking, and this means that Christians are called to be right wing and left wing at the same time, with no guarantee of political success.

    This means that you’ll be shot at by both sides (or, at the least, very unpopular). But wasn’t that true of Jesus? He was too liberal for the Pharisees, too conservative for the Zealots, too cavalier about the Temple for the Sadducees, and too worldly for the Essenes. Better to be crucified by these types, than to accommodate the Kingdom of God to chump-change politics and low-rent Caesars, who always need to have god on their side.

    We flourish in end times by looking forward to “the” End Time.

    • David Cornwell says

      Randy, you are on to something here. At times it has been awfully difficult for me to really examine my own political prejudices in the light of the prayer of Jesus, “thy Kingdom come on earth…” This prayer changes the political landscape and gives a new lens through which to view it.

      • Randy Thompson says

        I would love to say I have no political prejudices, but I need God’s deconstructing work as much as anybody!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      The choice, it seems to me, is whether we join with those who are helping to sink the boat…

      What about the End Times types who go out of their way to help sink the boat so Christ can come sooner? (The usual application of this is triggering a Final Arab-Israeli War to fulfill the prologue to Left Behind and the Nuclear War Chapter of Ezekiel — “It’s Prophesied, It’s Prophesied…”)

  19. Eschatology is the last thing on my mind when I vote or am involved in the political system in any way.

    • Randy Thompson says

      So your vote has nothing at all to do with the coming Kingdom? We vote as if the new heaven and new earth are a fairy tale?? We cross our fingers when we pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. . .”?

  20. “We thought we could change something
    We helped them win
    We changed the slogans
    We get hunted again
    When you’re the fighter
    You’re the politicians tool
    When you’re the fighter
    You’re everybody’s fool”
    – Bruce Cockburn, from lyrics to song “Guerilla Betrayed”

  21. Mrs. Butler says

    well, I did not vote this election. This is because I recently decided that voting for “the lesser of two evils” was still voting for evil, and I just wasn’t up for that anymore. Since I don’t vote for pro-aborts, corporatists, war mongers, or socialists (wealth redistribution is theft), that pretty much leaves everyone out. I was going to vote in local elections, such as county auditor and sheriff and tax levies, but I couldn’t get motivated. I don’t feel bad about it. I do care deeply about politics, and I believe the gospel is essentially a political message (Jesus is King, Caesar is not) so it matters. But I believe that unwieldy out of control HUGE nation states, like ours, can not help but be anti-Christ. They do not ask us to trust in God, rather they demand that we trust in the State. We must give of our labor first to the State, then if we have any left over, we can give to God. This is wrong. I can’t sell my house for half what I paid for it, and yet my property is assessed at twice its worth so that I am forced to pay property taxes for public school which teach Darwinism as a prevailing philosophy. This is wrong.

    So much is wrong. And I don’t want to keep casting my ballot for the guy who will do less of this evil.

  22. InternetMonk you have to help Brazil. Evangelicals are starting to turn political )=
    It’s going to damage Christianity BAD there ):

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/novemberweb-only/53-21.0.html

    I’m scared. How long until the economic collapse occurs so that the Evangelical collapse occurs as well?