I just had breakfast with one of my leaders at Village, whose sour mood probably reflects a number of people in my congregation today. The morning after the election, the results are somewhat disturbing. The immediate take-away for me is how much our nation is moving further and further away from the biblical values we once were more inclined to accept. We have re-elected a President who is pro-abortion in his policies, as well as endorses same sex marriage. Even though he has articulated a clear conversion to Christ, it seems he has made little effort to reach out and find common ground with leaders of the church. At least two, and likely a third state, have endorsed same sex marriage. And a growing number of voters have declared no religious preference.
Reflecting on so much of the political discourse in recent days, at least on the moral issues, it does amaze me how seemingly inept we are at articulating our stance on such issues as abortion, marriage, gambling, etc. Some of the post deliberations talk about how turned off some were by politicians who took an “extreme stance on reproduction issues”. I take this to be code for standing up for the rights of the unborn. I find myself asking why taking a moral stance is “extreme”. Why is it so hard for some in the public square to give a reasoned defense without sounding apologetic or weak. Isn’t it to the government we must turn to to protect the rights of the innocent, the vulnerable? Is it crossing a line to say that if a parent will not protect the wellbeing of the child he/she is called to steward, someone must protect life? To say this is a women’s rights issue makes no more sense to me than saying a father who is sexually abusing his two year old son should be able to do so without governmental interference. If we will not protect the survival or the health of a human being, is it not the role of government, which Scripture defines as “a servant for good” (Rom 13:4)? Isn’t this also an issue of social justice? Shouldn’t this matter even more to those on the left?
With respect to same sex marriage, why is it that those politicians who believe in the heterosexual definition of marriage cannot boldly respond? Why doesn’t someone ask—if you redraw the lines and redefine the institution of marriage, aren’t you creating the potential that anyone with enough lobbying power might redraw them again to fit their orientation? Does anyone stop to ask what God’s will is? Does anyone care?
The issues before us as a nation, of course, are far bigger than marriage and abortion. There are issues of debt and immigration, and again, it is almost impossible to hear anyone take a position that reflects God’s moral will. We desperately need leaders who will not pander to the polls, who will promote justice while calling everyone to take responsibility to do their part. There are too many people who are not cared for, and too many others who are, for lack of a better term, squatters, freeloaders, who only want handouts. It would be so refreshing to see someone address both. It’s great to hear someone call for the protection of a state like Israel, but it would be really great if one spoke with the same fervor for the rights of Palestinians. Too much of our leadership seems one-dimensional.
Okay, enough ranting. There is good news in all of this. Our present course as a nation places more responsibility on the church to be the church. Our best hope is not in Washington—never has been. Our hope, whether the nation realizes it or not, is on vibrant communities of faith that will—
-faithfully preach the Word of God. Instead of giving lip service to verses, picking and choosing favorite texts, and ignoring the ones that do not conform to our self-centered convictions, we need modern day prophets that will not shy away from preaching a word that centers the heart.
-reach out to every culture and generation and repent of the tendency to be a monocultural environment of “like attracting like”. Only then can we more intelligently address the needs of a city, a nation that is more and more multiethnic, and demonstrate the mystery of the gospel, that in Christ there is no dominant culture.
-get out of their cocoon and witness to the power of the gospel and live out its implications in the community. The reality is that most in the church are too afraid or indifferent to share their faith.
-show grace to the hurting, forgiveness to those who have injured us, and Christlike love to everyone.
-demonstrate the exuberant joy that comes from knowing God intimately.
-pray for those in authority over us, starting today. As I Peter so powerfully puts it, “Honor everyone, love the brotherhood, fear God, and honor those who lead.” It is in our interest that those in the political realm succeed and lead with the wisdom and skill of Solomon.
So this is where we must start—“Lord, thank you for our nation and for the freedom to choose. Show us your mercy, your justice, and your grace, and draw all of us ever closer to your heart”