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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Voting and the Christian Faith

So tomorrow we vote...and it is the United States of America thing to do...but would Jesus vote? I'm not sure, as there really wasn't any chance for him to vote, and he certainly didn't live in a world that valued his opinions and rights just because he was part of the Roman Empire. So we vote, but should we--as Christians--vote? (As Citizens we should, and I will, and I hope all citizens of the USA do.) As Christians of the USA we vote, and as such we vote for those people who most reflect our values and opinions, and if our Christianity is important to us, then not too surprisingly we tend to vote for people who reflect our Christian values and opinions, no matter what they are. Since Christians are all over the value and opinion map, you can pretty much find a Christian who supports and espouses your view of Christianity...except maybe for the Mennonites, but then again, they are most likely to be the Christians that don't find voting particularly salutary.
The process of voting seems to be slightly non-Christian. I mean, voting has winners and losers. Christianity has firsts and lasts, but that's not the same as winners and losers. For example, when Christ says "the last shall be first, and the first shall be last" all of them, first and last and last first are included in the kingdom of God. There are in essence, no losers, just a question of who gets to eat first. Winners and losers exist in a world where some eat, and some don't, and that just doesn't seem to match up well with the stuff Jesus talked about for all of us. Voting, in and of itself, doesn't seem particularly Christian.
So on Wednesday there will be winners and losers. In our race for President one will get to keep avoiding his job as a Senator, and the other will go back to the Senate (as a loser). There will be people wearing shirts saying "Don't Blame Me! I wanted Ron Paul." (You could actually put anyone on that shirt, as my daughter did in 2004 when she made one that spoke for Hillary Clinton. Which, surprisingly, would be appropos this year as well.)
In a world where we vote because we're citizens rather than disciples of Christ is there anything to offer? It seems to me we can offer our communities an opportunity to steward God's mysteries rather than our personal values and opinions. As a leader of a Christian community, I assume most people don't hold the same values and opinions I do when it comes to things like citizenship. But when it comes to things like disicpleship, well, then we tend to be on the same page. We pray for the Spirit to help us discern, we look for the power of the cross to free us from despair, and we trust in the mercy of God for a gracious world. No real voting there, as when it comes to God, it's not a vote...it's an election, done by God, not by us.

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