Spiritual and Political

There is an interesting article by John Ortberg that was published in Leadership Magazine (on line version).  It focuses on the church’s role with regard to politics.

I found it an interesting read simply because the church we attend as a “don’t speak” position when it comes to politics and many social issues. Which if fine, it just seems a bit contrary to what I might call whole-life thinking.

If, or when you read Ortberg’s article you will see that he takes a similar position and presents some very valid arguments. However, there is one comment that seemed unusual to me.

So we read about the issues. We debate. We learn about policy. We pray. We speak respectfully in the public square. We vote at elections. We serve on councils and cabinets. We preach [in the church] (my note) about God’s concern for peace and justice and generosity and righteousness.

What struck me as unusual is how does a person get that involved in their community (politics) and keep an antiseptic approach to the believing community (church)? I suspect it is the same way persons become so immersed in the believing community and then sequester their beliefs when it comes to the marketplace. It is much like the politicians, most of the major candidates so far, Romney was the most obvious about it, say….I am a Christian but I will not allow my personal beliefs to influence my policy making.  How in the world does that work?  That may not seem to be an unusual position since the church has done a very good job of approaching life from the opposite perspective – I am a Christian, but don’t worry, it won’t impact any other area of my life except those times between 9:45 and Noon on Sunday and the occasional Wednesday evening.

Have we compartmentalized our lives to such a degree that one area does not – cannot – or will not leak over to the next? Let’s think about it — isn’t abortion both a political and spiritual issue?  Isn’t homosexuality both a political/social and spiritual/moral issue? Aren’t drugs, drunkenness, prostitution, and the like both political/social and spiritual/moral issues? Can a Christian truly support abortion and not be in a contradictory state with the Bible?  Are moral issues such as homosexuality strictly cultural issues?  Can we allow error, such as sexual deviance is “hard wired” and since God made me that way there is no reason to change and let it stand?  If people in the marketplace and some churches are saying culture has changed and biblical beliefs need to change along with it – shouldn’t a call be going out saying that is not true? Or is that political?

In a perfect world with perfect leaders, it is true that the Kingdom of God would not be realized. And yes, as Ortberg pointed out, if the political landscape was perfect at every level, does that mean my life would be lived in a way that is pleasing to God? Probably not. But I’m for giving the first part of that a shot, I already know how challenging the second is.



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4 responses to “Spiritual and Political

  1. Kit Latta

    I think you’ve pegged it. The old adage that “you can’t legislate morality” is just false. The real question becomes – “whose morality will be legislated”. Clearly we don’t advocate a “Christian” state but we should never be ashamed of the fact that our religious beliefs inform and shape our views – just as the atheist’s “unbelief” shape his views.

    To say that one will not let their religious beliefs influence their actions is just nonsensical. Unfortunately, nonsense like this often passes for knowledge in our culture. Even, Christians have bought into this mindset to some extent. As you hinted at, it’s almost as if Believers intentionally “compartmentalize” their lives – as if the goal is to make sure our beliefs “don’t” influence our culture.

    My guess is that Paul and the Gospel writers would be shocked at this interpratation Christianity.


  2. Norm

    Thanks for your thoughts Kit. I believe you made a comment similar to this in class a month or so ago.

    As I watched parts of the debate Thursday, I began to think about why this is so gut-wrenching for me. Why is this race any more important than any of the others I’ve voted in over the years? Will four, or even eight years of a Democratic President be that crucial to our country? Perahps not. But then again, Obama – as Palin pointed out – really seems to be running simply for another line on his resume. A historic line no doubt.

    Anyway, I concluded that, in the scheme of things, it really does not matter. Our country is in such bad shape overall that no one, not even Obama could screw it up much more. (My fingers are crossed!)

    I will continue to pray for our men and women who fight to keep us free and that God will do what God will do for the future of our country to teach personal responsibility and not government entitlement.


  3. Norm

    As a further follow-up, here is a link to an article in the Baptist Press News http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=29066
    It speaks about a group of pastors and the right support certain candidates from the pulpit, which the IRS says is a violoation of the tax exempt status.

    Let’s see if I get this right. Candidates can speak from church pulpits but pastors cannot support candidates from a church pulpit. I’m sure I’m missing something somehwere.


  4. Norm

    Here is another that explains in more detail the “rules” pastor’s and their churches should dance around.



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