The postscript for the second chapter was a section on politics. Grandma always said that we shouldn’t talk about religion or politics so this discussion could take off also. As much as I am a closet science geek, I am even more a politics guy. Politics is, and has been, a passsion for me since I was in Junior High. I have missed very few elections since I turned 18 and that number will not rise significantly in the future. I believe that it is important to be involved in the political process. I also know that some people Hate(strong word but accurate for many) politics.
People do not like politics and disengage from the process for many of the same reasons that Hamilton highlights. Politics has become a game filled with hate, false hope and blatant exageration of the facts, both pro and con. There is not a major party that plays fair in their own primaries or caucuses let alone general elections. When we say that we are Christian and then play in the same manner as others we confuse those who are looking to us for something different. We should be involved in the process, but as disciples of Jesus we need to act accordingly.
For Hamilton this is not about which party you align yourself, nor should there be a litmus test for believers. He is reminding us how some (most likely a minority) Christians “too closely associate their faith with a political party, or they lay aside Christian ethics and Christ’s call to love even our enemies, and instead they engage in slander and mean-spirited partisan politics.” Our church is very similar to Adam Hamilton’s church in that we have many people from both sides in it. We have those that call themselves Democrat, Republican and “the true Iowan’s” the Independents. There is no official political party of our church, so we can not expect everyone to fall in a line that we arbitrarily draw.
There is a tension created when Jesus commands us ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; AND, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” When I look for this tension in life, especially in opionated areas like politics, I see where people are coming from when they say things that at first seem crazy to me. The highlighted AND is not an or, we need to both. Luckily we see the key to how that is done when we see Love used with both attributes. Whatever we do it comes back to acting in Love.
Where have you seen faith misused in politics? How have you misused your faith in political reasoning and conversation? What does faith in politics look like? Can a person of faith be involved in this sometimes messy arena? I wait for your thoughts on those and so many other areas of faith and politics, please share with us.