Thursday, October 25, 2012

Politics and Faith: Guest Blogger 2, Becky Kiser

My sweet niece is today's guest blogger on the topic of politics and Christians. Enjoy reading!

Before I answer the questions, I wanted to share with all of you that I feel in process about all of this. This is my fourth election to vote in and I feel like each experience has been totally different for me. I've voted from different motives (and often wrong motives) each time. So none of this is me sharing as an expert at all but simply from a woman, like you, wanting to honor God in all areas of my life whether that's voting or grocery shopping. :)
Should Christians be involved in politics? If so, in what ways?
Absolutely Christians NEED to be involved in politics... and in every way they personally feel called. If you are over 18, then clearly voting is a huge part of it. But before voting even occurs (or you turn voting age) you have to become educated. My first election I voted straight ticket out of total ignorance. I had heard that the Christian way to vote was Republican, so that first year I did straight republican. I hate that I voted with such ignorance and naivety (note: because of how I voted, not who I voted for). Since then I have really study each issue and compared it to the current times. I have looked at each candidate and looked at not just their character or religious beliefs but how they have done their jobs in years past. I've studied and continue to study ALL the issues not just abortion and marriage and see how they line up with the Word and our world. One thing that I feel like should be addressed is ways we should NOT be involved in politics. But I'll address that in the next section too. :)
Does God's Word, the Bible, have anything to say about politics?
Sadly all I've heard about from the majority of Christians when it comes to politics is really disheartening. I want to remind all of us of to things the Word says for sure to us as Christians (there's no room for interpretation):
1. Love God and Love Others (Matt 22:37-38). I think we need to be VERY cautious in how we share about politics. Unfortunately social media has removed the filter for a lot of people. They've posted things too quickly that can do a lot of harm. I've been so saddened after debates to hear so many make fun of the other party/candidate and cry victory (this goes for both parties). How we speak of each candidate (president, congress, etc.) matters. The same rules the Bible gives us about slander, gossip, hate, etc. all still apply. Because they've put themselves in the public eye doesn't mean we all of a sudden have permission to speak poorly of them. We are still called to respect our authority, and whether we like it or not, the government is our authority. Parents especially should be modeling kind and gracious words and behavior for their kids. In all our opinions, actions and words we should be very intentional to be loving towards others and God.

2. GO and be a disciple (Matt 28:19).  Remember that not everyone you share your opinion with shares your same belief in Christianity. I have heard from so many who don't share my faith how annoying Christians are during the political season. Before you speak or tweet or status update, ask yourself how this is winning others over for Jesus.

3. Be peace loving-- James 3:17-18 syas, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness."

Along with those two challenges from the Word, I think it is important to search out the Word for your own on all the issues. Ask the Lord what needs to be a law for the whole nation NOT just what is my personal belief? What are commands just for Christians NOT just what I want my world to look like so I am more comfortable. 

And remember, from what I've studied comprehensively anyway, WE as Christians are the ones called to go and be the church. Somethings I think we put too much pressure on the government to change things. We live in the world, it will always disappoint us. We live with other humans, and they are not a holy God we can put our full trust in.  All that to say, be the church to the world we live in. We may not be able to pass into law all the things we believe most in and that's OK. :) Because that doesn't change how you can still live. You can still have a strong marriage and model how the Word says it should be (while loving your gay neighbors). You can still pray at school (while doing it respectfully for your Muslim classmate). You can still chose life in your pregnancy (and pray and support pregnancy centers and adoption and whatever else you can do to help eliminate abortion). You can live within the means you are given (even if you are taxed even more this next year because you have been given all you need). You can still reach out the poor because that's what Jesus did (even if the government doesn't help them). You can still pray for healing for the sick (regardless of how healthcare works out). You can model faith in a God that can be trusted (not fear in the god of government).

Should pastors share political ideas from the pulpit? Why or why not? If yes, in what ways?
I don't think they should. I think it is really inappropriate and divisive. Publicly endorsing certain parties or candidates from the pulpit seems out of place to me. I have NO problem with them doing so personally though. 
(Optional) How are your personal political views influenced by the Bible?
This has actually been what's made voting so hard for me, considering what is the most God honoring way to vote every two years. Considering ALL issues and also considering if they should be a law or if they should be something the church/Christians should be doing is a challenge. Often times what I believe personally is moral or Biblically acceptable is not the same as what I think the government should have authority over or in. Also, often times there are issues on each side that I feel strongly about as a Christian. At the end of the season when it comes time to vote, you just have to trust that you've come to the right choice for yourself. And more than all of that trust more in Christ then you do in the outcome of the vote! :)

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