I sometimes find interesting rifts between my theology and my actual practice. To be brutally honest, I should call them “inconsistencies” or even “hypocrisy.”
I’ve declared the election off-limits in my mind until next summer… this year-away campaigning is just ridiculous. My last political comment before next July is this:
Like every other area of life, politics must be claimed for the glory of God and His kingdom. The Gospel redeems nations, not just individuals. Christians (especially in democracies) bear a distinct responsibility to effect change within our political system. We must work for peace, healing, justice, righteousness — all of the morality of God’s kingdom (imperfect though it will be in a broken, sinful world).
I like that theory very much.
However, like many Americans, I find myself ridiculously apathetic when it comes to political involvement. I can’t even tell you the name of Anderson’s mayor, nor do I really care. Most local issues seem saturated with good-ol-boy networking and endless arguments about funding for things that don’t directly affect me.
On the state level, South Carolina is so conservative that I wonder if it’s worth it. Sure, the “big cities” of Charleston, Greenville and Columbia wrestle more with urban issues and thus a more liberal voting block … but other than thinking that Mark Sanford seems to have been a responsible governor who basically kept his campaign promises, I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to state issues either. My friend Paul works for the state’s probation & parole system … if anything I wish someone would put him in charge of something because he seems to recognize the cause of problems in his agency and offers workable solutions to them. But hey, he’s a Yankee. Not even a snowball’s chance that he’d get appointed.
We all get hung up on national politics, especially in years divisible by 4. Here again, my theology fails to correct my attitude. Yup, Christians should be involved in politics and elections matter. Weighty issues of justice and mercy emerge from the cluttered discussions of the uninsured/under-insured, illegal immigrants (and how we mistreat them), or the war in Iraq.
But the candidates’ chatter is just so much noise. Nobody’s even talking about AIDS in Africa or Darfur… guess those problems don’t play well to the American TV audience … we’re too busy thinking about our wallets, tax breaks, mortgage interest rates, and other America-centric problems. Genocide?, I ask. “Ehhh….we’re not the world’s policeman…. America first….” *coughs*
I’m old enough to barely remember Carter, reminisce about Reagan’s glory days, and realize that (contrary to conservative warcries) Clinton did not destroy America during his two terms. In fact, 200 years of political wrangling haven’t destroyed us yet. Blissful stability.
I’m also old enough to be fed up with partisan politics, vacuous campaign stumping, and one- or two-issue voters. Abortion is murder and homosexuality is wrong, but immigration and health care and education affect a whole lot more people in more significant ways than any of the hot-button morality issues that conservatives waste countless hours debating.
Someone, probably Hillary, will win in 2008. Other than appointing judges to the court system who would rather make law than interpret it, she’ll probably be a decent President. I’ll agree with her on some things and disagree with others. Maybe she won’t strip my civil rights or spend trillions of dollars we don’t have like a certain Texan who descended from the Evangelical Shekina 8 years ago.
Four years will pass.
The government will progress in some areas and screw up others.
Fingers will be pointed; the chorus of opinions will begin again, and I will yawn.
… unless, of course, the Holy Spirit kicks me in the tail between now and then to let my theology affect my practice.