I enjoy following politics. I really enjoy political races for office. I believe that citizens in a democratic republic (like America, if you didn’t know what we are) have a duty to cast votes and play an active role in the political process. It is the primary means by which we hold our leaders accountable and shape the vision and future of our society.
I enjoy my faith. I really enjoy Jesus. I believe that citizens of God’s kingdom (all of those who claim to follow Jesus) have a duty to be loyal to Jesus and play an active role in the life of God’s kingdom. This necessitates we understand the breadth and scope of Jesus’s life, mission, and call to those of us who follow him.
One of my favorite stories from Jesus’s life takes place during a visit to the temple. Jesus sees a bunch of merchants and vendors trying to make a profit selling sacrificial animals to worshipers traveling from out of town. The mark-up would have been considerable, and the vendors were there not so much to help those who needed to offer sacrifices, but to line their own wallets with cold, hard cash.
This was simply unacceptable to Jesus, and he goes ballistic. He starts flipping over tables and driving out the cattle and animals,
and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den.” (Mark 11)
Then this week I saw a very interesting phenomenon.
During the Iowa Caucus, I saw many churches that had opened their doors and had become caucus voting locations. Pews were filled with voters carrying flags, buttons, and banners promoting their favorite candidate.
It got me thinking…
I’m pretty sure Jesus would visit these church caucus sites in Iowa and start flipping over pews and tables…
No, it’s not wrong for Christians to engage in politics. I think it’s a GOOD thing to do.
What I have a problem with is people turning our sacred spaces into political grounds. How can we worship Jesus and worship candidates at the same time? How can our sanctuaries be converted to multi-purpose rooms used for secular political activity? I’m not cool with it.
Our call as Christians is to influence and change culture, not let culture influence and change us. One of my favorite Ed Stetzer quotations goes something like this:
When you mix faith and politics you get politics.
This is what I see happening during this election cycle. Don’t let it.
Yes, vote. Yes, get involved in the political process. Yes, make sure the right candidate takes office.
No, don’t mix the two. Jesus doesn’t ride beside our politics. He needs to be above our politics. Because he’s the Lord of Republicans AND Democrats…heck, even of the Socialists. Jesus supersedes politics.
Don’t get caught up in the political movement and sacrifice our sacred spaces and our very faith.