October 5, 2009

Part VI: Too Political

Too Political

Many view Christians purely in terms of the political right. To them, we are activists of a particular brand of politics and have nothing much to offer apart from that. This is a problem in that the Church should not be defined by politics, though we should engage in them.

Kinnaman's Thoughts

Kinnaman sees the problem, not in terms of what our politics are, but in terms of how we go about engaging poltics. At the end of the chapter, he makes a series of observations and solutions to this problem:
  • unChristian: Christians rely too heavily on political
    Christlike: We are cautious not to place too much emphasis on politics

  • unChristian: Christians get enamored with politics
    Christlike: There is nothing gained by winning elections if we lose our soul in the process

  • unChristian: Christians drown out and demonize the voices of others
    Christlike: Respect our enemies and be aware of our capacity for myopia

  • unChristian: Christians do not respect leaders whose political viewpoint is different from their own.
    Christlike: Respect and listen to our leaders and pray for them

  • unChristian: Christians are hypocrites when it comes to politics
    Christlike: In trying to solve problems in society, be vigilant about our own capacity for hypocracy.
My Thoughts

Personally, I like Kinnaman's balance here. He is correct that Christians need to be engaged in politics because we want to make a positive difference in this world. I would add that Christians have a responsibility to be involved in politics because we are called to that positive difference.

But he is also right that politics should not be our focus. They are, by nature, complex, and any attempt to say that "such and such" is the clear Christian perspective on an issue usually fails to grasp the complexity.

For instance, let us take the issue of abortion. Now I'm against it because I believe it is completely Unchristian to allow millions of babies to die every year by government hands. This logic to be is unpenetrable. But I also realize that no pro-abortion person supports the killing of babies. What they reject is the notion that we are even dealing with a baby.

Another basic problem is that political agenda should not be the primary test for fellowship. Any church should be able to exist with different political views within it since the basis for fellowship is commitment to Jesus Christ. Yes, certain views should not be possible, but if we are focused on heavenly things, then we should not be as concerned with what happens in this world. If America falls, the kingdom of God will survive. We need to be OK with that.

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