Sunday, October 26, 2008

voting like you aren't voting

This election cycle has left me underwhelmed, frustrated and unexcited about any presidential candidate. And I'm NOT an apathetic voter. I have a BA in political science from one of the largest Pac-10 schools. I was the only female member of College Republicans the year I joined. I worked in a congressional office for a quarter. I am not tooting my own horn...just know that I'm an involved voter. I study the issues, read the voter's guide, go to candidates' websites, read the opposition opinions. I really do care. I think it is very important to vote my values! The Lord told the early Christians to be the best citizens in Rome, and that included voting because it was the right thing to do. However...

Why has this election left me cold? Why have I almost been beligerent in my frustration? My focus was off. I believed that the right candidates could save America. I've been mulling these thoughts for over a year now, and it is only recently that I finally am able to articulate it in a somewhat coherent manner. I'm frustrated because I have heard well-meaning Christians say that if we receive a candidate of a certain party, the Lord has blessed us as a nation; and conversely, if we get the candidate that we didn't vote for, it is clear that the Lord is not blessing us. What about non-democratic nations -- are blessings upon their civic life dependent upon the moral fiber of their leadership? What about Christians in China? What about Christians in Africa who are constantly persecuted and martyred by their governments? What about North Korea, Pakistan, on and on and on...

Ultimately, it comes down to this: The Lord sets kings up and deposes them. See Daniel 2:20 - 23. Don't get me wrong, we are to be involved in our world, not to withdraw. We are to prayerfully vote (not blindly check any old box), but the Lord takes it from there. Further, we are not to become overly despondent, nor are we to be overly jubilant about the election outcome.

Need Biblical proof for this assertion? Click to read this enlightening and balanced article on the subject by John Piper. Here is a paragraph from the article that outlines a bit of his thought process:

...We deal with the system. We deal with the news. We deal with the candidates. We deal with the issues. But we deal with it all as if not dealing with it. It does not have our fullest attention. It is not the great thing in our lives. Christ is. And Christ will be ruling over his people with perfect supremacy no matter who is elected and no matter what government stands or falls. So we vote as though not voting.
Agree? Disagree? PLEASE -- I would love to hear from you. Provide me reasons for either position.

By the way -- I mailed in my ballot last Tuesday morning, happy to live in a country that allows me to vote at all, and praying for my candidate to win.


Kellie said...

Thank you for this!

I am not into politics, but I do consider it a right, and my duty to vote.

Let me tell you what is irritating me about this election: When people, who know the profound and real meaning of the commandment to "Love one another", choose politics over people, and allow ugliness to preside in their words and actions; or when otherwise good and loving people alienate their friends and family over politics, I have a REAL problem with that.

I am also sick of Christian people always demonizing their opposing party. THAT drives me insane. Just because someone has a different point of view does not make that person "evil."

I don't mind listening and trying to understand someone else's political point of view if they want to be intellectually honest, but bullying and fear tactics shouldn't be part of the Christian agenda... In my humble opinion.

Thanks for this post! I may link it!

stephanie j. said...

Thank you for responding Kellie! I couldn't agree with you more. Our love for one another is so important that Christ said it was to be the second most important thing after The Shema. Firstly we are to 1) Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength; and then to 2) AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF!

It all comes down to this: our primary purpose as a Christian is to worship the Lord. We were saved to worship. He called us into salvation so that he would have worshippers. He is worthy of our worship. Not some candidate.

I would be honored if you would link the post!

Bye friend.

Karisa said...

I found your post helpful, Steph. I tend to hold politics at arm's length because it's hard to make any sense of it. For every truth they may speak, the opposite lie has already been spoken. I vote, but I don't stake my heart and soul on it, because I never know if I can really believe the person I'm voting for or if their true colors will come screaming through during their term. Matt has especially struggled with this particular campaign season as neither candidate seems superb. It took a while, but he eventually came to the conclusion that he just cannot trust men--he must trust God, Who is bigger than the election, Who hold the whole WORLD in His hands. We will be voting, but we're certainly not trusting the candidate to save or change the world, because no man (except for Jesus) is fit or capable to do so.

Maria said...

Thank you for your thoughts Stephanie. I too agree with Piper, "Christ is." I do want to say that a different point of view may be un-biblical and we do need to take a stand against that. If someone choses pro-choice over pro-life, then as I still love them, I do have to evaluate my friendship with them. They are a murderer in my eyes. If a party claims Christianity and is a false teacher or "religious" then we need to, "bark at the dogs and shoot the wolves" as Mark Driscoll said at the Desiring God 2008 National Conference. We don't have to be tolerant and cautious to offend. Jesus is offensive and I'm for Jesus. The cross He bore for me is offensive in itself and I strive to carry my cross daily to follow Him!

stephanie j. said...

Amen, Maria! I guess my main point was that too many of my Christian friends are almost in the throes of agony (not mourning, but *despair* -- an UNgodly emotion because it denies the sobereignty of God) regarding this election, and the likely outcome. I'm sure I'll shed a tear or too, as well, should it turn out in a particular way. And while there are Biblical evidences of God's people mourning evil, immorality and anything else that slaps at the face of the Holiness of God, we must ultimately remember that weeping shall remain for a night, but joy WILL come in the morning! God is Soveriegn, holy and in the state of eternality, His justice will prevail!

And you are absolutely right: we must do what we can to combat the slaughter of innocents. I wish Piper had been stronger and on point regarding morality. In retrospect, while I think his discussion was spot on regrading NOT DOUBTING God, and putting Christ first, part of putting Christ first is upholding God's moral imperatives and protecting the weak among us.

Another encouragement is that the Bible strongly implies that there are different levels of punishment in hell. (I just learned this in my Beth Moore Daniel study last year -- something I had never known before -- see Rev. 20:12 -- there is some inference that there will be degrees of punishment for the unbelieving and unredeemed. Some scholars do believe this applies to rewards as well, but we know one thing: those who are redeemed are redeemed, and will NOT receive punishment as there are no tears nor is there sadness in heaven.) That was kind of a rabbit trail to make this point: we are responsible for what we are given: a vote, a friendship, an opportunity to share Christ. I would never exchange my opportunity to share Christ over a vote. But that doesn't make voting unimportant; and certainly, I hold those innocent unborn and elderly at the end of their life, the weak and informed who can't speak for themselves, as near and dear to Christ Jesus' heart! By his example, Christ made it soooo clear that we better value the weak among us, because His Heavenly Father sure does, and will NOT PUT UP with anyone who messes around with those dear to his heart, whether it be in this world, or eternity. Just read through the Sermon on the Mount...

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