Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Door of Opportunity--Politics

In October of 2010,  I took the oath of office to serve on our local Town Council.  I was appointed not elected to this position.  Several residents were concerned about the activities of some members of the council but felt frustrate as how to handle the situation.  Having the same concerns, I felt someone needed to act. When the position opened, I applied and was accepted. Now it is always the easy road to travel that does not require one to be active in the journey.  Just sit back and enjoy the ride, and don’t get involved in the mechanics of the trip.  Like one slogan states, “Leave the driving to us”.  Well, I didn’t like the driver nor did I care for the direction he was taking us on this journey. So I accepted the position and then chose to run as a candidate in this year’s election.  I won with 96% of the votes cast.   I did not actively campaign nor spend money on the campaign.  Having lived in this community for a total of 26 years people know me and felt I could be trusted and gave me their support.

Some members of my family, however, questioned my political career and asked, how can a Christian become involved in politics?  First, Christian lives need to be in the service of the LORD 24 hours a day-- every day.  We are called of God to serve.  That service includes opportunity and position.  I will not deny the uniqueness of the political arena, but it is no different than the ethical difficulties faced in business, labor or in the professional fields.  But, you say politics are dirty.  This is true and so is business, labor and all the professional fields.  Anywhere there is sin there will be "dirt".

My answer to my family members who asked the question, is based on whether my political activism is seen as an obedient servant of the LORD or a questionable career pursuit.  My family fails to understand that serving in the political arena is not separate from the gospel.  It is as much a ministry as any office in the church.  The pursuit of a political position is not an activity that is separate from Christian service.  If God ordains governments, God can call us to minister in what He has ordained.

Since there are no Christian political parties, I serve as an Independent and have no allegiance to a particular political party or platform.  As a Christian I have a duty and commitment to the ethical conduct required of a follower of Jesus Christ. In the greater picture of the role of a Christian is that of maintaining values, beliefs and motivation that are centered in the message of the gospel. 

I understand that the role of the government is not assessing motivation. Governments are dealing with a vast assortment of crises, and trying to control social antagonisms and division which does not leave much time for doing what is always right. Christians, however, have a prior commitment to “do good,” to express the message of Jesus Christ in positive ways and in the midst of strife and division, the Christian can become the voice of reason.

Again my family asks, “Can Christian politicians really do much that is truly Christian in the political arena?”  I would answer, yes.  It is my duty to speak and act forthrightly on social and political issues and the way the government carries out these duties in a manner that is transparent and accountable to its citizens.  I also understand the importance of guarding against moral arrogance in presuming to speak the mind of God as it pertains to contemporary problems.  Whether we like it or not, we bear co-responsibility for one another's lot in life and the moral direction of our society.  We can preach from our pulpit’s the message of the gospel without ever bearing the co-responsibility for the moral decline of our society. We become partners in the sins of our nation when we put into office those who have questionable character and lead us down the path of destruction.  There is no such thing as “individualistic Christianity” or such a thing as an individualistic politics for the Christian.  You are part of the solution or you are part of the problem.

If we are to see a change in the direction of our nation, state or local government we must walk through the doors of opportunity and become the voice of reason in a country gone mad.  It is my purpose to fulfill my duties with integrity, accountability, and justice and bring sanity back to my area of the world.  What are you going to do?  You can show your faith by talking or by acting.  You must decide.

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