We are fighting for the wrong kingdom!

“It frustrates me how church people discern truth using their politics instead of their Bibles, and it frustrates me that they don’t know the are doing it.”

– Reverend Dr. Derrick Lynch, Blue Valley Baptist Church

As an American and also as an evangelical Christian, I can hardly bear to watch this nightmare unfolding. It’s bad for Christianity, heck it’s bad for America. Here is my take on the sorry spectacle of Christian politics — and how to fix it.

Politicians continue to use and abuse the language and symbols of Christian faith in order to win political support. They speak of God, Jesus, Christian faith and Christian values. They bow their heads in prayer at a million chicken dinners. Then Christian voters — perhaps flattered, perhaps reassured — think that these evocations of Christian symbols and terms actually mean something. Living in the Midwest I I see and hear this kind of foolishness daily. This version of Christian politics is inherently corrupting to Christian faith, ethics and witness. It confuses the message of Christianity with that of the politician of the moment. I’m not sure about your baptism but I do not remember getting handed a card to a particular political party. This conflation damages the moral witness of Christians in culture, it makes it harder for millions to even consider the claims of historic Christian faith. It drives many away from God altogether. Don’t believe me? Let me give you an example.
The whole Obama rodeo clown debacle is repugnant. Some people at the fair see the rodeo incident in which a ringleader taunted a clown wearing a mask of President Obama, played with his lips as a bull charged after him was neither racist nor disrespectful. The hooting and hollering from the crowd that night was because of a fundamental dislike of the president. Immediately we had “Christians” on the Left and Right claiming a foul and I do not want to get into the details but there are somethings I want to point out:
  1. “… but they did it to President Bush”. Again, I don’t know about you but my kids would get into trouble for making an asinine excuse like this.
  2. “[Political Party] is just the lesser of two evils”. Just remember that you are still advocating for evil.
  3. “[Political Party] is closer to my values”. Yes, and they are trying to setup there own [Political] kingdoms that compete with God’s.
Here is a wake-up call:
  • Rush Limbaugh hates Jesus.
  • Sean Hannity hates Jesus.
  • Rachel Maddow hates Jesus.
  • Mark Levin hates Jesus.
  • Kieth Olbermann hates Jesus.
  • Piers Morgan hates Jesus.
  • Anderson Cooper hates Jesus
  • Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR and whomever else I missed all hates Jesus.
  • Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and [fill in your political party if it was not mentioned] parties are ALL antithetical to the Kingdom of God.

I know you agreed with some of the list and others you disagreed but I want to ask you this, What kingdom are they fighting for? When you listen to them talk/ advocate for their position who are they talking about? A Political party, an ideology, or Christ? Better yet if someone were to listen to you talk/ advocate who would they say you are talking about? Unfortunately, we have sold out to these fiefdoms while the Kingdom of God (you know the one that Christ died in establishing) loses ground. Do not allow your voice to be co-opted by your allegiance to an earthly kingdom or party. We have prostituted ourselves out so much that the outside world does not know the difference between Christ many political parties and that is a shame.

We are fighting for the wrong kingdom, let’s start fighting for the right one because all of the other ones are just [really] ghetto idols. It’s not that much different than when my son puts on my shoes and marches around the house trying to be me. Though its cute, he is a far cry from filling the shoes he’s trying so hard to handle.

About Jon Nelson

I am just a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody [Christ Jesus]!

Posted on September 3, 2013, in ...from Jon, Missional, Politics, Silly Religion, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I understand that we must abide by God’s kingdom….but what do we do while we are here on earth? I’m truly confused about all this. We do have political parties and often it is the lesser of two evils….so what do we do in those cases? Not vote? (which I have considered many, MANY times). what they did at the state fair was just plain rude and stupid. It would have been just as rude and stupid if it had been George Bush. Unfortunately this country cannot look upon a man and see that he IS a man that is white or black or brown or any combination of the above. We look and see them as a white man, or a black man etc. I’m blessed to have had parents that did NOT do that. Also living in a foreign country where I was in the minority, really influenced my perspective on things. I went to school there with children from all over the world. To me, that was normal. Then I moved to the states….and discovered this thing called race. I didn’t get it then, and I still don’t get it now….why people act the way they do around different peoples. Guess they haven’t read that statement in the Bible that says to Love your neighbor. It didn’t put any qualifications on that statement either. Just my two cents worth.

    • Debbie,
      Thank you for the thoughtful input. I do want to say from the outset that the “Obama debacle” wasn’t primarily about race (though it would remiss of me not to acknowledge it was a driving factor for some), the motif behind the whole thing was clearly political in nature and the rest of it unfortunately suffers from “just is” syndrome (a post for another day).
      I think that you started off on the right foot in the confusion of what do we do. Romans 13:1 – 14 makes it very clear that we are to subject to the “governing authorities” which would include, but is not limited to, voting. This is also the realization that God ultimately is in control of the whole governmental process. So which party do you choose? I too struggle with this same thing each time I step into a voting booth. Though I know I’m voting for the lesser of 2 evils (thus voting for evil) I do it with the understanding these parties are not driving to establish the Kingdom of God, but their own pitiful copies and that our God is ultimately in control of it all.
      I know it was not a straight answer as you may have wanted but I think it’s an honest one.

  2. Hm, I think this is one case where, as we’ve joked before, I agree but I don’t agree at the same time. Christians have absolutely prostituted themselves to political ideologies, and the results of it are as ridiculous as they are sad. Whether it’s on the right, justifying greed as a moral imperative, or on the left, praying for greater access to abortions and then, in the same prayer, denouncing a ‘patriarchal religion,’ it’s both obvious and aggravating when it happens.

    That being said, even if there’s no way to create the Kingdom on earth, I think that Christians not just can, but ought, to be involved in the political process. We are called to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God: it is unjust to abandon our nation to the worst humanity can offer in the places where they can inflict the most injustice, it is unmerciful to remove our demands of love and leniency where the political thought is for vitriol and retribution, and if God calls some of us to serve in political life, then we ought- we MUST- follow that leading, and do His will as best we can.

    I’m also very, very uncomfortable with saying that anyone ‘hates Jesus,’ unless I have compelling proof to the contrary. Hannity and Rush both profess Christ, and while I can’t speak as authoritatively on any of the others, neither am I comfortable with saying that entire groups hate Christ. Do they sometimes put their ideology above Jesus? Naturally. Does that mean they hate Jesus? No more than the businessman who checks his morality at the door, or the pastor who puts his interpretation of a certain theological point above his other responsibilities.

    That is, to me, it seems more of a sanctification issue than a salvation one, and I understand why they’d act the way they do, having been on the receiving end of a fraction of the hatred that they receive. Do I wish that they handled it better? Of course. But I wouldn’t doubt their salvation over that.

    Likewise with politicians. Some, of course, use all the lingo of the Church to try to win votes, but I believe that some politicians are true believers. There is a ‘prayer caucus,’ after all, who pray before meeting in Congress. To do that, in an environment where that can be politically disadvantageous, inclines my heart to believe the best of them, rather than the opposite.

    So, if I may be so bold, I think I’d like to refine your thesis. The problem would be, as you say, that too many Christians have put their focus on their political affiliation instead of their love of Christ. However, this doesn’t mean that we should be disengaged, I don’t believe. Instead, our politics, like everything else in life, should be about Christ first. At the least, the way that we engage in the political process should show that we’re different. The church should be a safe place for rational discussion, Christian politicians and political actors should be marked out as the most dedicated and incorruptible of public servants, and Christian voters should be- must be- noticeable as much for their obedience and care for their elected officials- even those they strongly disagree with- as for their political goals.

    To put it another way… we have a tremendous opportunity in the world right now. The difference between what we SHOULD be doing and what is ACTUALLY happening is vast, and we could stand out as a strong contrast to all of that. Far from stepping back from our current political climate, I think now is one of the best opportunities that we have. God willing, we could use this opportunity to rebuild what clearly needs it, so very badly.

    • Ben,
      I am so glad you chose to respond but I wish you would write comments and not an additional blog! 😉 No, seriously your input is always welcome.
      After reviewing your comments I do think that you may have misunderstood what I was saying. There is no point that I advocate a disengagement from the political realm, I actually would advocate the exact opposite given my understanding of Romans 13. As Christ followers we must engage politics but we must place it in its proper place. The question still stands if someone were to listen to you talk/ advocate who would they say you are talking about? Apply this to any political pundit and most “Christians” and you will find them lacking. Furthermore, “…the businessman who checks his morality at the door, or the pastor who puts his interpretation of a certain theological point[s] above his other responsibilities.” I would argue is choosing to capitulate in a vital place where Christ did not give leeway to do so. This message is for me as much if not more that it is for everyone else who read this post.
      In the end, I’m taking your refining of my thesis more like an addendum. As I stated earlier, I do not believe that we should disengage but our affections are more towards these political kingdoms instead of God’s. In order to honor our Father we must engage but do so in a way that is foremost and consistently honoring to Him alone.

      • Shush, I invoke my millennial right to ramble on any comment section I so choose! 😉

        More seriously, I can see what you’re saying. I did read it as a call to disengage, but I’m glad to learn that I was incorrect in that reading. In the explanation, it seems like we’re in agreement over what Christians should be doing, the question now is ‘How?’

        …though I should clarify that I wasn’t thinking of you with the pastor comment. It was much more related to… ah, I’m sure you can guess, with the discussion we had on Saturday.

        I don’t know if you’ve done this yet or not, but that strikes me as an obvious follow-up post: it’s true that we should engage in a way that honors God, but what would that look like? How do we respond to those who, let’s be honest, attack us and hate the fact we exist? You mentioned a ‘how to fix it,’ but I think a little more elaboration would be helpful- especially since we’ll soon be in campaign season again, in 2014, and I imagine emotions will still be running high on a lot of issues.

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