The Word of the Lord to Democrats and Republicans (January 2014; Volume 3, Issue 1)
While I was travelling this fall, I discovered the joys of e-books. I had until this point been one of those people who put down e-books because they liked the feel of a real book in their hand, but I had a conversion experience…especially when I discovered a series of books by Brian McLaren that are only available electronically. I started with Girl with the Dove Tattoo, which is a sort of prequel to his “real” book Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World. After that I was hooked on $0.99 e-books, so I continued on to The Word of the Lord to Democrats, The Word of the Lord to Republicans, and The Word of the Lord to Evangelicals.
You will hear a lot of people say that Christians should not be politically active, especially pastors. I agree with this statement in as much as politics should not come before God or be used as a dividing factor among God’s people. But if you truly pay attention to Jesus as a role model, you will notice that he speaks about government and politics a lot—this is what he is talking about when he talks about justice! How people treat one another and live in community is really at the foundation of government/politics. That is the center of McLaren’s message for both the Democrats and Republicans. Both stories are works of fiction about messages from God being delivered to the political world from very unlikely sources, but that does not mean that the critique is any less applicable to the real world. What it boils down to is that McLaren says both parties have lost sight of their roots. They both have great gifts to share with society, but also are both in need of some reform, some refocus, and some divine revelation.
The Democrats have traditionally been the ones to look out for all of God’s people while also looking for the whole of God’s creation, but that has led to a sense of pride and superiority. “That pride and that superiority have created a sense of entitlement, and that entitlement has led to complacency, and that complacency has bled the Democrats of their moral urgency” (Chapter 10).
The Republicans have some good “deeply held values.” However, they “have singled out only a few and have disregarded the rest” which leads to them one minute [speaking] words of light, but the next minute [their] words are filled with darkness, distortion, and downright meanness” (Chapter 4).
Both parties have grown stagnant because of the lure of power and money in the political system, and so (in McLaren’s stories) God sends them a prophet from within their own parties to wake them up. I highly recommend you read both for yourselves, so that you can get all the details and subtleties of the word from the Lord. They make for interesting reads as we consider how to balance our role as citizen with our role as Christian. We are called to be IN this world (which means being politically active) without being OF this world (which means keeping God and all of God’s creation at the center of every aspect of our lives).
God Bless, Pastor Leslie