What We Need is a New Approach

The election is over (I’m writing this before that statement is true but what I am saying does not depend on the outcome) and the one thing we must remember is that God is truly just, and it is God’s work which is perfect. That means if you are despairing over the results, remember God is just and faithful we put our hope in him. And if you are celebrating the same is true. We have treated this political election as if God works through the President to change the world and that is a lie. God does not work through the President to change the world God works through the Church.  Christians have become so invested in top down solutions that we have compromised the very nature of the Church. Jesus selected a group of everyday people to change the world, in part, to break away from the typical human hierarchy of power.

but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Christians are unfortunately distracted by the trappings of political power and prestige and forget the true nature of their calling. Distracted on both sides. On one side I saw people pouring out hatred and venom, justifying it as righteous indignation against President Trump. They were attempting to confront violence with violence, instead of conquering through the wounds of Jesus. This line of thinking seems to say that this president is standing in the way of an honorable and just society. My response is look at how Christians lived in Rome when the government was actively against them. Christians (with some notable exceptions like Justin Martyr) went about their daily lives disregarding the government and working to create a loving society. If you think a president is degrading society, go interact with your neighbors to build up a community of love and grace.

On the other side we have seen people voting “exclusively Pro-Life”. I have said it before that overturning Roe v. Wade is not what will end abortions in this country and should not be the hill Christians die on in politics. What will end abortions is when people recognize the sanctity of life and feel like they have the resources to raise a child. If you want to end abortion, look to the example of the early church. Ironically, many of the steps to accomplishing this goal are the same as above. I forget the name of the book but I believe it was by Thomas Sowell, in it he laments that as America enacted welfare programs because with them, Christians began to assume maintaining society was the government’s job. I do not go that far, but he certainly has a point. Christianity in America has become a top down, individualistic religion and what we need is to be a community.

Christians do need to realize that being the Church is about being community, whether the government is for us or against us. We are about changing the community from the ground up, not the top down.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

Paul’s words are not simply a comfort to individuals, they are a reminder that to the Church as a whole. Nothing not even a ruler, not even a government, can separate the Church, the community of Faith, Jesus’ kingdom from that love which binds us together.

I do not mean to say that government is not important, after all a good government is a gift from God to help the Church advance. But in America (and probably in all human cultures) government is representative of the mindset of the people. Those who represent us, our laws, our systems all reflect the community as a whole. If we as Christians see the need for this country to better represent God then we cannot expect to legislate our way there, we must be satisfied with the fact that Washington D.C. will be the last place to change. Can we please put less emphasis on the government. Can we please give up on top down approaches to changing the world and begin looking at our neighbors, and tapping into the love of Jesus.

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