Written by: Scott Colburn
Henry Adams, an American historian and the grandson and great-grandson of U.S. Presidents, once wrote that “Politics is the systematic organization of hatreds.” Even a casual look around at the national scene today would seem to confirm that. Can Christians do anything to change this, or should we just disengage?
A group of Church Army and Cafe folk were in the Washington, D.C., area in February for a “Matthew 25” conference. We met a lot of other folks who are also answering calls to love and work for the least, the last and the lost. There were great speakers, great fellowship and lots of worship and prayer. Thanks to anyone who sponsored us or prayed for us while we were there!
For me, one of the highlights was a “field trip” by bus to the National Mall and the surrounding area where many of the nation's monuments and government buildings are. On the way back to the conference we stopped by the Capitol and the White House, and prayed for congress and the president. I think this is how Christians can best be involved in politics. We vote and donate and canvas, as citizens should, but we also pray. As I prayed, knowing I was setting aside my partisan political views, my “organized hatreds,” I felt genuine concern for people who bear the weight of government, and real love for other Americans who answer that call. It doesn't diminish my sense of justice, or my sorrow when some of our leaders use their offices to harm others, even in the name of the people. It does kill my experience of politics as a blood-sport my side must win at, and gives me patience, and I hope, God's perspective.
As we go into Lent I repent of my political partisanship and my need to be right, even when it is supposedly for the sake of others. I am not my own savior, and I'm not the savior of the country. I'm resolving to pray for our leaders daily. I'll still vote, of course. I just won't vote from hatred, or fear. I'll also “vote” by continuing the work of bringing Jesus to the marginalized, and by living in the margins myself, to seek humility and solidarity.