Friday, October 31, 2008

Acting Like a Christian in an Election Year, part 5

More anti-Obama messages have come my way via the Internet this week. I wonder why no one ever sends me anti-John McCain information? Most of the things I receive come from people identifying themselves as Christians. I still see things insisting that Mr. Obama is a Muslim (by the way: Regardless of the fact that he claims to be a Christian and has written about his faith in one of his books--prior to the campaign--I wonder if it has occurred to anyone that in the USA it is not illegal to be a Muslim. In fact, a person of any or no faith can run for public office. Just a thought).

People extend great respect to Mr. McCain for his service to his country, and rightfully so. Mr. McCain also says he is a Christian but describes God's relationship to the human race in deistic terms (as the cosmic clockmaker who sets things in motion but disappears, leaving the human race to make the best of things). I guess that doesn't really trouble anyone or I would have received another video or an email with doctored photographs or other incredible pieces of fine journalistic brilliance.

The alignment of evangelical Christian faith with Republican politics is, in my view, wrong. It is just as wrong as aligning our faith with Democratic politics, although that alignment is rarely promoted among evangelicals. American + Republican = Christian, is a very distorted formula.

In his book The Contemplative Pastor, Eugene Peterson calls we who follow Jesus to a different economy of life:

"The methods that make the kingdom of America strong--economic, military, technological, informational--are not suited to making the kingdom of God strong. I have had to learn a new methodology: truth-telling and love-making, prayer and parable. These are not methods very well adapted to raising the standard of living in suburbia or massaging the ego into a fashionable shape." (p. 28)

So, before we pass on the information of:

Rumor--let us reflect on our scriptures and how they counsel us regarding false witness (see Exodus 23:1-3 and Matthew 5:33-37 for starters)

Hatred--let us consider how Jesus describes perfection of love (Matthew 5:43-48) and the way he includes both neighbors and enemies in God's perfect circle of love.

Disastrous Expectations--let us consider how Jesus calls us to both love and pray for those we consider to be our opponents (again, Matthew 5:43-48) rather than to predict (and even hope for, perhaps?) their downfall.

So, my fellow followers of Jesus: Let's relearn what it really means to be the people of God for the sake of the world. 


lindsay airey said...

Amen, Brother Mike! Tom and I find solidarity in your thoughtful and loving words!

Mike McNichols said...

Thanks, Lindsay. Great to hear from you!