Monday, January 14, 2008

Religion & Politics: The Sound of Crickets

We've all seen it - the way that TV shows & movies indicate to us that a performer is bombing... the sound of chirping crickets. It's sound effects shorthand for "you should realize that so many people are not applauding that you can hear small insects."

Well, when I'm asked the questions during this election season, "Who do you endorse?" or "Should I vote for _________ even though they are a ___________?", you're going to need to cue the sound guys to run the cricket noises. I will choose to remain silent.

It's Not Because...

  • I'm scared of the government hounding me. I'm allowed to endorse candidates as a private individual as long as I don't use my position in order to obtain a greater hearing for my views WITHOUT messing up the church's tax status.
  • I'm afraid of offending someone. As those of you who've read the Grapevine and/or my blog over the past few years know, I'm not shy about expressing my opinion.

It's Because...

  • My life purpose is not to get a particular candidate elected; it is to fulfill Jesus' command to "Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20, The Message) If something gets in the way of me getting to do that - for example, endorsing a particular political candidate - it's not worth doing.
  • When people talk about me (and about our church) - and let's be real, people, they do - I really don't want the main topic of the conversation to be who I chose to back in the 2008 election. I (and by extension, NewLife) should be known for our love of Jesus that leads us to love other people and by the graceful way we serve & give - all of which should lead people to a relationship with Christ, not to determine which party they'll support.

It's Not Like I'm Wiring My Jaws Shut

If you want to talk about political views, the religious beliefs of the candidates, the relative merits of their various plans & proposals, and the like with me, I'm open to it. It's important that we who are followers of Christ vote in a thoughtful & informed manner.

It's just not important that I put a bumper sticker on my car or a campaign sign in my yard.

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