Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Wrong Glass Revisited

Back in November 2008, just after President Obama was elected, I wrote a blog post about how Christians may be focusing on the wrong things when it comes to political leadership. With substantial revision, I present those thoughts again today as President Biden is inaugurated.

We all know the old saying, right?!

"Optimists see the glass as half full; pessimists see the glass as half empty."

Some of you have spent the last four years celebrating evangelical access to the seat of power and the various policy decisions and judicial appointments that came from the Trump administration. Others of us mourned the damage to our Christian witness as both policies and presidential behavior reflected a will to power rather than compassion and self-control... evidenced particularly by the attack on the U.S. Capitol a couple of weeks ago.

But what if we're looking at the wrong glass? What if we're all staring at politics & economic policies & the future of our nation, trying to predict and/or guess whether this is good or bad... and we're focused on the wrong thing? Perhaps, just maybe, we need to be thinking "outside the glass":
If individuals live only seventy years, then a state, or a nation, or a civilisation, which may last for a thousand years, is more important than an individual. But if Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of a state or a civilisation, compared with his, is only a moment. (C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity)
So, those of you who are devastated by this election, take hope. A Democratic president is not the end of the world - in fact, if we really take the Bible seriously, it's just another government in a long line of governments that have had to contend with the power of God.
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? (Psalm 2:1, ESV)
And those of you who believe this election will usher in a new era of peace & prosperity, remember that kings & presidents are subject to Christ, whether they acknowledge him (as does President-elect Biden) or not.
The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. (Psalm 33:10-11, NIV)
It might be a good idea if each of us to check which glass we/re looking at...

Which brings me back to, well, me... I find myself (to quote 
Rondell TreviƱo) "a Christian who’s theologically conservative & socially compassionate, too conservative for progressives & too progressive for conservatives, pro-life from womb to tomb, politically homeless, & who’s ultimate citizenship is in Heaven not America." (I appreciate Rondell's wisdom - you can follow him on Twitter at @Rondell_Trevino.)

It occurs to me now, some 12+ years later, that the way to end this blog post for followers of Jesus wasn't to ask how they see the world, but to ask Who they are trusting to fill their glass.


Daniel Brown said...

I really want to comment something intelligent to add to the conversation. But, all I can think to write is I appreciate you and the time you take to write down your thoughts.

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Daniel... that is greatly appreciated.

Dave Vander Ark said...

I appreciate the reminder to not focus so much on who is in control on earth. Sadly, some of my family members have bought into the narrative that Democrats hate America and are Satanist pedophiles, etc. I don't think they're ready or able to see things with an open mind.