Apparently, I say this quite a lot. I just finished up a two week training course, and just two days into it I had everyone in unison saying, “Interesting,” at every natural pause.
They were such a wonderful group, though, and it really was a privilege to discuss politics with them for two weeks. They were respected community leaders, primed to make a difference in their immediate areas and further. They were hopeful. They loved Jesus and still thought politics was worth their time.
And thus, we were instantly friends.
Nevermind that fact that I was younger than all of them, and I have no concrete answers to offer them. You see, my lack of conclusions doesn’t end with this blog, but continues into my entire life, faith, and work: I am always asking, thinking, and analyzing; very rarely, if ever, concluding.
We spent about six hours a day together, discussing theories of government, transitions of government, individual freedoms & self- sacrifice, the common good, self-interest, and more. We admitted the failures of government and the successes; we dreamed about what they might be a part of establishing in their own country.
And really, we hoped.
We hoped for government to be a blessing to them rather than a curse, and ultimately, for something far greater than government.
One of the themes that we discussed and I have continued to ponder: why are we so hesitant, so uncomfortable at the mix of Jesus & politics?
It seems that the Church tends to recoil at the thought of politics and government, as if it is innately evil. Or perhaps as if we, too, are not innately evil.
One of the things I love in studying politics is the way God’s fingerprints are written into every stage of history, government, and policy. I can see the curse, creations groaning for something, woven in to every constitution and every research project. I can see Jesus caring for his people and bringing his Kingdom–through the government rather than in spite of it.
And more, politics continues to break my heart for the Kingdom to come. It causes me to ache for restoration. I am currently reading Guns, Germs, & Steel for the second time through, where Jared Diamond analyzes history: we know that Western peoples achieved wealth and development through guns, germs & steel, by why them? Why did the Western countries achieve this while other countries have suffered repeated oppression and struggled for minimal development? His entire analyzation of human history is heavily grounded in things I don’t personally believe in, but all the same I am loving his book. Although he doesn’t see it, the Kingdom is written all over it. It is a challenge to me and a source of hope at the same time.
The Kingdom is coming, and it is simply our choice to embrace it. And for me, politics is a big part of this–something not separate from Christ, but intertwined.
I am reminded of Esther 4:13-14, where Mordecai tells Esther, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief & deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you & your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
I suppose that is my encouragement to continue analyzing, teaching, and broaching the subject of Jesus & politics. Because perhaps I am here for such a time as this, and perhaps we all should be here for such a time as this–engaging in politics with hopes of positive influence, rather than cowering away in fear of being overcome.
“For if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)