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I’m wired to care about politics.
Growing up, my parents taught us how to talk about religion and politics. My parents modeled how to thoughtfully engage the shaping of the city and how one’s faith informs how one will vote. Mom and dad modeled civil, passionate dialogue. Though they were similar in their political posturing mom and dad didn’t always agree and I saw that too, thankfully.
My parent’s political passions influenced my involvements with the shaping of the country. In high school I helped campaign for President Bush. Michigan’s state senator at the time, Joanne Emmons, personally invited me to come with her to the Republican gathering in Grand Rapids where I was able to meet the soon-to-be elected, George W. Bush. It was exciting and still is a very fun memory for me.
Fast-forward to the fall of 2002. I was in college and President Bush announced that there were Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. I didn’t believe him. I didn’t believe the President I voted for and campaigned for. This confused my burgeoning adult mind. My parents came to visit me at school and naturally, our conversation turned to politics. I announced my doubt of the President to my parents. It was the first time I began, politically, questioning what I grew up as. My parents received my doubt of the WMD’s and my dad actually agreed with me. Mom, on the other hand, believed that Iraq did have WMD’s. We were able to discuss why we felt this way and we all listened to each other. But this set me on a path of questioning and forced me to reassess what I really believed about the different political parties.
In 2008 I voted for President Obama. It was a very good decision. In 2012 I will vote for President Obama again and I believe that will be another good decision. I was able to listen to the RNC last week and emphatically understand the impulse in the crowd though I myself do not hold many of those values anymore. My change in political posturing has influenced me to strive for civil and passionate dialogue.
It seems to me that if one is a Christian then we all are called to care about polis.
Being a Christian calls us to be political. Faith is a verb that propels us to engage the shaping of our world. I think sometimes Christians err in two different ways with politics. One, we think faithful people are only found in one party and God couldn’t possibly be present in the other party. Two, out of fear of division we completely avoid political discourse and activity. I think both of these things are faulty. People of faith are in both parties and we must not let fear guide our lack of political discourse. I’m not saying one should preach a party from the pulpit because, to me, that seems incredibly inappropriate. Preach Christ for Christ is the only messiah, not a politician. But when we preach Christ we recognize that Christ compels us to care about how our country is run and it is responsible to get involved in the shaping of the city.
My favorite part of the DNC last night was when Jena Nardella offered the closing benediction. Her prayer was Scripturally robust. She prayed for Mr. Romney and family that they would “seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly” and she prayed for President Obama and family that they would “seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly”. I think that’s what we’re all trying to do, albeit very messy and not so kind at times. Our Reformed theology teaches us how to graciously engage political conversations. Our Reformed theology reminds us that we’re all totally depraved so let’s give each other a break and offer another round of grace. Our Reformed theology teaches us to walk humbly as we pray for thy kingdom come and thy will be done.
Whomever you are voting for this November, may we seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly. May God be gracious to you and to me as we grow in our ability to live into Micah 6:8.
Grace and Peace,