Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Politics and the Kingdom of God

I want to write my opinion on something that's been bothering me for quite some time now. Christianity in America is often lived out in ways that I think is not Christlike.

One of this is our enamored commitment to politics and trying to bring the kingdom of God through politics.

This is often seen in the Christian far-right, where you see people, in the name of Christ, fighting for laws against homosexual marriage and abortion, and at the same time, supporting "the war on terror", gun rights, deportation of "illegal immigrants" and a bunch of other stuff.

This post is not about my views on these highly politicized issues, but on how I think we are missing the point.

Christianity, they seem to claim, is a political package that you have to adhere to in order to be considered a true Christian. You have to vote right, and in some churches, you won't even receive communion if you voted for Obama!

In this political package that they seem to offer, it doesn't really matter (or you can still receive communion) if you pollute God's handiwork of creation, pay no attention to how our over-consumerism affect the poverty of others, etc,etc..

But reading the gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, I see no trace of this strange Christianity. Oh, imagine if we brought the economics found in Acts in our Christian communities! We would probably be labeled as communists!

Jesus answers Pilate when asked if He is truly a king "My Kingdom is not of this world" John 18: 36. Christianity in America seems to want to prove Jesus wrong.

Now, I'm not saying that we shouldn't fight against injustices and bring change politically. But trying to force our moral views on others through laws is not how we should spend our energy.

True change won't come through worldly politics. True change will come, and is coming, through the kingdom of God, which, strangely enough, is not of this world.

We never see the Apostles trying to change the politics of their time by changing the laws, which not only permitted homosexual acts (it was quite the fashionable thing for the elite back then) but also prostitution.

They were only concerned of preaching and living out the gospel. Why? Because they knew that God's kingdom was not of this world.

And here we are, trying to enact laws on things we are against, and thus trying to force this nation into a "Christian" one.

We are called to change hearts, not laws.

Let's say they manage to win every political argument and put them in action. Let's say we outlaw homosexual marriage, abortion and a bunch of other stuff. Would this really change anyone's hearts?

I thought the whole thing of the new law of grace was to free us from the law of the Old Testament. And now that we are free we want to force others into our moralized laws...

"Society is corrupt and we need to defend Christian values! It is our duty as citizens of this country" someone may say.

Christian values. Christian living. These are not things that need to be defended, but things that need to be lived out by those who accept the call of Christ.

And what do they mean by Christian values anyway? That's a whole other issue.

If we feel our society is morally corrupt, for whatever reason, then our duty as citizens, not of this nation, but of the kingdom of God, is simply to be Christ's image to this world.

We are called to be salt, to flavor the earth with the love of Christ, and to be light, not just show where the light is and demand "that's how you should live, and in case you don't want to, I'll make a law so you just have to!"

It is so much easier to show the light than to be the light. It is so much easier to change laws than to change hearts with the sacrificial love of Christ.

Don't just say "love the sinner, hate the sin". Embrace the sinner. Hang out with them. Have dinner with them.  Listen to their struggle and try to understand them. Invite them over to your house. Show hospitality to them. Give your life for them.

After all, that's what Christ did.

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