Saturday, May 31, 2008

Christians and Politics

I don't believe God chose you and blessed you so you could heap those blessings upon yourself. I believe God Chose you... because he wants to make a difference in this world. And you know what? What I think is scary about God is he didn't come up with any Plan B. That He left the church here and the church is the only group of people and the church is the only institution in the world that can bring about a change. This government cannot do it, so stop depending on the government... The church was chosen by God to make a difference. - Rich Mullins

Politics are not the task of a Christian. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I know I'm going to annoy a few people by saying that I'm not sure Christians should meddle in politics. If we are God's Plan A for this world, then trying to change the government isn't our Job, because as Rich Mullins said, the Government cannot bring about change, only we can.

We can change the world by putting aside our petty differences and getting our hands dirty, by doing the very job we sometimes rely on the government to do. If the welfare system is failing the poorest people in our community should we rely on the government (or try to change the government) to fix the problem, or should we as a church get in there and address the problem ourselves?

If Auckland has a traffic congestion problem, should we petition the government for more roads, for better public transport systems? Or should we do something ourselves? Imagine if the local church offered to shuttle people to the nearest train station before and after work so that they didn't have to drive into work every day? Or what if we simply went out of our way and picked up a work mate and drove them to work every day?

Imagine if the entire church got organised, pooled their resources and helped shape a community focused New Zealand. The government would be powerless to bring about change because the church would have already done it. The government would have to start listening to it's people because the people would be organised and making a difference on their own.

And it would all be done without Christians getting involved in politics.


Rhett said...

You don't vote?


onscreen said...

Aren't we legally required to vote? It has nothing to do with your faith, you just have to by law?

servant said...

Good thoughts Jonathan. I like your thinking.

On voting - No, you only have to be registered to vote.

Wouldn't your vision be a whole lot easier to pursue if government was encouraged to empower community organisations (like churches) to look after their communities. Does such proactive encouragement of governments necessarily have to be mutually exclusive (and therefore excluded) from the actual community work of the Church?

onscreen said...

Cool, my voting record is about 50% meaning I've only bothered voting in about half the elections I could have ;o)

I don't think there is anything wrong with the Church encouraging the Government, I think the church should be known as an encourager and not a complainer. But I think encouraging the government is different from 'meddling in politics'.

And as far as voting goes, what better way to send a message to the government - who ever that may be after the election - than if every Christian abstained from voting?

Because lets face it, if we get a National Government nothing is going to change. Everything that Labour has done that Christians seem to hate will still be done. National will no doubt offend our Christian values at some stage and we'll be back to moaning about the government instead of encouraging it.

Lets also be realistic and see the root cause of a lot of social problems being greed. Individual and corporate greed. Nothing the government can do about that ;o)

servant said...

All Christians not voting will not send any message. A government will still be elected and that government will still follow through with whatever it plans to do regardless of who does or does not vote.

Getting the Christian community united to do anything in the political sphere is impossible though, because, rightly, there is a diverse number of opinions.

Governments cannot change the nature of man, you are right, but they can do things to balance our excesses.

How do you define 'meddling in politics'? I ask because I wonder if your lean away from politics is more influenced by action that has taken place that you would disagree with. I wholly and completely believe that Christianity can have a positive and prophetic influence in the political sphere... I just don't think the Church in NZ has found that ground yet.

onscreen said...

All Christians not voting will not send any message.

I disagree. Sure it won’t stop a Government being elected, but it would be noticed, and someone would have to try and make sense of why so many people didn’t vote.

Of course, as you say, getting all Christians to something would be impossible.

How do you define 'meddling in politics'?

Meddling often denotes a negative action – like complaining. It’s not a good look, especially as most people only complain and don’t act.

I wholly and completely believe that Christianity can have a positive and prophetic influence in the political sphere... I just don't think the Church in NZ has found that ground yet.

I agree, but not by meddling, but by taking action. By doing the job Christ has given us and by supporting and encouraging the government when they do something right.

I’ll admit that my rant was rooted in my being tired of all the complaining and people who can’t wait till we ‘get rid of Labour’. It’s not that I’m a die hard Labour supporter; I’m just realistic enough to know that changing Government isn’t going to change much. Only we can make a difference, and I, like many other Christians, am just to damn comfortable and lazy in our affluence that all we can be bothered doing is complain.

Does that make any sense?