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August 27, 2008

At time I can rally frustrate people with my thoughts on politics. Yesterday our son let me know that Obama was having a carnival this week or something. Then he informed me that he was squarely in favor of McCain no matter what this Obama had to say.

Well, first I asked if he meant convention and then I asked how he came to his conclusion. It seems some friends of his that he trusted let him know. Then the question came, “Dad, who are you going to vote for.” I always hate that question because I think it incorrectly frames the discussion. To say I choose not to vote sounds like I don’t care, to pick one side or the other always leaves something to be desired.

So, my answer is I have already voted. Total confusion. What do you mean? The election isn’t until November. But I did make my party affiliation known, I did it when I was 22, when I put my faith in the King, when I pledged to follow him, when I placed myself under his rule.

In the book Who Gets to Narrate the World? the author Robert E. Webber gives three different ways that the church has typically engaged the world we live in. The first he calls separatists who argue for a countercultural understanding of church. Christians are to live in one kingdom, God’s, and he relates that this group are people like the Amish and some Mennonite and Brethren.

The second group is called the identifiers and he says they argue that we live in both kingdoms at the same time. He says that Luther argued that life in the church was under the spirit and life in the state was under the sword. Interesting picture I suppose. In it a tension exists between living in the two kingdoms.

The last is called the transformers, these argue that the goal of the kingdom of God is to convert the kingdom of this world and bring it under the rule of God.

I suppose from what I have said you get an idea of where I identify and yet I really don’t like the fact that the separatists, as they are called, seem to withdrawal from the world because of their kingdom view. I guess that is why I believe in a forth way, one that mixes the first and third. It is one in which the church recognizes that it is a separate kingdom not of this world and yet believes that instead of retreating from all that is happening we should push out to transform the world, not by taking charge of its institutions, but by being a shining light of the true way.

In the end it is what motivates our church and what we do. So I told my son that I’m not looking for any party to impact the world. I’m not handing over my responsibility to any one politician in hopes that they can somehow get what God wants done, it just doesn’t make sense to me. The church shouldn’t wait for any party to agree with it, the church should be showing the parties the way.

In love, in benevolence, in compassion and caring, because as history shows the early church needed no government support to impact the world. It needed no party to make a difference.

So I said I already voted long ago and if my party is being who they are supposed to be, if they are following the party platform, then if I’m not mistaken the gates of hell don’t have a prayer.

If only we lived that way, as a kingdom that is indestructible with a ruler that has conquered death.

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