November 2, 2004 @ 6:23 pm by sean
I found it quite strange to see the verse James 1:27 on a poster in the elevator that was encouraging people to vote.
I’m glad to see so many of my friends taking a part in the political system we live in. That they are taking an active role in their governing body and speaking their voice. I was suprised, but happy to hear Pastor Edmonds give a talk on which president not to vote for and definitely happy every Sunday to hear him encourage people vote. It’s good Jimmy Eat World sent out and incorporated a message of voting into the e-mails they sent out. All this is quite encouraging. I had been under the impression for a few years now that many people in my generation didn’t really concern themselves with politics.
The reason the usage of James 1:27 struck me as odd reflects a trend that I’m (hopefully incorrectly) seeing in many of the people around me and in the chruch in general. It seems that many of us are forgetting that we are citizens of heaven first, then citizens of earth. Well, maybe we aren’t forgetting it, but we are forgetting what it means. I think we remember too well that we are citizens of heaven and therefore have become comfortable with the knowledge and have decided to do nothing about that. It appears that many of us are looking to chose a president that will continue the trend of comfortability and will do the most to prevent us from doing what we as citizens of heaven are meant to do, including and especially James 1:27. Sarah can tell you how many more homeless shelters have been built in the Chicago area in the last few years. But that is their fault they are homeless isn’t it? Everyone can get rich in capitalism, so they must not be trying hard enough. We obviously aren’t homeless, maybe they need to try as hard as we are. We’ve got your pay, why should we help someone who won’t help themself? I hope you catch my sarcasm. Regardless of who is elected president, I will still have the right to freely express myself. Regardless of who is elected president I will still have the right to criticize the government. Regardless of who is elected president I will still have the right to worship my God. Regardless of who is elected president, my life isn’t going to change all that dramatically. Alan Greenspan has more effect on the economy than any president does, and he can’t be fired, so I’m not concerned. Some of the candidates may agree with my views on abortion and gay marriage and others may disagree, but what does that matter? Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but don’t expect Caesar to do for you what God has commanded you to do. Just because a president may not allow gay marriage or abortion doesn’t mean the hearts of the citizens are against it. The only thing it necessarily means is that they aren’t doing it because it is lawfully wrong. If we don’t want people to have abortions, if we don’t want gay people to get married, why aren’t we going out and ministering to these people and showing them the love of Christ instead of making laws to prevent them from doing it. You can obey God’s laws all you want, but if your heart isn’t in the same place, don’t not expect to be spit from His mouth and to hear Him say, “away from me, I never knew you.” Whether someone is not having an abortion because the law prevents it does not necessarily reflect their heart. What is our concern with electing our president? To keep people living how we want them to live? Is it not more important for people to live the way we want them to live because they want to live that way?
Sure, communism wouldn’t work because people are too greedy. So make sure you keep sacrificing yourself to the capitalist machine and further the greed that ruins us. Are we financially considering anything besides which candidate will keep our money in our own hands? We’ve become so comfortable in our capitalistic republic that instead of the church taking care of our fellow humans in need that we are looking to the government to take care of that for us. Eric O. Jacobsen asks, “If the church wants to be the ‘body of Christ’ by including every member in its life, shouldn’t the church advocate a communal life that can fully include all members of the society as well?” I’m not promoting a communistic government, but how have we let the body of Christ become no one outside of our own church house? Is the body of Christ even that anymore? How many of us are taking care of the needs of others in our church house? It seems the body of Christ is made up of small bodies of friends. I’m quite sure that isn’t what Paul meant. It is unfortunate to see people of the church so excited about which presidential candidate they are electing and almost completely ignoring that God is telling us to take care of the orphans and widows.
What is our aim? Is electing a president that maintains and makes laws that keep people obeying the laws you think are important leading anyone to Christ? Do any of us really care any more about the salvation of others? It looks like we’ve become so comfortable with our lives that hardly anybody wants to make the effort to show Christ’s love to people they don’t know. That we’ve bought so much into capitalism that we think we deserve what we have and anyone who has less must be less. Our subdivided lives have made us so individualistic that we can’t even see when someone is in need, perhaps because we don’t even care. And the ones we can see are in the cities, and cities are bad places that make us uncomfortable. Would Jesus live in the suburbs?
It is uncomfortable for us to leave the suburbs and go to the city. We have everything we need in the suburbs and we don’t have to be bothered by anyone else while we maintain our happy lives. Then when a president or a candidate threatens our comfort, we get mad. Then once the president proves himself to be able to keep our lives comfortable, we simmer down. Why don’t we get as mad when the manufacturers of the products we buy are exploiting people in less developed countries and ruining their communities so we have lower prices? Why don’t we get as mad when people aren’t getting by while working two full time jobs attempting to support their children that go to underfunded schools? Why don’t we get as mad when people are forced out of their houses and on to the street so high-rise condos can be built that they can’t afford? Why don’t we get as mad when large corporations continually eliminate small business competition and bring us crap ephemerally designed, built and intended products that misuse the people and materials God has put on this planet that feed our materialisic desires? Why don’t we get as mad that the divorce rate of christians is nearly as high as non-christians? Why don’t we get as mad when underprivilaged youth are turning to drug dealing because they see their parent(s) not able to get by while working two full time jobs and see selling drugs as a way to obtain the easy life we hardly have to work for? Why don’t we get as mad when our educators get paid some of the lowest salaries especially compared to those who do get paid a lot? Why don’t we get as mad when christians are productive in furthering their own interests and are idle in furthering God’s interests? Why don’t we get as mad when christians are active in the government and politics while remaining large passive in the church? Why don’t we get as mad when we see fellow christians completely ignoring the needs of others and instead focusing on making their life comfortable?
I understand we should take part in our government to elect a president that will best be able to lead the way a president should lead, but we have to stop relying on our government to do what God wants us to do. I hope you still remember what it is God has called us to do.
Perhaps I’m all wrong and should have voted for Bush because he doesn’t like abortion or gay marriage like I don’t and I think he could be a better leader. Maybe I should have voted for Kerry because he supports more of the environment and democrats tend to concern more with the people in the economy not the government. Maybe I should have voted for someone not of either of the two major parties.
If I’m wrong, please tell me. I’d like to think, nay, know I’m wrong if I am.