Yep, be very afraid, we’re dipping into politics. We know we’re all thinking about it. How can we not with social media lit up with opinions and ire and a presidential election around the corner? I’m not looking to fan any fires: if anything I’d like to recommend a couple of resources that I hope will if anything dampen our sound and fury while helping us discern our role as Christians in this time.
Jonathan Leeman @ Downtown Church
Jonathan Leeman from Capital Hill Baptist and 9Marks ministries has four sessions on the Church and Politics. He covers the Church’s distinct perspective on politics as people who follow King Jesus. The church is an explicitly political organization because we follow a king, not a party, platform, or president . . . the king of kings. He also discusses how to get along as church members with differing political views and gives some advice on thinking through voting as part of our role in American politics.
We do not agree with everything Leeman says. In fact, though Leeman is very thoughtful, helpful, and non-incendiary, it struck me how very unfair it is for me to expect one voice (be that a person, pastor, pundit, organization, church, etc.) to give me all that I need to be faithful to God in the political arena or even just the upcoming election.
I am very grateful for how Leeman deals with both his political agency and authority in his local church with the appropriate gravitas and humility. What struck me, however, is how little we have these discussions around politics together as Christians. One man, like Leeman, cannot possibly educate us and give us enough discernment for the job of political engagement. We talk about the great gift and responsibility of voting. But if it’s such an honor, why don’t we do a better job of educating ourselves on how to do it well together as Christians?
I think that’s the unique contribution of the next organization I want to recommend . . .
The (&) Campaign
The (&) Campaign is a non-partisan political movement designed to clarify the Church’s voice in politics. That I am aware of, they have a website, a podcast, and a book (below) that just came out. I’m reading through the book right now and I have found it very practical. It’s called Compassion and Conviction because they are trying to bridge the partisan political gap between a lack of compassion from political conservatives in the Church and a lack of conviction from political progressives in the Church. The faithful way of political engagement for Christians, they argue, is both compassion and conviction, a middle way . . . or perhaps a politic that looks radically different than any current, partisan options.
For people in the States, they also have local chapters people can join to discuss and mobilize for political action. We are not in the States; we’re only able to learn from afar through the podcast and book. Still, I’m extremely grateful for a para-church organization doing just that: gathering and organizing churches to give us a forum for political discussion and action. Trying to address what ails our nation is so much bigger than just voting in November. The Church cannot be part of the solution until we listen to each other (especially those with very different perspectives) and mobilize in our local communities. Voting is a big part of that; but it’s so much more. I hope these resources help us work together to become the alternative society God has brought us together to be.