Our politics is nauseating to a degree that challenges the classic quote – Politics, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made. In other words, watching politics in process – like watching sausage-making – can cause us to lose our appetites.
Such is the case now.
On both sides of the aisle there is a primitive quality to the discussion. Republicans and Democrats both feel the need for the government to provide. On the Republican side the conversation tends toward personal and national safety. On the Democratic, there is the notion that benefits and programs are rights for all.
What I am missing so far is this – personal responsibility.
Take, for example, the security issue. None of us wants another San Bernardino or Paris. What Republicans tend not to say is that our military-only solution is creating tomorrow’s radicals. ISIS will be defeated, but it only a matter of time until terror carries a different flag.
Where is the call to faith-based organizations, churches and non-profits, to build the community it takes for peace to thrive? How many churches do you know actively working in the Middle East? It is essential for individual Christians to step up, step out, and live up to their calling – peacemaker.
On the Democratic side, my wife (a teacher in a tough part of town) and I have seen many social programs come and go. We have yet to find any that take the place of mom and dad. Where are the calls for personal responsibility that build an ethic of family and community on the liberal side?
At the heart of our politics seems to lie a primitive theology of sorts. Our nation is beset by the idea – someone else is going to do this for me. And while we all need help – there is a difference between a person in need who makes a plan, takes action, and asks for it from a supportive family living in a community ready to serve, and the person applying to the social program believed to be a right. One transforms, the other maintains.
In the Bible, God makes clear that while God provides we are expected to do our part. In Genesis, we have a garden to tend. In the words of the prophets, we have justice to pursue. In the teachings of Jesus, we have a God and neighbor to love that encompasses family, friend, stranger, and enemy.
As Christmas approaches, I encourage you to look for examples of people taking action along these lines and support their cause. Instead of giving randomly, give to people who through a passionate response to God’s call are Kingdom makers in this world.
If you find yourself not knowing any, feel free to borrow some of ours. From Hughes Bastien and COCINA Haiti to Mike Clark and Casa Aleluya orphanage, rocktheword is currently engaged in projects to help these Kingdom-builders thrive. Your help helps us help them.
In the meantime, though, perhaps the debates are revealing a truth.
Politics will not fix this world, but a better theology and its practice will.
(thank you for reading – if you found Jesus in this please comment, share, and give)