So now that things are settled, I hope that questions and conflict regarding my perspectives on Non-voting can be minimized to a more constructive conversation on how we view our relation with the national government (side note… great post by Mark Van Steenwyk on this issue here).
I’ve had so many conversations in the last few days, and I hope there are more. Below is a dialog that I have been having with some friends via email. It lays out a lot of my own thoughts on some of these issues.
you say something about taking a stand and letting true beliefs show through….I guess I see a paradigm difference between “taking a stand” and “everything’s all cool, everyone can be who they want to be.”
What I adhere to is a movement towards a whole existence following of the way of Jesus. For me, I don’t care if someone thinks they have all the right “values,” “beliefs,” or “facts” figured out in their head. If they aren’t living it, they don’t have a lot to offer me. And if someone is actively pursuing a more unified and loving world… they are beginning to move in the way of Jesus. I am SO committed to this that I refuse to do something as compromising as choosing the lesser of two evils to run for a national office… especially when I see Jesus modeling a leadership of sacrifice not power assention. His way was subversive and humble.
What about absolutes? Do you still exist anymore? That’s a deep one to ponder!! I’d actually be really curious to hear your thoughts on that one. ) What about moral absolutes?
As I mentioned something about homosexuality in my last note… I will just say that I don’t have a definitive answer on whether homosexuality is right or wrong. Let’s say I stray towards thinking that it is not in line with God’s intended plan for humanity. As a follower of the Jesus way, though, I think it is more destructive for me to focus on the immorality and condemnation of that rather than build relationships with those who are gay and repent for the way the church has treated them. There are more important things to be concerned about.
From what I see from Jesus, homosexuality is a less immoral thing to be concerned about than things like loving your neighbor, not worrying, individualism, consumerism, pursuit of power, religiousity, pride, selfishness, doing good to your enemies, not killing, serving one master (something that distances me from being engaged in the national political process), etc. So to me these are just as immoral. And just as absolute. For me, absolute means no compromise… not even voting for someone who has less immoral stances than the other.
And then the idea of being too enmeshed in the system? How can anyone claim to not be enmeshed in some type of system,
The only system that I want to be “enmeshed” in is the kingdom of God. Being enmeshed means that I compromise one for the other. i never want to compromise the kingdom of God for something else… especially something like the nation of America. We ask ourselves the questions of “how can I be a responsible CEO as a Christian? How can I go to war as a responsible Christian? How can I live with incredible power as a Christian?” What we should be asking, in my opinion, is “How can I be true to Jesus in this messed up world? What must I do to actively take a stand as a set apart people?” This often means not participating in this world’s ways of taking a stand.
especially with our God given right to chose our leaders based upon character and whom we deem best to lead. that is a privilege. That is our right as Americans, as humans, as Christians.
I guess I see “right” as something that is inherent in our existence that we can claim. Especially when it comes to God. That is our right as Americans. If you can show me anywhere that says that God has given Americans a right that he hasn’t given others… I will be impressed. God-given rights are things that span across humanity. That voting is a God-given right or a right that we have as Christians is perhaps the most telling statement of the confusion that we have gotten ourselves into as Americans. Is going in with our military and killing innocent people also a right that we have? Is going out and spending all of our money on useless things a God-given right as well? Privileges are not rights. I think that it is almost a Jesus mandate that we give up our privileges for the sake of the other and the kingdom of God. Phillipians 3 talks about that.
There are many other in the world who would give anything to chose between two great candidates. That is a good problem to have.
it’s just the ideals of the party..
So there you have it… my response. I tried not to lob too many bombs on you guys. This is just where I am… I am in the process of trying to line my life up with my convictions. This takes much longer than I could imagine.
Thanks for the dialog,