Ok, I've been gone for a while, I was on the road for a bit finishing up our move. One of the side things to come out of that is I splurged on an MP3 player to listen to in the moving truck going down the interstate through six states, and got some time to listen to some of the various stuff I've collected over the last several months (hopefully that means I'll get to adding the music reviews I've been meaning to get to). One of those was a sermon series from John MacArthur about the Christian and government and our roles and responsibilities to both. I had the initial four, hour long sermons and a fifth hour long sermon spent answering some questions that came in as the series was initially given and broadcast (back in 1985), so this was a rare opportunity for me to sit and listen to that much audio consecutively.
As you can imagine, between the topic and the time allotted, a lot of material was covered. The main point of all of this was though, is that we (the Church) are supposed to be focused not on politics and citizenry as we are on Kingdom work. We are called to be good, active citizens, but it is the opinion of the speaker that we should be spending far more time and energy on evangelizing and encouraging than politicking and protesting. This is a hard one for some of us, not because it isn't logical or Biblical, but because we have entwined our politics and our faith so much. It is my none too humble opinion that we are living in the most politically turbulent times in the U.S. since before the Civil War, and many of those political issues are moral issues, such as abortion. However, one of the ideals that sticks out from the series is that governments are temporary, souls are eternal. We are definitely getting reminders that governments are not far from permanent, from the swing back to Republicans in Congress back in September to the uprisings in Egypt and Libya now.
So how do we balance this better? I really haven't come up with a good answer yet, despite being back off the road for a week already. National and world politics have gotten so mired in bureaucracy, partisanship, dirty pool, career politicians, and general fertilizer that it takes a laser like focus on the politics to have any clue what's really going on, who's really pulling strings and who's just blowing in the wind. We are living in the results of most people spending several decades not paying attention and being active in the political world, so we know that ignoring it is not an option either.
Perhaps we need to be focusing on better utilizing the ripple effect. Take the big ugly abortion issue. Instead of fighting in the courts, what happens if more Christian effort goes into educating people about why they shouldn't be having abortions and changing the mindset that leads to them? Instead of going after the supply, if the demand vanishes, then does the legal status really have an effect? If more people are saved and operating in an educated, Biblical mindset, how many of those ballot box fights would fade away? If we had more Christ-minded people in office, how much of the gaff and corruption would run back into the shadows? Have we wasted a lot of time and money over the years by taking the wrong route to fixing the system?
If you're interested in the inspiration behind this particular rant, you can stream or download it all here, along with a couple of more sermons on paying your taxes. Definitely a lot to ponder, especially in these times when we seem to be within spitting distance of a major breaking point.