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Thursday, June 27, 2024

Power or Wisdom? Stop asking God to interfere with politics

In searching around for churches in this area, obviously I'm looking at their websites.  I'm studying a few things, particularly their various statements of belief.  In that regard I'll simply say this: there are already a number of places of worship which I regrettably cannot enter.  It would be like bringing a blowtorch aboard the Hindenburg.

No disrespect to those places is meant.  I believe they and I worship the same God.  We differ however in aspects of that which while ultimately meaningless, are as unavoidable in this carnal realm as they are indicative of the imperfect nature of the church as the body of Christ upon this earth.

As I was saying, I'm perusing the websites of places of worship.  Looking for certain qualities.  And with the advent of streaming video I'm now able to watch and listen to recent sermons.  Sort-of like the Esper machine: getting to search a place without actually being there.

(Wait, did I just make a Blade Runner reference...?!?)

So a few nights ago, with nothing else to do (because of tech issues keeping me from my AI work, grrrr...) I was back at ogling church websites.  I literally have told Google to search for "churches near me" and it produces a map with every place of worship and, if available, their website addresses.  How convenient!

There is one church a few miles away from here that I didn't know anything about, other than it's a Baptist congregation unaffiliated with any larger contingent of the faithful.  I read over the site, and didn't find anything that would be objectionable.  It went down on my list of possible places to visit.  And it would have likely stayed there until I got around to checking it out in person...

Then I watched this past Sunday's worship service and listened to the message being preached.

Folks, there are very few things that will have me more walking out, however impolite it may seem, than a sermon that turns blatantly political.

Especially as "conservative" as the message I listened to.  Because conscientious conservatives really ought to know better.

The entirety of the pastor's message was about the evils of liberalism.  I don't mean liberalism in the spiritual sense, which would have been fine and even expected to be touched upon at various times.  No, I mean liberalism as in the temporal notion.

It was using the authority of the pastor to abuse the name of God for the furtherance of a political ideology.  Something I have LONG believed is wrong.

So it is that this church gets a hard pass from me.

It's like this: I believe that each of us as citizens has the responsibility to choose our leaders in representative government.  But it is WRONG for those with spiritual responsibility to decree who it is that his congregants should vote for.  And that is what I saw in this message.

What should a pastor or other minister preach about politics, then?  I do not believe the issue is completely off the table.  I don't believe that the elders of yore would have thought so, either.

I also don't believe that it makes a difference to God as to who we ask Him to favor in our elections.  Asking Him to please let Donald Trump win in November is going to mean as much to God as is asking Him to let the Patriots win another Super Bowl.  Indeed it's even more ridiculous to ask Him to favor some candidates over others.  Doing so would violate the concepts of free will and choice.  God has given us choice all along.  He has also given those of us in the free world the right to choose our leaders.

For good or ill, the onus is upon us, and not God, to well pick our representatives and executives.

So, if a minister has some authority to expound upon political matters, what is left if the endorsement of candidates is wildly inappropriate?

How about this instead: rather than trying to sway his listeners to vote either this way or that, a minister instead leads his flock in seeking WISDOM toward making their choices at the ballot box.

Isn't that what we as Christians should be seeking in all of our matters?  That God might liberally (pun shamelessly intended) pour upon us the capacity to discern wisely and to act upon that wisdom with a resolute mind and determined will. 

Should not that be what we are to pray for, instead of for our favorite candidates winning at the polls?

We can choose to have wisdom.  Or we can choose to crave power.  We have been doing the latter for so long that we've practically forgotten about wisdom at all.  And we have suffered for that.

It is not God who has inflicted the metaphorical poxes upon our land.  He is merely letting us have what we vote for.  Free choice, remember?

I would posit that it has been a lack of lusting for wisdom which has brought America to the brink of calamity.  And it has been many if not most of her Christians who have greatly encouraged that folly.  It is the Christians of this land who should have been the very first to appeal to Heaven for wisdom and discernment.  That is the vessel of true power.  Not power itself, which we have deluded ourselves into believing we must wield.

Because in America at least, God has already granted her people all the power that they could possibly require.  But how to exercise that power?  That is something that we should have been petitioning God for all along.

Would it at all hurt us to start fervently oraying for change of hearts and minds instead of obsessively praying for change in Washington?

I know what is that I am praying for.  And it is not for a candidate to win.

I will pray, that the people of this land lay aside their appetites for force and power.  And instead that they would use the authority granted them with discernment and wisdom.

God WILL grant us those things, if we ask Him.

But He is not going to be moved when we ask Him to interfere directly with the politicks of these United States.


Grundy said...

Agree 100%

Boldface much? Lol

Chris Knight said...

I am a student of the MAD Magazine school of thought regarding textual emphasis. Reading all of those movie/TV parodies made a MASSIVE impact on my writing style :-)