Post-Election, Pre-Advent Reflections: “God’s Way of Dealing With Sin”

Tony Sig
I have never been so concerned with politics in my whole life. I am not sure if this is healthy or not. Both before, and especially after this election, I have been wondering how to interact with the system in good conscience as a Christian. One of the main questions I have asked myself is how much power should we attempt to exert over a culture; especially in this, a democratic Republic? When is it acceptable to seek to change laws that affect the whole populace, but are motivated by our Religious conscience?

I even got in a heated discussion about gay marriage. Though I defend a traditional position on actual homosexual activity, I tend to be convinced that it is in the confines of the local congregation that that should be lived out. Not that I see the wider society benefiting in any great way by allowing gay marriage, but it is not an issue that seems worthy of court battles and reforendums.

Still, as my sparing partner pointed out, there does not seem to be a consistent hermeneutic in my position. “Why is it that I can allow for gay marriage, but would like to change abortion policies?” This election, and this question, has made me ask: “Do I want to change abortion policies?” Because I do abhor abortion, nonetheless I do not think that outlawing it and prosecuting poverty stricken young minorities is going to be the best way answer to that problem. So again…

In a democratic Republic, how should a Christian attempt to be political and still keep their soul?

As I have been adventing for advent, I want to offer to you some reflections I have had on Luke’s infancy narrative.

In ch2 we see Joseph and Mary in Nazareth. In the narrative before this point we have the Magnificat of Mary and the Benedictus of Zechariah. In both of these joyous poems we see the advent of Israel’s Messiah described in terms very familiar to those who can recall the words of the prophets. God, in his faithfulness, is going to restore the broken people, He is going to cast down the mighty, humble the proud, defeat the enemies of Israel. Jesus is described as a “mighty Saviour,” and as one from the “line of David,” a king indeed. So we might be excused for expecting something other than what we get in the next verses.

A baby. In a feeding trough. In a barn.

Indeed, a heavenly host is at this very moment coming in song and glory upon……kings and magistrates?

No. Shepherds.

It is almost in direct contrast to Herod, who in only a few verses, upon hearing the announcement of John the Baptist that indeed the Messiah is coming, will imprison him and will eventually kill him. This is how kings rule, and faithful Jews would probably have expected the Messiah to deal in kind to Herod. But apparently the King, who will dispense with the enemies of Israel, who will restore a broken people and rule over them, is a bit different than what might have been expected.

How is the Messiah going to give the Isrealites the forgiveness of sin? How was he to overcome the evil which is frustrating the plans of Israel’s God? How are we to overcome disregard for life and creation-denying sexuality? Luke tells us next, that Jesus lineage goes all the way back to Adam. Jesus is going to fix what Adam broke, and he is going to do it for the whole world. Matthew begins his genealogy with Abraham, but Luke starts with Jesus and goes back to Adam.

In Luke Jesus tells us that the greatest is the one who welcomes the child in the name of Jesus. In Mark, when two of the disciples wish to be seated at Jesus’ right and left hands, ruling with him, dispensing justice with him, he says that the “Kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, but it should not be so among them. Instead they should serve on another.” Indeed, in John, when Jesus is given “all authority in heaven and on earth” he proceeds to wash the feet of the disciples.

In a democratic Republic, how should a Christian attempt to be political and still keep their soul?

Here is our king…a baby…in a feed trough…in a barn

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3 Comments

  1. Politics… I feel the same way. I’ve tried not to be too political, and I am certainly happy to be a part of a church that remains apolitical (sp?), but I got caught up in this last election. Not over who would be president, but over some CA state propositions.

    The hot buttons for me, a prop for more animal rights (more space and better “conditions”, nothing about animal cruelty, which has been strictly regulated for years now in CA) and a prop banning gay marriage.

    So come come November 5th we find out that animals get more rights and gays get less.

    And who takes the rap for the anti-homosexual front? Me, vicariously, of course. As a Christian, I’ve supposedly been one of the many who rallied this bill to its current state. Headlines in some papers read the Church has won (for now).

    So where do I see the character of Jesus in this ordeal? Behind a megaphone, in a picket line, or angrily filling in that precious bubble next to Prop 8?

    No. I think if the church has an honest conviction that homosexuality is wrong, it’s the church’s responsibility to build bridges to this community (now more than ever) and learn to love this group of people and do everything they can to reach them.

    I may not agree that homosexuality is a sin or not, it’s really not my place to say and it’s not an easy call, either. But is it so hard to see the way the church has been treating these people for years now? It’s awful and it’s unloving and it needs to stop because the only thing it does is drive the wedge between the homosexual community and most churches even deeper.

    I see Jesus at a gay bar, hanging out with them like he would any one else, for the same reasons he would hang out with any one else; because people need to be loved and treated with respect. And because Jesus loves to focus on the people who are beaten down by religion.

    It’s not really a sin issue to me, the problem is the church’s severe inability to love based on a lifestyle choice. Convicts? Alright. Rehabbed druggies? Cool. Prostitutes… well, okay. Gays? Heck no! It’s an ugly problem and the church needs to get over itself and start loving.

    Is this achieved through political activism? I doubt it. Politics are great and yes, we should vote our conscience, but in the same breath I need a way to separate myself from the religious groups that fund these ad campaigns. How do I do that? Well, if you’ve read this far I think you know the answer; I do my best to love people the way I see it modeled in Christ.

    Reply

  2. Well said Tony. I agree with you whole-heartedly. I think the church should vote it’s conscience, but if that conscience tells them to deny any group of people their basic rights as human beings because of lifestyle then their conscience is way out of whack. If one really believes that homosexuals need to change their lifestyle then they need to find a better way to do it than treating them as less than human.

    Reply

  3. Which Tony?! I totally agree Tony Jr and Jeremy. I am just about to unleash on the gay thing. Hope you put your 2 cents in again.

    Reply

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