Wednesday, November 09, 2016

I don't often write political posts, but when I do...

...I actually don’t. Or try not to.

You might know me well enough by now to know that I don’t typically blog or post about politics - nor do I preach from the pulpit sermons about health care or economics or gun control or any number of social issues that many Christians in our culture are passionate about.

Even when it comes to concerns such as the sanctity of life and marriage, I don’t go out of my way to create controversy, but I won’t shy away from them either. (Now, I have blogged about these things in the past, but have truly gotten away from it lately, preferring instead corny jokes, puns, and one-liners. It’s much safer ground to stand on! ;)

As a pastor, though, my preference is to address cultural issues from a biblical perspective when the biblical text calls for it. In other words, I typically like to preach through a passage and let the text speak for itself rather than go looking for particular texts to support a controversial topic-du-jour or hot-button issue of the day.

So a big reason for not bringing up political or social issues on a regular basis isn’t because I’m afraid to. Nor is it because I adhere to a particular interpretation of the concept of separation of church and state (that says pastors shouldn’t be political from the pulpit). And it’s not because I don’t think scripture has anything to say about these host of issues – quite the opposite, I think there are biblical principles to apply in every situation we find ourselves in.

The main reason I don’t preach politics is because that’s not the reason (or shouldn’t be the reason) people gather on Sundays. Instead, we’ve gathered together to sit at the feet of Jesus and be transformed by the Gospel, re-invented by his teaching of the Kingdom of God. We are called to be his students, and for whatever reason – by God’s grace and mercy, obviously – the church I serve has called me as their pastor to be a “lead student” in helping all of us be discipled by our Lord Jesus.

The truth is - news flash - I am not an expert on socio/economic/political theory. I am not a dedicated student of the democratic process. I’m knowledgeable, sure, but that’s not my bailiwick. There are much smarter voices out there that people can turn to to find information on what the candidates stand for, the implications of their platform, etc., etc.

You don’t gather for worship week after week to hear another opinion about those sorts of things. Truthfully, if that’s what I offered, I would just be adding to the noise and my thoughts on politics probably wouldn’t add anything very helpful anyway.

What we really want, I believe – why we really gather week after week – is to hear God’s Word proclaimed. And although I wouldn’t call myself an expert here either, I do admit to being a dedicated student (flawed though I am) of Jesus. And in fact, I desire to become a better and better student of the Jesus Way – the way of the Kingdom, the way of life as a follower of Christ.

Now, admit I’m not very good at it. I stumble and fall and flail around. We all do. But I think and pray that my desire – our desire as a church, your desire if you're reading this – is genuine. We want to be what we know is the true definition of church – ekklesia. We want to be a ‘new community of transformed believers who represent Jesus.’

A new community of transformed believers who represent Jesus. 

This is what it means to be the church. This is why we gather each week. This is why I preach (and sometimes post about spiritual things). I don’t want to be known as a political preacher, but as a preacher who pursues the way of Jesus, a member of his Kingdom community. Pray for me in that regard, I’d appreciate it.