Of Course I'm Political, I Believe in Jesus

Jesus is political. That’s how He died.

In this season of everyone pitching their political beliefs—including my favorite kind of naysaying, Facebook critics—Christians quickly get out of control. In the midst of it all, it’s really easy to lose sight of who is really ruler, Jesus, as Eugene Cho recently pointed out. It’s also easy to lose sight of just how political Jesus is and what that means for us.

Our Opposition Is Everywhere—That’s the Choice We Made

Jesus’ entire identity opposed the worldwide power of Rome.

Why Christians and Politics have a hard time

When your heart and soul belong to a kingdom-oriented system rather than a world-oriented one, things get tough.

Especially around election season.

The early Christians weren’t willing to concede that Caesar was God or even “god-like”. They fed the poor when others wouldn’t. They viewed people as more than “shadow” as was the prevalent worldview fed on by the masses from Grecian philosophers.

In today’s political climate, there’s a lot of demagoguery. People pander to whichever group they’re speaking to and truth becomes hard to separate from fiction.

I’m under no illusions. I don’t equate Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians or Independents as Christian. I expect the lost to behave as lost people. My base of expectation is that “all have sinned” and are fallen. So the notion of “trickle down” tends to sink in the wake of sinfulness. It’s just easier to buy a jet ski than it is to give money to the poor. At the same time, those who are interested in creating systems to capture people tend to believe that people need capturing. And yet the Christian believes in the freedom of personal choice. God allowed us to choose Him even as He pursued us.

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Since Democracy Stinks, How About a New Idea?

Democracy is so outdated. If we Americans can customize our laptops, our dream homes, our low rider trucks, and our pizza toppings, we can surely come up with a way to manufacture a custom-made President.

Choosing one candidate to represent the dreams, idiosyncrasies, causes, beliefs, and common sense of 300 million people doesn’t make any sense at all. I mean, doesn’t Washington realize that we have a very specific list of demands?

So I submit a new idea, inspired by those geniuses at Apple: iLeader.  It would fit beautifully with the American ethos of individuality and self-absorption. This impressive gadget—still several years away from a workable prototype—would allow us to be governed by a flawless, personalized platform of ideals. Call it anarchy without all the depressing chaos.

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Can a Christian vote for Barack Obama?

I voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 election instead of voting for the ticket of McCain and Palin. 

At the time, I did not understand the division and caustic nature of the upcoming 2012 election. My guess is that neither did you. The economic disaster that was 2007-2008 had not yet been thoroughly investigated and the nation had not seen the gridlock of partisan politics to the degree that the early 2010 deficit talks and subsequent supercommittee debacle produced. I was also particularly unprepared for the rather pointed, sometimes hateful, rhetoric that would flow from the more conservative ranks about the President of the United States. Let’s, though, move closer to home.

I have had relatives, Christian co-workers, and social conservatives question my faith, question whether I believe the Bible to be relevant, and question my intellect for the past few years.

Jesus: The Hope for Israel

Genesis 32:28 records the conclusion of the wrestling match between Jacob and the angel of the LORD.  The angel tells Jacob his name will “no longer be Jacob, but Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and you have overcome.”  The name Israel means he struggles with God and the previous two blog entries demonstrated the history of the nation of Israel struggling in their relationship with God, and with men.  Although hermeneutically the text of Genesis 32:28 tells us that Jacob himself did overcome the battle with the angel of the LORD, I do not think it is farfetched to understand this verse as a prophetic utterance about the future of Israel.

Historically Israel has struggled greatly, and this has been going on for millennia.  Though there have been times of great hope, faith, and survival, there have also been times of great hopelessness, faithlessness, and oppression.  Today Israel is threatened repeatedly by Iran.  A nation who openly professes they would like to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth.  The peace and security of Israel is a matter which will not be resolved anytime soon, nor by any current political arrangements.  Whatever kind of peace arrangements accomplished through modern day politicians will be temporary.  This is not to mitigate the importance of striving for peace, for peace benefits many, but rather to understand that the real program for long and lasting peace for Israel and its neighbors is one that will be accomplished by the word and hand of the Lord. The question becomes how will Israel overcome?

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45 Things I Want in a Presidential Candidate


A year from now we will (very possibly) have a new president-elect in the U.S. As a registered voter in California, I will have zero influence in deciding the election. But that doesn’t keep me from having opinions about what kind of candidate I’d like to see succeed in becoming America’s 45th president. If I did happen to live in a state like Iowa, New Hampshire, or one of the other “primary” battlegrounds where my vote might feasibly matter, I would be looking to cast a vote for a presidential candidate who fit the following qualifications. Are there any good candidates out there?

Not Something to Cheer

A few weeks ago at the GOP presidential debate, some in the crowd cheered as Rick Perry defended his record on the death penalty. It was a horrifying thing to watch. Why is anyone cheering for the death penalty? Regardless of one’s political stance on capital punishment, it seems to me that at best it is a necessary evil–but certainly not something to be celebrated.

Perhaps sparked by the Rick Perry / audience cheering debate, the Washington Post has featured an array of columns on the issue of capital punishment in its “On Faith” column in recent weeks. Among other things, the columns have illustrated just how diverse the opinions are on this issue, even among Christians.

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9/11: Memorials, Heroes, and the absence of God.

As we approach the anniversary of 9/11, I have noticed some confusion within myself as to how to deal with the tragic events which occurred on that day ten years ago.  One is how we have identified that horrible day by numbers on the callendar instead of a name.  Perhaps this reflects our tech savy age?  Past generations do not identify with 12/7/41 or even 12/41.  What am I referring to?  The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, or perhaps “the day that will live in infamy”.   To prior generations, a day of national significance in our nation’s history marked merely by a number would resemble something more along the lines of communicating in morse code.  Althought 9/11 triggers a memory of what we experienced both collectively and individually, to identify the day with a date instead of a name leaves a certain amount of ambivalence.

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Church & State: How Separate? (Part 3)

In the two previous blogs I approached to the Constitution’s address of where religion fits into the civil society, as it was one the topics broached at the previous Republican Presidential Primary debate held in New Hampshire a few weeks ago. The final question of this series on the nature of the Constitution’s First Amendment is what good has been brought to the civil society when religion has been removed from the public sphere of life? 

There are many today in our society, through all levels of society, who believe or promote the notion that the Constitution’s First Amendment teaches the separation of church and state.  This opinion has lead to a modern day isolationist mentality where one’s faith should be kept private from the public arena.  However, a clause which declares “the separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution.  The First Amendment does say, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” but “establishment” and “separation” are two completely different definitions. 

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Ideas and Elections

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.”

The preceding sentence was said by the late President John F. Kennedy and in many respects it’s the theme of this blog. My desire is to explore the power of ideas as well as the expression of those ideas. Why? Well, because I believe I am a work in progress (and maybe I am not alone) and that I live in a world that is trying to make progress. Undergirding all of this progressive optimism are ideas.

Many Christians call the systematic formulation of these ideas a ‘worldview’ and that’s not a bad phrase. But, some ideas, if we’re honest, aren’t always that clear in our head and so it’s difficult to organize them neatly and label them effectively.

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