A Week of Lies and Decep.... er Politics
If you follow my twitter feed (@jason__ropp) or are friends with me on facebook, you might have noticed that like many, my updates have turned with the seasons to be a bit more political, sort of. But I think, I hope, I've been asking a different set of questions. Last week I brought it to the blog; this week I'm stepping it up a bit with some help from a few friends who are asking the same questions about faith and politics that I am. If you'd like to chime in, this isn't a place to politic, it's a place to take a break from convincing people of your candidate and ask yourself, "What are politics doing to my faith?" Eight years ago, even as I soaked up the rays of the South American sun, my blood ran thoroughly Republican red. I cast my vote from Bolivia with a sense of pride that I was helping W overcome the evil liberal forces.
In the next four years I met a lot of people, who asked a lot of hard questions that I didn't have good answers to, like "what if James Dobson got the legislation he needed to take America back to 1950s values, would we as a nation necessarily be any closer to knowing and following Jesus?"
The turning point came when a youth pastor in Ohio I hardly knew recommended Greg Boyd's Myth of a Christian Nation: How The Quest For Political Power is Destroying the Church. What intrigued me about the book was the story behind it. During that same election in 2004, when I was helping W defeat evil, Greg Boyd was being pressured to mobilize his congregation to do the same. Instead he preached a sermon called The Cross and the Sword, in which he called people to actually follow Jesus and vote with their lives rather than place so much faith in a thoroughly broken nation and political system. As a result of the series about a third of his congregation, around 1,000 people, left the church.
Four years ago I began to see the same sort of pressure, political fervor, and paranoia mounting in my church. I was confused by a mindset I had previously ascribed to, people were afraid, distraught, angry even at the thought that someone who was probably a Muslim anyway would get elected. The news outlet I used to listen started getting very angry, thoroughly demonizing their ideological differents. At church we had prayer service announcements with flags and urgent voices behind them. We were, the voice declared, at the crux of history. Crux, cross, we were at the cross of history.... no, I told myself, we weren't. This process didn't look much like Jesus.
Something had to be done.....