A Week of Lies and Decept.... er politics: Part IV
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?” This is part IV and the last post of the series. This past weekend I briefly journeyed into the heart of the political beast –Ohio. I went to Columbus to see Donald Miller speak then spent the next day having far too much coffee with far too few of my Ohio friends. It was a fantastic weekend, but I definitely felt the vitriol I've been writing about as it spewed out of my radio speakers practically between each song. During commercial breaks while I watched SNL with my friends mug shots of the opposition kept popping up over the voices of a professionally concerned voice warning me about the dangers of voting for so and so. It was a weekend filled with bi-partisan mud slinging.
I wish I could call my attitude in such filth Christ like and magnanimous, that I rose above the demonizing, the oversimplifying of a person, reducing the image God has placed in them to a political position, but I am not holy.
On Saturday I got together with a couple friends and a guy they work with. Most of the evening went well enough, until this guy I barely knew started talking about how Obama's views were agnostic. Agnostic. At the 2011 prayer breakfast our President declared Jesus as Lord, a pretty definitive evangelical term (spoken in front of a lot of evangelicals). He went on to talk about praying to God, remaining true to God, etc. I'm no religion major but it seems to me that making definitive statements about God as an existing being might just break the agnostic rules. I should have just let it go. But I didn't. I jumped into the political frenzy of Ohio.
We talked foreign policy, economics, abortion, which felt like talking issues with one of those commercials, which mostly involved a lot of demonizing and over simplisitc statements. This is the closest thing you'll get out of me in terms of a direct political statement, my political convictions lean conservative, but I hate professional sport like loyalty that dismisses any notion of good in another team while simultaneously ignoring blatant damning flaws in one's own constituency. This essentially felt like my opportunity to slap Rush Limbaugh around a little bit.
The irony isn't lost on me, that I've been spending all this time thinking and writing about the effect of politics on faith, my disdain for the posture, and hear I am, exhibit A, the prime object lesson for this series.
I left the conversation hating him, hating the list of talking points that he was, reducing the image of God in him to something easier to hate, simultaneously hating myself. I was, as I told my friend as we walked to the car, an asshole. In trying to win I had lost what I really wanted, Jesus at the table with us, growing closer to Him, closer to each other.
I encourage you, however you vote, remember that politics has nothing new or helpful to offer to the vitality of faith and following Jesus or the hope that He offers to the world, so please don't let it get in the way.