With all eyes on the Democrat National Convention this week in Denver and the impending Vice Presidential selection announcement from John McCain, I have been thinking a lot this week about politics and the church. Unlike other Christian writers and commentators, I have not been thinking about politics in terms of who I feel is right or wrong for a christian to vote for, but rather about the lessons that politics can teach the American church about what Americans are desiring and striving for. Whether or not you feel that the church is an appropriate platform to voice political views and endorse candidates, we are all affected by the countries choice of leadership. In a monumental race where history has been made with both an African-American presidential nominee for a major party and a woman almost being nominated, I feel that it is time for the church to take a serious look at the platforms of both political parties and what it can teach us about making our churches a place with a message that will attract the American people. Regardless of which side of politics that you stand on, the speeches and strategy employed by both parties can teach us all a lesson.
Just a few nights ago, Michelle Obama gave a speech highlighting her role as mother, wife, and advocate. It seems that in both parties political strategies, family values and perceived family strength is a huge factor that Americans are looking for. Even political families that have been torn apart by infidelity and scandal continue the public image of strength and unity. Women stand beside their politician husbands that have been caught in prostitution scandal, affairs, and philandering. In the real world, many women would not publicly go to support a husband caught purchasing prostitutes. However, in the political world, we have an image to live up to in the American dream. People desire a strong family bond in the 21st century. It is still the ideal for children to live in a home with both a father and a mother. Regardless of which side that you stand on, both republicans and democrats agree in speeches that being a devoted parent and partner is realizing the American dream. The church should create a place where families can be strengthened, taught, supported, and ministered too. If both major political parties feel that it is necessary to at least attempt to have an image of the strong family unit, it must be a pretty important political strategy. How much more should the church strategize to not only have the image of strong families, but be the place where families grow together, stay together, pray together, and reach out to our communities together? The church should be the place where we not only have the image of strong families, but where faithful, devoted families actually exist.
Another monstrous political platform is the economy. Again, it doesn’t matter what side of the political coin you are on, a strong or struggling economy affects us all. while we have different views on how to strengthen the economy either through big government, tax cuts, tax hikes, or smaller government, every American desires for this country to be prosperous and for children to have the opportunity for education and success. The Bible has a lot to say on economics. The church should be a place where God’s economic laws are taught and where the principals of stewardship are preached on and practiced. If every person in America is concerned with the price of gas, the price of food, and the employment rate, shouldn’t the church be a place where people can find answers to these dilemmas? Churches shouldn’t be afraid to talk about finances and the economy. The Bible speaks numerous times on money and how it should be handled.
And finally with all of the different things that this presidential election is riding on, global warming seems to be a huge issue. People are pushing for a “green” nation and a “green” economy. Whether you believe in global warming to the degree that it is being pushed on us or not, God commissioned humanity to take care of the earth, the animals, and the environment. When God gave humans dominion over the earth in the garden of Eden it was with the stipulation that we would care for the earth. Churches ought to be the leaders in community service activities that promote recycling, caring for the environment, and seeking new ways to be energy efficient. Not only would churches saving money on their utility bills if they watch their electricity usage and take small steps to preserve the environment, but they would become stand outs in the community.
Everyone desires to be part of a system that cares for family, finances, and the earth. These are the reasons that people come out in droves to support their candidate of choice. Even though churches are not political vehicles, we can learn a lot about the aspirations of our local citizens and the dreams of people through political strategy. Don’t cater to every “wind of doctrine” or new political view that comes around and root your church in Biblical teachings and principals. However, don’t get so “spiritual” that you fail to meet people where they are. The Bible says to be all things to all men.