SpiritFarmer


What are we voting for again?
August 31, 2008, 7:42 am
Filed under: culture, emerging church, friends, politics

This week, Anthony Smith posted up a stirring, challenging blog entry about what he hears when white Christians tell him not to vote.  It’s really very good, and worth the time and contemplation.  I’ve posted in the past about my tension with voting, and how for a time, voting was a right that I set aside.

I’ve also posted about the current political process, and how we in the church would do well to temper our enthusiasm for any political candidate.  To summarize, we need to keep in mind that whoever is elected in November is nothing more and nothing less than the figure-head of an empire that competes with the Kingdom of God for our attention, hearts, and allegiance.  It’s a good thing to pray for, hope for, and possibly even work for a candidate who will most closely honor Kingdom values in her or his political work.  But please don’t get so caught up in the hype that you miss some obvious signs.

You can bash Bush all you want for his extension of empire.  You can praise Bush for sticking to his convictions, despite plummeting popularity in the polls.   But you know what?  He is nothing more and nothing less than the figure-head of an empire that competes with the Kingdom of God for our attention, hearts, and allegiance.  Further, he is the figure-head of an empire that has been doing the same old thing for a long, long time.  “We” started on our own soil, of course, extending our empire at the expense of Native Americans and Mexicans, not to mention importing slaves to “help” us with that work.  “We” have extended ourselves well beyond our borders countless times – sometimes for seemingly good, benevolent reasons, and sometimes, not so much.

My friend, Eliacin, has posted a helpful summary of U.S. interventions in Latin America alone, as a way of illustrating that this empire of ours spans many years and many presidential administrations.  He raises some very important points.  Taste this:

To assume that change will happen by just focusing on November 4 is a naive view of history and a adolescent understanding of democracy. On Nov. 4 people will elect a new administrator in the same system of power that perpetuates itself. There are bigger systems than the executive and the legislative at play here. On Nov. 4 the imbalanced of structure of representative “democracy” is will not be on the ballot. Nor there will be a vote about the position of hierarchical power of the wealthy elite (individual, coorporations, international trade organizations) whom live and operate outside national politics but benefit economically from it. There will be no option to vote about the myth of the USA as patriarchal leader and police of the world. These and more are some of the structures and foundations that need to be strongly questioned and challenge in order to bring real change.

Whether your convictions are to vote, or to not vote, as a matter of conscience and responsibility, please just keep in mind what your primary identity is, and what your primary vocation is within the context of empire.  If you find yourself getting stirred up in the hype of political conventions, that may be o.k., but don’t forget what these people represent in the big picture.  And don’t forget that regardless of who “wins” in November, we have an ongoing responsibility to speak truth to power, work for the causes of injustice, and pray for the inbreaking of the Kingdom reality.  The candidate you support now may be the president you need to protest a few months from now.

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[…] What are we voting for again? « SpiritFarmer Why should, or shouldn't we vote? What does it do? What should we aim for? Steve Lewis clues us in. (tags: voting politics christianity) […]

Pingback by In the Coracle » » links for 2008-08-31

[…] What are we voting for again? « SpiritFarmer Why should, or shouldn't we vote? What does it do? What should we aim for? Steve Lewis clues us in. (tags: voting politics christianity) […]

Pingback by In the Coracle » » links for 2008-09-02




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