13 July 2009

hope, change and rhetoric

The rhetoric of political discussion from self-designated Christians is increasingly difficult to identify from that of self-designated non-Christians. And this is a matter of tone, for the personal attacks and malevolent comments are often worse among those who are 'working for the kingdom' than those who are simply upset about the decisions being made. I continue to see examples of this, most often with Christians who dissent from the policies of George W Bush.

Because there have been six-eight years of direct attack on his administration, and with the help of many in the media, there are strong words reserved for him and those who worked with him. Let me be clear: It is not unChristian to disagree with any or all of the policies and decision made by any president. Those who claim this are simply wrong. But how we choose to disagree will make a stronger statement than any of the words we could throw into the arena of ideals. And the message which many dissenters are sending with their continued critique of people who aren't even in power anymore is that believers can be filled with as much hatred as anyone else . . . while proclaiming 'Love God; Love Others'.

So, many Christians simply need to shut their mouths.

Something we can learn from the polling data (which I rarely, if ever, reference) is that people are not looking for the one who can yell the loudest, critique the most, mudsling the dirtiest, or exhibit the most disdain. The candidate who won the last election ran on two simple words: hope and change. He did not need to define these terms because people were willing to accept a positive voice in the midst of politics-as-usual. This is how much the social climate is darkened. And now the polls indicate that while most Americans still like the concepts of hope and change, there is great unrest and disagreement with the individual policy decisions made by this President and Congress. It appears that we were so desperate for something that we were willing to buy something that looked appealing, but now cannot pay the bill.

So, if the concepts of hope and change are so powerful (especially when looking towards the future), why are there voices within the church that continue to voice dissension, discontent, and mean-spirited words directed to the past? And we often wonder why the church has become irrelevant. We don't need to condemn our former leaders to prison without the burden of proof and we don't need to condemn anyone to hell - the former is for the courts and the latter is reserved for God alone.

The church can make a tremendous impact because of the realization of true hope and lasting change which cannot be undone by the next administration, but which will last into eternity. Rather than allowing the anger of politics to darken the renewed heart. It is good to be involved and there is a time and place for the discussion of our policies and decisions, but only when they are responsible with the data, the individuals involved, and the life of the kingdom.

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