Monthly Archives: November 2008

Allegiances

So today is a historic day for Americans. We are called by every part of our society, from our media to Starbucks, to let our voices be heard, and stand up for our values. But what does that mean for a follower of Jesus?

I grew up seeing Republican and Christianity in almost identical categories. Theologically we believed that Adam and Eve ate the fruit, and in their fallen state their first act was to register as Democrats and then carry on with their lives.

But then I went to Harding and one of my good friends was a Democrat (possibly The only Democrat). And I learned that they weren’t necessarily 100% evil.

I learned that the hard and fast rules drawn by political parties weren’t always right, or justifiable.
I even learned that in other parts of the country people assumed that Christians would vote as Democrats.

I began to see that even in the Bible there were different political ideologies, like in 2nd Kings, King Uzziah is a King who did the Lord’s will till he died, but in 2 Chronicles, he is a man who God struck down with leprosy and he died outside of God’s will.

Shane Claiborne points out that it’s like the vision that Scriptures has for the Kingdom of God is big enough to have varying other political ideologies, and so everyone has a voice at the table. Liberal, conservative, even the green party.

But that got me thinking why were we letting other people tell us what it meant for a Christian to be involved in politics?

Recently Dr. Dobson, (a man who has done a lot of good in his life) wrote a letter to Christians as a imaginary letter from a Christian in 2012 who has lived through an Obama presidency.

It’s ridiculous.

He writes about how the world has now crumbled into chaos, and now everyone’s getting abortion’s, porn has replaced Christian cable television, far right-wing Conservative talk shows like Rush Limbaugh and Shawn Hannity have been censored (so it’s not all bad) and they have taken away everyone’s guns.

Seriously? Our guns? That’s what you think Jesus’ followers political platform should be?

The same day I saw this letter from Dr. Dobson, I saw another letter, written from other Christians from another politically charged time in our country. And from a very different perspective.

It’s from Harding University to the War department of the United States during the draft for World War I. And it impressed me. These men saw the way of Jesus as incompatible with the act of war against anyone, even with someone like Hitler. And what I really appreciated was what they said about why they would not go to war. They said that their allegiance to God must come first.

That’s refreshing.

They said they would serve as non-combatants for their country but they would not serve as soldiers. They would die for their country, but they would not kill. Because they had a deeper allegiance to a bigger Kingdom, and a better King.

Now whether or not you agree with their stance on war, I think it’s important for Christians to understand their order of allegiances, because when those get out of order things get ugly.

And the biggest indicator of what order your allegiance is in, is how you feel about today. I hear people talking about the possibilities of what would happen if Obama/McCain got elected, and they say they are terrified about how things would change. They are scared of an election. Fear is one of the things God seems to be the hardest on. Fear at it’s base is mis-trust. It’s indicative of mis-placed hope.

I remember on September 12th, 2001 walking into an 8 a.m. Bible class at Harding with a professor who was one of the first calm people I had seen in hours. (we all assumed that Searcy Arkansas was next on Bin Laden’s hit list). And we asked him what a Christian’s response was to the attacks of September 11th. This professor reminds us of Hebrew 12, where the author says to people who are looking death squarely in the face, since you are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, don’t fear.

A Kingdom that cannot be shaken.

Now I am going to vote, but I realize that it is at best an imperfect choice that must be made for the common good.

I am going to give this good country my vote but not my hope. I will not give my primary allegiance to secondary things, it belongs to a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.