Removing the Confusion from the Political Mayhem.
The conventions are over. First, Republicans and then Democrats have convened in subsequent week long sessions to vet their party’s candidate and update their ‘platform.’ Now we enter that confusing zone between now and the November election. As a person of faith you may wrestle with how or if to choose sides. You may identify with the expression of compassion on the one hand or the protection of a freedom or privilege on the other. The conflict of expressions may leave you frustrated and confused.
I don’t know about you but when I try to sort through the endless political commercials and mailers of all the candidates my head begins to throb! It is so confusing. Everyone is making promises to improve the quality of my life. My experience is that few keep the promises they have made – or even admit or remember they made them. Furthermore, why does anyone care about some of these issues? Why don’t more people care about what I care about? What does God care about in all this and what is my responsibility toward Him in all this?
Can you identify with this? If so, let’s start thinking through some of these issues. While we are in this political season I want to focus on the sphere of government – one of 7 Cultural zones in which we are called to live and influence as invested cultural partners.
Trying to navigate the nuances of political expressions may leave you as confused as the little boy who dropped his gum in the chicken house and couldn’t decide which cold gray lump on the ground was his gum. Like him, after tasting several options, you may remain unsatisfied and confused and have a bad taste in your mouth.
Of the seven zones of culture (I’ll explain more on this below) the zone of government, and by association, politics, seems the most removed from faith. Of all the ‘Dirty Jobs,’ those associated with politics and government seem the least suited to Christian involvement. Is there room for faith in the political arena? Please don’t misread what I am saying. I am talking about how faith should impact the political arena. There is absolutely no place for faith “in” politics.
The integration of faith into the political zone is not always clear cut. Mature faith should be able to inform all we do. This is so because all we are and all we have been given to do is from God. If this is true, then what about politics? Additional questions are: Is there really any room for faith’s influence in that arena? Can people of faith actually exist on both sides of the political divide or is one side more prone to agreement with tenets of faith than the other? If so, how is this possible? Can’t I just bury my head in the sand and let God work all this out?
I don’t have all the answers. No one does. Not even the politicians who claim they do.
This season of politics is an opportune time for you to begin thinking through the issues that are at stake. It is a time to think through your responsibilities as a citizen.
Here in this article, and from time to time between now and the elections, I will share my journey into trying understand how to sort out political issues. This dialog is intended to help you focus your impact as you think through these issues. You are responsible for the outcome but maybe, like me, you need a safe place to reason through how to think about these things.
I have written many times: you must know what you believe, why you believe it, and why what you do matters. This is more important in the political arena than in all the other arenas combined. Why? Because it is in that arena that all the zones of culture are governed: behaviors are either encouraged or discouraged, allowed or disallowed, given personal discretion or limited by law, or invested in or taxed. How you live; how you flourish, is at stake by how you are governed.
In the founding of our country, the founding fathers incorporated the principle of sphere (zone) sovereignty in our government. It his whether this tenet is adhered to or not that is at the root of much of our political turmoil. Most of us have lost sight of this concept or don’t even know that such a thing exists.
Three fundamental zones (spheres) exist in this concept. They are: Government, Society and Religion. These are the three-legged stool of culture. The zone of Society may further be broken down into the zones of Education, Business, Art & Entertainment, Family, and Media. There are seven zones total when fully broken down.
According to Chuck Colson, in his book God and Government, the principle of sphere sovereignty is that every part of society has its responsibilities. Instead of the government being in over arching control, as in the divine rule of kings, the government exists to facilitate families, churches, education, business, and other organizations in all the zoneses to function well in culture.
Your vote is casting the favor and influence you have accumulated to guard the freedoms that have been granted to you. You also use this favor and influence to protect the weak and future generations. This is where much of the struggle takes place: most often we act politically to selfishly vote ourselves privileges. Effective citizenship and voting is how you, as an individual, protect the process that allows you freedom and opportunity. This statement presumes you are a citizen of the United States. This privilege is afforded few in other nations.
Too often we are enticed by appeal to personal greed to vote that which protects the system by which our personal benefits are maximized. Democrat, Republican, and Independent party politicians often trade on this to get votes while distracting us from the real issues. It remains both my and your responsibility to not let the smoke and mirror of rhetoric and promises distract us.
So, let’s peel back the curtain and see if we can make some sense of why your involvement in the selection of those who make and endorse our laws is vital. See you in the next article.
It’s your turn to share. Please scroll down to the comment section and leave your thought on today’s discussion question.
What is your number 1 frustration with being involved in the political process?
Do you think it is everyone’s responsibility to be informed and take part? Why or Why not?