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Posts Tagged ‘religious right’

I admit it: I am a Donald Miller fan—and I am sure he’s the kind of guy I’d enjoy meeting up at the neighborhood pub for a beer with.  Maybe my admiration stems from the fact that I am indebted to him for having helped me continually look at the craft of writing from a plethora of various unconventional angles.  Having read Miller—I see writing as much more organic and connected to my life than I had.  Very few of us who attempt to write can ever dream of going toe to toe with him when it comes to the energy level with which he brings the power of story into living and vivid color.  Miller is thoughtful, and his contribution to the church is what many consider to be one answer to franchised faith(see his book list here).  I would certainly echo the sentiment.

A few days ago I caught Donald Miller’s prayer on television(a fellow blogger has posted “A Prayer for All Parties”)  at the Democratic National Convention and I wasn’t appalled, angry or antagonistic.  More than anything, it was intrigue that I was experiencing.  I must admit it though—when I first heard of Miller’s plans to accept the invitation to take the stage I was a little bewildered and moderately concerned.  My concerns were relieved after hearing his prayer, and in the days that have followed I have been able to do some sorting out of my own in relation to the concerns I was harboring.  

Being on Don’s mailing list (with hundreds of thousands of others I am sure), I also had received an email from Miller a day or two after he had taken the stage.  In it—Miller outlined his thought process behind accepting the invitation as well his own exodus from the party of Lincoln to joining the ranks of the party of Kennedy.  Miller, like myself, has been a life-long Republican and had been growing wearing in recent days in relation to the change of direction (or the lack of it altogether) and the many compromises made within the party clearly intended to appease a small minority.  Miller also shared some details concerning the ongoing conversation he is currently having with some within his new party.

I feel a bit tentative in promoting one party over the other, although I do tend to lean one way, and hesitantly at that.  I am a bit more reluctant these days to associate or identify myself with either party due to what I consider  to be a full out watering down in terms of what the political process was intended to accomplish and look like—the role of Government in general. 

Miller gives me the impression that he is a reluctant Democrat.  Reading Greg Boyd’s excellent blog entry last nightThe Audacity of Hope: A Foreigner’s reflection on Obama’s Speech I sort of found myself reading along as if it were something I had written.  Boyd writes, I’m a citizen of a different empire (Phil 1:27; 3:20) and therefore a foreigner in this one (Heb. 11:13; 1 Pet 1:17; 2:11). I’m only here as an ambassador and soldier sent to defend and advance the interests of my own homeland while being careful not to get too involved in civilian affairs (2 Cor 5:20; 2 Tim. 2:4). Given this, I don’t feel I need to try to decide how much of Obama’s speech last night was rooted in reality and how much of it was empty rhetoric, as some allege. 

What Boyd is getting at is precisely how I feel about politics—and about Obama or George Bush for that matter.  I know we all have a duty to vote.  But when we put too much stock into politics our faith gets eclipsed to our demise—misplacing our hope (that belongs in God) into a single political figure or a political movement we miss the mark.  What I am not saying is that God doesn’t call certain members among the body of Christ to enter the political arena as a vocation—I just think the rest of us need to be careful not to wrap ourselves up in it all the while missing the mission Jesus would have us pursuing (that is, specifically sharing the love and mercy of Jesus with the masses).

You’d have to have a pretty big rock in front of your cave to not recognize that Obama mania is sweeping the nation and the hopes that are riding on his back will soon be dashed if not shattered.  Watching 80,000 plus cheer for Obama the other night eerily reminded me of the Messiah Jesus and his ride on a lone donkey into Jerusalem a week before the chants of Hosanna turned to Crucify him!  Obama is no more of a messiah than Tony the Tiger is—but you’d sure think so, judging from much of what we witnessing.  How we want a savior other than Jesus.  Faith and culture guru David Kuo spoke about this phenomenon recently on his blogJ-Walking. 

I don’t get the feeling that Miller has any more faith in Obama than I do—and I also get the feeling that Miller wishes to make an impact with his switch rather than merely hijacking some political party.  Or, on the other hand—be their puppet by doing what they tell him to do.  After listening to Miller, I believe he’s not looking to use the party to get his two cents worth of voice from the party as many of my Republican friends seem to eager to barter and settle for—their agenda for a vote.  It’s so easy to feel we have served a bigger purpose with this mentality, but in all actuality all we have done is fed the political machine which rarely offers solutions for any of the real problems that plague society.  More often than not it’s just more rhetoric and finger pointing that results. 

I wish my friends who are so preoccupied with outlawing abortion and changing the oppositions mind about it would just turn some of their efforts towards their local crisis pregnancy center (or in some cases start one where one doesn’t exist).  For too long too many of us have looked to a political movement or operatives for the changes we we wish to see and have neglected a preaching of the whole gospel followed with action in regards to just what that gospel entails—our going and feeding the poor, caring for the destitute and forgotten, visiting those in prison and the elderly, tending to the needs of the orphans and widows—and so forth.  It is a tragedy whenever the church at large in any nation is reduced to something as infinitesimal  as a political party.  Whenever our idea of doing the good works Jesus has called us to participate in is reduced to legislating morality—I see a real danger.   

I have listened to the brief interview (below) Miller gave Christianity Today before taking the stage at the Democratic National Convention and I have to say—I thought he handled himself very well considering his awareness that he was being viewed by millions and millions via television and the Internet.  Miller makes some great points on the pro-life issue that were both thoughtful and correct in my opinion.  The religious right has been unbending when it’s been time to be servants—not understanding when it’s been time to pray—and intolerant when it’s been time to care.  The fact is this: Even if abortion is outlawed (which on that front the Republicans have not done near as much as they led us to believe they could and we had hoped they would).  Think about it—outlawing something that is murder isn’t going to simply solve the problem.  Making abortion illegal may stop a few abortions I am sure, but it won’t stop abortion—or the larger societal problems that shamefully result in abortion.  And yes, I think it is a modern day evil that abortion is legal in this country—that’s not my point though. 

Drugs are illegal—they aren’t as life-threatening as abortion—and you can’t tell me we don’t have a drug problem in modern day America.     

Donald Miller, like me, is entitled to hold his own views—and I’m not one who thinks we are entitled to much.  It is a privilege to live in a country where we can express those views.  As I said earlier, like Miller, I have been a registered Republican for as long as I have been voting (which would be a couple more years than Miller)—it is the party that we were raised to believe was the correct one if you had any regard for decency or any sort of sense of what is right.  I have serious questions about what I was sure was the political party for me.   

As I look at many of the issues being debated in the light of the gospel message and the scandalous grace it embodies—the Republicans have been closer to wrong than right all along. 

I can see where Miller is coming from and if you take a listen you might to.

Watch the 4 minute interview:

             

                  

If all goes according to plan, I will be voting for John McCain this November, but I will be careful in terms of what I expect in doing so.  I will no doubt be reluctant in casting that vote—and a bit more respectful of my brothers and sisters who choose to cast their ballot for Obama.

Does any one else have an opinion?

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