In less than a month the United States will have it’s major election, the every four years presidential one. For me it essentially is between two candidates and two parties. Even though there are some other candidates on the ballot, they have no chance of winning, maybe an outside chance of shaking up the race by taking votes away from the two major party candidates.
I am concerned about the election, and not only on the presidential side, but all the other aspects of it. I do believe as a follower of Jesus in a democracy, I should participate to some extent. I would like to consider every part of the ballot, all the candidates on the national, state and local levels, and all the proposals. And I would like to vote one way or another on everything. Though I’m not convinced that is necessary. As a professor friend said, who shares much more articulately something of my pacifist Christian conviction, it is hard for us to vote for a commander-in-chief, though I could, and I think that is so also for my friend.
But when it gets right down to it, the politics with which I’m concerned and want to be about is that of the kingdom of God come in Jesus. I would measure the United States Constitution and everything else by that. The nation and nations are what they are. The United States does grant a kind of freedom that is likely unprecedented, and therefore no matter how it doesn’t measure up, and how far it is from the kingdom of God, we do well to respect that. But we also as followers of Jesus, do not do the world any favor when we fail to critique it as we should, as those in Jesus whose eyes are set according to the light which the kingdom of God in Jesus brings us.
The church in Jesus is to live according to that light. That is the light of the world, a light for the nations, which is to both directly as well as indirectly impact every sphere. It is a light which can’t be harnessed by any political entity of this world, by any party or nation. The world intrinsically is in a sphere which is at best incomplete in good, and at worst is compliant with evil. And generally something in between.
And so I’ll do my best to try to figure out how I’ll vote, or in the case of the presidential election (and other parts) whether I’ll vote at all. Yes, with consideration of how this democracy was set up as a republic, and something of the considerations, and debating that go on about that. But essentially in light of the kingdom of God come in Jesus revealed to us in scripture, and to be at work and in play in and through the church in Jesus for the world.