Friday, October 03, 2008

God. Life. Progressive Culture.

  So my buddy Jeremy sent me an email that got me thinking about politics and faith. The question I have is why do Christians always vote Republican or conservative? Why can't we be in the middle or politically left for that matter? (if you have read my previous post you would know that I am proudly in the middle.) There are many issues out there that many people hold strong to...abortion, poverty, family values, environment and so on. They are all important and encompass both sides of the political aisle. 
   Well for my readers who don't know this, there is a newer younger generation of people who profess a faith in Christ that are moving more towards the center of the political spectrum.  They are choosing not to affiliate themselves with either political party. They have decided (myself included) that both Democrats and Republicans are not getting the job done. 
There is a place where the voice of the moderate believer in Christ is being heard and shared. In my opinion that is "Relevant" magazine.   "Relevant" is one of the voices of this new generation of young believers. If you are in any way interested in topics I am talking about or have written about, I strongly suggest you pick-up a copy of "Relevant" at your local book store or check out their website in my links section.
 God. Life. Progressive Culture. These four words are on the cover of every magazine and on the top of their web page. These words encompass what they are about. Which is everything. Life, faith in God, social issues, moral issues, music, movies and other media are covered by "Relevant". As you can tell, yes I do enjoy "Relevant" mag and their website and agree with the majority of what they write. 
     In the latest issue of Relevant and on their website, the founder and publisher Cameron Strang wrote some amazing words that I can't begin to do justice. So here they are.

First Word: Leading the Charge

Cameron Strang |

Reprinted from the Sept./Oct. issue of RELEVANT

"Let’s get this out of the way up front: I’m not a politically motivated person. Which is why I felt a tad out of place meeting with Barack Obama this summer. And talking to John McCain. And doing countless interviews about the faith and shifting political views of our generation.

Yet I have unwittingly found myself thrust into the political arena, a place where people are vehemently passionate about their ideologies and platforms. It’s an entire industry built around being right and proving your opponent wrong, and winning at any cost. It’s a continual power struggle and—from my humble vantage point—seems a bit flawed.

I’m someone who tries to think independently and objectively, rather than simply follow what the pundits tell me to think. Because of that, I’ve realized I cannot fully embrace either political party. Both sides of the aisle have some great ideas and goals. But both also have areas where they simply get it wrong.

I know the power of politics and the importance of the process in our world. But I also know that, historically, real, lasting change has started first at the grassroots level long before it was ever legislated. Cultural mindshifts influence Washington, not the other way around.
Many Christians traditionally have voted Republican because of their justifiable conviction to protect the lives of the unborn. Now, many younger Christians are voting Democrat because of their justifiable desire to see our nation, the most prosperous in the world, address issues of poverty, global aid and the environment.

The problem is, many Christians vote these convictions, but that’s largely where their personal involvement in the issues stops. Are the government leaders we vote for meant to do our job for us?

If God has given you a heart for the poor, or to see a reduction in the number of abortions, or to promote peace, or to help the sick, or to stand for strong moral values, or to be a better steward of the environment, then your personal focus needs to be on that—whether or not the President shares your same values.

The Bible reminds us to pray for our leaders, but it also talks about praying for those who persecute us. Though I can’t foresee any situation where this would be the case, what if one day every value Christians stand for, even religious freedom itself, was legislatively removed? Christians in China and many other parts of the world face this reality every day. Would it change us?

Dare I say, it might actually spur the Body of Christ here into greater action. Could it be that the loss of religious freedoms would ultimately be the best thing for American Christians because it would cause us to stand on our own feet rather than relying on the government to legislate our faith and values for us?

I’ve heard that only 5 percent of people who attend church regularly actually serve in any way. I’ve read that if every Christian in America actually tithed 10 percent of their income, we would have enough financial resources to wipe out global poverty.

There’s more power lying dormant in pews around the nation than any government could hope to provide, and that’s where our focus should be.

Many Christians want to overturn Roe v. Wade, but I don’t hear nearly as many leading the charge on a national adoption movement. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, where are all of those babies going to end up? Christians should be focused on personal action regardless of legislation, not just waiting for the right number of Supreme Court justices to come along.

I’m not saying don’t vote. Do. Vote your convictions and let your voice be heard—that’s one of the perks of living in a democracy. But don’t let politics breed division, or make you see people in a different light.

If you have a passion for an issue, rather than judging someone who doesn’t share that passion or viewpoint, just go do something about it. Give your life to it. Be the change you want to see.

We need to pray for our leaders and our country, but always remember that our leaders and country do not define us. We are the generation that will shape the direction culture, government and social action will take in the next 50 years. It’s not up to Washington, it’s up to us—and I say it’s time we step up and lead the charge.

But that means with our lives, our finances and our actions every day. Not just Nov. 4."



     I know this post rambles and bounces from one thought to the next, but that is how my brain works. I agree with Cameron Strang whole heartedly. I want people to know is that politics and the government are not going to fix all of the world's and society's problems. That job is up to us. WE need to be the ones to make a difference. WE need to make the changes. Obama's or McCain's "change" is not the answer or cure all to life's issues. WE need to step up to the bar and love on our neighbors. Don't just talk about the issues. Act on the issues. Act for the issues. Pray, volunteer, stand up, serve, love, and take action for these issues. That is what this generation needs to do. We have shown that we have the heart, but now let your heart be worn on your sleeve for what you believe in.  
     For me, I wear my heart on my sleeve for Jesus Christ. I love Jesus and I want others to love him as I do. How do I do that? I simply love others and serve others. I hope they see a Jesus that is loving and accepting and not Jesus that is judging and distant. I hope they see the transformation he has had on my life. I hope that causes them to think about faith in Jesus. It is their choice and I completely understand that. I have been there. 
      I want to be transparent here.  I say it is simple to love and serve others but it reality it can be challenging. It is easy to write these words on a blog but it is even harder to get out of my chair and act upon these words and make a difference in love. It is sometimes hard to leave your comfort zone. It is hard to love some one with whom you dislike or do not agree with but you must rise above and love with out conditions. Love unconditionally. Loving God with all your heart, soul and mind is the most important sentence spoken by Christ. Second only to that is loving you neighbor as you would love yourself. We must love and serve others no matter who they are or what they believe. UNCONDITIONAL love is what we all must strive for.