Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Should Ever I Run for Office

This is the blog entry that would tragically lose my bid should ever I run for office. It's not going to be about some personal transgression, as such a thing is easily overcome by the deft poltician (insert Clinton comment here).

I heard a thing today on the radio that punched me in the goods.

Dereck Webb has a CD called "The House Show." Dereck Webb is the lead singer of Caedmon's Call. For those of you who don't know Caedmon's Call, they're a nice, coffee shop, acoustic band. There typical songs are very pleasant, touchy feely, Jesus is nice, kind of things. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I typically leave a time listening to Caedmonse feeling alternatively convicted to be a better human, or wanting to be nice to a cat. Not often do I get punched in the junk by one of their lyrics. Thus the surprise.
The song is "I Repent" and it starts like this:

i repent, i repent of my pursuit of america's dream
i repent, i repent of living like i deserve anything
of my house, my fence, my kids, my wife
in our suburb where we're safe and white
i am wrong and of these things i repent

i repent, i repent of parading my liberty
i repent. i repent of paying for what i get for free
and for the way i believe that i am living right
by trading sins for others that are easier to hide
i am wrong and of these things i repent

I write this while taking a break from work. I'm wearing a tie branded by an italian and hand made, probably by a kid who doesn't make what he should and doesn't get to play baseball very often. The thing is, I don't really care.

I pretend I do. Tonight I'll pray about it. But I don't really care enough to...you know...take action.

I used to tell a story to kids in my Young Life club that went like this.
Scary prisoner guy is walking in road.
Obnoxious Christian guy looks at him Says, "Without Jesus you are going to hell."
Scary prisoner guy looks him in the eyes and says, "Sir, do you really believe that?"
Christian guy is at first taken aback, and then timidly says, "Yes."
Prisoner says, "Well I don't. But if I did I wouldn't be yelling it at strangers. I would be walking, running, or crawling around telling everyone about it."

We as Christians tend to spend 20% of our time telling people what to belive and 80% trying to modify behavior to live like the stuff we believe. According to my mediocre pursuit of what God loves, and according to the prisoner above, the problem is not merely in a lack of a good behavioural modification program, I don't believe fully enough.

The other thing that comes clear to me is this--Jesus was not American. I firmly believe that America is the closest thing to a Christian nation the world has ever seen, but the Christian-American's job is not to provide spiritual cover for political parties but rather to be an advocate. I love that Dobson is over reaching on his political position and trying to force Bush's hand on judges. Frankly I think that the whole court packing issue is crap, but I love that Dobson is ok shouting down the politicians WHO AGREE WITH HIM because he sees an issue that doesn't allow compromise. On the left I hope that some Christians have the courage and wisdom to take politicians to the wood shed about America's treatment of the poor, or our use of war as a policy device.

There are a thousand other issues that could be used, but the bottom line is this--the American dream expressed personally (e.g. my pursuit of fortune and comfort to the exclusion of what God loves) and politically (e.g. leveraging Christianese to provide cover for the mass pursuit of the same) is idolatry. We need to let God reform our hearts to love what he loves, and then have the moral courage to take our transformed hearts into redeeming a broken world.