READER'S EDITORIAL: ELECTION CRINGE AND CONFLICT

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By Wendy Holland 


January 24, 2012 (San Diego) --  “Are you freaking kidding me?!”  It’s a sentiment I experience—and express--daily.  My concerns and interests have always been intensely passionate; I vacillate between a deep conviction that God is putting these things in my heart to be shared and an aversion to being perceived as judgmental by virtue of calling out what I see as blatant opposition to the true Gospel.  Watching the race for the Republican nomination for president is bringing it all home.
 
A couple of Sundays back, in the house church we attend, I was exposed to a profound reality.  Don, a congregant who is in his 80s, directed everyone to Matthew 24:14:  “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  Don embodies one of the things I love most about home church.  In the American church’s ever-increasing quest for cultural relevance we’ve abandoned the Scriptural mandate to give a place of honor to those who are more chronologically mature, and have subsequently lost the invaluable spiritual wisdom that can accompany that.  Don is truly wise; when he takes the time to share you know it’s going to be good.  When he spoke up I had a fleeting moment of despair that my husband was in the bathroom and going to miss out.
 
“We hear a lot about the return of the Lord, and how He’ll come back when the Gospel has been preached to all the world,” Don began.  “Now I know a lot of places where a salvation message is being preached.  But I know of very few places where the Gospel of the Kingdom is being preached.  In Matthew 6:33 Jesus said ‘seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you,’ and that was in response to the Sermon on the Mount He’d just preached.”  Don went on to share and expound on various passages that show what “Kingdom living” really looked like, and leaving me with a message I’d return to several times in the coming week.  Because one of my biggest RUFKMs comes from the total disconnect between how God really calls us to live, USA politics, and the American church.
 
Recently while at the gym I watched a Rachel Maddow segment illustrating that no matter what President Obama does, the Republican leadership portrays him not in accordance with his deeds, but their desires.  When he was running for office the NRA warned that he was “coming for your guns!”  Conversely, a couple of years into his administration the NRA said the very fact that the president hasn’t come for your guns shows just how insidious he is, because he’s clearly lulling us into a false sense of security so he can come for the guns at some later date.  Popular talking points state that Obama is all about “growing government,” when in reality he’s instated unprecedented tax cuts both for middle class families and small businesses.  His critics portray him as weak on security, but under his administration numerous high-level terrorists—including the elusive (at least to the W administration) Osama bin Laden—have been removed from power.  They call him weak on immigration, but for three years running, our country has deported a record number of illegal immigrants.  And Maddow’s  anchoring assertion was that if the GOP can’t even rally around President Obama’s recent proposal to consolidate six government agencies—thereby cutting three billion dollars over ten years—with anything but suspicion and jabs, reality just won’t be putting in an appearance.
 
For months I’ve been saying, “I need to stop watching politics before it gets any closer to the election, or I’m going to have a heart attack.”  Each day I take in all spheres of punditry, from MSNBC to Fox News to the Huffington Post, and everything in between.  But what happened in my heart during and after that Maddow clip was different.  I had an almost physical burning desire to point out some things that I find distressingly inexcusable.   The Republican nominee will likely be Romney or Gingrich, and with Huntsman out of the race the alternatives are just as dismal.  The hypocrisy in considering Gingrich is astounding; it’s hard to forget that he was embroiled in an extra-marital affair while leading impeachment hearings against President Clinton for the same thing.  As excited as the extreme-right is by Gingrich’s hateful rhetoric and thinly veiled racism, it’s distinctly likely to backfire in a general election.  In Romney we have a man with very little political integrity, whose primary objective just seems to be moving on up to the next higher office and who, from the undeniable evangelical perspective belongs to a birthed-directly-from-the-bowels-of-Satan cult.  Keep in mind here that the GOP does the bulk of its pandering to the Christian Right, and four years ago there wasn’t an evangelical in America who would ever consider voting for a Mormon.  That was until we had a black man with a funny name in office.
 
All this was going through my head, that the writing is on the wall:  The majority of American evangelicals would rather bite the bullet and vote for a serial adulterer or someone they view as a religious heretic than vote for a monogamous, Christian-church-attending (sorry you didn’t dig his former pastor) sitting president with an agenda that’s guided by undeniably Scriptural principles:
 
Exodus 23:9 - Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.
 
Deuteronomy 15:11 - There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward those of your people who are poor and needy in your land.
 
Isaiah 58:6-7 -  “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: 
to loose the chains of injustice 
   and untie the cords of the yoke, 
to set the oppressed free 
   and break every yoke? 
 Is it not to share your food with the hungry 
   and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— 
when you see the naked, to clothe them, 
   and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 
 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, 
   and your healing will quickly appear; 
then your righteousness will go before you, 
   and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 
 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; 
   you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
 
Ezekiel 16:49 - “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
 
I John 3:16-18 - This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one another. If any one of you has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in you?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
 
Silly as it seems, the Maddow clip and the emotions it stirred in me had me close to tears throughout the day.  As much as I love my home church, Don and some others there—the very ones who realize that we are not preaching the Kingdom to the ends of the earth--would sooner buy into the conspiracy theory that Obama’s a Kenyan Muslim and vote for a Mormon, or a racist philanderer, than they would objectively examine the president’s faith, family and political record.    Last night I said to my husband John, “You know I’m not going to be able to keep my mouth shut . . . “  And he was in total agreement that there’s no doubt.  So the questions for me become:  Do I stop going to church when the urge to state my convictions becomes unbearable?  Do I keep my mouth shut for the sake of peace and to maintain false unity, when I actually feel like I’m witnessing the deception of the elect?
 
Do I keep all those RUFKM moments locked up in my heart?  Because every time I have one of those moments I’m increasingly convinced God’s calling on me to share, to write, and to get it out there where people can see it. 
But is that even my place?  Well, it seems it just might be.
 

 

Comments

Editorial

Thank you for sharing Isiaih 58:6-7 which is exactly the same as Matthew 6:33. Keep helping others to break their yoke.