Christianity and the Election

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by path_of_one, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    I wrote this after viewing video footage on youtube of Sarah Palin agreeing with a pastor that prayed for her rise to office, rather than God's will. As FYI, this is a very rare occurrence for me to send anything like this through email. So you can understand that this misuse of Christianity and hijacking of Christian diversity in the US deeply troubles me.

    Here is the video (it's just the first few moments that are important to me):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8twqZpUT2NQ

    Sarah Palin, in the video, is praising a pastor for praying for her to be in office. NOT praying for God's will. In fact, she explicity states that he did not pray "for God's will," but rather that she would get into office.

    This is a huge concern of mine. Why? What's the difference? Everything.

    As a Christian, I believe in Jesus' teachings. I believe that Jesus taught us how to pray, and we are to follow Christ in all ways as much as we are humanly able. Jesus did not teach us to pray for what we want, or what we think is best, or what our pastor thinks is best. He taught us to pray for God's will. Praying for God's will shows humility and recognition of our limitations. It shows that we are accepting God's sovereignity over our lives, and putting our own desires, perceived needs, and so forth below His will. It shows that we realize that we don't know what is best. Only God knows what is best.

    This is why Jesus said to us:

    "This, then, is how you should pray:
    Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us today our daily bread.
    Forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one."
    Matthew 6:9-13

    I am very concerned with people that misuse Christ's teachings and pervert what cannot be mistaken... as it is Christ's own words. Praying for your own will is not something Christ condoned, and I find it troubling that someone who is so broadly supported by Christians is doing something that shows a lack of understanding of very basic tenets of Christ's words. I believe Jesus told us how to pray for a reason and that we ought to pray as He taught us if we are seeking to follow His teachings.

    Furthermore, we should be following Jesus Christ's teachings in all ways. But are we? How do our candidates (and our churches, and ourselves) stack up on these standards...

    "But I tell you anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement." Matthew 5:19
    How do the smear campaigns against Obama in some of the Christian community uphold our dignity and commitment to treat our brethren in the church (Obama is a member of a Christian church) with grace and love? Are we showing, as a Christian community, love for our fellow Christians (which include all four Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates)? Or are we tearing them down, something that is repeatedly considered wrong in the Bible (Romans 14:1-4, 1 Cor 4:5)?

    "But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also... But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." (Matthew 6:39, 44-45)
    Are we really praying for terrorists and our "enemies" in the world the way we pray for our families and ourselves? Are we willing to sacrifice our securities to uphold Christ's teachings about non-aggression?

    "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men... But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:5-6)
    Are we supposed to use our religion to get ourselves noticed by others? To sell ourselves? In this case, to get votes? Or is our religion supposed to be an authentic relationship that is between ourself and God? Should we be taking our prayers into a public forum, outside our church community, so that we are noticed?

    "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." (Matthew 6: 24)
    Should candidates pray for resources? For money? Are these the things we should be concerned with as Christians? Palin has prayed for gas pipelines and is tying religion to things like oil drilling. Is this an appropriate use of religion according to Christ's teachigns? He clearly states we can't serve God and Money at the same time. Does our treasure lie in the money and finances of earth, or in our spiritual life in heaven with God (Matthew 6:19-20)?

    "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34)
    How much of our politics and decisions are grounded in worry and fear? Shouldn't we have faith that God will be sufficient? If we have faith in God's deliverance, why do we spend all our time on issues of fear and worry? Why do we cave in to our fears about terrorism and enemies, rather than trusting that God delivers us, even in death? If we are afraid to die and afraid to have freedoms taken away, is that not an indication that we don't trust God's promise of resurrection and ultimate freedom in Christ? If we truly die to self and live in Christ, we are not afraid (Phil 1:21-24).

    "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measures you use, it will be measured to you." (Matthew 7:1-2)
    How much of our decisions about our priorities as a country is based on judging others personal sins, versus attacking the single biggest (and most frequently mentioned throughout the OT and NT) issues: poverty and social justice? Are we basing our beliefs on judging other people rather than working toward Jesus commands to love God with all our heart and mind, to love our neighbors as ourself, and to serve people in his name (Matthew 22:37)?

    We must remember what Jesus taught... that what saves us through Christ is serving others in the name of Christ. In fact, serving them in a way that we are seeing and touching Jesus in them. This serving should be in ways that meet their earthly needs and demonstrate God's love and our commitment to social justice (Matthew 25:31-46).
    We are called to serve "the least of these." I have no doubts that if Christ were among us today in person, as opposed to in Spirit, He would be healing the sick, feeding the poor, and visiting those who are in prison.

    These are the fundamentals of Christianity. Christ's words. Plain and simple. He tells us what to do (to serve and love others and God) and He tells us what to pray for (God's will). He tells us what our attitude should be (non-judgemental, non-aggressive, strong enough in faith to cast out our fear and anxiety, unconcerned with money and materialism).

    Now, I struggle with this as much as anyone. But I can't shove Christ's words under a rug because some pastor or Sarah Palin or some organization says that their way is correct and "truly" Christian, when it isn't aligned with what Christ Himself taught.

    I know some of you are not Christians, and that's OK with me. I send this to you for your FYI about Sarah Palin. And a little reminder of what fundamentalist (if you wish to call it that) Christianity should really be about. Christianity should be about following Christ's teachings. Above all else, we as Christians should be profoundly committed to the principles that Jesus taught. We are Christ's voice, His hands, His feet... in the world.

    In a time of great anxiety and fear, we should be calm and full of faith so that others' fears are soothed. This is the hard one for me!
    In a time of great anger and aggression, we should be gentle, graceful, merciful, and kind so that others see Christ's love in us.
    In a time of using religion as a way to get votes and money, we should insist that our faith is not for sale- that what is Ceasar's is Ceasar's and what is God's is God's. (Matthew 22:21)
    In a time of shoving Christians outside the "real" church based on denominational lines, we should be gently correcting those who go astray from Christ's teachings, exhorting and encouraging following the teachings, and expressing our concern in ways that lifts up rather than tears down.
    In a time of great materialism and devotion to money, we should be concerned with sharing so that everyone has their needs met, and focusing on developing our own relationship with God.
    In a time of serving the self first (or as McCain would have it, the country first), we should pray for guidance to know how to serve all of humanity, because we are all God's children and Christ knows no national or other boundaries but came for us all.

    I am not going to tell anyone how they should vote. I believe that is for every American to decide, and if our religious or spiritual ethics infiltrate our politics, it is for us to take up with God in prayer individually, asking for guidance and God's will and not for a specific outcome, as Jesus taught us to do.

    What I ask... is that non-Christians and Christians alike realize that Jesus' teachings are not what they are being made into in some of this country. They are not capitalist or nationalist. They are practical teachings about how to be a good human being that shares God's love with other people and so illumines the world.

    What I ask of Christians is that, in these days as we approach a monumental election in a time of very troubled waters, that we read the Gospels. Not focusing on what our pastors say. Not focusing on what Paul said in his letters to the churches, even. Focusing on what Jesus had to say. What kind of people are we to be? What are our priorities? Who do we serve?

    ETA: Somehow in cutting/pasting from Word, I lost my apostrophes. Sorry, but I won't be putting them back in since it's a long post. Please excuse me!
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2008
  2. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    mee has already put my vote in DANIEL 2;44
    ITS BETTER:)

    do not put your trust in nobles nor in the son of earthling man , to whom no salvation belongs psalm 146;3


    "It is better to take refuge in Jehovah than to trust in earthling man."—Ps. 118:8.

    The inability of humans to bring true freedom in the important things of life emphasizes what is said in the Bible at Jeremiah 10:23: "To earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step."


    No, God did not create man with the ability or prerogative to be independent of His direction and be successful.

    This is one reason why God has allowed so many thousands of years of human rule independent from him, to demonstrate once and for all time that such rule cannot bring true freedom and happiness. Hence, Psalm 146:3 wisely counsels:

    "Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs."

    Then whom can we trust?

    The Bible answers: "Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight."—Proverbs 3:5, 6.


    Whatever Jehovah God sets out to do, he can and will accomplish.


    His Word says: "With God no declaration will be an impossibility." (Luke 1:37)

    But how will God bring about a better life?


    Jehovah will bring mankind a much better life by means of his Kingdom. And what is God’s Kingdom?

    It is a real government with a God-appointed Ruler, Jesus Christ.

    God’s Kingdom is located in heaven, but it will soon bring marvelous blessings and a much better life to the residents of the Paradise earth.—Isaiah 9:6, 7.


    You may already be familiar with Jesus’ model prayer, found in the Bible at Matthew 6:9-13.
    Part of that prayer to God says: "Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth." In harmony with that prayer, God’s Kingdom will "come" to carry out Jehovah God’s purpose for the earth. And it is his purpose that the earth become a paradise.


    One final question arises:

    What must you do to enjoy a better life in the coming Paradise?




    What we Need to Do

    Jehovah God lovingly holds out the prospect of a better life in Paradise to all who do his will.



    The Bible tells us: "The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it." (Psalm 37:29)



    But what makes a person righteous in God’s eyes?




    To please Jehovah we need to learn more about what he wants us to do.



    If we take in knowledge of God and apply it in our lives, we can live forever.



    In a prayer to God, Jesus said: "This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ."—John 17:3.




    The book that tells us about Jehovah God and Jesus Christ is God’s Word, the Bible.




    It is one of Jehovah’s most precious gifts.



    The Bible is like a letter from a loving father to his children. It tells us about God’s promise to bring about a better life for mankind and shows us how we may gain it.




    The Bible lets us know what God has done in the past and what he will do in the future. It also gives us practical advice about how to deal successfully with our problems now. Indeed, God’s Word teaches us how to find a measure of happiness even in this troubled world.—2 Timothy 3:16, 17.




    mee has put my vote in for DANIEL 2;44 ​

    PSALM 2;12 KISS THE SON ​

    FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS​






     
  3. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    None of these human "leaders" are fit to be leaders, they are all temporary, as are the nations, goverments they come from....

    Path of one: "We must remember what Jesus taught... "

    ...That his kingdom nation was no part of this world, and not to become part of this world.
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    My understanding is pray all you want any way you want. You can only change yourself you can't change G!d or others. So if he prayed for Sarah to get elected, and Sarah thanked him for it, so be it. It wasn't the electorate that changed, it would have been through that effort that Sarah stepped upto the plate and changed.

    Similar to folks praying for the healing of others, or getting into a particular school or getting any job. At this time I can't see myself getting wrapped up about this more than that which goes on all the time, right next door.

    The extreme is...you meant it for evil but G!d meant it for good. No matter what goes on the cleanser takes affect.

    It is we that have to develop the understanding of G!d's will as it were.

    Why say I am good only G!d is good. To me this is yet another way of asking us to eliminate judgment of others lest we be judged by the same sword. While I read it as saying everything just is, and folks argue all the time indicating something is good or superior means something is evil or less. I believe it all to be good, evil is simply lack, and sometimes lack of understanding.

    If G!ds will prevails, and I believe it does, although not in the sense that many do. The election will be good, the results, the arguments, the court decisions will be good. The discussion, the consternation, the finger pointing will be good. The machine rigging, the closing of polls, the conspiracy theories will be good. The divisiveness, the backroom agreements, the lobby money will be good.

    ie it is all a show for us to see what we get caught up into, for each of us to realize how much we are they, and are taking part in the same fiasco, for each of us to make a choice to raise above the fray as we raise in consciousness, as we put on the mind of Christ.

    Or wallow in the mud with the best of them!
     
  5. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    Boy, did I read the title of this thread wrong, what with all this talk about freewill.

    I plan to comment, path. But at the moment I cannot view the video until I get home. I want to see for myself exactly what's going on.
     
  6. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant Well-Known Member

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    I also could not see the video but I wanted to add a point. I believe the bible when it says that God appoints the leaders of this world and no matter what happens its going to be in Gods will. Whether i agree with it or not "its not my will but thy will be done" I believe that these candidates are all human with human agendas and humans imperfections and no matter what tactic she uses I have to vote the issues that are important what I believe God would think important and the least important of those is the economic issues. It really is the lesser of two evils for me as it was with the last two elections.
     
  7. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    I think something I wonder is... where is our responsibility for working toward the kingdom of God manifest on earth in a democracy? If it is God who appoints leaders, then why do we vote at all? There is a real conundrum for a democratic (not the party, but rather the government-type) Christian.

    If we do not vote, we abdicate our responsibility for the state of our nation.

    If we do vote, but fail to approach voting with our knowledge of our own responsibility in determining events, aren't we saying we don't believe in democracy and that we are a nation run by the populace? If we believe God appoints people, then what is the value of voting or democracy? And why do we support the U.S. going in to other countries to get rid of leaders we disagree with? I mean, didn't God put them in power too? And aren't we then going against His will by putting our ideas about human rights, free will, security, and so forth first?

    It's a catch-22.

    Now, I'm not sure that Christ meant for us to not be in the world at all. I actually think we are called to a very active role in the world. We are the light of the world. We are the salt of the earth. We are Christ's love and grace poured out to our fellow human beings. We are not of this world, but we do have a role in it. So isolating ourselves seems to be against what Christ taught as well.

    I'm not sure what the answer is... I agree that in every election I'm voting against someone, not really for someone. None of us are ideal.

    But what I point out is that the tactics some churches and politicians use- ones that divide the Body of Christ, that smear other Christians rather than correcting them (note, I never say another person is not a Christian or is the anti-Christ or something, but rather simply point out differences between actions/ideas and Christ's teachings)... these tactics are not at all aligned with the NT and the Gospel message.

    As a way of background, I am in part writing these messages to friends and family because some of the churches in the right-wing section of my family preached that Obama was the anti-Christ. The people who bought into it are in churches with little to no black membership and I can say that some of them in my own family are racist. Their churches are playing on the religion card to stir up fear and are smearing another Christian to do so. It's appalling and disgusting to me. Though I disagree a TON with Palin on nearly every issue, and I think some of her rhetoric and actions are clearly not aligned with Christ's teachings, I would never say she was the anti-Christ or that she was not Christian. All of us struggle to put Christ's teachings into practice in one way or another. And all of us have a responsibility as members of the Body of Christ to correct and encourage one another... but I think we are to do it gently and kindly, humbly, and without any desire for personal gain from our brother's or sister's mistakes.

    At any rate, that's my two cents.

    I think it is difficult, if one thinks critically about it, to be a Christian in a democracy and I can certainly understand why groups like the Amish don't vote and just stay out of national issues. Christianity began in a time when it was a persecuted, minority religion. Many Christian churches still use the rhetoric of persecution and minority religion today, but statistically, it is clear that the majority of the nation is Christian of some sort. How do we steer a nation that is based on individual political responsibility and choice if we feel that God appoints leaders? How do we reconcile the preaching of politics from the pulpit with both the origins of our own religion and our own country, both of which seem to suggest a careful delineation of being the light of the world from the nationalistic being of the world?

    Sometimes I just wish I were Amish and didn't have to deal with the issue. I wonder what Jesus would do if He were an American? Would He even vote? In such a big and complex society, would He still be out there feeding the homeless and healing people one by one? Or would He be hammering out health care for the 25% uninsured and trying to push for the end to poverty? In a nation where we all get a political voice, unlike the one Jesus was in, what is the Christian responsibility in politics?
     
  8. Dream

    Dream Well-Known Member

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    I understand the question whether voting is consistent with believing that God chooses leaders. The answer is not paradoxical but practical.

    For them who believe that God selects leadership, influencing the selection of leadership may seem like a claim to be part of the divine. (For argument sake let us assume that this claim is false.) They may see themselves as trying to control the flow of God's great river, but if this bothers them I ring a warning bell. Our pursuit of goodness is limited by our own nature. Teary eyed inner conflicts over whether or not to vote assumes more personal righteousness than is possible, an assumption which is a much greater error. I have made that error and know it. They are straining out the little fly while swallowing the horse, trying to live without so much as bruising a leaf. It is impossible. To me, this point of view is much less healthy than one which says 'I should participate in an effort to do some good, no matter how little'. Truly, God will not be stymied by any of our tiny mistakes and is not dishonored by our attempts. It is not boasting but humility to vote. In my opinion.
     
  9. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    What about David?
     
  10. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    I'll ask you directly...what about David?
     
  11. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    He can pray for a gold platted rolls royce... :) Doesn't mean he is going to get it, the fact that he didn't pray for YHWH's will doesn't prevent it from happening... If she got in (or whatever don't follow politics) it had nothing to do with the will of YHWH. But his will is still present.
     
  12. greymare

    greymare Well-Known Member

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    just my two cents worth.

    If you dont vote, then you forfeit the right to complain about the government.
     
  13. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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