Politics and Spirituality

In February a follower of this blog wrote the following comment:

I used to appreciate your posts because I thought you have some great insight about spiritual growth and Biblical inspiration. Recently, your posts have been very political and you are not even American. So, I decided to stop following your blog. Please unsubscribe me thank you.

I have addressed political issues on this blog – probably more so since American, white evangelicals played such a pivotal role into handing Donald Trump the US presidency – because I’ve found that politics and spirituality can’t be separated from each other as if they are unrelated. I believe they are very closely related, however the important thing is to recognise their differences.

 

Firstly, politics cannot be used to address spiritual realities. For example, righteousness cannot be legislated or enforced, because the lawmakers and enforcers are no less fallible than those they seek to control – even IF those lawmakers and enforcers were religiously devout.

I believe history shows us that human attempts to bring about Christian theocratic governments have provided the WORST kind of witness for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Examples of “Christian” government throughout history have been no different to examples of Government in the name of any other religion (or non-religious philosophy).

True justice and righteousness will only ever come through Government on this earth after the return of Jesus, when he reigns over the nations during thousand years commonly known as “the millennium”.

 

Secondly political realities can and MUST be addressed according to the Spirit and not according to national self-interest. The follower of Jesus should be set apart from political rhetoric and partisan allegiances. As believers we need to stand as a CONTRAST to the world’s political expediencies, by representing what serves God and His Kingdom, not being swayed by patriotic fervour, or what we are told are the nation’s interests.
Our nation’s interests rarely (if ever) reflect God’s interests – and yet, contrarily, God’s interests ALWAYS reflect the best (eternal) interests of the people in ALL nations,  not only those where we live.

 

Thirdly, our own attitudes and actions should always be informed by truth,  an understanding of God’s character and with an eye on God’s overall purposes.

It is easy to be distracted by single issue agendas – even worthy issues can draw us away from the “bigger picture”. By focusing on the rightness of that one issue, we can find ourselves being blinded to the wrongness of the larger political agenda being presented. Beautiful gift wrapping can easily disguise a sealed box filled with stinking garbage.

How I Became Fake News by Brennan Gilmore

I think this is a very significant article (thanks to Chris for the link). I recommend you don’t just read the excerpts below, but go to the link and read the whole article.

I was initially going to post this as a comment on an earlier thread, but decided the content is too significant to risk it being missed.

Did I actually have to worry that the president of the United States might launch an investigation against me because I happened to capture footage of a white supremacist terror attack and spoke publicly about what I saw? I realized I couldn’t rule it out, and that frankly scares the hell out of me—for my family, but particularly for our country.
Over the past week, I’ve seen personally the very real damage that these conspiracy theories have on our public discourse. The danger is not necessarily that a large number of people will believe them in their entirety. Instead, it’s that they muddy the waters on issues that should be about right and wrong. This is truly dangerous. If we are to get beyond this current acute manifestation of the cancer of American racism and begin to heal, the right must join with the left to excise the malignancy of white supremacy from our politics and society. Conspiratorial thinking and confusion on what is real make this much harder.

in this story, there are not two sides.

I know what I saw on Saturday, and I know which side was responsible. I saw a man who identified himself as a Nazi purposefully drive his car into a group of protesters.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/21/fake-news-charlottesville-215514

Where the Streets Had a Name, Randa Abdel-Fattah

This is a “review” of a book I recently finished reading. It addresses some down to earth issues about the lives of every day Palestinians living on the West Bank.

Because of the setting of this book and the political situation it describes, I felt I needed to assess it in the context of my own understanding of Israel’s existence, its policies and the way the lives of many are affected by what it does.

I found it woke me up to some uncomfortable realities regarding the way injustice can be wilfully ignored for seemingly honourable reasons – particularly when those reasons seem justified by our understanding of God’s purposes.

But if injustice is the result – maybe we need to reassess our thinking regarding God’s purposes.

Out of Shadows

Every political situation has human face: often unseen or unnoticed, expediently pushed aside and ignored. Decisions made by rulers affect voiceless, everyday people who are prevented from determining their own path in life.

In Where the Streets Had a Name,  an elderly character describes this to her granddaughter.

“My life has been all politics,” she whispers as she touches the pile of photographs of my aunts and uncles on her bedside table. “I do not watch the television for politics because it is in every breath I take. It is here in this apartment, in the empty chairs that should hold my children who were forced to scatter around the world. It is here in the mint leaves floating in this cup of tea beside my bed. Mint leaves that should have been picked from the garden bed in my home, not bought from Abo Yusuf’s store. It is in…

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Deja Vu and the SSM Issue.

As Australia continues on the slow road to (inevitably) legalising same sex marriage, there are continuing claims being made about bullying and abuse being directed at those supporting SSM.

That is despite the claim that 70% or so of the population are said to be in support of it. It is also despite the fact that the majority of the abusiveness and hateful commentary I’ve seen has been directed against “the religious”.

For examples see the comments after the article here:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/17/religious-freedom-is-an-important-right-once-same-sex-marriage-is-legal-it-must-be-protected

 

One of those comments even suggests that businesses owned by people objecting to SSM should have some kind of identification placed in their windows as a sign of their beliefs.

 

For some reason that suggestion seems scarily familiar.

 

Out of Church?

Questions that deserve to be revisited when believers continue to be accused of “Forsaking the Body of Christ” after  they can’t find a suitable “church” to attend. (A repost from June 2012)

Onesimus Files

 What makes a church a church?

A building?

A seminary trained minister?

 Organised meetings – especially on Sunday?

A history?

Community recognition that THIS is a church?

Or is it any group of believers meeting any place they can at any time they can as long as their focus is relationship with God through Jesus: whether others recognise it as “church” or not.

I suspect many recognised, respectable “churches” would not fulfil that last definition.

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Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget God

…even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful…

AUGUST 6 1945

Hiroshima

AUGUST 9 1945

Nagasaki

AUGUST 2017

A word from the white evangelicals’ favourite.

 

 

 

HAVE WE FORGOTTEN?

A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honour. (pr 29:23)

An ungodly man digs up evil,
And it is on his lips like a burning fire.
A perverse man sows strife,
And a whisperer separates the best of friends.
A violent man entices his neighbor,
And leads him in a way that is not good.
He winks his eye to devise perverse things;
He purses his lips and brings about evil. (pr 16)