Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vote According to Faith

As a republican pastor friend of mine once pointed out to me, I am a very opinionated person. I will make no attempt to deny that characteristic, and by writing this blog post, I assume that trait will only become more apparent. Because I will here give my take on the presidential election that is coming up, and explain why I hope my favourite candidate will be re-elected.
First of all, let me defend my right to have an opinion, since this may not be obvious to everyone. I am a Norwegian citizen, and do not have a permanent residence in the United States. I have, however, lived in the US for the last three years during the undertaking of my bachelor's degree. More importantly, the United States is the leading nation of the western world, is the major player in the NATO military alliance, and has an enormous cultural, economic and political influence around the globe. The course that America is taking has had, and will have, a direct impact on the life of me and my family, my country and our common world.

Still, the most important reason why I am entitled to have an opinion is because the US represents me, whether I like it or not. The actions of America represent the actions of the entire Western World. The actions of America are by many also (mis-)understood to represent the actions of Christianity. I love my home, my heritage and my faith, and it is important to me how these are represented. Therefore, I have an opinion.

Secondly, let me make it clear that my opinions are not representative of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Woodland Hills Church, any other faith-society I may or may not associate with, or Jesus Christ himself; my political view is merely my personal opinion, though of course influenced by my faith and worldview. In fact, Jesus specifically stated that his kingdom is not of this world.

"My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, my kingdom is not of this realm."
 - Jesus (John 18:36)

"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
 - Jesus (Matthew 20:25-28)

The job description of a Christian, then, is not to pass laws against people, like politicians do, but instead to be a servant for the people around us. The job description of a Christian is not to participate in election campaigns to protect our rights or take America back for God; rather, the Kingdom of God is manifested whenever we pick up our cross and sacrifice in love for the weak and the oppressed. The job of the church is not to dictate a certain moral for people outside of the church, but to worship God by merit of how we live our own lives.

At this point I was supposed to tell you whom to vote for, and why. But that will be for another time. I temporarily persuaded myself to shut up.

Woodland Hills Church: The cross and the sword
Jeff Figearo's blog: The cross and the sword
Warrior of Agape: What has faith got to do with it

Greg Boyd on the difference between the two kingdoms: