A Post on Politics
Strung together are some thoughts and ideas. Some are mine, some belong to others and I hope to cite them accordingly. Some of them will surely contradict each other, but they’ve all been important to me as I have had to walk the line as:
- a Christian who loves politics.
- a Restorationist who always sees something appealing about not being involved in politics.
- a social liberal who attended a very socially conservative college.
- a liberationist seeking to love and empower others.
- a southerner living in a northern state.
- a committed pacifist who lives in a place where violence is a daily reality.
- a committed pacifist with parents and grandparents who are all retired from the military.
- a liberal son of conservative parents.
I hope that some of the following thoughts echo to some of you as well who are always struggling to find the balance in your own lives.
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” –Robert Kennedy
“War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children. The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. God gives us the capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes – and we must.”
-Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
“As for poverty, no one needs to be ashamed of it: the real shame is not taking practical measures to escape it.”
-Pericles, 430 BCE
“Christians should be committed to the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of America, and the church is to live an alternative existence of love and justice, offering a prophetic witness to politics. Elections are full of imperfect choices where we all seek to what is best for the “common good” by applying the values of our faith as best we can.” – Jim Wallace
“But ‘Thou mayest’! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.” – John Steinbeck in East of Eden
“Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king… He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
“We want a king over us!
1 Samuel 8
“All the wars and strifes between tribes, races, nations, from the beginning until now, have been the result of man’s effort to govern himself and the world, rather than to submit to the government of God.”
“Every one who honors and serves the human government and relies upon it, for good, more than he does upon the Divine government, worships and serves the creature more than he does the Creator.”
David Lipscomb, On Civil Government
“…Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.”
“You have to bear witness to the God you know. Hate all injustice. Be enraged about it. Organize to fight it. Join movements of justice. That is the way you fight it.” — James Cone