Kingdom Politics

Yes, I used that word…a word charged with division and laden with opinions.  But, in all honesty, there are many such words in our current cultural lexicon.  The beauty of it, for Americans, is that no matter our opinions or positions, we are allowed to make our voice heard.  We can cast a vote, we can protest, we can freely speak our convictions and beliefs.
As with any freedoms afforded to us, responsibility follows directly behind.  The fact is, our political process carries with it consequences.  But we are not always willing to accept responsibility for the outcomes, intended or not.
There is an often used phrase, “Politics is downstream from the culture.”  In other words, our cultural milieu, our shared values and mores dictate the flavor and direction of our political realm.  People embedded in the culture elect leaders to represent them in government.  In theory then, these elected leaders write and pass laws that in turn reflect what the culture esteems.
But there is yet a higher tier.  Religion.  In the end, culture is downstream from religion.  It all begins with what we believe.  You see this truth reflected around the world.  The religious beliefs of the people form a culture that in turn creates some from of governance.  As the Judeo-Christian worldview wanes in the United States, other religions have cropped up to fill in the void.  These other worldviews then compete with Christianity in the arena of ideas for influence in the culture.  We can all feel the tension of this tussle.  We sense it all around us and see it plainly in the political world as opposing ideas seek representation. 
Now, politics has always been about arguing.  Different parties present their case to the voting public and hope they win out.  It is a system in which there are winners and losers.  As talking heads blow hot air back and forth, we can see that these men and women are less leaders and more simply players put on the field by a culture that has been dictated by religion.
While many people equate religion with hot air, it is important to notice that even the most stringent atheist believes in something.  Though they may reject God, they still serve at the altar of humanism or environmentalism or feminism, etc.  All the “isms” are simply a recasting of religious belief.
That is why, as Christians, we do not hold to a religion or any type of “ism”.  We are people of the Kingdom who serve a benevolent King.  And by Jesus’ own admission, his kingdom is not of this world.  We are not interested in gaining more land or claiming more ballots.  We are interested in presenting our culture (or any culture for that matter) the person of Jesus Christ.  Instead of electing Christian representatives, our King has elected us to represent Him! 
As Christians, we should vote and run for office.  We should be involved with our means of government, but Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:20 “The kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.”  A politician excels at speaking words, but we know they are only given power once they win an election.  Their greatest hope is that their words will earn them political power.  King Jesus was not elected, his power is inherent, and he shares with us this power.  We are not to lord it over others, nor are we to cower in corners.  We are to boldly live in obedience to our good King and thereby show the world that following Jesus results in abundant life!  Following Jesus is much better than any religion or “ism” or culture norm.  We need to talk less and start living more.  Only then will a lost world become privy to the politics of God’s Kingdom.