Wednesday, March 6, 2024

We Have A Voice

I am not sure how I stumbled upon Preston Sprinkle. It could be that I was looking for a podcast to listen to and the title Theology in the Raw grabbed my attention. 

It doesn’t matter how or when I discovered Preston and his podcast, what matters is that I have been listening to him for several years now. Not only have I spent hours with him and his guests, he, in the process, has been influential on my own intellectual journey.

One of the areas that I have enjoyed listening to Preston about is the area of politics. If you have known me for any length of time you know that I have an interest in the area of politics and discipleship. I have written several posts about politics because I am concerned about the influence it has on us who follow Jesus. There is no doubt that many American Christians believe their faithfulness to God is connected to their politics.

Last week I saw this xeet/tweet on X/Twitter:

While I am sympathetic to what Preston posted, I don’t think it is entirely correct. The reason I don’t think it correct is because the position of Jewish exiles and 1st century Christians is different than our position as American Christians.

This has nothing to do with the United States being a “Christian Nation.” Personally, I  think this belief of being a “Christian Nation” has done more harm to God’s Church in the United States than good. One reason for that is because it has caused us to engage in a culture war to maintain Christian influence in the political sphere, rather than focusing on discipleship, which is the true work of the church.

What makes us different from the exiles in Babylon and the 1st century Christians is that our position as American Christians is one in which have a voice. And since we have a voice we should use it as much as we can, because what happens here and the decisions our politicians make affects the entire world (which is why it is correct to see the USA as an empire). 

Using our voice doesn’t equate to choosing sides and voting. One of my favorite posts is this one explaining why not voting was a legitimate option for a Christian. 

Using our voice means we speak “prophetically” about what our government is doing. So if we have the understanding and the knowledge of US foreign policy we should speak out about bad it is or how the healthcare/insurance systems is not good for people. 

Using our voice means praying for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Since the government is so big on both the Federal and State levels, this might seem like a pointless exercise, but it is God has instructed His people to do, so we can live peaceful lives.

The biggest way we can use our voice is to think locally and act locally. The reality is that the smaller the group the bigger the impact. We often get caught up in politics that we have the least influence over: Federal. Outside of voting (and even that impact should be questioned) there is not much we can do to influence those in power at the National level. Yet, there is a lot we can do locally.

At the local level there are always organizations that are looking for volunteers to help. At the local level there are different ways to help shape the condition of the community. At the local level we are better able to see the needs and witness results.

So, I totally agree with Preston that it improper for God’s people to be consumed with presidential politics and other national realities that cause us to forget our supreme allegiance to Jesus. But that doesn’t mean we should find politics uninteresting. Rather it means that we should follow the politics of Jesus: unconditional love and uncompromised truth.

As an exile living in the shadow of empire, remember there is only one kingdom (God’s Kingdom) that you are loyal to and only one king (King Jesus) worthy of your allegiance. So use the voice and influence He has given you to make a difference.

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