If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I have a long, deep past in politics. A great deal of my adult life was devoted to politics. It’s a past that I’m so very happy to leave in the past. Having said that, I am eternally grateful for the lessons I learned from my time in politics. I took away some unbelievable experiences and understanding of what politics is about.
When I left, I had a hatred for all things political. I’m told that is normal when you feel like you’ve been betrayed or lose trust or feel like you’ve been lied to when you gave your life to something.
Then I made a sort-of peace with politics. Maybe I just adjusted and came to the conclusion that politics will be with us, so I better figure out how to deal with it.
Now I find myself in a new relationship with politics – I’m not sure what to call this, if it even has a name. I find myself at odds politically with people on both sides of the American political spectrum. I’ve never been there before and didn’t even know that was possible.
I don’t fit into a nice preconceived political label. The funny thing is that I’ve been labeled as conservative and liberal. I don’t like labels – I find them rather demeaning.
I think what changed was that I was no longer interested in winning the political power struggle in order to change it. That’s because trying to win the power struggle means you have to be in the mess and playing by the rules of the game. So many people have adopted a belief about politics – that it is the end-all, be-all of everything. That even religion and faith fall under the rules of politics. They may not acknowledge this and they may even argue that their religious views informs their politics. Yet, it’s odd to me that their political views then so closely align with one political party or the other, and that they have no issue with becoming the mouthpiece of either political party – trying to do what they can to implement that party’s political agenda.
What they don’t realize is that those in politics love this nice little alignment. They can use religious people to further themselves and when either religion or those that are religious are no longer useful, they can be thrown under the bus and disposed of easily. Nothing gets in the way of the pursuit of political power – it’s the high holy sacrament of politics.
What party would Jesus be in if he were alive today and living in the US? I don’t think he’d be in either party. He’d probably rip on the entire political system that we have and the empire we have built. He would try to change the entire thing, not try to win an endless, win-less, game.
Apparently, I’m not alone in this way of thinking. I just finished reading A Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd. It’s an excellent book. It’s really a summary of what I’ve been thinking about for the last several years. Here’s a segment that summarizes what I just wrote about so nicely. (Pg. 155-6)
Perceiving the kingdom of God as an actual political reality is a game changer. Once you see that Jesus has his own political agenda, his own vision for arranging human society, his own criteria for judging nations, then it’s impossible to give your heart and soul to the power-based, win-at-all-costs partisan politics that call for our allegiance. Unfortunately, what I’ve learned through bitter experience is that a lot of people don’t want the game changed. They want to win the game – not change the game. My most vehement critics tend to come from those who regard my deep ambivalence toward a political “take back America for God” agenda as a scandalous betrayal. They simply cannot imagine how God’s will is going to be done if “our side” doesn’t win the political game. This is the game most of the church has played for seventeen centuries – use Christianity to endorse or buttress a particular political agenda. Christian then becomes a mere adjective to the dominant political noun. What is dominant is a particular political agenda. Politics trumps everything. The political tail wags the Christian God. Christianity’s role is to serve a political agenda…