I had a wonderful conversation yesterday about church and politics. It was wonderful because it wasn’t a typical discussion about church and politics. It wasn’t a discussion about politics in terms of partisanship. Rather it was a discussion about how politics and church are similar.
I contend that religion and politics are very similar. Both attempt to communicate a compelling vision of an alternate future – a hopeful and hope filled future. Politics does this in a secular sense. Religion does this from a spiritual basis, or better stated, from the sense of shalom or wholeness.
Of course there are differences too, but I can’t help but see the commonality of these two things. Actually, let me clarify. The core foundations of these two things are similar and related. There are principles that politics uses that also relate to church as well. The differences come out in the specifics. But these aren’t minor differences either. In church, money is raised in order to be used to expand the kingdom of God, to declare Good News, to serve those less fortunate, to make disciples. In politics, money is raised in order to secure or obtain a position of power and influence and expand the base of support to keep someone in power or to gain a seat of power. That’s an oversimplification of course, but I don’t think it is far off.
I have been exploring the link between church/religion and politics for many years now. Actually it’s the link between church and campaign politics. I look forward to seeing where this goes in the future. I also welcome your thoughts on the matter. Do you see a link between these two things? How so? How not? Do you have experience working in these two areas? If so, how have you seen the two interrelated?