Sunday, November 20, 2011

So Near, Yet So Far: Thoughts on The Kingdom of God and Politics - by Dave Leigh

Lonely Walk:
photograph by
Arash Karimi
Some say that my believing in global warming makes me a liberal. To me, it just makes me rational.

Some say that believing abortion is usually wrong makes me a conservative. To me, it just makes me concerned about the life of another human being.

Some say that if I believe a nation that possesses the technology and resources to give the best medical care possible to all its citizens should do so, then I’m a socialist. I say it just makes me compassionate and desirous of living in a just and merciful world.

Some say if I believe in personal property and an economic system that rewards hard work, intellect, and resourcefulness, I am a capitalist. To me, it just makes common sense that a society will not excel without personal incentives.

Why do liberals and conservatives both insist on demonizing someone for taking a single position, as if that position forces one into this or that camp? What if the principles of truth, justice, and humanity force us to come to all these conclusions? Namely, that:
  • God made us caretakers of his creation and therefore doesn’t want us to pollute it into oblivion.
  • We should cherish all life, even the life of our enemies and a life developing in the womb.
  • Like the good Samaritan we, as a society, should take care of each other’s wounds and medical needs.
  • People have a right to property and to earning wealth in reward for their labor, but with this comes a responsibility to show mercy, compassion, and justice toward those who are less fortunate and/or oppressed.
  • All people have the right to be respected as human beings and to live free of hatred and oppression, regardless of things like their race, creed, nationality, ethnicity, sex, gender, familial status, or orientation.
In other words, what if I should desire to see my nation and all nations surrender to, and advance, the Kingdom of God? What if I truly don’t want to confess Caesar as Lord, but rather the Lord as Lord? For political parties to pick and choose between these kingdom principles--and thereby force us to do the same--do they not attempt to divide truth and pit righteousness against itself? Has reason become divided and turned against reason? Can we really select which forms of compassion we prefer, and form parties that exclude the compassion and principles of truth we’d rather ignore?

The more I think about all this, the more I wonder at our political landscape and the less it surprises me that it has become dominated by craziness, paranoia, and extremes.

What if the Kingdom of God is not the exclusive domain of Christendom, Judaism, Islam, or any other world religion or philosophy? What if it is neither Democrat nor Republican? What if it is not the proprietary property of any nation or human institution? What if, rather, it is has to do solely with the person and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, who bears little resemblance to those who claim to represent him?

What if all people of all faiths and philosophies would come to seriously wrestle with and live out those teachings in how they establish their communities and even their governments, their personal relationships, and even the relations between nations?

What if the Kingdom of God were that simple? What then would become of our political parties, our nationalisms--and our craziness?

Hmmm. Is it possible? Could it really be that close to the noses on our faces?
"As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give."  -  Jesus (Matthew 10:7-8)

1 comment:

  1. Good article. Heaven is the only place it's possible because of sin.