Saturday, November 8, 2008

An Election Parable

Jesus used parables to make a point. As I was driving into work today, I thought of one too. It may seem like a fairy tale, but I dreamed awhile and wondered what might be if we could get the point of a parable like this…

“Once there was a great nation that chose its leader every four years by popular vote. Election cycle after election cycle, various candidates would campaign across the vast nation, trying to convince the people to vote for him or her and stirring up and even revealing a great deal of division in the process. One particular year, the nation was especially divided over who should lead it and how such a leader should go about governing.

Even the Believers of that nation were divided, with some feeling very strongly that the candidate that ran on a “pro-life” platform should be the choice, since life was important to Believers; and others feeling just as strongly that the candidate who ran on a platform stressing unity and the inclusion of those traditionally disenfranchised should be the choice, since those things were important to Believers as well.

In fact, many Believers were themselves among the disenfranchised. They saw the importance of bringing justice to a historically unjust situation, and the candidate they favored, who was himself among the historically disenfranchised, seemed to be just the man to do it. He even identified himself as a Believer! The problem was that the other Believers, their brothers and sisters, had never experienced such injustice and had difficulty understanding how the Believers who had experienced injustice could overlook something as fundamentally important as life.

Lo, the election came, and indeed the man who stood up for the disenfranchised won. This was cause for great celebration, and even the historically disenfranchised Believers who did not vote for the winner felt a certain sense of progress. The problem, however, was that the Believers who had not ever experienced injustice, who were indeed part of the majority culture, simply could not understand how their brothers and sisters could vote the way they did. They felt bitter and betrayed.

In time, disunity began to tear at the Believers, with their political passions overcoming their bonds of brotherhood and faith. Indeed, this disunity revealed significant cracks in the body of Believers that had been overlooked or ignored before, especially by those who had never experienced disenfranchisement. Believers began to despair.

But then The Miracle happened. The Believers began to come together and pray for the candidate who won. All over the Great Nation, believers overcame their differences and prayed and fasted night and day that God would work in the heart of the new leader, to make him the kind of man that would care about all the things that are important to God, not just one limited set of ideals. There was repentance on both sides for voting political passion or expedience or raw emotion over Kingdom values, and there was much weeping and joy.

And then it happened. The new leader began to see the importance of life! In fact, he began to see the beauty of God’s design for every facet of human experience. The new leader began to see the importance of all of the values of the Kingdom of God, as God opened his eyes in gracious response to the prayers of His people. He repented of his blindness and sin and began to lead justly in all things. And lo, there was an even greater celebration, as believers were able to overlook their political passions and instead focus solely on the things that are valued by God. And the new leader became increasingly wise, and skillful, and balanced and compassionate, as God’s people, the Believers, continued to pray day and night for their elected leader.

In fact, they prayed so much, and God worked so profoundly, that the new leader became one of the greatest presidents in history, and was re-elected by a bipartisan landslide four years later, even though many in his own party and in the larger political establishment were dismayed at his radical change in values.”


A fable? A hopeless fantasy?

You decide.

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4 Comments:

Blogger JP Paulus said...

Steve,

You've been writing so much it's been hard to keep up!

I WAS going to write how i felt Obama was not so hard-line "pro-choice" that he couldn't change.

I love the parable, and truly belive it to be possible.

The only thing i would add would be that God would raise up Christians of different worldviews, but share the fundementals as believers. For the sake of argument, we cna give them names like Steve, Chris, etc... that God places them in ways reminiscent of Joeph's journey in Egypt. They were brought up to be influencers to the president and others in amazing ways, especially with Life issues.

On the "realistic" side, i would add that should President Obma change...he would then NOT win in a landslide, but that it would be clear that 1) believers of many bacgrounds united and 2) sin would not win.

Just my thoughts -- love reading your stuff, man!


p.s. TANGENT: ANy word from your contacts in Kenya on how the election is changng things there (if at all)?

November 9, 2008 at 6:33 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Hey, man

I believe that if we're all growing in the knowledge of Jesus and being brought into conformity with His character, our worldviews will be very similar.

I think it's safe to say that John, Paul, Augustine, A Kempis, Luther, Bunyan and Spurgeon had a great deal of commonality in their worldview, so I don't necessarily agree with the idea that God would raise up Christians with different worldviews.

I do believe that we can differ in political convictions to a certain degree, but that there will even be a common body of things that resonate with God's values in our subscription to those various systems.

In other words, you might have three Christians from three political parties, but they're more like each other than they are like their party.

What I mean is this: If we're truly being driven by Kingdom values, we will never conform to any particular political ideology. However, whatever party we may identify with, we may agree with parts of its platform and reject other parts, perhaps being more in line with another party in those areas. Or no party at all.

We belong to another world with differnt values. That will always create a tension and a paradox in voting. Yet we must interact with the political process, I believe. We must light it and salt it and inform it.

Does that make any sense?

As for my Kenyan brothers, I fear that many of them feel that Obama can do something for them because he has Kenyan roots and is the American president. I fear they're looking to man for their help, or perhaps to government. That was the vibe I got when I was over there from some... a few.

Many who are more mature are simply excited that a person with Kenyan roots is going to be the president of the US.

Besides that, I personally don't beleive that an election here is going to change much there. Obama is not the president of Kenya.

The Kenyans are amazing people. They must realize that it is in their power to change Kenya (rather than looking to the US).

Some of them do realize that, and ther are some remarkable Christians there who recognize the tension in the fact that it is the Gospel that will bring the change that Kenya actually needs, but that it is people that the Gospel is worked through.

Same tension we all face I guess.

November 9, 2008 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger Seann said...

Good post Steve. I can only hope that is how things will turn out with Obama. I will contiune to pray for Obama and this nation. Stay strong in the Lord!

Seann

November 10, 2008 at 10:04 PM  
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June 3, 2010 at 5:14 AM  

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