Politics and the Meaning of Life
We are locked in a struggle with evil that operates on the macro level as well as the micro. The very systems in which we live either encourage righteousness and salvation, or they militate against it. They either promote God and therefore human prosperity, or they undermine it. So the struggle for people’s lives is manifest in governments, business, and every other kind of institution. The enemy is eager to crowd these fields with his people who will lead us to destruction as fast as they can get away with. God however is confront and disarming every power that exalts itself against the knowledge of Him in human history. First it was 12 disciples, then scattered churches, then the Roman Empire. When the Reformation dawned first we experience a restoration of faith, then of our worldview, then the revolution of freedom which started here in the American colonies.
America has been a dangerous nation to the enemy. Every day we wake up free, we are a threat to everything he stands for. Aside from the fact that we are the base for the world’s missionary enterprise, we also fought and won two great protracted struggles against evil in the 20th century. First in the World Wars and then in the Cold War. The United States of America is undermining Satan’s Kingdom. Too bad we are letting him undermine the United States.
The consciouness of the “born again” believer of the Billy Graham era of the 20th century largely saw a “crusade” for lost souls. We were willing to do anything to save a human being from an otherwise certain eternity in hell. And I believe that to the extent that we lose or have already lost this vision, we ourselves are lost on a sea of selfishness. So I would not want to say anything to supplant this fundamental understanding. However, I believe it must be broadened.
I think most of us as Christians have felt powerless to stop the slide toward Sodom which has occured in our generation. In spite of the best of our personal wishes and efforts, we find ourselves in many ways farther from the goal than when we started — although we have made progress in many ways too since the absolute nadir of our national experience in 1979. As Christians we need to see the Quest for Souls as a global conflict encompassing every aspect of life, and we need to engage it as such. We need to orient and approach our daily lives with the intent on turning the tide for righteousness. Not just converting people to our “correct” doctrine.
I believe part of the reason why we are trapped is a little term called “politics.” Having lived and see it first hand, I’ve become captivated by men of conviction–that is those who have integrity and ideals and thereby confront the political forces. What is politics? The common definition is something like “the art getting what you want.” Those who have experience are thinking of a whole array of human behavior when they use this term. What we really have in mind is something which is inately very sinful–doing for yourself or a “friend” when you should be doing for the good of all or the weak. Politics happens when personal interest is exalted over what is manifestly best for everyone. Politics is really often about covering over sin. We do not want to do what is right, so we tell people who want what is right what they want to hear, and then go in the dark room and do something different. Or tell our “friends” what they want to hear.
Jesus comes and he exposes politics. He exposes it for what it is, and that is why they killed him. He exposed the secret motives and methods of those political pharisees so they had him silenced. His blood speaks better than the blood of Abel however, and still cries out from the ground. As Jesus representatives on Earth, if we take up his mantle, we will come in conflict with political systems. Either we will become co-opted by them, we will be oppressed by them, or we will confront them. The confrontation of political systems I view as essential to the Christian mission. For righteousness to be exalted evil must be confronted and removed. You know you are confronting it when you meet the real opposition. On a spiritual level, I find this to be one of the most heartening aspects of the war in Iraq. When we started it, the people against us were generally those nations and people most against God in the world. I find this to be no accident.
An entire volume could be written on this subject, but I wanted to talk about it because refocusing and reunderstanding the greatness of our mission, and the moral courage it requires can breathe in the new life we need.