I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to matters of international policy, of national security, of foreign relations, etc. that my knowledge is severely lacking.But I’ve been studying “The Kingdom of God” for some months now, and my reading list has finally included Jim Wallis’s “God’s Politics.”And over the past few months, reading both inside and outside of scripture, I feel for the first time to have a solid connection between my faith and the culture of politics. Wallis’s book was more AFFIRMING than INFORMING of what I was seeing in Jesus’s character and behavior with those holding positions of power.For the first time I’m seeing the relevance as a follower of Jesus in being aware and involved in what’s happening in politics. And I know I’m not alone. Perhaps it’s time to stop examining political parties FIRST, and then secondly trying to see if they align with Kingdom values. Instead, I’m learning the primary concern is KNOWING the character of Jesus and His Kingdom (what he valued and how he ACTED UP ON those values). And what follows is connecting the dots between the person of Jesus to those in politics that are consistent with Him.And again, I know I’m not alone…so what excites me is the potential for grass-roots movement putting the King and the Kingdom FIRST. That is, making the person of Jesus and the realm that is HIS WAY OF LIVING TOGETHER in our neighborhoods, cities, states, nation, and world THE priority. And specifically, this is laid out in Luke 4 when Jesus stood in the synagogue and proclaimed just what He was all about by quoting the Prophet Isaiah:
16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18″The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. 20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
The author and missionary E. Stanley Jones refers to this passage as Jesus’s “Kingdom Manifesto.” He goes on to break down the prophecy as:
- Good News to the Poor: ECONOMIC freedom
- Freedom for the Prisoners: SOCIALLY/RACIALLY/DEMOGRAPHICALLY freedom
- Recovery of sight for the blind: BIOPHYSICAL freedom
- Release the oppressed: SPIRITUAL/EMOTIONAL freedom
It may take a generation of TRYING to see a NEW OPTION show up on the ballot, but we can start now.I’m actually looking forward to the 2008 election now, and of course, to the Democratic National Convention which is taking place here in Denver. I’m hoping I can take advantage of something so big being so close, and somehow get involved, meet some interesting people and continue working out what I’m seeing unfold in my heart by His grace.