Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Excuse My Politics

It seems to me that every time I even hint at talking about anything in the political arena, someone gets upset. This is especially true if I am sarcastic about the political process, or someone in that process. Others may be far more passionate about the whole affair than I am, and they inevitably get upset when I do not approach the subject with the same amount of fear and reverance. Please forgive me. It's just that I have grown a little cynical over the whole game.

Truth be told, I think we spend way too much time talking about politics; especially those of us who call ourselves Christian - be we of the "red" or "blue" or - what color do you get when you mix blue and red? I never went to Kindergarten - variety. Yes, we should be responsible and vote and do what we can as citizens, but have we forgotten that Christ said His kingdom was "not of this world"?

My views on politics are forever changing. I first registered as a Democrat and shocked my whole family. Then I moved to Vermont and learned my lesson. Now that I'm in New Hampshire, I've taken up permanent residence in the Independent "party," just like the other 40% in this state. I guess I'm in the right place.

I get tired of politics. Who really knows who is telling the truth? Both sides just fling mud at the other side, and nobody really knows where the truth lies. More than likely it resides on neither side. There is also incredible hypocrisy. Republicans cry out that there is a double-standard in the "mainstream" media towards Democratic candidates, all the while the same can be said for those on the right. Both sides are guilty of hypocrisy. And that leaves me listening to Bill O'Reilly - all kidding aside.

What also bothers me is the passion that so many clergymen put into this subject. Many openly support and endorse a political candidate - something I thought was illegal. If we spent as much time working on growing God's kingdom as we did pushing our political agendas, I think a lot more good could be accomplished. Don't get me wrong. I think there can be Martin Luther Kings and William Wilberforces and Abraham Lincolns - men who used politics to bring about wonderful change - but those types of individuals are few and far between. The majority of politicians are looking for face-time and approval ratings and making a names for themselves. Thus, I am cynical.

So this is probably the last thing I will say on this subject on my blog. You can find plenty of other pastors who are more than willing to give you their opinion on politics. This is not that blog. But, for the record, to those who are interested, this is where I stand politically on certain issues. Then, we'll leave it at that, and I will go on doing what I have been called - and get paid - to do. (If you feel inclined to respond to this post, please remember that you probably care more about this subject - and know more about it - than I do.)
  • I think individuals should be more responsible for what happens to their money than the government.
  • I find it repulsive that "progressives" would rather spend other people's money than their own. It's rather telling that "conservatives" give a lot more to charities than "secular-progressives."
  • I believe the United States still has a racism problem and I agree that many blacks are discriminated against.
  • I am for gay rights, but not gay "marriage."
  • I don't believe in the death penalty.
  • I am pro-life.
  • I don't believe in war, in theory, but wonder what it would be like to speak German.
  • I am agnostic when it comes to immigration, but find it arrogant and elitist to presume that we have some god-given right to this land. This T-Shirt kind of sums up my feelings on this subject.
  • I think the "Christian Right" needs to cool it.
  • I am not sure that polution equals climate change, but do believe we have been called to be stewards of this earth and that we should do a better job of taking care of creation. However, I don't think trees are more important than people.
  • I believe there should be a Fair Tax.
As always, I have the right to change my mind about any of these things. And to reiterate my previous point: since I am not called to be a politician, I don't care to get all that passionate about this discussion. If something offends you, I apoligize. It was not my intention to do so. And if you want to disagree with something I said, go for it. That's your perogative. But I have not listed my views to get into a debate. I am not going on the campaign trail for any of these things. 

6 comments:

Ursula Weigert said...

Hi Shawn, as a German Adventist I've been reading your blog and wondering what it means when you write: "I don't believe in war, in theory, but wonder what it would be like to speak German." I don't understand this and, being an English teacher in Germany, would appreciate it if you could explain the meaning of this sentence to me. My E-Mail address is UrsulaWeigert@aol.com. Thanks a lot and God bless. Ursula Weigert

Shawn Brace said...

Hi Ursula,

Thanks for the question! It is a very appropriate one, and perhaps I should have been a little better at explaining what I meant. And perhaps a little more sensitive. Essentially, what I am saying is that I do not believe in war, but I also wonder what would have happened had the United States never entered into World War II and Adolph Hitler had been allowed to continue his terrible rampage across Europe.

In other words, I am very sarcastically implying that had the US never entered into the war, we would all be speaking German right now because the Nazi regime would have taken control of Europe - and perhaps the United States.

I hope this does not seem insensitive to you, and forgive me if it does. But does this make any sense?

greenchickadee said...

Welcome to being an "independent". Which is sometimes a lonely place to be. :)
You're right that His Kingdom is not of this world, and I think that today, if we all stepped back from the politics, from the hype, from the excitement (or despair) and thought about God's true Kingdom, maybe we would feel a tiny little bit like Jesus did when he looked down at Jerusalem and the temple from that hill and shed tears. His Kingdom is so much more. I always enjoy your perspective, and I can easily relate. Looking through your "list" of thoughts, it only makes sense to be independent because we folks don't fall within party lines. :) Blessings to you in your ministry this year!

Kyle Baldwin said...

Shawn,

I know from previous discussions that your assertion about your limited passion for politics is true. As both of the major parties have been acting in a similar fashion I have found it difficult to champion the actions of either. However I would like to point out that the term "Independent" seems to be more of a mitigating position between the two parties. Which leads me to conclude that the 40 percent that are independent feel that republicans and democrats are equal distances from the truth and therefore a middling position should be followed. I believe that with anything we should act out of a hierarchy of principles. The first of course is our allegiance to God and the furtherance of His kingdom. However we in this country, after a careful study of history, benefit from the most prosperous and free nation that has ever existed. While the tradition of which we are apart is limited and not with out fault it is based on many principles that are ennobling. I believe that there is a stream of ideology that flows from the tradition of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Ultimately all kingdoms and powers will fail but the furtherance of truth wherever we find is I believe part of God's will. The outworking of the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness does have applications in real society. As such I have and will continue to maintain an allegiance to conservatism: an ideology that subscribes to the limited role of government, strong national defense and the protection of the safety of all individuals. Of these things I am certain. Stay with your calling, but remember this country was not founded without cause.

DAG said...

I can see it now... Willkommen in der New England Pastor.

And by the way... Sie sind einer konservativen Definition von

Shawn Brace said...

Thanks everyone for your comments! Glad that no one has been offended all that much. Thank you DAG, for your thoughts! Are you saying that I'm really a conservative, deep down underneath?