Just a brief thought today, though I have quite a few things queued up to write about as the weather turns and my time increases.
I have seen a meme around in the wilds to the effect that Christians should avoid politics because they too often make it an idol. I think there’s both a good message here and a terrible one. To the former, there are some Christians who really have made an idol of politics. These, I think, often manifest as die-hard supporters of some political candidate, whom they treat as more a savior than a man. But these, I think, are relatively uncommon and there’s no debate about whether that sort of thing is healthy and wise.
On the other hand, the meme fails where I think it is aimed: at Christians who talk a lot about politics. Lest I be accused of simply defending myself because the accusation hits home, I think I have often placed too much of my focus on national politics. Being human, I know that it is hard to do what’s right. I fail, and I repent. That’s part of the Christian life.
But I think the real problem with this meme is that it presumes religion to be nothing more than personal piety. A secret, private thing for you and God. But that’s not what religion is. Your religion is the foundation to your whole view of the world. True religion – Christianity – is a right understanding of how the world works and what it’s for and where it’s going.
Culture and politics proceed from religion. They are the inevitable result of religion not being merely a private, personal, self-indulgence. To say that one can focus too much on politics is true. But it is also true that a Christian could spend too little time thinking about it. I think that’s far more common. It’s much easier to avoid the conflict that comes from being a Christian in public.