As most Christian conservatives I encounter struggle to understand the whys and what now’s of this obvious season of republican rebuke. I find reason for more optimism than before the November elections. I detect a waif of clarity in the otherwise sullied and arid political air. I do see how some feel let down, hopeless, angry or perhaps even fearful as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid take the reins on Capitol Hill. Still, let me attempt some edification.
The first thing I try to say to the disappointed brethren is simply that faith and fear do not mix. If you are fearful what was your faith in anyway? If you are angry several suns have set so why are you holding that anger? If you’ve lost hope, look up and remember who is still on the top seat upstairs. We have hard but useful lessons to learn as Christians and conservatives.
Firstly, that conservatism won this election, republicans lost. Congressional republicans let power cloud their reason for having it. Moral, economic, social and various other strains of conservatives combined efforts for two decades to create what was squandered in 2006. The congress in both houses is now full of conservative southern democrats or so they ran. The votes they received that pushed them over the top were conservative and many Christian. The folks are still looking for conservatives but are rejecting being patronized.
Secondly, we must see that we have become a voter block open to manipulation by “political” Christian organizations. Abramoff proved that we are viewed as such and can be steered by “trusted” leaders whose mixed loyalties lie somewhere between Christ, next week’s payroll and the coming production and appearances schedule.
Thirdly we must remember that we are judged by our fruit, known by our love and committed to the One that we follow. Not judged by our fruitiness, known by the things we love and committed to a political party we follow. We need a more personal commitment and lifestyle for God and less talking points and religious rhetoric for mass media consumption. Results like healed hearts, restored relationships, strong committed marriages should be found where ever two or more of us gather. We must stand out in the dark not blend in as we exit our Sunday parking spaces. This only makes us invisible or at least annoying to the captives being held there.
Institutionalism is a paradox of Christianity. People including Jesus can get lost inside of one as it grows. We have reached a point where there are nearly as many Christians staying home on Sunday’s as show up somewhere. Why? They are bored and burned by the many good actors and career centered hired hands that fill too many pulpits on Sundays. Each time the facade falls from around one of these we all take a black eye and some simply leave the arena and the fight.
George Barna has written a book called Revolution that some now call him a rebel for writing because in it he paints a picture most do not want to see. If we don’t want his prophecy to come to pass, then whether traditional or home, seeker friendly/informal, orthodox/ liturgical, charismatic or main line evangelical we must wake up and reclaim our faith and the true purpose of the church from the 501c3 corporate “Mega and Para” church institutions before we become permanently pre-packaged manipulated and marginalized
Those who claim to be one thing then act as another become trivialized. It is not our problem if democrats triangulate or co-op conservative positions. If they faint right then roll left they will find the same door shutting behind them that the republicans are sulking behind now. The solution is not political it is spiritual and may, in time, devolve into a simple test of competing eschatology, Christian vs. Muslim. In this we must know where we stand and democrat or republican is not a meaningful answer.
The culture won’t be saved by secular politics or formal memberships in and regularly sent checks to great associations of “Christian” Mega-leaders and Para-personalities, their political action committees or the gifts and gratuities their underlings salt before elected officials and the subsequent “proper legislation” from a congress that is republican or democrat lead.
Our error has been placing faith and kingdom resources where they don’t belong. From this we have been tied to defending positions, politicians and party lines all while some charlatan is claiming thirty pieces of silver to deliver us to the polls on an appointed day. This error has helped make us appear as a menacing, judgmental and programmable parody of the Grace, Love, Hope and Forgiveness we should be seen as examples of to the very ones who need these the most.
We need a more one-on-one, reality-based Christianity. Low production values but plenty of heart, hands and truth. We can’t shoot it out on cable, satellite or broadcast television either Christian or secular. It shouldn’t ring down on Sirius or Xm nor should it be Tivoed or Ipoded for later consumption. It can be found in the mirror now dimly seen. No matter whom controls congress the true image should be discernable to all even with no labels attached. We need to be that mirror and be where the wounded, including our own, can not help but see.
So let us endeavor to support those politicians and parties that do what they promise and agree with our sincere beliefs but don’t invest an ounce of faith in them. Let Faith be the answer when others see your abundant peace and life. That is what they are really seeking for. This is now most clear to me and so encouraging I must share it liberally with every conservative and Christian I find.